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Architectural Jewels Walking Tour (Self Guided), Brugge

The Historic Town of Brugge hides stunning architectural monuments within its egg-shaped boundary. It is the home of both modern and medieval masterpieces, and each corner of the town has something that will create a deep and lasting impression. Take this tour and start looking for the exciting architectural treasures of Brugge.
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Architectural Jewels Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Architectural Jewels Walking Tour
Guide Location: Belgium » Brugge (See other walking tours in Brugge)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Author: HelenF
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Bargebrug
  • De Vos Almshouse
  • Church of Our Lady
  • Provost's House
  • Provinciaal Hof
  • Poortersloge
  • Hof Bladelin
  • Ezelpoort

1) Bargebrug

The contemporary Bargebrug (Barge Bridge) connects Minnewater Park and Barge Square. The bridge is really eye catching - it is bright red and is asymmetrical in form. Its color is in sharp contrast to the surrounding green parkland. The bridge can be seen as a city entrance, and Barge Square is a popular meeting place for tourists.
De Vos Almshouse

2) De Vos Almshouse

The De Vos Almshouse consists of a group of houses for the poor, widows and the elderly. It is one of the 46 almshouses, or Godshuizen, in the center of Bruges.

The De Vos Almshouse was founded by Adriane de Vos, a wealthy and philanthropic merchant of Bruges. It was founded in 1480 and built, at the time, near the city wall and the Beguinage. Each house was assigned by a specific organization, like a hospital or a guild, e.g. the cooper’s or mason’s guild, with a view to benefit their elderly or poor members.

The De Vos Almshouse consisted of a complex of eight houses with an inner courtyard. The residents pumped water from a well in the courtyard and grew vegetables in small gardens in front of their houses. Like all almshouses in Bruges, the De Vos Godshuizen has a chapel where the residents were expected to pray for the soul of their benefactor. The houses have a white façade with the name of Adriane de Vos painted on it. The windows do not face the street because a tax was levied for each street facing window. Today, the city owns the almshouse and has converted the complex into six houses for the residence of elderly citizens. It is managed by the social service department of the government. Visitors are not admitted inside but the quaint complex can be seen over a low wall.
Church of Our Lady

3) Church of Our Lady (must see)

The Church of Our Lady in Brugge dates mainly from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. Its tower, at 122.3 meters, is the tallest structure in the city and the second tallest brickwork tower in the world (the tallest being the St. Martin's Church in Landshut, Germany). In the choir space behind the high altar are the tombs of Charles the Bold, last Valois Duke of Burgundy, and his daughter, Duchess Mary.

The altarpiece of the large chapel in the southern aisle enshrines the most celebrated art treasure of the church—a white marble sculpture of the Madonna and Child created by Michelangelo around 1504. Probably meant originally for Siena Cathedral, it was purchased in Italy by two Brugean merchants, the brothers Jan and Alexander Mouscron, and in 1514 donated to its present home. The sculpture was twice recovered after being looted by foreign occupiers—French revolutionaries c. 1794 and Nazi Germans in 1944.

Why You Should Visit:
To admire the huge brick tower, multiple altars, multiple organs, and some very nice/great artwork!
The combination of this church and the Bonifacius bridge, plus the gardens and the canals is absolutely fabulous.

There is renovation taking place within the church limiting how much of the museum area visitors are able to visit. As such, there is a concession on entry price at this time.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 9:30am-5pm; Sun: 1:30-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Provost's House

4) Provost's House

Brugge is the best preserved city in Flanders. One of the jewels of the Flemish capital is the Provost’s House. It is an amazing Baroque-style white structure built in 1666. Originally, it served as the bishop’s residence and continued so until 1794. It is located in Burg Square and is currently occupied by government offices.
Provinciaal Hof

5) Provinciaal Hof (must see)

The city of Brugge boasts impressive medieval architecture mixed with some marvelous 19th-century buildings. The Provinciaal Hof (or Provincial Court) is one such lovely structure located in the Grôte Markt. It is quite imposing and it would be very difficult to not admire its Neogothic structure. The building houses the headquarters of the government of West Flanders and the Post Office, but sometimes they use it for exhibitions. Be sure to admire it and take some photos at the least.

6) Poortersloge

The Poortersloge or Burgher’s Lodge is a worthy representative of the Gothic architecture of Brugge. It was built at the end of the 14th century and served as a meeting place for the burghers. One can admire its wonderful façade, decorated with figures; one of these is of the legendary bear, Beertje van de Logie, dated to 1417. In the past, banquets and festivities were held here; nowadays, the building holds historic documents.
Hof Bladelin

7) Hof Bladelin

The Hof Bladelin is a large mansion in Bruges. It is now a convent and home for the elderly with a small museum inside.

The Hof Bladelin was built in 1451 as the house of Pieter Bladelin and his wife, Margaret of Vagewierre. He was the counselor and treasurer of Philip the Good, the Duke of Burgundy. At the time, he was one of the richest men in the area and laid the foundations of a town called Middleburg. The Hof Bladelin was constructed on reclaimed land, located in the northern part of the city. The couple did not have children and the property was inherited by Bladelin’s sister after their death. The Medici’s, a powerful Florentine banking family, bought the house in 1472. Today it accommodates a convent, managed by the order of Sisters of Our Lady of 7 Sorrows that runs an elder care facility in the building.

The Hof Bladelin has the architectural design of a Gothic castle. The Renaissance courtyard was designed in Italian style and added to the building by the Medici family. The stone medallion portraits of Lorenzo de Medici and his wife are still found in the courtyard. The ribbed vaulted ceiling in the interiors has some unique corbels. They are adorned with scenes depicting the duties of Bladelin and the life of St. Alphege of Canterbury.

8) Ezelpoort

The Ezelpoort, or Donkey’s Gate, is one of the four remaining medieval city gates of Bruges. Unlike the other gates that were built on the banks of the canal, it is completely surrounded by water.

The Ezelpoort was built with the second set of city walls in 1297. It was reconstructed based on the design of architects, Jan Slabbaerd and Mathias Saghen, authors of two other gates, called the Boeveriepoort and the Smedenpoort. It was also called the Ostendpoort because merchants and travelers used to pass through it on the road to Ostend. The gate has been renovated several times. The most recent restoration took place between 1991 and 1993, for which it was awarded the Europa Nostra Award in 1994.

The lower section of the brick gate is the only surviving part of the original structure. It was completely altered in the 17th century. The height of the original gate was lowered. A guard house was added in the early 18th century and the front gate was demolished in the late 18th century. The two round turrets have a simple façade unlike the other city gates. The administrative office of the Anima Eterna , the resident orchestra of the Concertgebouw is located in the main building and today only pedestrian and bicycle traffic is allowed through the gate.

Walking Tours in Brugge, Belgium

Create Your Own Walk in Brugge

Create Your Own Walk in Brugge

Creating your own self-guided walk in Brugge is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Museums and Galleries Tour II

Museums and Galleries Tour II

The historic city of Brugge has splendid museums and galleries for everyone to see and admire. Both medieval and contemporary art can be seen here, in the "Venice of the North." It’s amazing how this medieval city has guarded such incontestably valuable treasures, which are on the must-see list of every visitor to Brugge.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Cultural Venues

Cultural Venues

The medieval city of Brugge is home to many amazing cultural venues. In 2002, Brugge was honored with the title of European Capital of Culture. It boasts of its grand Royal Theater and of the Concertgebouw, where one can hear contemporary music or watch ballet performances. It is a city of possibilities where artists can show the world what they are made of.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Beer Tour

Beer Tour

The Land of Beer, where each corner calls to you alluringly, welcomes visitors from all over the world. In Brugge, you will be amazed to find bars that offer a range of 300 beers along with a pleasant atmosphere and a guarantee of a wonderful time. There are many beer bars in the center of Brugge. Gather your friends and visit the best bars in the city.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Historical Churches Tour

Historical Churches Tour

It is not a big secret that some of the most beautiful churches in the world are located in the medieval city of Brugge. Built in the Gothic and Baroque architectural styles, the churches are among the most popular sites in the city. Take this tour to discover for yourself the religious jewels of Brugge.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Museums and Galleries Tour I

Museums and Galleries Tour I

Brugge is the capital of West Flanders, Belgium. It is an egg-shaped historic city with an impressive collection of museums and galleries that tell the history of the city from different points of view and also reveal the contemporary side of the city. Take this tour to lose yourself in the medieval atmosphere of Brugge.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Brugge Introduction Walk

Brugge Introduction Walk

The famous medieval city of Brugge preserves many amazing landmarks within its walls. The grain mills will show you how flour was made, and the statues located around the city will reveal the lives of the important personalities of medieval Brugge. Take your camera and a look at the most fascinating attractions Brugge can offer.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles