City Orientation Walking Tour, Brugge (Self Guided)

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.
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City Orientation Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walking Tour
Guide Location: Belgium » Brugge (See other walking tours in Brugge)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km
Author: HelenF
1
Market Square (Grôte Markt)

1) Market Square (Grôte Markt) (must see)

The central square of Brugge, Grôte Markt covers an area of about 1 hectare, is flanked by several important historical buildings, and is the starting point of walking tours around the city.

The first record of a market at this location dates back to the 10th century. It was called "Place Napoleon" and later, the "Grand Place" and was renamed "Grôte Markt" in 1936. In 1995 the market was completely renovated. Parking in the square was removed and the area became mostly traffic-free, thus being more celebration-friendly.

Important buildings around the square are the landmark Belfry Tower of Bruges and the Cloth Halls. The provincial court stands on the site of the former medieval Water Halls today. On the left of the court complex is the residence of the Provincial Governor of West Flanders and the Bruges Post Office is located to the right of the court building. On the northern side of the square are many Medieval-style buildings with stepped gables. The statues in the square are of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck – heroes of the 'Battle of the Golden Spurs', an uprising by the Flemish people against French domination.

Tip:
To get an authentic feel of the Markt's original use, visit on a Wednesday from 8:30am to 1:30pm, because that's when it has lots of stalls offering locally produced products & handicrafts, food and flowers.
If you need to use the bathroom, use the one in the bottom of the tower area (before you have to pay to go in) or – pro tip – run downstairs to the subway and use theirs; much larger so the lines aren't as long.
You can also mail back your chocolate troves at the Post Office, which is right there in the square.
2
Provinciaal Hof

2) 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.
3
Xpo Salvador Dalí

3) Xpo Salvador Dalí (must see)

In 1997, an exhibition of Dali’s drawings, oil paintings, and watercolors was presented in Brugge. After some years passed, the permanent Museum-Gallery Xpo Salvador Dali was opened in the Belfry of Brugge. This marvelous building, which hosts the surrealist collection, has rooms decorated in gold, shocking pink, and mother-of-pearl. The collection – comprised of sculptures, paintings, collages, pen and ink drawings, prints and publications, etc. – is accessible for everyone, very well presented and the staff is very friendly.

Tip:
If you should come to this expo, paying a little extra for the headset audio tour would be well worth it, since it provides visual as well as audio factoids which enhance the overall experience.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-6pm
4
Belfort (Belfry & Carillon)

4) Belfort (Belfry & Carillon) (must see)

The Belfry of Brugge, or Belfort, is a medieval bell tower in the historic center of Brugge. One of the city's most prominent symbols, the Belfry formerly housed a treasury and the municipal archives and served as an observation post for spotting fires and other dangers. A narrow, steep staircase of 366 steps, accessible to the public for an entry fee, leads to the top of the 83-meter-high building, which leans about a meter to the east.

The Belfry was added to the main market square around 1240. In the 16th century, the tower received a carillon, allowing the bells to be played by means of a hand keyboard. In 1675 the carillon comprised 35 bells, designed by Melchior de Haze of Antwerp. There were 48 bells at the end of the 19th century, but today the bells number 47, together weighing about 27.5 tons.

In the reception area, waiting visitors can discover all kinds of interesting information about the history and working of this unique world-heritage protected belfry. Those who take on the challenge of climbing the tower can pause for a breather on the way up in the old treasury, where the city’s charters, seal and public funds were kept during the Middle Ages, and also at the level of the impressive clock or in the carillonneur’s chamber.

Why You Should Visit:
Climbing the bell tower on a clear day is well worth it if you are not easily claustrophobic and you can manage the 350+ steps.

Tip:
Definitely go and listen to the free bell ringing concerts on Mondays & Wednesdays (9-10pm). You can just sit in the square and listen or in a café with a drink. Programmes are available from the Belfort website.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
The Statue of Simon Stevin

5) The Statue of Simon Stevin

Simon Stevinplein in Bruges is named after and dominated by the statue of the Bruges-born mathematician Simon Stevin, best known for proving the law of equilibrium on an inclined plain. The bronze sculpture of Stevin stands atop a plinth made of Belgian bluestone measuring in total 3 meters high. It was erected in 1839 by resolution of The Bruges City Corporation and the provincial government of West Flanders. Many local Catholics initially opposed the installation while the liberally-minded people, on the contrary, were strongly in favor of it and finally prevailed. The statue inauguration was planned for July 26, 1846, however, the real statue was not ready on that date, so a plaster replica had to be unveiled instead. The real statue - created by Belgian sculptor Louis Eugene Simonis - was set into place only one year later. Surrounding the monument are numerous shops and cafes, and the area itself is a popular spot for tourists who come here often.
6
St. Salvator's Cathedral

6) St. Salvator's Cathedral (must see)

The Saint Salvator Cathedral, the main church of the city, was not originally built as a cathedral. Initially, back in the 10th century, it was a common parish church, with St. Donatian's as the city's central religious building. At the end of the 18th century, however, the French occupants of Brugge evicted the bishop of Brugge and destroyed Saint Donatian's Church. In 1834, a new bishop was installed in Brugge and the Saint Salvator church obtained the status of cathedral. The Saint-Salvator Cathedral currently houses many works of art that were originally stored in its destroyed predecessor. The wall-carpets that can be seen when entering the church were manufactured in Brussels by Jasper van der Borcht in 1731. Saint Salvator also has the original paintings that served as models for the wall-carpets, which make quite a unique combination. The original 16th-century choir podium is also in place.

Why You Should Visit:
Recently renovated, with stunning details and work worth taking the time to enjoy. Huge place with no entry fee, though admission to the art museum inside costs €2.5.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 10am-1pm / 2-5:30pm; Sat: 10am-1pm / 2-3:30pm; Sun: 11:30am-12pm / 2-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Archaeology Museum

7) Archaeology Museum

The Archeology Museum of Bruges has unique interactive displays that not only show exhibits from excavations around the city but also gives an insight into the working of the science of archeology.

A row of ancient houses in Bruges were converted into the present Archeology Museum. A range of objects dating from the Stone Age to the 21st century are displayed here. The museum is unique and interesting because the reasoning behind the date of each object on display is detailed and visitors can understand how the archeologists came to their conclusions.

The motto of the Bruges Archeological Museum is, ‘Feel the past under your feet.’ Each object is described using a series of do and search tasks. It is divided into four sections, home, work, life and death. Visitors are encouraged to solve archeological mysteries through the interactive exhibits at the museum. Objects displayed include stone, pottery, glass, leather and tapestry found during archeological excavations in the area around the city. A series of murals adorn the walls and tell visitors the tale of the city from the distant past to the recent past.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 9:30 am - 12:30 pm; 1:30 pm - 5 pm
8
Church of Our Lady

8) 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.

Tip:
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
9
Memling in Sint-Jan

9) Memling in Sint-Jan (must see)

The Memling Museum is part of the historic Sint-Janshospitaal attraction in Brugge, the oldest preserved hospital buildings in Europe dating back to the 13th century. The old hospital furniture and furnishings are carefully preserved and displayed in the museum within the old building. Visitors can see the preserved herb garden and apothecary, as it was in the ancient hospital, and the attic has one of the oldest roof truss systems in the world.

The Sint-Jan Hospital is adorned with paintings by German-born 15th-century artist, Hans Memling. He came to Bruges from Brussels to study art under Rogier van der Weyden in 1465 and stayed on to become one of the city’s most respected citizens. The painting at the entrance shows the hospital as it was in the 13th century, with rows of beds set into cubicles. The altar of the chapel has a three-paneled altarpiece of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, which is regarded as Memling’s masterpiece. Three of his well-known paintings – The Shrine of St Ursula, The Virgin with the Child and the Apple, and the Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine – are found in the altar.

Tip:
Make sure you go up to the top level to see the old huge beamed roof structure if architecture interests you.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9:30am-5pm
10
St. Bonifacius Bridge

10) St. Bonifacius Bridge

The St. Bonifacius Bridge offers an attractive view of this old area of the city. It is quite pleasant to contemplate the canal when this spot is not too crowded. The bridge was built in 1910, but because of its style and construction design, it appears much older. It is located between Gruuthuse and Arentshof.
11
Groeningemuseum

11) Groeningemuseum (must see)

Built on the site of the medieval Eekhout Abbey, the Groeninge Museum is the municipal gallery of fine arts in Bruges. It houses a comprehensive survey of six centuries of Flemish and Belgian painting, from Jan van Eyck to Marcel Broodthaers. The museum's many highlights include its collection of Early Netherlandish paintings, works by a wide range of Renaissance and Baroque masters, as well as a selection of paintings from the 18th and 19th century neo-classical and realist periods, milestones of Belgian symbolism and modernism, masterpieces of Flemish Expressionism and many items from the city's collection of post-war modern art.

Why You Should Visit:
This is unquestionably Brugge's most popular and impressive museum, which is also one of the country's leading art galleries.
There's a huge collection of fantastic art on show here, showcasing some of the very best Flemish art created, guiding you through Belgium's long history in the process.
Highlights include works by Jan van Eyck, as well as the work of Hieronymus Bosch "The Last Judgement" – particularly interesting because it was super-advanced for its time.

Tip:
Check the website to learn what upcoming temporary exhibitions are scheduled at the time of your visit to Bruges.
Tickets also give entry to the nearby Arentshuis, the highlight of which is the small but good collection of Frank Brangwyn works.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9:30am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
12
Burg Square

12) Burg Square (must see)

Located in the heart of Brugge, right next to the Markt (main square), the Burg Square is a much smaller place, but no less beautiful. It is flanked by many historic buildings and is the administrative center of the city.

The Burg is on the site of a former fortified castle built by Baldwin, the Iron Arm who was the first Count of Flanders. He constructed it to protect the land around from invading Normans and Vikings. The castle was built on a former Roman edifice. The city of Bruges grew around this castle, making the Burg the oldest location in the city. At the time, the first church in the city, the St. Donatius Church was also located here. Both the castle and the church have disappeared and only a small reconstruction of the choir of the church remains.

Buildings flanking the Burg today include the large 12th century City Hall with its Gothic-style façade, the Old Civil Registry with a Renaissance façade, the former Court of Justice, a Neo-Classicist building that now houses the tourist information center among other administrative offices, and the Baroque-style building that was once the Deanery or residence of the deans of St. Donatius Church. The Deanery is now part of the palace of the Bishop of Bruges. The Burg is also the location of the important place of pilgrimage in Bruges, the Chapel of the Holy Blood and the St. Basilius Church.

Why You Should Visit:
Architecturally this square is hard to beat, combining a mixture of Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance-inspired buildings. Rain or shine, it always has a special charm.

Tip:
Make sure you visit the Burg Square both during the day and the evening – the evening lights are magical.
Look to the right of the Basilica for the Struise Beershop, where you can have a glass of beer while checking out the great beer selection.

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.
Architecture Walking Tour

Architecture Walking Tour

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.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Places of Worship Tour

Places of Worship 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
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: 1.7 km
Famous Bars Walking Tour

Famous Bars Walking 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
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: 3.3 km
Cultural Walking Tour

Cultural Walking Tour

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: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Brugge for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Brugge has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Brugge, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.