Museums and Galleries Tour I, Brugge (Self Guided)

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.
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Museums and Galleries Tour I Map

Guide Name: Museums and Galleries Tour I
Guide Location: Belgium » Brugge (See other walking tours in Brugge)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 km
Author: HelenF
1
Absolute Art Gallery

1) Absolute Art Gallery

The Absolute Art Gallery is located on Dijver Street in the historic center of Brugge. The Gallery displays contemporary art by international artists. You can admire the work of artists, such as Carlos Mata, Corby, David Mach, Ronald Dupont, and many others.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 10 am - 6 pm
2
Arents House Museum

2) Arents House Museum

The Arents House Museum is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Bruges. It houses a lace museum, a coach museum and a celebrated collection of works by British artist, Frank Brangwyn.

Arents House is a large 18th century mansion in Bruges with a picturesque garden and a coach house. It was owned by the aristocratic Arents family and was one of the most beautiful residences in the city.

The Coach House of the Arents House Museum has a collection of old sledges and carriages. The ground floor of the main house hosts a lace museum that displays bobbin, needlepoint and mixed lace. Most of the exhibits are from famous Flemish lace making institutions in Bruges, Flanders and Mechelen. There are also samples of lace from other countries, including France and Italy. Besides lace, the technique of lace making is portrayed in a series of paintings at the museum. The well known part of the Arents House Museum is the second floor with the famous Brangwyn collection on display. Many of the artist’s realistic paintings, depicting the hard life of dock and factory workers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, are featured in the halls. Other works include watercolors, oil paintings and engravings, depicting scenes of the places visited by Brangwyn. Exhibits also include carpets, pottery and furniture designed or collected by the artist.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 9:30 am - 5 pm
3
Groeningemuseum

3) 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
4
Archaeology Museum

4) 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
5
Memling in Sint-Jan

5) 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
6
De Halve Maan Brewery Museum

6) De Halve Maan Brewery Museum

This museum is dedicated to the process of making one of the best known brands of beer brewed in Bruges. The De Halve Maan Brewery is an old family owned business located in the heart of the city.

The De Halve Maan or Half Moon brewery was started in the year 1564. At the time it was called Die Maene or The Moon. It was purchased by Leon Maes in 1856. The brewery still belongs to his descendants. Over the years, the family has adopted innovative and advanced methods of brewing to ensure that the finest products are sold to customers. Today, a daily tour is conducted showing visitors the brewing process, beer making utensils and implements and concludes with a beer tasting session.

Only a portion of the beer making process takes place at the De Halve Maan Brewery today. The building is used as a part brewery and part museum. Visitors can purchase tickets at the restaurant attached to the museum and join the 45 minute tour around the building. Guides explain the process of beer making and there are many interesting exhibits like barrels, tools and machines used by the brewery in the past. The tour ends at the roof of the building that commands spectacular views across Bruges. A full glass of Bruges Zot beer, a specialty product of the brewery, the price of which is included in the ticket, is provided to visitors at the end of the tour.

Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 11 am - 4 pm; Saturday: 11 am - 5 pm
7
Beguine's House Museum

7) Beguine's House Museum (must see)

Declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, the Beguine’s House Museum is dedicated to showing visitors the lifestyle of the residents of the Beguinage in Brugge.

Beguinages consisted of small houses where communities of women lived an almost religious life without taking religious vows. These communities were found in the low countries of Belgium and have been in existence since the 13th century. Many of the women were poor widows of men who did not return from the crusades. One of the houses was converted into a museum in the 17th century when the entire Beguinage was refurbished. From 1928, the Beguinage became a functioning Benedictine convent.

The Beguine House Museum preserves the house of these female communities exactly as it was from the 13th to the early 20th centuries. A popular part of the house is the kitchen with a Leuvense Stoof or stove. This unique stove made in Louvain near Brussels that was used by Belgians for cooking until after World War II. The kitchen has furniture and beautiful tiles and the typical pots and pans used by residents of these simple dwellings. The museum also has a beautifully preserved dining and bedroom. The living room has displays of 16th-century paintings of renowned artists, Abraham Bloemaert and Jan Antoon Garemijn. Other interesting objects are lace-making tools like a spinning wheel and bobbin lace cushions used by the industrious beguines in the past.

Why You Should Visit:
To visit the beguinage is free; this museum, however, has a small €2 entry charge, which is worth paying to get an insight into the life of the original inhabitants.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am-5pm; Sun: 2:30pm-5pm
8
The Diamond Museum

8) The Diamond Museum

The Diamond Museum is located in the heart of Bruges. The art of diamond polishing was invented in the city. The Museum is dedicated to informing visitors about every aspect of diamonds and diamond jewelry.

The Diamond Museum was inaugurated in 1999. According to the historian, Ludo Vandamme, diamonds were polished and traded in Bruges as early as the 14th century, long before they became an important industry in Antwerp and Amsterdam. The museum is a teaching facility and offers special diamond polishing shows for schools and visitors. The museum shop sells different types of diamond souvenirs and diamond related books.

The permanent collection of the museum explains the role played by the precious stone in history, with a special focus on its evolution under the Dukes of Burgundy. There is a section dedicated to the development of the industrial diamond and its importance in manufacturing processes. A robot, called Boris, makes diamonds out of graphite in a few minutes and is a popular exhibit at the museum. Other displays include one of the best collections of diamond cutting tools in the world, interesting diamonds and diamond jewelry, the Brazilian collection and the displays of synthetic and industrial diamonds. The Museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, like the 2009 show about the social history of diamond polishers in Bruges and the exhibition dedicated to the history of the diamond jewelry in 2008.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 10:30 am - 5:30 pm
9
Ghent Gate

9) Ghent Gate

The Ghent Gate, also called the Gentpoort or Porte de Gand, is one of the four remaining medieval gates in Bruges. It was the point of entry for the Nazis when they attacked the city during World War II.

The Ghent Gate was designed by architect, Jan van Oudenaerde, in the 15th century. It served both as a fortification to protect the city as well as an entry point for merchants and traders into the city. At the time, it was surrounded by a wide moat and had a large drawbridge. Bruges was a major center of trade between the 12th and the 15th centuries, and this part of the city was one of the busiest. Recently, it has been declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.

The Ghent Gate consists of two large round yellow towers. The passage between the towers is covered by a pointed arch. There are staircases leading to the top of each of the towers. A statue of St. Adrian is found in the tabernacle above the passage which was placed there to protect the town from danger and disease. Two pedestrian passages were recently added through both the towers. The upper room has a large, well-preserved open fireplace that was once used by guards during winters. The Ghent Gate is a popular tourist attraction and is beautifully illuminated at night, making it a spectacular site for visitors.

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.
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
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
City Orientation Walking Tour

City Orientation Walking Tour

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
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
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
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

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.