Places of Worship Tour (Self Guided), Brugge

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.
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Places of Worship Tour Map

Guide Name: Places of Worship Tour
Guide Location: Belgium » Brugge (See other walking tours in Brugge)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 km
Author: HelenF
1
Beguinage (Begijnhof)

1) Beguinage (Begijnhof) (must see)

The Beguinage is a group of small houses surrounding a garden that were once the dwellings of women called Beguines. There are no more Beguines living there, but since 1927 it functions as a convent for Benedictines. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.

Visitors cross a bridge over a canal to reach the Beguinage. It is still calm and quiet and the venue is intended for prayer and meditation. Visitors are required to observe silence and photography is not allowed. The first Beguine house next to the entrance is furnished as a museum and the exhibition includes paintings, 17th and 18th-century furniture and lacework, among others. A small street at the southern part of the Beguinage has some of the earliest houses that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries.

Why You Should Visit:
If you are lucky enough to be in Brugge in spring or summer, please stop by here to at least see the flowers and the trees.
You can also pop into the church where the nuns still worship and it's a very peaceful place.
The area around the beguinage has several restaurants, tea rooms, and tourist type shops.

Tip:
On a practical note, avoid wearing shoes with thin soles as they will be rather uncomfortable on the ancient cobbles around here. Otherwise, try to explore as many hidden places as you can!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 6:30am-6:30pm
2
Church of Our Lady

2) 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
3
St. Salvator's Cathedral

3) 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
4
Basilica of the Holy Blood

4) Basilica of the Holy Blood (must see)

Built between 1134 and 1157, the Basilica of the Holy Blood is a Roman Catholic basilica located in the heart of Brugge. Known as a place of pilgrimage, it houses a venerated relic of the Holy Blood (basically, a piece of cloth used by Joseph of Arimathea to wipe the blood of Christ after the Crucifixion) brought from the Holy Land by Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders. The cloth with the bloodstain was preserved and brought here after the sacking of Byzantine by the crusader army. The church was declared a minor basilica in 1923.

The basilica in Burg square consists of a lower and upper chapel. The lower chapel, dedicated to St. Basil the Great, is a dark Romanesque structure that remains virtually unchanged. The venerated relic is in the upper chapel, which was rebuilt in the Gothic style in the 16th century and renovated in the 19th century in Gothic Revival style.

Tip:
If you visit, the museum is the first thing you'll come to (and there is a small charge); however, the relic is not in there – it is, in fact, on show in the main church, which is free to view.
It is also worth checking the official website for special event related to the Holy Blood, as the page is well-constructed with 5 languages (English, French, Dutch, Spanish, and German).

Opening Hours:
Thu-Tue: 9:30am-12pm / 2-5pm (Nov-Mar 24); Daily: 9:30am-12:30pm / 2-5:30pm (Mar 25-Oct)
5
St. Anne's Church

5) St. Anne's Church

The original St. Anne's Church was an aisled church, which was later transformed into a three-aisled prayer house. In 1580 it was sold and demolished. In 1611 a new church was raised on the old ruins. The church’s interior is mostly notable for its Baroque architecture. One can also learn about the baptism of the well-known Flemish poet Guido Gezelle, which occurred here in 1830.
6
Jerusalem Chapel & Adornes Domain

6) Jerusalem Chapel & Adornes Domain (must see)

Built by a rich merchant to the design of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, this chapel remains a privately owned place of worship maintained by his descendants.

The Jerusalem Chapel was constructed in 1428 by Anselmus Adornes and his spouse, Margaretha vander Banck. Anselmus Adornes belonged to the wealthy Adorni family of merchants who came from Genoa and settled in Brugge. The ornate mausoleums of the founders created by Cornelis Thieleman are located in the middle of the church. The original structure of the church has remained intact from the 15th century unlike many other churches in Europe.

The chapel has a simple façade with a pointed arch above the entrance. The unique part of the structure is the octagonal tower flanked by four polygonal turrets above the choir. A wooden globe is placed on top of the tower symbolizing the world. There is an upper choir above a small nave. Under this choir is a crypt where an imitation of the grave of Christ is located. Sculptures relating to the holy grave symbolized by skulls and ladders are also found in the altar and the nave. The stained glass windows light up the interiors with a beautifully colored glow.

Why You Should Visit:
The site is unique, very quiet, surprising and intimate, but the chapel itself is well worth the price of admission – enchanting and a little creepy at the same time.
There's also an attached self-service small cafe and book/gift shop, plus a small garden and a lounge area, a bit old fashioned, but clean restrooms are available.

Tip:
While you're in the area, make time to stop by the Kantcentrum, where you get to watch bobbin lace-making demonstrations – truly magnificent.

Opening Hours:
[Jerusalem Chapel, Adornes Museum & Shop] Mon-Sat: 10am-5pm
7
The English Convent

7) The English Convent (must see)

In the 17th century, Brugge became a home for the banished nuns of England. Later, in the early 18th century, the English Convent was built. The Convent boasts an exquisite interior – from the lavishly decorated ceiling to the stained glass windows and marble altar which is a rare piece of art. It is known to be the place of death of the famous poet-priest Guido Gezelle, and it is the only domed church located in the medieval part of the city. Visiting the convent is a worthwhile experience for anyone interested in churches.

Tip:
Keep in mind, this is a convent and not necessarily a tourist destination. While they do accept visitors, access and times are very limited. If open for visiting, ring the bell and go inside. Be quiet and respectful, please. As always when visiting a church as a tourist, leave a donation in the box on your way out – especially if you are taking photos.

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 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: 1.8 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
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
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
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
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: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km