The main sights of Bruges old city centre are concentrated within a fairly small area, making the city easy to explore on foot. Highlights in the city include the 83m (272ft) 13th-century Belfry at the central Markt Square, and the spectacular architecture of the adjacent Burg Square. Burg Square includes the magnificent Basilica of the Holy Blood, which dates from the 12th century and is the focal point of the annual Procession of the Holy Blood taking place in the city every May.
Bruges offers 14 municipal museums and galleries covering a wide range of subjects. The city center is surrounded by the canals or reien. Taking a ride on one of the tour boats around the canals is something you have to do. The multilingual guides provide a potted history of the city in just a few minutes making it a the best introduction to Bruges.
Some highlights of the city centre include the Grand Market Place and its 13th-century belfry, The Basilica of the Holy Blood or Heilige Bloed Basiliek, the Church of Our Lady or Onze Lieve Vrouwkerk, The Beguinage or Begijnhof, Old St-John’s Hospital, The Friet Museum, Jerusalem church, The Groeningemuseum, City Hall, and the Choco-Story Museum. Lace-making is historically one of Bruges’ most important industries, and this is reflected in a number of visitor venues including the Lace Centre in Peperstraat.
The only remaining active brewery in the Bruges city center is De Halve Maan or the Half Moon. This brewery has been around since 1856.
Main Squares located in Bruges City Centre
Grand Market or Grote Markt — the market square of Bruges is the medieval commercial centre of the city. The Belfry tower and Cloth Hall, one of the city’s most impressive monuments, is located on the square. A life-size bronze of Pieter de Coninck and Jan Breydel can be seen in the centre of the square. There are a wide variety of cafes and restaurants around the square. Many great hotels or bed and breakfasts can be found surrounding the main square such as the Hotel Koffieboontje and B&B Verdi.
Burg Square — one of the town center’s Medieval squares, the other being the Grand Market Square. Landmarks on the square are Bishop’s Palace, the Town Hall, Old Civil Registry and the Holy Blood Basilica. One of the best hotels in Bruges can be found nearby; the Crowne Plaza Hotel Brugge.
Huidevettersplein or Huidevetters Square — a small cosy square in Bruges city centre near the canals with several restaurants. A couple hotels or b&b’s are set close by such as Guesthouse 17 and excellent Duc de Bourgogne hotel.
Jan van Eyck Square — square near the canals and named after famous 15th century Flemish painter Jan van Eyck. It’s visited by many tourist for its beautiful views and the exceptional buildings. Most important buildings are the Poortersloge and the Old Toll House.