Bruges, or Brugge in Dutch, is almost a perfect medieval fairytale town in Belgium. The cobbled lanes and canals linking the market squares are so picture perfect that you may find it difficult to put your camera away and absorb the beauty for yourself. The city is also an architecture lover’s dream, even by European standards and the Gothic and Baroque buildings are truly jaw-dropping. Obviously, with this sort of beauty comes lots of tourists and in the summer months the constant crowds are the city’s only real downfall.
You should certainly not let the crowds put you off however and with some planning (ie visiting midweek) the worst of it can be avoided. Spring is a particularly beautiful time to visit the city and see the Loppem Castle gardens in bloom or daffodils returning to the grounds of Begijnhof. Winter is also a good time as the city looks great with a dusting of snow and, apart from at Christmas, the crowds are almost entirely gone.
Here is our opinion of the best things to do in Bruges.
1. Go to Hospital
This isn’t your ordinary hospital, the Museum St Janshospital is a restored 12th century hospital complete with timber roof beams and art masterpieces dating back to the 15th Century. The oak reliquary, in all of its gilded glory, is the most famous piece within the museum and was crafted by Hans Memling. The piece tells the story of St Ursula’s betrothal to a pagan prince. Ursula, along with 11,000 virgins, was murdered on her way to Rome by the King of the Huns. Entrance to the museum is 8 Euros for adults and includes entry into a model 17th century pharmacy.