With pointy gilded architecture, stay-a-while cafés, vivid time-tunnel art, and dreamy canals dotted with swans, Bruges (Brugge in Dutch) is a heavyweight sightseeing destination, as well as a joy. Where else can you ride a bike along a canal, munch mussels and wash them down with the world's best beer, savor heavenly chocolate, and see Flemish Primitives and a Michelangelo, all within 300 yards of a bell tower that jingles every 15 minutes?
At a Glance
▲▲ Bell Tower Overlooking the Markt — the modern heart of the city — with 366 steps to a worthwhile view and a carillon close-up.
▲▲ Burg Square Historic square with sights and impressive architecture.
▲▲ Groeninge Museum Top-notch collection of mainly Flemish art.
▲▲ Church of Our Lady Tombs and church art, including Michelangelo's Madonna and Child.
▲▲ Sint-Janshospitaal Memling Collection Art by the greatest of the Flemish Primitives.
▲▲ Begijnhof Benedictine nuns' peaceful courtyard and Beguine's House museum.
▲▲ De Halve Maan Brewery Tour Fun beer tour.
▲▲ Biking Exploring the countryside and pedaling to nearby Damme.
▲ Historium Multimedia guided tour re-creating the sights, sounds, and smells of 1430s Bruges.
▲ Basilica of the Holy Blood Romanesque and Gothic church housing a relic of the blood of Christ.
▲ City Hall Beautifully restored Gothic Room from 1400, plus the Renaissance Hall.
▲ Bruges Beer Museum History of Belgian beer and the brewing process, with tastings.
▲ Folklore Museum Well-presented exhibits of life in Bruges' industrious Golden Age.
▲ Choco-Story: The Chocolate Museum The whole delicious story of Belgium's favorite treat.