Planning a Baltic Cruise?  In this installment of our Baltic Cruise Travel Guide Series, join us as we embark on a relaxing walking tour of Bruges, Belgium.

Bruges – Relaxing Walking Tour

Bruges is one of the most well-preserved medieval cities in Northern Europe.  Its charm lies in its architecture and its cobblestone alleys that evokes a bygone age.

Bruges has a almost dream-like atmosphere that captivates every visitor including ourselves.  It may be little known from a far-off country like Singapore, but it certainly is one of the best port stops on our cruise to the Baltic Sea.

This is supposedly the most beautiful scenery in Bruges, according to our local guide. What do you think??

The number of tourists begin to pick up as the morning progresses, to the point where the entire Bruges seem to be flooded with passengers from cruise ships.

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Must do in Bruges – The Canal Tour

The Canal Tour of Bruges is a must-do, not to be missed!  It is the reason why Bruges is known as the ‘Venice of the North’, and you need to embark on it to understand the charms that it presents. Tickets to the canal cruises can be bought on-site, and there are a few points along the canals where you can do so.

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The Church of Our Lady

The Church of Our Lady, one of the most famous piece of architecture in Bruges.  Standing at 122 metres in height, it towers over all other buildings in medieval Bruges and can be seen at most points in the small town.  Given the time limitations of the walking tour, it naturally did not include time for entry into the church.

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The Museums – Gruuthusemuseum and Groeningemuseum

The Gruuthusemuseum which houses art collections from the 15th to the 19th century.  It was originally the house of Louis de Gruuthuse, a patron of the arts, who also happens to be the rather ugly man depicted in the picture.  The Gruuthusemuseum is unfortunately closed for renovations until 2017.

Said to be a carving of the same ugly man.

The Groeningemuseum is another important museum in the town of Bruges.  It houses a comprehensive collection of six centuries of Flemish and Belgian painting, the most famous in the house being The Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele.

Some of the more modern-looking buildings within this medieval town.

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Bruges – Charming Narrow Alleys

Bruges is like this – lots of narrow alleyways, which I rather enjoy walking through – it adds to the unique charms of this small town.

Some alleyways would only allow one horse cart to go through at any one time, the result of which was that the wall tiles became dirty with constant contact.  In a recent restoration effort, the town kept one of those blackened tiles for remembrance.

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Bruges Market Square (Markt)

At the Market Square, or Markt of Bruges as it is known here.

At the Market Square is where you see the most splendid of buildings in Bruges, some of them were government buildings.  They were the prelude to the kind of magnificence that we would go on to see at St. Petersburg in Russia.

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The Basilica of the Holy Blood

The Basilica of the Holy Blood.  Famed for not just its beautiful architecture, it is also best known as the repository of a phial containing a cloth with the holy blood of Jesus Christ.  The Holy Blood is on display at the Basilica at a specific day and time of each week, and also undergoes a procession through the town of Bruges every year.  Naturally, due to time constrains, the walking tour did not include entry to the Basilica, but we were entitled to time-on-our-own in this tour, and so we did come back to the Basilica to have a look.  More about that in a later article.

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Belfort (Belfry Tower)

The Belfort or Belfry Tower, as seen against the backdrop of the Market Square.  It is, in my opinion, the single most beautiful monument in Bruges.

The famous Town Hall of Bruges.

The Market Square is the heart of tourist activity, not just for its beautiful monuments, but because the restaurants and cafes are all clustered around this area.  Think along the lines of the world famous Belgium beers and you will understand why tourists congregate here.

Horse-drawn carriages are everywhere, offering tourists a paid ride around the town, and adding to the medieval charm for others.

Join us next as we embark on the Canal Cruise of Bruges.

First published 17 Feb 2016
Last updated 15 Sep 2019

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