Walking Tour Bruges, City of Monuments
Bruges, City of Monuments (5 km) Map walking tour (PDF: 99,2 kB)
This walking tour starts from the information centre 't Zand (Concertgebouw), 't Zand 34, your one-stop information point for details on culture and tourism and for ticket sales.
‘t Zand square is dominated by the new concert hall “Concertgebouw”, a majestic, contemporary landmark for the city.
Take Zuidzandstraat, one of Bruges many pleasant shopping streets.
St. Saviour’s Cathedral: Bruges’ oldest parish church (12th-15th century). Worth seeing are the gobelins, the choir, rood loft with organ (1619-1717), choir stalls and numerous fine paintings. Cathedral Museum: old paintings and retables, brass tomb plates and reliquaries.
Simon Stevinplein: statue of the famous Dutch scientist Simon Stevin (° Bruges 1548, † Den Haag 1620), also one of the leading counsellors of Prince Maurits of Nassau.
Hof van Watervliet, Oude Burg 27: nicely restored 16th-century residence.
Former Carthusian Nuns Church: (1716), the monastery is nowadays used as a military chapel.
, Markt 7: the city’s most remarkable landmark. Climbing the 366 steps of the winding staircase is a challenge: on top of the tower you are rewarded with an amazing view. On the second storey is the former medieval treasure-room, today a museum. The Belfry’s carillon (47 bells with a total weight of 27 tons) is one of the finest in the world. Concerts are played on it three times a week
Provincial Government Palace, Markt 3: neo-gothic building (1887-1921), former seat of West Flanders’ Provincial Council.
Jan Breydel & Pieter De Coninck: statue of two popular local heroes, who played a leading part in the resistance against the French occupying powers in 1302.
Markt - Breidelstraat - Burg
Here, a number of historical buildings deserve your attention.
Basilica of the Holy Blood, Burg 15: double chapel. On ground level: St. Basil’s Chapel (1139-1149) in roman style. The first floor chapel, converted into neo-gothic style in the 19th century, contains a.o. the famous Relic of the Holy Blood (worship: every Friday). Museum of the Holy Blood: exhibition of reliquaries, vestments, paintings and other artefacts.
City Hall, Burg 12: one of the oldest gothic city halls (1376-1420) of the Low Countries. On the first floor is the prestigious Gothic Hall, with an impressive wooden and polychromed vault ceiling and historic wall-paintings (historical museum) In the Historic Room a collection of items, documents and paintings relating to Bruges’ history are on display.
Old Recorders’ House, Burg 11A: Renaissance building (1534-1537). Inside is the Historical Museum of the ‘Brugse Vrije’ (The Liberty of Bruges), with a.o. the superb oak chimney piece (1529) and alabaster frieze, conceived in honour of the emperor Charles V, royal portraits and justice scenes.
Old Country House of the ‘Brugse Vrije’, Burg 11: The original Country House was built in two eras (1520-25/1722-27). From the 18th century till the eighties it was the seat of the Court of Justice. Since 1988 it houses the City Administration Centre.
Provost’s House, Burg 3: baroque building (1665-66), former seat of the seigniory ‘Proostdij van Sint-Donaas’. Under the trees in Burg square the former St. Donatian’s Cathedral used to stand (ca 900, destroyed in 1799). Remains of the romanesque choir gallery were excavated in 1988. The gallery was tastefully integrated in the cellars of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Nearby is also the sculpture representing The Lovers, a symbolic work of art referring to the numerous young couples coming to the City Hall to be married.
Leave Burg square by Blinde Ezelstraat. Just look up and behind you to watch the exquisite vaulting between City Hall and Old Recorders’ House. Across the bridge you arrive at the Fish Market.
Fish Market, in this complex (1821), fresh seafood from the nearby North Sea, is for sale every day (6.00 am-1.00 pm) from Tuesday through Saturday.
From the Fish Market you walk along the canal, via Steenhouwersdijk and Groenerei. On your way you will see two of the city’s oldest stone bridges (Meebrug & Peerdenbrug). Go further down Groenerei to have a look at ‘De Pelikaan’, a typical almshouse. Now turn about, to go back to the Fish Market.
Number 10 at Huidenvettersplein was the 17th-century Tanners’ House . Now you come to Rozenhoedkaai. If you were allowed to take only one snapshot while in Bruges, here is the spot to take it!
College of Europe, Dijver 11: institution for postgraduate studies where selected students from several countries study the economical, political and legal aspects of the European Union.
Groeninge Museum, Dijver 12: offers a fine survey of Dutch and Belgian painting (15th-20th century). The masterpieces by the so-called ‘Flemish Primitives’ (Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, a.o.) are without doubt the highlights of this museum. Quite remarkable as well is the unique collection of works by Flemish expressionists.
Brangwyn Museum-Arentshuis, Dijver 16: the Frank Brangwyn-Donation which is kept here, consists of etchings, paintings, water-colours and furniture.
Historical Museum Gruuthuse , Dijver 17: former palace of the Lords of Gruuthuse (15th century) which was converted into a museum in 1955. The furniture, kitchen equipment, silverware, tapestries, lace, ceramics, glassware, weaponry, music- and measuring-instruments, etc. provide a good picture of everyday life led by the former inhabitants and bourgeoisie in the past.
Guido Gezelle, Gezelleplein: statue of Bruges’most famous poet (1830-99). For more info on Guido Gezelle.
Historical Museum Church of Our Lady: O.-L.-Vrouwekerk (13th-15th century, recently restored): this church, with a 118 m high tower, contains an extremely rich art collection. Highlight is of course the white marble Madonna with Child by Michelangelo. In the choir gallery, you can admire mausoleums of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold, as well as a number of remarkable polychromed tombs (13th-14th century).
P.S.: no sightseeing during church services!
Historical Museum Archaeology, Mariastraat 36a: Interactive museum built up around archaeological finds in and around Bruges (renewed in 2004).
Old St. John’s Hospital & Memling Museum, Oud Sint-Janshospitaal & Memlingmuseum, Mariastraat 38: in the hospital church (13th-14th century) and the adjoining Cornelius Chapel, six authentic masterpieces by the world famous Flemish painter Hans Memling are on display. In the former hospital wards you can also see a collection of paintings, furniture and other items related to the hospital’s rich history. The 17th-century Old Dispensary is also worth a visit. The beautifully restored 19th-century hospital buildings are used today by the Oud Sint-Jan Foundation, for exhibitions and conventions.
Brewery "De Halve Maan" , Walplein 26: this brewery, already mentioned in 1546, produces ‘Brugse Zot’: an excellent, highly fermented beer with malt, hops and special yeast as main ingredients. The spacious and cosy tap-room is as good a place as any to try the beer. During one of the guided visits you will learn more about production methods and the history of the brewery.
Beguinage: the ‘Princely Beguinage of the Vineyard’ was founded in 1245. Sisters of the religious St. Benedict Order have taken the place of the former beguines. The Beguine’s House provides a good picture of the day-to-day life of the former inhabitants.
If you come by train, you can start this walk directly by making your way via Oostmeers and the Begijnenvest to the Minnewater park.
If you come by train the walk can then be started from the park rather than 't Zand.
Via the street called ‘Minnewater’ you reach the park carrying the same name.
Lake of Love: The ‘Minnewater’ (Lake of Love), today a romantic spot, used to be a dock for so-called ‘barges’ which operated a regular transport service between Bruges and Ghent.
Poertoren: Close to the bridge spanning the Lake of Love you see the ‘Poertoren’, a former ammunition dump (1398).
Walk back to Wijngaardstraat now, then turn right into Noordstraat.
Almshouse De Vos (1713): a typical almshouse with its own little chapel (recently restored). A few steps down the same street you see a restored 16th-century chimney with oven-vault.
City Academy of Fine Arts, Bogardenkapel, Katelijnestraat 86: Former chapel of the Bogardenschool, a 17th century orphans’ school for boys, which is currently being used by the Stedelijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten [City Academy for Fine Arts] and Cultuurcentrum Brugge [Bruges Culture Centre] as an exposition area for modern visual arts.
Diamond Museum Bruges: Discover the exciting world of diamonds at the Bruges Diamond Museum. You can also follow a demonstration of diamond cutting
Almshouses ‘Meulenaere’ (1613) and ‘St.-Jozef’ (1674) with a beautiful inner garden.
Hof Arents: In the ‘Hof Arents’: Knights of the Apocalypse, a series of sculptures (1987) by Rik Poot, representing earthly terrors such as death, war, famine and revolution. In the same garden, the Bonifacius bridge is an example of romanticism turned to stone: a dreamlike setting for idyllic pictures!
Episcopal Palace: Heilige-Geeststraat 4: former 16th-century mansion.
Sint-Salvatorskerkhof - Zuidzandstraat - 't Zand.