My dear fellow traveller,
I’ve prepared something very special for you today. We will explore some amazing outdoor spots in Bruges. While the tourist crowds are queuing in front of the museums, cafes and cathedrals, we have other plans — more entertaining and refreshing ones.
We will step into the town’s alluring, medieval, Flemish architecture, we will watch the graceful swans and we will walk a bunch of cobbled streets.
1. Get lost in the Grote Markt
This is the place that clearly wins the most photographed spot in Bruges award. And you’ll notice that as soon as you arrive and notice that those colourful facades look unusually familiar. You’re in Bruges’ main market square, situated right in the heart of the historical city, flanked by medieval buildings and outdoor restaurants.
You’ll also see that some tourists choose to wander through Grote Markt in charmingly trimmed horse-drawn carriages. You can do that or, you can follow my advice and, for starters, just walk. I assure you that there’ll be a bunch of moments when you’ll want to stop and stare at certain jaw-dropping details.
This vibrant, bustling market has its own unique charm. The cobblestone paving, the breathtaking architecture, the elegant boutiques and the cosy cafes are playing their role greatly, creating a view that you’ll certainly want to see again.
Take a look at the Provincial Court — a Gothic-style building that once served as a meeting point for the West Flanders Government. And I’m sure you’ve already noticed that tall tower that seems to carefully guard the city. Well, that’s the renowned, fabulous Belfry (Belfort) which is about 83 meters tall.
In the square’s centre, Pieter De Coninck’s and Jan Breydel’s statues are waiting for some well-deserved admiration. They were Brugse Metten’s (the nocturnal massacre of the French garrison back in 1302) leading figures. The eastern market is dominated by Provinciaal Hof, a neo-Gothic building hosting the post office.
As amazing as this place is, there are plenty other outdoor spots to be seen, so let’s get moving now!
2. Burg Square is ready to welcome you
Our next stop is the second largest market in Bruges and the city’s administrative center that gathers some of the finest buildings. This medieval, opulent place hosts not only the City Hall (a white sandstone monument with prickly steeples and Gothic arches), but also lots of souvenir shops and pubs serving delicious Belgian specialties. Burg Square blends historic architecture with sculptures and golden decorations, so there is no chance you’ll remain unimpressed.
Other key landmarks on the square are the Holy Blood Basilica (the Romanesque interior will leave you speechless), the Bishop’s Palace and the Old Civil Registry (with its perfectly-proportioned Renaissance windows).
You’ll have the chance to see six centuries of architecture — not to mention that Burg Square is also the scene of local fairs and outdoor concerts.
What else could you ask for? A new, magnificent place, of course! Curious? You better be, because I’ve got you covered, so let’s move forward!
3. Begijnhof Neighbourhood – a unique opportunity to catch your breath
This enchanting neighborhood of Bruges dates from the 13th century and once hosted a community of Beguines. Although hundreds of years have passed since the times when Begijns lived here, nowadays the complex features some lovely white painted houses, a beautiful garden and a convent of Benedictine nuns.
Despite the waves of tourists who stop here during the summer months, Begijnhof remains an extremely quiet paradise. During the spring, the houses’ centers exhibit a fragranced carpet of daffodils that completes the neighborhood’s beauty.
Outside the place’s entrance gate (dating from 1776), there’s a chain of lace shops, outdoor restaurants, and waffle peddlers.
So take some time to relax, take some pictures and make wonderful memories within a delightful backdrop. It’s a spot where alluring views, delicate perfumes, elegance and yummy flavors blend together creating a complete experience you’ll never forget.
Time to go now; take one last look and prepare for the next stunning place you’re about to see.