Beautiful Bruges, crisscrossed by canals and fortifications, is centered around two squares, Markt and Burg. Climb the famous belfry at Markt Square and look out over this enchanted town, its winding streets, and the throngs of tourists taking it all in. Remember that Bruges is small – and any hotel we recommend is within walking distance of the town's center.
Markt and BurgMarkt ("Market Square"), Bruges’ central square, is the heart of the town. Even if you don’t stay near the Markt, you’ll most likely spend a good deal of time here. The square is lined with cafes and restaurants, and anchored by the city's famous belfry tower.
One minute to the east is Burg, the town square, home to Bruge's town hall. The area boasts many of the city’s most important museums and historic sights, including the Groeninge and the various Bruggemuseums. Chocolatiers, jewelers, and restaurateurs draw tourists in as well. Markt Square is the place to go if you want to catch a horse-drawn cab, although we can't promise that the ride will be cheap.
Minnewater & Astrid ParkSituated southeast of Markt and Burg, this large residential area is an easy distance from the city center. Both Minnewater and Astrid parks provide space for recreation and relaxation, while Minnewater Park boasts canal-side views replete with swans. Just south of Astrid park is the "Picnic Triangle," with plenty of bakeries and vegetable markets where you can stock up on daily provisions.
The nearby Begijnhof, a serene grouping of tiny residences centered around a church and field of flowers, was founded in 1245 and is today home to the Sisters of the St Benedict Order. The Begijnhof's laid-back atmosphere is perfect for relaxing after a day scouting the city's museums and churches. Bruges’ train station is located at “Stationsplein,” at the south-western tip of the city’s ring.
St. AnnaSt. Anne's Church sits in the middle of a cobblestoned residential neighborhood, a few blocks northeast of the super-central Burg Square. The present church dates to 1624 and replaced the gothic original, built in 1581. Just a few minutes away is the Jerusalem Church, which has pretty glass windows and sits right next door to the "Kantcentrum," Bruges' popular Lace Centre and museum.
Stroll up Sint-Annarei, the lane following the canal, and get lost in the charming streets of row houses. If you head eastward toward the old town’s ring, you’ll see the 18th-century Sint-Janshuysmolen windmill hard at work.