Bruges, what to see: the 10 must-see attractions
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Bruges, in Flanders - in Belgium - is a place that seems to come out of a storybook, which seems designed for how beautiful and perfect it is: Skyscanner takes you to Bruges, and perhaps you won't want to leave here! The historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but Bruges even enchanted Dante Alighieri, in rather remote times, who mentions it in the XX Canto del Purgatorio ... At Christmas or in the summer, Bruges is one of the most magical cities in Europe. Ready to discover it?
Start your tour of Bruges from the central Grote Markt, the market square, which in the Middle Ages was the beating heart of commercial activities. To dominate it, the Belfort bell tower, very high, but which you can visit to enjoy a superb view over Bruges, once on: breath and trained legs, however, because almost 400 steps await you! The houses surrounding the square, with their classic pitched roofs, were once the headquarters of the guilds while today they house all kinds of cafes and restaurants. Or indulge in a carriage ride, led by beautiful coachmen with straw hats: the route, as well as the means of transport, are perhaps all too touristy, but given the fairytale atmosphere of Bruges you could think about it!
Let's move to another square in Bruges that is worth visiting, the Burg: in the past there was a fortified castle that served as a religious and political hub, and that served to protect the country from the attacks of the Vikings. Today the beautiful historic buildings bear witness to the glories of Bruges' past, in particular the 14th-century town hall, Stadhuis, and its Gothic Hall, an essential stop for the highly valuable wall paintings it houses. The former Civil Registry currently houses the Brugse Vrije Historical Museum and, if you have time, drop by: the Renaissance environments will project you into a princely dimension! If, on the other hand, you prefer baroque atmospheres, turn to Casa Provost, the ancient residence of the provost of Bruges. In Bruges there is something for everyone: being disappointed is impossible!
The Groening Museum is beautiful and offers tourists a rich collection of precious works of art, which represent a significant cross-section of Flemish art, known and appreciated all over the world. In particular, masterpieces by Jan Van Eyck, considered the initiator of the Flemish school, and by Hugo van der Goes are exhibited. But the collection continues through the Renaissance, the Baroque, the Neoclassical and ends with important works of modern art. Definitely a destination to consider in Bruges, if you are interested in art.
Inside the Basilica of the Holy Blood of Bruges (in Flemish Heilig-Bloedbasiliek; in French Basilique du Saint-Sang) is preserved, inside a magnificent silver tabernacle, a fragment of the fabric used by Giuseppe d'Arimatea to dry the blood of Christ after the Crucifixion. At least, so it is said! In addition, the Basilica houses a Romanesque chapel dedicated to St. Basil: it is said that the relics of the Greek theologian were brought here from the Holy Land by Theodoric of Alsace, count of Flanders, during the second crusade. This is a place that tells a lot about a distant past, both in time and in space: do not delay and cross the threshold!
One of the most beautiful and fascinating places in the city is undoubtedly the Minnewater, literally "lake of love": a romantic lake surrounded by a green and well-kept park, where bridges and ponds can make even the most hasty tourist relax . This oasis of peace and beauty in the heart of Bruges, which seems suspended in time, almost like a daydream, is also known for its large colony of swans, to which an ancient legend is linked. How? Don't you know it? Go and find out for yourself!
A group of grouped white houses and, all around, a dense wooded garden, once inhabited by the Beguines of Bruges: we are at the Begijnhof "De Wijngaard", a small world apart in the center of Bruges. The "vineyard" Beguinage of Bruges is one of the best preserved complexes in Flanders, and like all Beguinages it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This semi-monastic community of women led an ascetic life mixed with charitable and work activities. Inside one of the houses there is now a museum: here tourists can become aware of the lifestyle of the beguines. It is one of the most visited places in Bruges: don't miss it!
There is an old hospital complex in Bruges where monks and nuns took care of the poor and pilgrims, and which today houses a truly noteworthy museum, the Memling: here ancient objects and furniture, medical instruments and very interesting archives can tell visitors more curious about the history of the Sint-Janshospitaal Congregation, which characterized the life of this community. Inside the hospital chapel, beautiful Flemish works will catch your attention, but the other rooms can also be visited, in particular it is worth making a detour to the dormitory and the pharmacy.
Churches often hold great treasures, but this is truly a treasure chest chock full of wonders. To begin with, here you will admire a sculpture of unspeakable beauty, the Madonna of Bruges in Carrara marble, made by none other than Michelangelo. And this is already worth the visit. But we assure you that even the bronze sculptures of the tombs and the precious paintings will take your breath away. The Church of Our Lady is a magnificent example of Brabantine Gothic style: you don't need to add anything else. You just have to admire it.
Let's go now to see an educational museum that will appeal to even the little ones, the Friet Museum: here we tell the story of Belgian fries, famous all over the world for their unique flavor, due to a particular preparation. The museum - which is housed in one of the most beautiful and oldest buildings in Bruges, the Saaihalle - extends over three floors and tells many curiosities: you will travel from Belgium to France to Peru, through all kinds of machinery, photographs and of course ... very tasty tastings. Don't forget to combine a nice mug of beer with the fries: Belgian beers are among the best in the world and boast an ancient tradition, not only the Trappists produced by Cistercian monks ... You will be amazed to find out how many Belgian beers are on the market! Test yourself and let us know which one is your favorite!
And from salty to dessert, to end our journey in beauty: we run straight to the best chocolate shop in Bruges, The Chocolate Line, to get to know Dominique Persoone - a legend of chocolate, well known abroad - and taste his delicacies. Like beer, chocolate in Belgium is also a product of the highest quality: tradition blends with innovation, and is giving rise to truly surprising results. Forget for a moment the line and the weight and enjoy a moment of pleasure. Otherwise, you might want to consider chocolate for a nice souvenir that will surely make friends left at home happy. Tell the truth, you just put Bruges on the agenda for the next destinations, right?
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