It is only fair to say that the places that stir all your senses and that creep under your skin are extremely rare. These are the places that pluck your heartstrings, yet whose secrets you can’t unlock completely. Bruges happens to be such a unique place. Cultural and artistic, cosmopolitan, unashamedly Burgundian, mysteriously medieval, and a Unesco World Heritage site to boot. Strolling along Bruges’ alleys, picturesque canals and verdant ramparts you cannot but fall hopelessly in love with her elegant mysteriousness.
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This free number is used in all member states of the European Union to contact the emergency services: police, fire brigade or medical assistance. The number operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
General telephone number: tel. +32 (0)50 44 88 44
Emergency police assistance: tel. 101
Most shops operate from Monday to Saturday, opening at 10.00 a.m. and closing at either 6.00 or 6.30 p.m. But this does not mean that you need to go home empty-handed if you come to Bruges on a Sunday. Many specialist stores are open on Sunday as well. And on ‘Shopping Sundays’ – the first Sunday of the month, except on public holidays, from 1.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. – they are joined by the majority of the other shops.
To make your shopping experience more pleasant, there is restricted access for traffic on Saturdays and ‘Shopping Sundays’ in the following shopping streets: Zuidzandstraat, Steenstraat, Geldmuntstraat and Noordzandstraat (from 1.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.).
Cafés and restaurants have no (fixed) closing hour. Sometimes they will remain open until the early hours of the morning and other days they will close earlier: it all depends on the number of customers.
On 1 January 2019, there were 19,675 inhabitants registered as living in the inner city of Bruges. The total population of Greater Bruges on the same date was 118,176.
Mon-Sun 10.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m.
’t Zand (Concertgebouw)
Mon-Sat 10.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m.
Sun and public holidays 10.00 a.m.-2.00 p.m.
Stationsplein (Railway Station)
Daily, 10.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m.
Tel: +32 50 44 46 46
All tourist offices are closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
With Bruges it’s love at first sight!
Bruges is mysteriously medieval and unashamedly ebullient. Though a city of human proportions, it takes a while to explore its wealth of treasures. The city owes its greatness to history and now wears its Unesco World Heritage Site label with pride.
For centuries the canals of Bruges have linked the city to the sea, a guarantee of wealth and prosperity. International merchants built up Bruges into one of the largest Hanse cities. In the 15th century the city flourished as never before. Large parts of the medieval heritage remained practically intact. Therefore, it is only logical that Unesco designated the entire city centre as a world heritage site. Saunter along the enigmatic canals, the arteries of the city, and immerse yourself in Bruges’ Golden Century.
The economic affluence of the 15th century brought rich merchants to Bruges. They moved into majestic city palaces, packed with works of art. In the wake of the Burgundian dynasty, the great Flemish primitives, including Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling found their creative niches in Bruges. The fine arts reigned supremely and Bruges quickly became the meeting place and source of inspiration for many artists. The world famous masterpieces and other top collections can be seen today in one of the 30 Bruges museums.
In medieval Bruges, polyphonic chamber music and choral music reverberated vibrantly. Internationally renowned polyphonists had the run of the elegant city palaces of the rich Burgundians. Since the 19th century this tradition has been continued in the splendidly restored City Theatre, one of Europe’s best preserved city theatres. And also in the contemporary Concertgebouw (Concert Hall), a stone souvenir of Bruges 2002 when Bruges was the Cultural Capital of Europe, top productions follow one after the other.
At the grand parties in the princely palace of the dukes of Burgundy, romance was all the rage. This is where mysterious stories found their roots. The legend of the Bruges swans came about in the period after Mary of Burgundy’s passing. Pieter Lanchals, a name which means 'long neck', who was one of the town administrators belonging to the court of Maximilian of Austria, was executed in the Bruges market square. Legend has it that Maximilian punished Bruges by obliging the population to keep 'long necks', or swans, on their lakes and canals till eternity. To this day, proud swans guard the Bruges canals. This elegant image, the windy, mediaeval streets and cobbled squares turn Bruges into the most romantic destination.
Back in the early Middle Ages, Bruges was one of Europe’s most important sea ports. One hundred years ago, Bruges revisited this successful past when it turned the port of Zeebrugge into one of Europe’s most significant ports for container traffic and a considerable gas terminal for a large part of Europe. For cruise ships too, this port, right by the North Sea, is an excellent mooring place at a stone’s throw from the historic heart of the World Heritage city of Bruges.
When the Flemish cloth industry lost in importance in the 15th century, Bruges concentrated on the production of various luxury goods. Guilds and, later on, trade organisations, kept a watchful eye on, and protected, the creation of these quality products. Besides panel painting by the Flemish primitives, Bruges excelled in the goldsmith art, the production of illuminated manuscripts, diamond cutting and lace. Today, the World Heritage city is still an international centre of refined craftsmanship. Bruges is a leader in the field of calligraphy and letter sculpting. Moreover, two reputed colleges train culinary talent, allowing them to create gastronomic furore in Bruges and overseas. The capital of chocolate is the obvious place where you will find the cream of artisan chocolatiers.
The 10 classic places that no one should miss!
Rozenhoedkaai and the Bruges canals, a typical city view
Medieval splendour on the Burg
Strolling through the old Hansa Quarter
The Flemish primitives: timeless beauty
Quiet contemplation in the Beguinage
Minnewater: romance all the way
Concert Hall or Culture with a capital C
Almshouses: charity frozen in stone
Some places are so special, so breathtaking or so unique that you simply have to see them. Bruges is filled to the brim with wonderful witnesses of a prosperous past, whether they be peaceful and picturesque, spiritual or, on the contrary, extremely entertaining.
Saint Saviour’s Cathedral
Basilica of the Holy Blood
Concertgebouw Circuit (Concert Hall)
Adornes estate – Jerusalem Chapel
Lumina Domestica/Lamp Museum
Museum-Gallery Xpo Salvador Dalí
Bruges by horse-drawn carriage
Idyllic walks along misty canal banks; nostalgic rides in open carriages, wrapped up warm in cosy woollen blankets; all rounded off with a top class meal at one of the many gastronomic restaurants. In the crisp air of winter, the historic centre of old Bruges becomes even more romantic, more poetic, more mysterious. It is almost as if the World Heritage city waits for the coolest months, until the large mass of summer visitors has gone, to show its most charming side: a side reserved only for those in the know.
To savour and to feast, that’s what Bruges is all about. A land of plenty for lovers of the finest delicacies. Nowhere else will you find so many appetising culinary delights in such a compact area. Indeed, the citizens of Bruges themselves are mightily fond of authentic food and drink.
Looking for a cozy drink?
Discover the many cafés in Bruges.
Delaney's Irish Pub & Restaurant
Looking for a night on the town?
Discover the many bars in Bruges.
Bruges already has quite a few shops that offer that bit more: authentic addresses that continue to surprise you with a sophisticated or original range. The city stands for a harmonious mix of creative, trendy newcomers, vintage addresses that retail nostalgia and old favourites and that have been expertly run by the same families for many decades.
Local Love - a fine selection of authentic shops
Cafuné specialty coffee bar and shop
Juliette Handmade Biscuits
De Loge van Marec en Aspe
Kantcentrum (Lace Centre)
There is no better way to fraternise with the townspeople of Bruges than to immerse yourself in the infectious ambiance at the innumerable events that sweep through the whole city.
Procession of the Holy Blood
Whether you opt for a classy four-star hotel, a charming B&B, a cheap-and-cheerful youth hostel or an authentic holiday home, one thing is certain: in Bruges there is always plenty of choice and you will always spend the night in style.
Book a room in a cosy Bed & Breakfast or in one of our charming hotels.
Accomodation reservations can be made online via www.visitbruges.be or upon arrival in the information offices at Markt, 't Zand or Stationsplein.
Bed & breakfasts in Bruges
Youth accommodations in Bruges
Camper van overnight parking area
How to reach Bruges?
International coach services
European emergency number: tel. 112. This general number is used in all countries of the European Union to contact the emergency services: police, fire brigade or medical assistance. The number operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
» Doctors, pharmacists, dentists and nursing officers on duty: tel. 1733
» S.O.S. Emergency Service: tel. 100
A.Z. St.-Jan: tel. +32 (0)50 45 21 11
A.Z. St.-Lucas: tel. +32 (0)50 36 91 11
St.-Franciscus Xaveriuskliniek: tel. +32 (0)50 47 04 70
» Poisons Advice Centre: tel. +32 (0)70 245 245
» General telephone number: tel. +32 (0)50 44 88 44
» Emergency police assistance: tel. 101
» Working hours
Monday to Friday: 8.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m. and Saturdays: 9.00 a.m.-6.00 p.m. you can contact the central police services at Kartuizerinnenstraat 4
» After working hours
you can access the police station on 3, Lodewijk Coiseaukaai from Monday to Thursday, between 7 am to 9 pm and continually from 7 pm on Friday to 9 pm on Sunday. For urgent matters, the police station has a 24-hour telephone service.
Passport / Visa
Belgium can be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, UAE and most countries in America. If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country. International (non-Schengen) travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the Schengen zone. Citizens of Schengen countries can travel without a passport, but must have a valid ID with them during their stay.
You can also make use of one of the post points (advice, dispatch, stamps, etc.) or stamp shops (stamps only) that you can find in several of the shopping streets.
Address: Smedenstraat 57
Bruges enjoys a mild, maritime climate. The summers are warm without being hot and the winters are cold without being freezing. During spring and autumn the temperatures are also pleasant and there is moderate rainfall throughout the year, with the heaviest concentrations in autumn and winter. So remember to bring your umbrella!
Country code: +32
Area code: 050