The Best Hotels in Bruges

The charming city of Bruges is the perfect destination for a Flemish getaway. This historic city sits just off the northern coast of Belgium, and is widely known for its gorgeous architecture, including the historic center which has been heralded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Throughout the city, there are many quaint inns as well as premier hotels, each providing easy access to the city’s top attractions. Make sure to explore the Beguinage, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and see Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child sculpture.

Hotels in Bruges

Hotels in Bruges © Dukes' Palace Brugge

Ancient, gothic architecture and innumerable bridges over narrow canals: the small city of Bruges appears as if from a romantic fairytale. This picturesque, Hanseatic city is famous for its dark chocolate and spire-y skyline, but also for the countless museums and opportunity for cultural enrichment. Bruges’ hotels fit in perfectly with the charm of the city. Historic hotels combine medieval beauty with original period furniture and other antiquities. City hotels in Bruges exist at the meeting point of a culture-oriented vacation and one that is all about luxury.

Where to stay at a hotel in Bruges? City highlights at a glance:

Historical Bruges: Medieval port city

© Hotel Dukes' Palace Brugge As if in a deep sleep, Bruges sits on the North Sea; for centuries it seems as if nothing has changed within the city. Narrow canals wind past Gothic, red-bricked state buildings and Flemish stepped gables. High above, the bell tower, the Belfry, looms over cobbled streets. In the 15th century, this port city was deemed the richest in Northern Europe; evidence of this former wealth appears in the elegantly-decorated facades. Hardly any buildings in Bruges are younger than 200 years, and many are much older. UNESCO has even named the city center a World Heritage Site. The Old Town is not so big; from a historical hotel, one can reach all of the highlights quickly by foot. Especially interesting is the Church of Our Lady, together with Michelangelo’s iconic Madonna and Child, and the Markt of Bruges, the central square which covers an area of about a hectare.

Romantic Old City: A stroll through markets and over stone bridges

The best visit to Bruges consists of simple strolls over romantic canals, views of beautiful buildings, and allowing oneself to be taken by the ambiance of the city. Let yourself be driven over the bumpy cobblestones of narrow streets via horse-drawn carriage for a particularly romantic excursion. Or, while away a day or two in the many cafes in the medieval city, that have, since many years, set a new standard for Belgium chocolate and candies. And then, climb the beautiful Belfry together. The bell tower is a symbol of the city; those who can manage the 366 steps are rewarded with an unbelievable view. The hotels in Bruges have adapted the traditional romantics of the city, offering old-town views, breakfast in bed, and organized candlelit dinners. Especially romantic is Christmastime in Bruges. The Markt square is filled with jovial Christmas markets, and the gabled houses are decorated with fairy lights. In the summer, love birds can stroll through the flea market along the Dijver and pick up some local wares and fares.

City on the Water: Canals and the North Sea coast

When the waterways from the North Sea were silted up in the late Middle Ages, Bruges lost its influence as a harbor city. Still water plays an ever-important role: uncountable canals and rivers flow through the city, giving the Flemish city its nickname as the “Venice of the North.” A boat tour belongs on the program; glide under bridges and past banks fringed with willows. From the boat, a completely different view of the magnificent buildings and quays of the city opens up. The hotels in Bruges located directly canal-side can also be seen from a new vantage point. Outside the city, discover the long North Sea beaches of Knokke-Heist.

Culture in Bruges: Museums and festivals

Things calmed down around the small Renaissance city after “Bruges-la-Morte” was published in the 1890s. The melancholic novel immediately brought crowds of visitors to Bruges. History repeated itself after the Hollywood film, “In Bruges, ” came to theaters in 2008. Bruges has earned the reputation of a cultural city and has even been named a European City of Culture. In the Groeningemuseum, you’ll find the work of Flemish masters on display. Lovers of unique museums should pay a visit to the Diamond Museum, the Chocolate Museum, or the Frietmuseum, one dedicated to the history of potatoes. In the Lace Center, the story of crochet lace is depicted. Music and film festivals also regularly take place. Those looking for a hotel in Bruges during the Procession of Holy Blood should aim to book early. That said, this event is not to be missed: every year on the day of the Ascension of Christ, the inner city transforms into a colorful, medieval costume spectacle.

Good to know

Getting there: Bruges is very close to the UK and very easily accessed. Take your own car for a 4-hour drive or hop on a high-speed train for a 3.5-hour, scenic trip with a quick transfer at Brussels Midi/Zuid. Once there, the city is small and there is a network of public buses in place to help you get around, although even the walk from the train station to the main square is just 20 minutes.

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