Hidden gems in Bruges: tips from the locals
Bruges has many world-famous streets, squares and monuments that are obviously well worth visiting. But it is also nice – or even nicer perhaps? – to wander off the beaten track a little and discover some of the lesser-known spots. We checked with a number of Bruges locals and compiled a list of hidden surprises in Bruges.
Culture and Museums
Keen to soak up a little culture while on a city trip? These spots are not to be missed:
Groeninge Museum is home to one of the finest collections in the world. Here you’ll get to admire masterpieces by the Flemish Primitives and familiarise yourself with other milestones in Belgian and European art history. This is the museum residents of Bruges return to regularly because it never fails to surprise them.
This stunning private chapel is situated within walking distance of the city centre. Jerusalem Chapel is owned by the Adornes Family, a family of merchants, and was inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Note the unique stained-glass windows and the tower, with the Cross of Jerusalem on top.
Bit of a cinephile? Or does the weather leave a lot to be desired and are you looking for an indoor activity? In that case, Cinema Lumière is the place to be! This magical Bruges city cinema offers a quirky program with movies from all over the world. The comfy red chairs were made to sink into!
Aside from the usual high-street stores, Bruges also has many smaller, unique shops. Highly recommended:
Sisters Charlotte and Emmanuelle Behets have a passion for fashion and lifestyle. The result of that is Mais Oui, where they consciously stock brands they like to wear themselves. The focus is on sustainable and timeless French and Scandinavian brands. Incidentally, the sisters’ priceless fashion advice is on the house!
Katrien from Duka Moodstore will surprise you with her creative selection of fair fashion, jewellery, home accessories and beauty with a keen eye for sustainability. Duka Moodstore also serves a lovely selection of refreshments and tarts. This is not just a shop, but an experience!
The Different Concept
At Different you get to browse through colourful clothing, accessories, and home accessories. Be warned! Leaving this unique boutique in the centre of Bruges empty-handed will take willpower!
Antique lace, cheerful vintage home accessories, colourful dresses, and all kinds of handmade delights: at Madam Mim, within a stone’s throw of the Markt [main square], you’ll find it all. A super place to bag yourself a lovely souvenir at an affordable price!
Eating and Drinking
Worked up a hunger or thirst from all that sightseeing and browsing? Then check out:
Sending a postcard to the home front? The Postbar stocks a selection of postcards that will put a smile on your face. Postcard written? Then hand it straight back to them, for they’ll even post it for you! How’s that for service! Their coffees and cakes are to die for so make sure to treat yourself!
At Coffeebar Adriaan everything revolves around coffee, tea, breakfast, lunch, and cake. And all of that in the stunning neoclassical interior of a former bank right across from the Bruges Stadsschouwburg [city theatre]. Hostess Marie and her team will welcome you with open arms!
Sale e Pepe
The menu of this cosy Italian restaurant on Kleine Sint-Amandsstraat may be limited but everything is freshly prepared. The chef at Sale e Pepe hails from Sardinia and her (Belgian) husband takes care of the service. Great food and a warm, familial ambiance!
Fancy a glass of wine? Tapasbar Est is a tiny but fabulous wine bar that serves excellent wines and tasty bites.
Gelateria Da Vinci
Rain, shine, hot, cold… ice cream is the ultimate all-weather treat, especially when it comes from Da Vinci in Bruges! The choice of flavours is bewildering! Can’t make up your mind? What better excuse to return to Bruges again soon!
Aside from museums, shops, restaurants and bars, Bruges is also home to a number of stunning parks. Ideal if you want to take the weight off your feet for a while if you’re tired from all that walking through the city!
Queen Astrid Park
Right in the heart of the city, the Queen Astrid Park glistens. The Bruges locals love it! On the lawn around the kiosk and the pond you can soak up the sunshine. There are loads of benches and a playground for the smallies. A marvellous spot for a picnic!
Visart Park is situated within walking distance of the city centre. This oasis of greenery is a glorious place to relax on a fine, sunny day. The traffic garden and large playground are sure to be a hit with the children. During the summer months there is a great pop-up bar.
Looking for a comfortable place to stay while visiting Bruges? Check out our great selection of guest rooms!