Grote Markt (map). The market square is the heart of the old town. It covers an area of 1 ha, and on its southern edge is the city belfry (Halletoren / Belfort), which is one of the city’s best known landmarks.
Groeninge Museum (map). Known as ‘The city museum of Fine Arts’, it houses a collection of artworks that span several centuries (14th-20th), focusing mainly on works by painters who lived and worked in Bruges.
Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heilige Bloed Basiliek, map). A beautiful church on the Burg square. It houses a relic – a vial of blood that is said to be that of Jesus – and was built in the Gothic style. Try and get there early so you can view the chapel when it is quiet and not filled with tourists. And don’t forget to visit the chapel underneath.
Onze Lieve Vrouwkerk (map). A fascinating church with architecture from the Romanesque and Gothic periods. In the east end of the church are very fine tombs of Charles the Bold and his daughter Mary of Burgundy – in contrasting Gothic and Renaissance styles, despite their superficial similarity. The church also houses one of the few Michelangelo sculptures outside of Italy, the “Madonna with child”.
Choco-Story Museum (Sint-Jansplein, map). This museum is a must-see for chocolate enthusiasts as it describes chocolate’s transition from cocoa into chocolate. Its low-cost tasty exhibits make it well worth the time (and Belcolade’s gently overt marketing). Be sure to stay for the chocolate making exhibition to get some excellent samplers.