Top choice in Bruges

Towering 83m above the square like a gigantic medieval rocket is this fabulous 13th-century belfry. There’s relatively little to see inside, but it’s worth the mildly claustrophobic 366-step climb for the fine views. Look out through wide-gauge chicken wire for panoramas across the spires and red-tiled rooftops towards the wind turbines and giant cranes of Zeebrugge. Visitor numbers are limited to 70 at once, which can cause queues at peak times.

The belfry’s 47-bell carillon is still played manually on a changing schedule (typically Wednesdays and weekends). Timings are posted on a signboard in front of the 13th-century Markt Hallen, the former market halls, where occasional exhibitions and fairs are hosted.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Bruges attractions

1. Markt Hallen

The 13th-century former market halls occupy a rectangular building at the base of the Belfort, only 44m across but 84m deep. The halls have been at the…

2. Museum-Gallery XPO Salvador Dali

Located within the Belfort, this small gallery has one of the largest private collections of work (primarily sketches, painting and sculpture) of the…

3. Historium

0.02 MILES

The Historium occupies a neo-Gothic building on the northern side of the Markt. The immersive one-hour audio and video tour aims to take you back to…

4. The Beer Experience

0.03 MILES

The Markt's newest attraction will appeal to the many who love a Belgian beer. Guided by a multilingual iPad app, the museum takes you through the history…

5. Markt

0.05 MILES

The heart of ancient Bruges, the old market square is lined with pavement cafes beneath step-gabled facades. The buildings aren't always quite as medieval…

6. Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed

0.07 MILES

The western end of the stadhuis morphs into the Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed. The basilica takes its name from a phial supposedly containing a few drops…

7. Burg

0.09 MILES

Just east of the Markt, the less theatrical but still enchanting Burg has been Bruges' administrative centre for centuries. It's in this area you'll find…

8. Gotische Zaal

0.09 MILES

Within the stadhuis, this hall's polychromatic ceiling almost drips with medieval carvings. Murals depicting the town's history add to the room's…