BRUGES, BELGIUM - MAY 25: The Church of Our Lady is a gothic style church was built in XII - XIII century on May 25, 2011 in Bruges.; Shutterstock ID 148605974; Your name (First / Last): Josh Vogel; GL account no.: 56530; Netsuite department name: Online Design; Full Product or Project name including edition: Digital Content/Sights

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Dominating its surrounds, this 13th-century church was reopened in 2015 after extensive renovations. Its enormous 115m spire is unmissable throughout much of the city. Inside, it’s best known for Michelangelo’s serenely contemplative 1504 Madonna and Child statue, the only such work by Michelangelo to leave Italy during the artist’s lifetime. Look out also for the Adoration of the Shepherds by Pieter Pourbus.

In the church’s apse, the treasury section displays some splendid 15th- and 16th-century artworks plus the fine stone-and-bronze tombs of Charles the Bold (Karel de Stoute) and his daughter, Mary of Burgundy, whose pivotal marriage dragged the Low Countries into the Habsburg empire with far-reaching consequences.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Bruges attractions

1. Museum Sint-Janshospitaal

0.04 MILES

In the restored chapel of a 12th-century hospital building with superb timber beamwork, this museum shows various torturous-looking medical implements,…

2. Gruuthusemuseum

0.05 MILES

The museum takes its name from the flower-and-herb mixture (gruut) that used to flavour beer before the cultivation of hops. The romantic heraldic…

3. St-Bonifaciusbrug

0.06 MILES

Stand atop the 20th-century stone Bonifacius bridge, itself amply photogenic, for lovely vistas of the canal and surrounds.

4. Hof Arents

0.08 MILES

Behind the Arentshuis, Hof Arents is a charming little park with a hump-backed pedestrian bridge, St-Bonifaciusbrug, that crosses the canal, offering…

5. Arentshuis

0.09 MILES

This stately 18th-century patrician house displays the powerful paintings and dark-hued etchings of Frank Brangwyn (1867–1956), a Bruges-born artist of…

6. Groeningemuseum

0.13 MILES

Bruges’ most celebrated art gallery boasts an astonishingly rich collection that's strong in superb Flemish Primitive and Renaissance works, depicting the…

7. St-Salvatorskathedraal

0.14 MILES

Stacked sub-towers top the massive central tower of 13th-century St Saviour’s Cathedral. In daylight the construction looks somewhat dour, but once…

8. Brouwerij De Halve Maan

0.14 MILES

Founded in 1856, though there has been a brewery on the site since 1564, this is the last family brouwerij (brewhouse) in central Bruges. Multilingual, 45…