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Lente in Begijnhof

And then it's spring… even the sun is in the clouds. Everything is in bloom – Bruges is shining like never before. The street scene is adorned with inviting terraces and the parks and gardens have turned a fresh shade of green. A walk through the city is enriching, as well as an immersion in the various eras of its architectural history. The buildings on your way are a testament to both the rich past as the impressive present. This is enhanced by the fascinating, albeit temporary, installations of Triennial Bruges 2024. Spot these ‘Spaces of Possibility’ in the western part of the city centre.

  

1. Explore with the App or be guided by someone who knows

The possibilities for discovering Bruges on foot are legion: with a plan in your hand, the Oooh! Bruges walking guide, the Visit Bruges Route App or a recognised city guide.
Hartelijk Brugge

Joining the exclusive Bruges from the heart guided tour is to immerse yourself in heritage and history, supplemented by several hidden places and a unique view from the Concertgebouw's (Concert Hall) roof terrace.

From 13 April to 1 September 2024, Bruges will once again be the ultimate destination for lovers of contemporary art and architecture. Twelve artists and architects will place their temporary creations on the theme of 'Spaces of Possibility' in undiscovered places. This will offer a fascinating quest of discovery that you can experience using an informative city map, as well as a guide or App. A guided Triennial walk will be provided by a guide from one of the guide associations Gidsenbond, Hello Bruges or S-wan. Rather explore the artistic route interactively and at your own pace? Download the free Visit Bruges Route App, to which a Triennial Bruges walk has been added (six languages) with some extra information on the installations and places you will pass.

For those wishing to delve further into the history of the city and its illustrious inhabitants, we recommend joining the Adornes walk (04/05 through 07/12). This will teach you all about Anselm Adornes, the Bruges merchant, aristocrat, pilgrim and adventurer with Italian roots and Scottish connections.

Discover 'Bruges on foot'

  

  

2. On tour at St John’s Hospital Museum

At one of Europe's oldest preserved hospital buildings, a new top museum opened in mid-December 2023. Those entering the 12th-century St John's Hospital building will be immersed in the history of care and caring. The addition of some contemporary works that tell gripping stories and testimonies about care and hospitality is striking. A separate room shows the world-famous works by Hans Memling, four of which were made for this hospital and have been housed there since the 15th century.
Audiotour in Museum Sint-Janshospitaal en Hans Memling

Musea Brugge offers a free audio tour (NL-FR-DE-EN-ES) for the permanent collection. You choose for yourself what you want to listen to, in what order, and you will learn about the highlights and how the rich collections have grown. For a deeper dive into the oeuvre of one of the top masters among the Flemish primitives, you can consult the Closer to Memling website.

Those visiting the museum after 12 April will be able to take in part of the Rebel Garden exhibition in the attic. The other locations to be charmed by this rebellious art exhibition are the Groeninge and Gruuthuse Museums.

More information at museabrugge.be

  

 

3. Picnic in the park

Picknick met zicht op de Sint-Janshuismolen in Brugge

What could be grander than having lunch in the open air? During your trip to Bruges, go to the market early in the morning – at the Market Square on Wednesdays and at 't Zand Square on Saturdays – to buy some fresh bread rolls, locally grown fruit and vegetables, organic cheese, olives, spicy meats, etc.

Besides that, some more tasty things can be found at one of the many delicatessen shops. Make yourself comfortable on a green seat or picnic bench set up along the City Ramparts and in parks. Open your bottle of local beer, enjoy the food and take in how amazingly green the city is: the City Ramparts, the Lake of Love Park, the local park Ter Potterie by the Duinenabdijkerk, the Guido Gezellewarande and more hidden patches of greenery.

More green spaces

  

 

4. A new spring, a new sound

Concertgebouw Circuit

While the spring evenings are still fresh, this is the ideal time to attend a concert at one of Bruges' cultural temples. If you love classical, then Concertgebouw Brugge (Concert Hall) offers a wide range of performances. During the Motherhood festival (17 > 21/04), a great many dimensions of motherhood will be addressed, in both music and text, as well as conversations. GOLD (09 > 12/05) connects the most wonderful things from Bruges' Golden Era: the fascinating city history, the real estate heritage, the artistic treasures and above all the music, which set the tone across Europe for centuries. The third edition of the festival tells the story of 'birthday boy' Anselm Adornes, a Bruges resident. Master conductor Iván Fischer will perform several masterpieces with his own orchestra during the annual Budapest Festival (05 > 07/06).

For contemporary dance, theatre, music, (inter)national circus productions and multi-disciplinary projects, you can head to one of the Cultuurcentrum Brugge (Cultural Centre) locations. Curious about what intimate concerts and moving productions you'll be able to enjoy during the brand-new festival Mirage (23/05 > 02/06)? Then follow Cultuurcentrum Brugge's calendar.

Cactus Club

For a great diversity in non-classical music, from roots, rock and indie through dub, jazz and hip-hop to singer-song, pop and electronic, you're at the right place with Cactus Muziekcentrum. At their music centre on Kanaaleiland, you can really let yourself go.

Consult the calender for even more events

  

 

5. 600 years of Anselm Adornes exhibition

Anselm Adornes

The Adornes estate in the tranquil St Anna's Quarter is still in the hands of heirs of the Genoese Adornes family. Its forefather Anselm Adornes, who was born 600 years ago, went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with his son Jan Adornes. The account of their journey begins with a genuine plea for the virtues of travelling and they point out the importance of being open to other cultures.

The exhibition ‘600 years of Anselm Adornes’ focuses on the four most prominent journeys (including a diplomatic mission, an exploratory quest, etc.) that Anselm made as a true ‘citizen of the world’.

This can be viewed at the Adornes estate from 13 April

  

 

6. Zeebrugge and the transformation of the Seafront site

Street art toren Seafront

It is still a bit too early in spring for true beach weather. But don't let that hold you back from turning up to ‘Bruges-on-Sea'. Did you know the old Fish Auction site went through a genuine transformation? The building of the former maritime theme park and the entire Seafront site currently offer a varied mix: a range of restaurants, a coffee bar, shops – chocolate, clothing, a Kringwinkel (second-hand shop) – as well as a unique bouldering hall with 585 square metres of climbing pleasure. An overview of all the residents can be found here. You can also board Captain Blue from near here. During this harbour cruise lasting around 75 minutes, you will pass by the naval base, the immense Pierre Vandamme lock, the gas terminal, the wind turbine fleet, cruise and dredging ships and the Tern Island – a peninsula where a large breeding colony of terns lives. Back on shore, you can go and look at the artwork of Beaufort24 – the triennial open-air exhibition along the Belgian Coast – at the Sint-Donaas Park. The beach near Zeedijk 34, in turn, is the location where amblers will be impressed by the Triennial creation by British artist Ivan Morison.

Read all about the world port and seaside town here

  

 

7. Castles and Abbeys Year 2024

Kasteel Tillegem

Did you know that Bruges' woods and wetlands have no less than 108 castles and 8 abbeys? Visitors to the green region around the city will be immersed in fascinating historical stories about castles and abbeys this year. The starting shot for the themed year will be fired during a musical activity at Loppem Castle (12 > 14/04). The peak is the ‘Castles and Abbeys Weekend’ (01 > 02/06), where a great many heritage sites will be opening their doors or gates and gardens.

Would you also like to take a look over some cloister walls and behind some castle gates that are usually closed? St Godelina's Abbeythe Major Seminary, the English Convent, Tillegem Castle and numerous other heritage gems are taking part.

Discover the full programme

  

 

8. Sustainable getaway

Hotel Fevery en Green Key

The City of Bruges – and thus also Visit Bruges – set great store by sustainability in general and sustainable tourism in particular. Internationally, Green Key is a label for doing environmentally friendly tourist business. The list of criteria for accommodation with a 'green key' is very extensive and focuses on water and energy consumption, food, waste and training of staff and guests, among other things. Two new Bruges operators – Youth Hostel Europa and Ibis Styles Zeebrugge – have recently received the sustainability label. It is a great confirmation of the growing success of sustainable tourism.

Tip: spend the night at one of the 11 proud Green Key holders!

  

Bario Cantina

Curious to find out more?

Every month, our calendar is chock-full of tips and inspiration to ensure you have a full day of fun, an exciting afternoon or a memorable evening out in Bruges.