8 x summer in Bruges
A vibrant Bruges summer is just around the corner. With a particularly well-filled calendar, there are no excuses not to travel to the city, rural Lissewege or sunny Zeebrugge. Cultural heritage is the central theme, but during the summer months, there is extra experience and atmosphere; you can attend festivals and open-air concerts, admire new street art, take a peek inside the Royal Municipal Theatre, enjoy culinary delights on terraces and in summer bars, etc. And for those who thought they knew Bruges inside out, after each walk from the brand-new Oooh! Bruges guide, we still promise some genuine wonder!
1. Oooh! Discover Bruges in 4 walking tours
Bruges, especially on a summer's day, is among the best cities to explore while walking. Get out and about with the brand new Oooh! Bruges booklet in your hand. This walking guide with four attractive routes will lead you along well-known and lesser-known spots throughout the city: 'Amazing World Heritage', 'Burgundian Splendour', 'Silent Nostalgia' and 'Contemporary Hotspots' each highlight a different aspect of the city. Historical information, photos and illustrations, fascinating anecdotes, great tips and surprising facts will keep you company on the way!
The Oooh! Bruges walking guide costs € 3,5 and is available in tourist offices in 6 languages.
2. Must see expo
The varied offerings at Musea Brugge's 13 locations will be further complemented this summer by the groundbreaking exhibition Underneath the Shade We Lay Grounded. With 2,500 m² of exhibition space, this is the largest retrospective exhibition of the work of visual artist and performance artist Otobong Nkanga in Belgium.
Nkanga is taking over the entire museum with her (mostly new) work, which can be found both on the ground floor, the impressive wooden attics and in the herb garden of St John's Hospital. In the exhibition, she interweaves diverse media such as installations, sculptures, drawings, tapestries, performance and poetry, creating a dialogue between her work and pieces selected from the collection of Musea Brugge.
3. Backstage visits to cultural temples
During the cultural season, you will be enthralled in the plush seats of the Royal Municipal Theatre or the sleek chairs at the Concertgebouw. But in the summer, you will experience both cultural temples in a very active way.
The Theatre recounts is a completely new route that will lead you through the Royal Municipal Theatre, a magnificent monument dating from 1869. Discover the magic of theatre on, in front of and behind the stage. You will explore hidden corners like the 'catacombs', the artists' lodges, and even the private room that belongs to the Burgomaster's lodge. With an interactive children's trail!
With Concertgebouw Circuit, you will discover the imposing contemporary Concertgebouw from the inside. An interactive trail, tailored to children and adults, will take you into all the nooks and crannies of (and even on top of) the building.
4. (Street)art on the way to the sea
After a successful first edition in Bruges, the street art festival The Bridges is heading to the coast this summer. Zeebrugge, Lissewege, Dudzele and Zwankendamme will be festooned with surprising street art by Bruges resident Wietse and other promising young artists. With the sea as a central element, the focus is on burning issues such as rising sea levels, the reception of refugees and the preservation of natural areas. Ideal for pimping your cycling tour towards the coast with some extra experience!
Be sure to stop in Lissewege where 120 works of art will be scattered across the white village for the 28th edition of the Sculpture Route.
In the Saints Museum in the Presbytery, you can search for your own saint's name among a unique collection of more than 150 statues of saints. Until 31 August, the museum is also highlighting the most beautiful statues of Mary from its collection.
End your cycling tour with a free Film on the Beach. Three open-air films will be shown near Icarus surfing club every Thursday during July and August: a film for young children at 2.00 p.m., one for older children at 4.00 p.m., and the evening film at 8.00 p.m.
5. A groovy and funky festival summer
Cactusfestival traditionally kicks off the summer festival in the enchanting Lake of Love Park in the second weekend of July with concerts by people like Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Franz Ferdinand, Belle and Sebastian, Richard Hawley, White Lies, Supergrass and a great many other (inter)national heroes.
MOODS! is also eager to sprinkle a bit of atmosphere in the Bruges city centre. Spread across 7 concert nights between 29 July and 11 August, the city festival will take you on a multi-coloured and astonishing music trip with concerts by Suzanne Vega, Emiliana Torrini, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Babylon Circus and others.
On the weekends of 6 and 7 August, WECANDANCE will have you tripping on the beach of Zeebrugge in a wonderful and magical world, full of hypnotic colours, psychedelic prints and, of course, the best DJs.
On 26 and 27 August, Bomboclat will close the festival summer in Zeebrugge with the hottest dance hall and afrobeats and an extensive kids' corner.
6. Ice cream time!
Summertime is ice cream time! A heavenly bowl on a terrace or perhaps a cone on the go: in the centre, this indulgence is never far away. For those who like a little more than strawberry or chocolate, we recommend the ice cream based on Gorgonzola and figs, with which ice cream parlour Oyya won the European 'gelato' championship.
Enjoying a carefree drink while the little ones romp in the park? You can do so at one of the summer pop-up bars in Graaf Visartpark (Count Visart Park) (Bar Visart), Koude Keuken (J@KK), Pathoekeweg (DOK), Les Fayards (Bar Fayard), Lissewege (Monkey Farm), St Magdalene's Church (Magda's Summer Bar), Vaartdijkstraat (La Brugeoise), Sint-Michiels (The Night), Komvest (House of Time) and Het Entrepot (Village).
In the city centre, grab a seat on the most beautiful terrace in town, with a view of the Boniface Bridge and the Church of Our Lady. Throughout the summer, you can visit Salon Arents' terrace for a delicious cup of (locally roasted) coffee or a piece of Bruges cheesecake.
Do you like to observe life in the city from the sidelines with a Bruges beer, summer juice or fresh wine on the side? Then you're definitely in the right place at one of the terraces on 't Zand, Markt (Market Square), Walplein, Kuipersstraat or Kraanplein (Crane Square). If you prefer a bite to eat, then Simon Stevinplein (Simon Stevin Square) or Philipstockstraat are the places to be.
7. Sport it up!
Getting rid of the extra calories is always great fun in Bruges. The city provides a beautiful backdrop for your workouts. Walking along the City Ramparts or hopping from playground to playground with the kids, running through the woods in Bruges' woods and wetlands, cycling the Green Belt Route around Bruges, swimming in the Coupure or Aan de Plas. The city offers something for every athlete.
If you prefer things a bit more organised, Tourist Run will take you on a leisurely run with a sporty guide and you can discover the city on foot at your own pace.
very last Sunday of the month, Steershop organises a social ride of some 75 km at a pace of +/- 25 km/h. The starting point is the Belfry, at 9.00 a.m. sharp.
So don't forget your running shoes, racing bike or swimming trunks!
8. Flowers & antiques
Looking for a unique souvenir? On 3 July, 7 August and 25 September, you will find the largest flea market in Flanders on and around 't Zand. Visitors can rummage through some unusual items there from 6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
Fan of flowers? So are we! Explore Bruges' woods and wetlands by bike and stop at one of the three picking gardens on the outskirts of the city. At Landgoed Lisbona, Madelie or De Innengaard, you can pick your own summer bouquet. Let it dry out and take home a wonderfully fragrant souvenir!