If you are visiting Bruges, Belgium, you should not miss the Grote Markt, or the Main Square, which is the heart of the city. The Grote Markt is a beautiful and historic place, where you can admire the medieval architecture, enjoy a cup of coffee or a Belgian waffle, and learn about the history and culture of Bruges.
One of the most impressive buildings in the Grote Markt is the Belfort, or the Belfry, which is a 12th-century bell tower that stands 83 meters tall. You can climb up the 366 steps to the top and enjoy a panoramic view of the city. The Belfort also houses a carillon with 47 bells that play melodies every quarter hour. The entrance fee for the Belfort is 12 euros for adults and 10 euros for students and seniors. The Belfort is open every day from 9:30 am to 5 pm.
Another notable building in the Grote Markt is the Provinciaal Hof, or the Provincial Court, which was originally a cloth hall that was demolished in 1787 and replaced by a neoclassical building that served as a court until 1878. After a fire destroyed it, it was rebuilt in a neo-Gothic style in 1887. The Provinciaal Hof is now used for exhibitions and events. You can visit the interior on certain days of the week or book a guided tour in advance.
In the center of the Grote Markt, you can see a statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, two heroes who led a revolt against the French occupation in 1302. They are considered symbols of Flemish nationalism and independence. The statue was erected in 1887 to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the Battle of the Golden Spurs.
Around the Grote Markt, you can find many colorful guild houses that date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. They represent different trades and professions, such as bakers, butchers, carpenters, tailors, etc. Some of them have been converted into restaurants, cafes, shops, or museums. You can also find the Historium, a multimedia museum that recreates life in medieval Bruges through virtual reality and interactive exhibits. The entrance fee for the Historium is 16 euros for adults and 13 euros for students and seniors. The Historium is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm.
To get to the Grote Markt, you can walk from any point in Bruges following the signs to the Belfort/center/historic quarter. You can also take a bus or a taxi to Markt Square. If you are driving, you can park your car in one of the nearby parking lots or garages.
Some tips for visiting the Grote Markt are:
- Avoid visiting on Wednesdays when there is a local market that occupies most of the square.
- Try some of the local specialties such as Belgian fries, chocolate, beer, or waffles at one of the stalls or cafes around the square.
- Watch out for pickpockets and keep your valuables close to you.
- Take advantage of the free walking tours that start from the square every day at 10 am and 2 pm.
- Enjoy the atmosphere and take lots of pictures!