Belfort

Bruges' multi-aged bell tower dominates the skyline and is the city's most recognizable feature. Views from the top are stunning.

You can't miss the Belfort. The city's majestic belfry rises 272 feet (83 meters) above the historical center of Bruges. While it’s awe-inspiring to see from any angle, the Belfort itself offers incredible views of the rest of the city. You'll also pass fascinating features on the way up. Just make sure you are comfortable with heights. 

Before you go up the Belfort, inspect it from below. The tower has a multifaceted history; its lower portion dates back to the last half of the 13th century, replacing an earlier tower that had burned down. The octagonal section was added in the late 15th century and was crowned by a wooden spire on two separate occasions; both were destroyed. The Gothic-style parapet has actually crowned the Belfort only since 1822.

Ascend the 366 stairs to the Belfort's viewing platform. Steps are narrow, and you will have to contend with two-way traffic. If you consider yourself unfit or uncomfortable with heights, it's best to relax with a coffee and Belgian chocolate to admire the tower from the ground upward while the rest of your party makes the climb.

If you are lucky with the weather, you'll be gifted with magnificent vistas of Bruges and the countryside that surrounds it. Even on a cloudy day, it is still worth a trip to the top. See the old treasury room, where the city's valuables were once sealed. Take a look at the intricate mechanisms of the belfry's huge clock face. The Belfort's 18th-century carillon contains 47 bells, which are pealed regularly throughout the day. Special carillon concerts are sometimes held too.

The Belfort is located on Markt 7; the closest bus stop is Brugge Wollestraat. The Belfort is open daily, and there's a fee to climb it. Long lines are common, especially in peak season. Children are allowed up the tower; just ensure they're watched at all times.


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