The photography guide to Bruges
Bruges photography guide
Our contributors have added 56 photo spots to this Bruges photo guide. Have you discovered an amazing new location in Bruges?
Bruges, also known as Brugge to the Flemish-speaking locals, is a city that beautifully blends its modest size with abundant rewards for both residents and tourists, particularly for avid photographers.
In its past, Bruges flourished as a prominent hub for maritime trade during the medieval era. Today, this enchanting city continues to captivate visitors with its untouched neo-Gothic landscapes, adorned with intricate details that rival the complexity and satisfaction found in indulging in fine Belgian beer and chocolate.
The seasons of spring and fall grace Bruges with the best lighting, weather, and a quieter atmosphere, making them ideal for exploration away from the bustling tourist crowds. However, do not be deceived: Bruges is never overwhelmed by hordes of tour groups that engulf every inch of the city. While the city center is undeniably a significant part of the Bruges experience (and one that should not be missed!), venturing beyond the main historic area opens up a tranquil side of town waiting to be discovered.
Throughout the year, Bruges offers an array of photographic opportunities. Summer draws crowds to the popular sights, adding an interesting mix to your portfolio with vibrant street scenes. Spring and fall, on the other hand, unveil the true beauty of Bruges through their perfect lighting conditions. Winter brings the joyous Christmas markets followed by a serene period of tranquility after the New Year, before the cycle begins anew.
Bruges generally welcomes photographers with moderate but reasonable restrictions. Churches may have varying policies regarding tripods (although it never hurts to ask politely). Artworks often possess copyright restrictions for commercial purposes. Use of drones is allowed but limited - check local rules before you travel.
Most popular Bruges photo spots
Bruges is a city that knows how to celebrate, offering a multitude of frequent and diverse festivals, concerts and events. During the warmer months, especially summer, you'll encounter a delightful array of street performers in the Market & Burg squares, so keep your eyes peeled for captivating performances.
One of the most photo-worthy events is the Procession of the Holy Blood, which takes place in late May. During this vibrant spectacle, hundreds of locals don exotic period costumes and parade through the streets of Bruges, creating a captivating visual feast. Other noteworthy events, include the Pageant of the Golden Tree held every 5 years and De Triennale, held every three years.
Since 2016, the local hotel association, Discover Bruges, has introduced the fantastic Costumes de Venice in Bruges initiative in January. Witness the city truly transform into the "Venice of the North" as these stunningly adorned masked visitors take over the usually serene side of the year.
Bruges hosts a delightful Christmas market in the main square, from late November until January. The streets come alive with vibrancy, offering abundant photo opportunities and a warm seasonal ambiance that fills the air with generous cheer.
If possible, plan a 2 to 3 night stay in Bruges, primarily to experience the ever-changing light and occasionally unpredictable weather. As Bruges is a compact city, this duration allows ample time to explore all the recommended locations.
Bruges also serves as an excellent base for excursions to nearby areas, particularly the charming village of Damme and the historically significant Flanders Fields in the Leper region.
If you have just one day to spare, start at the train station and begin with the serene Lake of Love/Behijnhof spot before the crowds arrive. Make your way towards the Market Square, where you can head in any direction to capture the essence of Bruges. The windmills and the surrounding area of St. Ana are particularly easy to navigate and offer abundant photographic opportunities.
Bruges is generally a safe city but do exercise caution and use common sense when it comes to your camera and other valuables. Beware of pickpockets who are often on the lookout for distracted photographers.
Belgium, like other mainland European Union members, utilizes standard EU 220v two-pin plugs. Primary mobile networks in Bruges are Belgacom and BASE, and free public Wi-Fi is commonly available in cafes.
Within the city ring, you can generally park almost anywhere unless specified otherwise (follow the guidelines of the grey parking meters). Between 9 am and 8 pm, parking is often limited to 4 hours. Just outside the city ring (the "Blauw Zone"), you can park for free for a maximum of 4 hours by displaying a blue EU parking disc.
A good plan is to use the Park & Ride service at the train station which includes a return bus ticket to the city center. Exploring Bruges on foot or by bicycle remains the best way to navigate the city.
Official Tourism Website
Parking in Bruges
Explore more photo spots in Belgium
If you want to explore beyond Bruges, we have 261 photo spots and 9 events that you can visit in Belgium.
Gert Lucas Curator
We hope you enjoy this guide to photographing Bruges - don't forget to share your images on PhotoHound and tag us on social media using hashtag #photohound