Church of Our Lady of Brugge (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk) & other Churches of Bruges

I did exactly the same thing, as I did when I went to meet Michelangelo's David in Florence, here too - going there first thing in the morning when it opens its doors. Plus going to see the masterpiece before everything else in the place. Those ways I get to have a touristy, crowded place all by myself or at least share with very few people.

Church of Our Lady of Brugge (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk)

Church of Our Lady of Brugge (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk)

Church of Our Lady of Brugge (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk)

Church of Our Lady of Brugge (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk)

Church of Our Lady of Brugge (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk)

ONZE LIEVE VROUWEKERK (CHURCH OF OUR LADY) BRUGGE - Home to Michelangelo's Madonna and Child
I took off from the hotel at 9:20AM and reached Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk at 9:40AM. It opens at 9:30 and still, I was the first person to enter! Just as I guessed, Michelangelo's Madonna and Child, was the very last exhibit. I walked straight through the corridor and there I was, in front of the sculpture, all by myself! (BTW, after enjoying the rest of the place, I headed back to the sculpture and by this time there were 2-3 other people and I asked one of them to click that pic for me! Oh yeah, the bed at Hotel Prinsenhof was too cozy for Atyudarini & her dad to leave it at 9AM!!!)...
This was sculpted in 1505 CE. The specialty of this sculpture is that it's very different from the earlier representations of Madonna & Child, which is usually Madonna looking fondly at her infant baby. Here, the baby is more of a toddler, standing and leaning on Madonna's lap and Madonna is more of a mature mom looking to leave the child to take his baby steps!!! The facial structure & expression does have similarity to Pieta in St.Peter's Basilica Vatican!
There are several paintings here, that are post-Flemish Primitives, more in Baroque Art, belonging to the 1600s & 1700s painted by Caravaggio, Jacob van Oost, and many more. A huge triptych at the altar depicts the Passion of Christ (Crucifixion) painted by Bernard van Orley. In front of it are the 2 ceremonial tombs of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold.
The original structure of this church was built in 1225 CE. Bits and pieces of the original frescoes belonging to the original structure are on display within the chapels as well as below the nave (covered by glass). The best part - the ceiling detail of Madonna & Child of 1469 is still visible in one place, in a highly deteriorated state. This was covered by several layers of plaster. In 2014 restoration works, were brought out in all their glory (or rather what's left of it)!
The entire church was layered with one more layer of plaster filled with frescoes in 19th C CE, with Neo-Gothic details on it. A layer of whitewashing had been done over this. The lower half of the wall has the typical 'curtain painting' which was the style of the era. A lot of gilts with gold leaf were used atop it as well.
Currently, the church is under renovation and several parts of the church were not accessible. This is my account after seeing a portion of the church!

Where is Onze Lieve Vrowekerk (Church of Our Lady) Brugge: Church of Our Lady, Brugge
How to reach Onze Lieve Vrowekerk (Church of Our Lady) Brugge: 1km (12 mins walk) from Brugge railway station.
Onze Lieve Vrowekerk (Church of Our Lady) Brugge Timings: 9:30AM to 5:00PM Mon to Sat; 1:30PM to 5:00PM Sun
Onze Lieve Vrowekerk (Church of Our Lady) Brugge Tickets: €7.00 Included in the Musea Brugge Card & Museumpassmusees

Frescoes at Church of Our Lady of Brugge (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk)

Frescoes at Church of Our Lady of Brugge (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk)

Stained Glass windows at Church of Our Lady of Brugge (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk)

Basilica of Holy Blood Bruges

Basilica of Holy Blood Bruges

Yes, as the name says, it is a church that has the relic of the Holy Blood of Jesus Christ. The church is in 2 levels with the original chapel of St.Basil that forms the lower section of the church belonging to the 12th C CE by Derrick, Count of Alsace. Here are the sculptures of Seated Madonna & Child of the 1300s,  Pieta, and Jesus on Cold Stone (both from the 1900s). Sadly I could not visit the lower section.
A spiral staircase built in 1533 (which definitely reminded me of the Bramante staircase of Vatican Museums) located to the right took me to the upper floor. The current structure belongs to the 19th C, built after French Revolution. The stained glass windows of the upper chapel belong to 1845. The stunning fresco behind the altar belongs to 1905.  
In the upper floor in a separate mounted seat on the right, is the Father, and on a cushion in front of him is the relic of Holy Blood. There is a small queue to reach this. A donation box is available and most people do drop in a euro or 2 before heading to the relic. So you may want to keep your change ready. At the entrance of the upper chapel, to the right, is the treasury.

Where is Basilica of Holy Blood:  Basilica of Holy Blood
How to reach Basilica of Holy Blood1.5km (20 mins walk) from Brugge railway station. 650m (8 mins walk) from OLV church above.
Basilica of Holy Blood Timings: 10:00AM to 5:15PM
Basilica of Holy Blood Tickets: Free entry to the basilica. €5 for the treasury & museum.

This is a quaint little church, a bit away from the city center, towards the windmills. This was built in 17th C CE and has a rather rich, baroque interior. The best reason to visit this church is the humongous painting of Jan Garemijn, the largest single canvas painting in the whole of Bruges.

Where is St.Anna's Kerk Brugge:  St.Anna's Kirk
How to reach St.Anna's Kerk Brugge2.2km (28 mins walk) from Brugge railway station. Delijn Bus Route no: 4 & 14 go from Brugge Railway Station till Koningsbrug and then walk 5 mins to Sint-Anna's church.
St.Anna's Kerk Brugge Timings: Fri to Mon 3:00PM to 6:00PM
St.Anna's Kerk Brugge Tickets: Free

Basilica of Holy Blood Bruges

Basilica of Holy Blood Bruges

St.Anna's Kerk Church Bruges Brugge

St.Anna's Kerk Church Bruges Brugge

St.Jerusalem Church Bruges Brugge

This is located bang opposite St.Anna's Kirk. However, I did not manage to visit this. I was here by 4PM and it closes by 5PM. I didn't want to do a rushed visit, so I skipped it for the day and somehow I couldn't make it again. This is a 15th C CE replica of the original Jerusalem Cathedral. 

Where is Jerusalem Church of Bruges:  Jerusalem Church
How to reach Jerusalem Church of Bruges: Across the street (1 min walk) from St.Anna's Church. 2.2km (28 mins walk) from Brugge railway station. Delijn Bus Route no: 4 & 14 go from Brugge Railway Station till Koningsbrug and then walk 5 mins to Sint-Anna's church.
Jerusalem Church of Bruges Timings: Mon to Sat 10:00AM to 05:00PM
Jerusalem Church of Bruges Tickets: Free.

If you're in Bruges for 1 day and if you might spend most of it walking along the canals, you may not need the card. However, if you're here for 2 days or more, it is absolutely worth it. Like Paris, most of Brugge attractions are also museums with the fascinating art of Flemish Masters, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Belfry and Beguinange. All these are included in the Musea Brugge Card, so it is totally worth it!

What is the price of the Musea Brugge Card? €32 (€24 if you're below 25 yrs of age)
What is the validity of the Musea Brugge Card?
Where to buy Musea Brugge Card? Buy your Musea Brugge card via VisitBrugge website

Everything from luxury Bruges hotels to budget Bruges Hotels to Bruges B&Bs is available in Brugge City Centre. Here’s my review of Hotel Prinsenhof where I stayed.

Brugge (Bruges) is one of the major cities in Belgium. Brugge (Bruges) has a major railway station and is well connected by Belgian Railways (SNCB-NMBS trains) from all the other cities in Belgium.

Local Transport within Bruges is possible with DeLijn buses (and horse carts!). However, most sites are walkable. The city does not have a metro or tram. 


P.S: I was invited by Musea Brugge to experience the city and hosted by Hotel Prinsenhof for review purposes, however, the opinions are my own and this post does not advertise the product/service.

Basilica of Holy Blood Pinterest Churches of Brugge Bruges Pinterest


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands


  1. I also like waking up early and beat the tourist crowds, the places have a completely different feeling at that time of the day!

  2. Thanks for this. Some lovely photos.

  3. Wow, knowing that you were the first person to enter the Church, seemed like really a perfect time to explore and enjoy the place while communing. I love this place, I also read your previous post regarding the sculpture and beautiful paintings before and this one is also interesting and great.

  4. The interior of the church looks great. I especially enjoyed the majestic paintings. I have seen the pieta, and you are right, the sculpture of Madonna and Child is certainly reminiscent of it

  5. some great advice on getting to key tourism sites early - much better for photos to get there before the crowds! it looks like they have some amazing paintings.

  6. It's actually the best thing to do, especially in a popular touristy place such as this one - to get there first thing in the morning, right when it opens! The church looks pretty amazing and I see you managed to get superb pictures without any crowds. Well done!

  7. Brugges looks every bit as beautiful as you had described it. I wish I could see the portraits at the Church of Our Lady of Brugges too. It is so cool that you get to take a portrait and get close to the Madonna and Child sculpture too. I would love to have that experience, as well!

  8. Ohh yes, I so would have done exactly what you did and showed up to the Museum right at opening time just to be able to avoid the crowds of tourists! What a wonderful experience you would have had though to be able to experience and enjoy the amazing sculptures and artworks all by yourself.

  9. I did the same thing you did when I was in Bruges! I went to Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk to avoid the crowds. The Michelangelo really is phenomenal. But the church wasn't under construction when I was there. Your posts are really making me want to go back to Bruges.

  10. There are lot of fascinating aspects of these architectural monuments. The one which I find best are those beautiful windows.

  11. Beating the crowd is the best idea to enjoy more of the touristy attractions. Actually we didn't get inside the church when we were there. Thanks for sharing this at least I see what are the treasures inside.

  12. Catching on the first glimpse of a place right after it opens up is something even I prefer. And I feel the real essence of places like a church can be only felt in silence. I am glad to read this blog. Cheers

  13. First of all, great job on being the first one to the place :)
    I wasn't aware of this Madonna and Child sculpture and yeah it is quite different from the other one. The church look quite good, especially the interiors.

  14. Wow you are an early birdie! I also do that to enjoy the full experience and not competing with the crowd. This church is gorgeous and very pristine.

  15. Looks so lovely there, great post :D
    Have a wonderful week,

    Patricia & Miguel

  16. I like the fact that you start early and then you get the crowded places to yourself. Madonna and her baby look different and unique. What a vintage place! Loved it.


  17. beautiful pictures thanks for sharing


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