Bruges has always been one of the most visited cities in Belgium, but the movie In Bruges with actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson most certainly gave it a boost.
Directed by Martin McDonagh, In Bruges is a black crime/comedy movie set in Bruges. It wasn't such a big hit in the theaters, but it has acquired a cult status since its release and has become the best known of movies shot in Bruges (not that there are that many).
A lot of the In Bruges film locations are freely accessible places and most of them were already popular before the movie was shot there.
I was invited by Accor Hotels to spend a night in Bruges and as I'd already been to Bruges a couple of times, I thought it would be cool to make this a thematic trip and go in search of as many In Bruges filming locations as I could find.
I didn't expect the hunt to be hard, as I had this handy map from the tourism office of Bruges which marks all the In Bruges film locations. Indeed, it wasn't hard to find the In Bruges movie locations, but photographing them was a challenge!
It poured for two entire days. I ran around with my camera tucked under my rain jacket as if I had something to hide, and swiftly took it out each time I arrived at a spot where one of the In Bruges scenes were shot – and shot that spot.
It would have been logical to follow the storyline when creating this list of In Bruges locations, so of course, I didn't do that.
Instead, I listed the locations in an order that's logical to walk them in if you're coming from the train station so you can follow this post as an In Bruges tour when you visit the city. This way, I could also avoid giving away too much for those of you who haven't seen the movie yet, but I can't promise there aren't any spoilers!
If you haven't seen the film In Bruges yet, this post does give away a few things!
GetYourGuide offers a wide range of walking, bike, and electric scooter tours in Bruges. If I'd have to recommend one, it would probably be either this private highlights and hidden gems tour or this electric scooter tour with a private guide.
- Where to stay in Bruges
- How to get to Bruges
- Don't forget travel insurance
- In Bruges locations… in Bruges
- 1. Minnewater Bridge
- 2. Gruuthuse Museum, Arentshof and Church of Our Lady
- 3. Groeningemuseum
- 4. Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce Hotel
- 5. Rozenhoedkaai
- 6. Koningin Astridpark
- 7. Huidenvettersplein
- 8. Vismarkt
- 9. Jerusalem Church
- 10. Jan Van Eyckplein
- 11. ‘t Zwart Huis
- 12. Restaurant Cafedraal
- 13. Meestraat Bridge, Steenhouwersdrijk, Groenerei and Peerdenstraat
- 14. The Bruges Market Square, the Belfry and the Breidelstraat
- 15. Basilica of the Holy Blood
- In Bruges movie locations map
- Recommended Bruges tours
- Stay connected while visiting Bruges
Where to stay in Bruges
Budget option: ibis Brugge Centrum
If you don't want to rush it and take the time to visit some museums and go chocolate shopping and beer tasting as well, I recommend spending at least one night in the city. I definitely was glad I had my room at the Ibis Brugge Centrum! I was soaked after the first two hours of walking around in the rain and warmed up in my room for a while before heading out again.
The Ibis Brugge Centrum is located in the historical center of Bruges, just a 15-minute walk from the train station. It's a rather basic hotel, but that can be expected as it's one of the most budget-friendly hotels in the city. Prices start at around $84 for a night.
Read reviews on TripAdvisor / Book a room
Boutique option: Braamberg B&B
Braamberg B&B is located in the historic center of Bruges, walking distance from all main sights. Each room has a seating area and a flatscreen tv. An exceptional breakfast is included in the room price and WiFi is complimentary as well. Host Kim is praised for her friendliness and helpfulness.
Read reviews on TripAdvisor / Book a room
Luxury option: Hotel Dukes' Palace Brugge
The five-star Hotel Dukes' Palace Brugge is located in a 15th-century former ducal residence just 280 meters from the market square. All the rooms here are equipped with air-conditioning, a minibar, a desk, and a large marble bathroom.
Coffee and drinks are served at the lounge while guests can enjoy a high tea on the terrace when the weather is nice. The on-site restaurant serves refined Belgian cuisine prepared with local ingredients. And if you need a break from exploring, you can use the hotel's spa and gym area or book a relaxing massage.
Read reviews on TripAdvisor / Book a room
How to get to Bruges
Public transportation or car?
The train station of Bruges is just a 15-minute walk from the historical center, but I drove there as there's a large parking lot next to the station which lets you park for €3.5/24 hours. Even if you stay longer, the cost is never more than €3.5 for 24 hours, so two days of parking there would only cost you €7.
If you're not from here or don't want the hassle of driving, it's best to take the train. Click here for train timetables and prices.
From the airport
Flying to Belgium? You can take the train from Brussels Airport to Bruges in about an hour and a half. Depending on the time, you can get a direct connection and otherwise, you'll only have to change trains once.
Click here for a good overview of flight options and prices.
If you'd rather be taken straight from the airport to your hotel so that you don't need to lug around your luggage, consider booking a private transfer. They're often not more expensive than a regular taxi and as you book them in advance, you don't need to worry about payment or having to wait for a ride upon your arrival.
By cruise ship
If you're on a cruise and will be docking in Zeebrugge, check out this return shuttle service from the harbor to Bruges.
Don't forget travel insurance
Plan for the best, prepare for the worst. Travel insurance has you covered in case (part of) your trip gets canceled, you get sick or hurt abroad and even when your electronics break or get stolen. I've had ongoing travel insurance ever since I started traveling to make sure I'm covered for every trip I go on.
Don't have travel insurance yet? Check out SafetyWing. They offer super flexible plans that you can even sign up for while you're already on your trip. On top of that, they were the first travel insurance to cover COVID, and when I got COVID, they reimbursed all of my expenses without making a fuss. Their customer support team is great and I can personally recommend them.
In Bruges locations… in Bruges
1. Minnewater Bridge
Let's start near the end of the movie, shall we? The bridge at the Bruges Minnewater or “Lake of Love” is where you see Harry, Ken and Ray's boss, arrive in the city to take matters into his own hands.
The Lake of Love got its name because of a local legend that goes back to the time that the Romans fixed their gaze on Gaul. Minna was meant to be wed to a man of her father's choice, but she loved Stromberg, a warrior from another tribe. When Stromberg left to fight the Romans and Minna couldn't hold off the wedding any longer, she fled into the woods.
When Stromberg returned, he went to look for her, but Minna was exhausted and weakened. She died in his arms. To honor her, Stromberg built a dam in a lake and buried Minna in the dry part, after which he let the water flow again, creating the Minnewater Lake. It is said that if you cross the Minnewater Bridge with your loved one, you two will love each other forever.
2. Gruuthuse Museum, Arentshof and Church of Our Lady
It's the end of the film In Bruges. Ray lies wounded on the ground. He looks up and sees the Church of Our Lady and the Gruuthusemuseum. Right before he got there, he walked through a film set at the inner court of the Gruuthusemuseum, the Arentshof.
The Gruuthusemuseum is dedicated to everyday life in Bruges from the 15th to the 19th century. It's currently under renovation, so best to keep an eye on the website to know when it will open again.
The Church our Our Lady dates back to the 13th century and holds a sculpture of Madonna and Child by Michelangelo, but there are plenty of other artworks to admire as well.
In the Arentshof you can find The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, an artwork by Rik Poot.
O.L.-Vrouwekerkhof-Zuid, Arentshof, Gruuthusestraat
In return for a night out, Ray lets Ken choose what to do for a day. Ken wants to take in the cultural sights in Bruges and one of the places they go to is the Groeninge Museum. Ray thinks most of the works are rubbish, but he does like Hieronymus Bosch‘s “The Last Judgement”.
The Groeninge Museum offers an overview of the history of Belgian painters, with a large focus on the Flemish Primitives. Check the website for up to date prices and opening times.
4. Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce Hotel
The 4-star Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce is the famous In Bruges movie hotel where Ray and Ken are forced to share a room. The hotel is located by a corner of Rozenhoedkaai, a corner that could well be the most photographed place in Bruges. My dad even dedicated an entire photography session to it!
In the film's finale (spoiler alert!) Ray jumps from the terrace of this hotel into one of the canal boats. Not all the hotel scenes were shot at the actual hotel, though. Some were shot on a set that looked less luxurious than the real hotel does.
The Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce is a stylish hotel, decorated with works by artists such as Matisse and Klimt. It often counts celebrities among its guests and has won several awards. Click here to check reviews, prices, and availability.
Earlier in the movie, Ken actually takes Ray on a canal boat tour.
There are various companies offering these tours and they all depart from a different spot in the city. Here's a list of places where you can embark:
- Huidenvettersplein 13
- Wollestraat 32
- Nieuwstraat 11
- Katelijnestraat 4
The canal tours in Bruges are very popular with tourists. Even with the awful weather during the days I was there, people were going on them, sitting under their umbrellas as the boats are open.
6. Koningin Astridpark
Also known as the “botanieken hof” by the locals or the “botanical garden”, the Koningin Astridpark is the spot where Ray goes to think about his life during the In Bruges park scene. Ken follows him there.
The Queen Astrid Park was a cloister garden until the French dissolved all religious communities in 1796. It then became a private property until the city of Bruges bought it in 1850 and turned it into a public park.
I'm surprised you don't really see it, but it was pouring when I took this photo. I was completely drenched, half hiding under a bunch and quickly snapped two shots hoping one of them would be usable.
At the end of the movie, Ray chases Harry from the Markt (the market square) to the Vismarkt (the old fish market), the Huidenvettersplein and some other spots.
The Huidenvettersplein is the spot where the tanners used to work. Now, it's a touristy square with restaurants.
One of the places Ray runs through in the dark while being chased.
From Wednesday to Saturday fresh fish is being sold under the colonnade at the fish market, but there are also craftspeople selling jewelry, paintings, scarves and other small items. The colonnade was specifically built for the fish market, that used to be held in the main market square but had to move because the people complained about the stench.
9. Jerusalem Church
There's actually no mention of the Jerusalem Church in the movie. The church Ken and Ray visit on their “cultural day out” is the Basilica of the Holy Blood. However, the crew couldn't film inside the actual Basilica and so the In Bruges church scene was shot inside the Jerusalem Church. The church dates back to the 15th century.
10. Jan Van Eyckplein
This is the square where, in the movie, you see Ray and Ken discussing their profession as hitmen.
The square is named after painter Jan Van Eyck, whose statue was first placed there, then moved to the Burg and then placed back there. When the statue was placed back, several houses on the square were restored as well.
Jan Van Eyckplein
11. ‘t Zwart Huis
‘t Zwart Huis or “The Black House” is the bistro where Ray and Ken taste their first Belgian beer during the In Bruges bar scene. It's an actual bistro where you can enjoy live jazz and blues performances.
Read the reviews on TripAdvisor.
12. Restaurant Cafedraal
Ray is on a dinner date here with Chloe, a drug dealer. All seems to go well, but when Chloe goes to the bathroom, Ray knocks out a Canadian couple. Restaurant Cafedraal is where the In Bruges restaurant scene was shot. It's a place that serves French-Belgian cuisine and works with local products.
Click here for reviews of Cafedraal.
13. Meestraat Bridge, Steenhouwersdrijk, Groenerei and Peerdenstraat
You can imagine the mood was a bit broken after Ray had knocked out the couple, but he and Chloe reconcile later that evening on the Meestraat Bridge, a quaint little bridge in Bruges over the canal between the Steenhouwersdrijk and the Groenerei.
Later in the movie, Ray will run through the Peerdenstraat and along the Groenerei again when he's being chased by Harry.
14. The Bruges Market Square, the Belfry and the Breidelstraat
In the In Bruges tower scene, Ken climbs the 366 steps of the Belfry all the way to the top while Ray waits downstairs. The Belfry is not only UNESCO World Heritage for being in the center of Bruges, but it's also part of the group of Belgian Belfries that is declared as such. It's the best-known tower in Bruges.
Ken climbs the Belfry again at the end of the movie in the shooting scene with Harry, after having talked to him at the terrace of restaurant De Beurze on the other side of the market square. This scene was actually filmed in a studio as there was not enough space on the actual belfry to film it there.
Check out this post on the belfries of Belgium to learn more about the Belfry of Bruges.
15. Basilica of the Holy Blood
At the Basilica of the Holy Blood – or better, in the Jerusalem Church, as we saw – Ken wants to see where the blood is kept that's supposed to be Christ's. As said, the scene inside is actually shot at the Jerusalem Church, but we do get another glimpse of the Basilica when Ray is being chased by Harry at the end of the movie and they cross the Burg square.
The Basilica of the Holy Blood and the Church of Our Lady mentioned before are the two best-known churches in Bruges.
There are more streets and spots that show up in the In Bruges movie, like the Wijngaardplein and the train station, but not all of them are marked on the map. Then again, this list is a pretty good start for an In Bruges walking tour, don't you think?
In Bruges movie locations map
I used this In Bruges locations map and managed to see them all in a couple of hours. However, if you go into the museums and monuments, you can easily spend two days on this route – especially if you also do some chocolate tasting in between.
Recommended Bruges tours
I haven't taken a tour around Bruges yet myself, but as I'm often asked about them, I thought I'd list a few that get great reviews.
Discover Bruges with a local
On this 3-hour tour, you'll leave the tourist crowds to explore Bruges with a local. Walk through tiny alleyways, visit the oldest brewery in town and see one of the oldest hospital buildings in Europe before visiting an authentic Belgian pub where you'll have a drink.
Private tour by bike carriage
Explore Bruges in a unique way: while your guide rides you around in a bike carriage! You'll see the most important sights of the city while your expert guide tells you all about them and gives you insight into the city's history.
2-hour private walking tour
During this 2-hour private walking tour, your group will see both the city's highlights and some of the less touristy but equally beautiful areas of Bruges. An expert guide will give insights into all you see and is there to answer any questions you may have.
Stay connected while visiting Bruges
Traveling to Bruges from outside the EU and want to stay connected so you can share photos, call loved ones over WiFi and easily use apps like Google Maps? Then check out Skyroam mobile WiFi.
They offer both day passes and monthly subscriptions providing you with 4G throughout your trips. I've been using their daily passes not just when I travel outside the EU (no roaming charges for me in the EU) but also as a backup for when I think I'll go over my phone's data plan.
PIN FOR LATER
I was invited by Accor Hotels to spend the night at the Ibis Brugge Centrum. Know that I'll always write honestly about all of my travel experiences.
Brian Lomax says
Great post, Sofie! Your photos brought back some great memories of Bruges and I love the connection to the movie “In Bruges”. I was hoping you would have a photo of the dog in the window that appears in the film! I think I got a picture of him when I was there. :)
Hey Brian, glad you liked it!
I think it was too rainy for the dog when I visited :-)
Fidelle the dog was old and died :-(
We miss him in Bruges
So I read :(
This is a great post! Thanks! I love Bruges and I love the movie ‘In Bruges’. The last time I was there, I thought a lot about the movie, but didn’t search out any of the scene locations. I may do that on my next visit, which I hope will be soon…and I’ll be sure to take a copy of this post and the TI map :-)
Thanks Gayla! Let me know when you go back :-)
ria leanaerts says
I used to live in Bruges, too much tourists :-) it’s beautiful but just as a visitor, to actually live there, not at all nice
I can imagine. I don’t think I’d like it if Leuven would receive that many tourists all-year-round.
Very authentic and original way of visiting Bruges
Andrew Lishak says
Actually at this moment in time trying to get In Bruges 2 sequel. I have Colin Farrell saying would like In Bruges 2 but na Martin ain’t got script https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LZoApHKemwY the man responsible for In Bruges Jean Pierre Drubbel has retired of The Bruges City Film Office. He got the mayor at the time to do it. The one now is even less happy with tourists even as they made 1.3 million. What would a sequel bring in I have been with my girlfriend three times and love the place. By the way Martins Hotel was around £71 a night with euro star and bed and breakfast. Right next to the Belfry as well. Gruuthuse Hof Restaurant has superb food and has a three course for very good value. Plus 100 yards from it was the set where the In Bruges actors used
You can also try a free walking tour with the legends of bruges they are number one of the free tours on trip advisor.very good ratings and Al that you see in that movie in bruges is on u or tour together with all the highlights of bruges.A walk from 2h in the city with a good informed local guide
Thanks for the tip, Louis!
Hi Sofie, thanks for the amazing post and your pictures look very professional. I found some people and posts mentioned about the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal, I think it might be better to include this in your post? Just my two cents advise. :)
Tate Peacock says
Hi, great post!
The link for the map doesn’t appear to work though?
I’ll check that soon!