Basilica of the Holy Blood

Experience one of the most fascinating religious sights in Bruges with a visit to the Basilica of the Holy Blood. For a small entrance fee, you can tour the 12th century cathedral, hidden in the corner of Burg Square, and explore the architecture before seeing a precious vial believed to contain the blood of Christ.

Open every day except Thursday, your visit starts in the simple surroundings of the chapel where you’ll see ancient tombs along with old carvings and sculptures. Then go up the staircase to the Basilica of the Holy Blood where you’ll see its impressive altar, paintings and colourful stained glass windows.

At certain times of the day the vial is displayed at the side altar, which is worshipped by many. During your visit, you’ll discover the legend behind the vial and learn about its importance to the Christian faith. According to the ancient story, the blood of Christ was wiped from his body after his crucifixion using a piece of cloth. This cloth was preserved for generations, before coming to Bruges after the Second Crusade in the late 12th or early 13th century, where it has stayed ever since.

If you’re visiting Bruges in May, you may see the relic carried around the city in the Procession of the Holy Blood to mark Ascension Day. The story of the vial is reenacted during the parade, while you’ll also see horse-drawn floats, dancing and choirs during the popular event.

After your visit to the Basilica of the Holy Blood, go to Burg Square to visit the historic buildings, take a horse and cart ride or buy treats at the local chocolate shops.