There are a zillion and one books on Brugge, though most are titled under the Anglified spelling of the city—Bruges.

For example, Bruges, from City Guides and authored by Anthony Mason, is a couple hundred page testament to the history of the city and the country as a whole.  Contributing an invaluable sightseer’s guide, its maps and Brugge-only focus makes for a quick and practical pre-arrival pick-up.

DK Publishing’s shorter Top 10 Brussels & Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent Eyewitness Travel Guide is top ten obsessed, giving top ten chocolate shops, museums, etc., perfect for the Letterman lover looking to learn about what to do in the city,

Brugge is first and foremost a city of artistic history, and its painted past is captured colorfully in Bruges and the Renaissance by Maximilian P.J. Martens, who does a first-rate job exploring the contributions of the cultural center to the early Renaissance.  Full of pictures of pictures, written details, and contextualization makes this work an excellent purchase for someone seeking a foundation of knowledge before hitting the museums and other sites.

Fiction can also help someone get to know a setting, and Georges Rodenbach’s masterpiece Bruges-La-Morte uses its setting as a symbol for its main themes, bringing Brugge to life in a way only beautiful prose can.