Say the name Bruges to anyone and I’m pretty sure one of the first things they think of will be chocolate. Bruges is famed for this confectionery king, but the city itself is something of a medieval marvel.
Bruges is without doubt, as pretty as a picture. The streets are lined with idyllic houses and decorative shops. These are connected together by cobbled roads and bridges over a maze of canal waterways running through the city centre. Cars are something of a rarity throughout the centre with pedestrians and carriages drawn by healthy looking horses spilling across the streets.
There is plenty to keep history and photography fans occupied in Bruges. The main streets are connected by a series of squares. Many of Bruges’ buildings of importance are located here, all within walking distance of each other. The leaning Belfry bell tower provides climbers with panoramic views of the city. Nearby, the 14th century Stadhuis treats guests to a great gothic hall and exhibit the first coins used in Bruges. The city has its own dungeons, beautiful museums and quiet churches all open to the public.
Those with more of a culinary appetite will find sweets galore in the many chocolate shops that adorn the streets. Indulge these further by visiting the Beer museum, Fries museum or Chocolate-making museum. Wednesday is food market day in Bruges and I would heartily recommend trying at least one of the Belgian snacks on sale there.
We visited Bruges during the Christmas season. The city centre was extremely busy and yet welcoming all at once. Already pretty streets were decorated in twinkling lights and traditional trees. The whole city was buzzing with festive feeling which made our time there so magical.
Bruges is a city to explore at a relaxed pace with ample tours available by bike, bus, boat or even balloon. Imagine sitting at an outside table in the medieval Markt square with a Belgian beer or a heavenly hot chocolate, looking out at the traditional style buildings and the belfry tower overhead…perfect.
Should you get feet of the itchy kind, Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels and Dunkirk all within 2 hours travel distance, making Bruges a great central spot for a touring trip of the area.
Top tip: Bruges has a mixture of Flemish and French speakers. If you don’t know the local language, sticking to English or German is your best bet to avoid insult.