Bruges is the Venice of the North:
Tranquillity, beauty, history, art, Bruges has it all. With its maze of waterways, romantic bridges and low skyline, Bruges is also known as the ‘Venice of the North’.
Bruges is slightly farther away from Brussels than Antwerp, but still conveniently placed for a day-trip. It takes about an hour by train from Brussels to Bruges and it’s well worth the effort when you consider the beauty this well preserved medieval city has to offer. It’s no wonder that Bruges is one of Eurostar’s destination from London (travel from London St. Pancras to Brussels Midi/Zuid and then change to an InterCity train). Because of this, Bruges can often be packed in peak season and it can be difficult to obtain accommodation so be sure to book a place in advance if you plan to spend the night.
Being a tourist hotspot, eating out in Bruges can be somewhat more expensive than other places in Belgium, and the Bruges restaurants tend to cater to the mass number of tourists that flood the city during peak times.
Things to see and do in Bruges
Once you step into the heart of Bruges, it’s not surprising to know that it’s one of the most visited places in Belgium – there’s wonderful medieval charm here, including ancient building, narrow winding streets and a quaint network of criss-crossing canals.
- Make sure you take a romantic boat ride along the cities beautiful canals. You can get a ticket for under six Euros.
- Bruges has two segments to it’s centre-square – the Markt and the Burg. The latter has some of the most interesting buildings in Bruges including the Heilig Bloed Basiliek, the upper & lower chapel and the Stadhuis (town hall).
- Bruges offers a choice of worthwhile museums such as Groeninge (displaying a fine collection of Flemish art from as early as the 14th century). The Gruuthuse Museum is another that museum lovers will enjoy. Set amidst a grand medieval mansion Gruuthuse offers an exquisite collection of art & tapestry.
- St Salvatorskathedraal is a gothic cathedral that dates back to the 13th century.
- Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk took over two hundred years to build and this sprawling church of our lady dates back to the thirteenth century.
- Two of the grandest sights in Bruges are the Stadhuis (possibly the grandest town hall in Belgium, initially built in 1376) and the Belfort (also dating back to the 13th century) which towers over the Markt in the grandest of ways. It is here that the towns charter is kept.
- The Markt is one of the two central squares of Bruges city centre – for those who want to visit a Bruges market, an open market has been held here as long ago as the tenth century.
- In case you didn’t pick up enough chocolate in Brussels don’t fret – Bruges has more than enough Belgian chocolate shops to keep your cravings satisfied.