Our journey begins on a sunny, but cold day in Bruges. This quaint city that is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’ due to its many canals should not be ignored during your visit to Belgium. This small city offers a relaxing vibe and a more leisurely pace than the larger city and more industrial looking city of Brussels. While in Bruges, one can stroll through cobblestone streets taking in the sites, sounds, and smells. During my visit, I managed to see some of the major highlights of this jewel of Belgium. So what is there to do here?
Marvel at the Market Square
You can begin your Bruges exploration in Market Square (Grote Markt) with is majestic Belfry tower that looms over the beautiful and impressive Provincial Palace. This square has served as a marketplace since the year 958; you are walking through history here. Please take this in and enjoy some Belgian chocolates.
Does the image seem slightly askew? It may as the Belfry leans just under a meter to the east. So, yours eyes are not fooling you….
Explore Bruges from the Top of the Belfry
If you want to walk off some of the Belgian waffles, chocolates, or maybe a few too many beers, head up 366 steps to the top of the Belfry for a different view of Bruges. If you have clear day, the climb is well worth the effort. You can see why this medieval city attracts some many visitors. As of this posting, the fee for visiting the Belfry was around 8€. Please be aware that you must climb up a very narrow, winding staircase with people going both ways, so be prepared for tight spaces and a steep incline.
Tour Bruges in a different way
If you wish to get a different perspective a Bruges, try touring the city by boat via one of the many canals. You can easily find a reasonable boat tour option with a guide who speaks your language. This is great trip through the city that often lasts around 30-minutes or so.
The above image is from Lover’s Bridge in the city’s Minnewater’s Park with views of the Lake of Love. If you take the train to Bruges, you can easily find this tranquil park with the Lake of Love in the heart of the park. Legends tells a story of a young and pretty girl named Minna who was in love with Stromberg, a warrior of a neighboring tribe. Her father did not agree with her love and arranged her to marry a man of his choice. Minna escaped and ran into the forest. When Stromberg finally found her, she died in his arms of exhaustion. The lake was named after Minna and the bridge by the lake is considered the bridge of love, in her honor.
Indulge in Belgian chocolate, waffles and of course, beer
A trip to Belgium wouldn’t be complete without indulging in some of the local delicacies. Famous for its chocolates, waffles and beer, we made sure to sample ample amounts of delicious goodies! Please be sure to stop at The Old Chocolate House for a delectable selection of chocolates at reasonable prices and the best hot chocolate in the world (so they claim)!
Tours Options in Bruges
NiceDay Tours offers free walking tours on specific days of the week and reasonability priced guided tours of the city. I chose a guided tour and this was with Danny who was entertaining and full of fun facts about his city. I highly recommend exploring NiceDay Tours for your next tour options the next time you are in Bruges or Belgium.
As one of Europe’s best preserved cities, Bruges is definitely worth a visit and has a historic center that is a UNESCO World Heritage site. What are you waiting for? Add this one to your travel plans today!
Have you ever been to Bruges during the winter? How was your experience? Let me know in the comments section. I would love to hear from you.