City Breaks in Bruges
Short breaks to Bruges are very popular and the city is small enough to see in a few days. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with cobbled streets, market squares, and medieval buildings. Because it is so perfectly preserved, the historic centre has now been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bruges is criss-crossed by canals, hence it is known as The Venice of the North. Many visitors are happy to spend their time wandering the old streets, admiring the architecture and the dazzling reflections of buildings in the water. However, art lovers will also find a wealth of paintings, carvings, and sculptures inside the historic buildings and churches, and in the city’s many museums and art galleries.
When you are tired of walking, you can take a boat tour along the canals or be chauffeured along the cobbles in a horse drawn carriage. If you prefer to go shopping, Bruges has many boutique style shops and outdoor markets. Look out for the famous Belgian chocolate and lace, or stylish clothes and toy stores.
As you would expect, there are plenty of places to eat and drink well: open air cafés selling waffles and mugs of steaming hot chocolate, bars with locally brewed beer, and restaurants serving Belgian and international cuisine. Bruges hosts many events during the year, including music and beer festivals, and a traditional Christmas market. Whenever you go, a visit to Bruges is like being whisked back in time.
Things to Do and See
Belfry of Bruges (Belfort)
Standing at over 83 meters tall, the Belfry of Bruges is visible from all over the city. With the entrance to the tower found at the Market Square, it is conveniently located, though less conveniently climbed! To reward yourself with the best views possible of Bruges and the surrounding areas, there are 366 steps to be taken first. The views are spectacular and well worth the effort, while the proximity of the Markt ensures that afterwards you can celebrate with the refreshment of your choice. Please visit http://www.brugge.be/internet/en/musea/bruggemuseum/belfort/index.htm for details relating to the entrance fee and opening hours of the tower.
One of the main attractions of the Boudewijn Seapark is the dolphinarium. Shows are performed throughout the day, while the rest of the seapark is a cross between a zoo and an amusement park. There is a mini-farm, big wheel and ice skating. Please visit their website for further details: http://www.boudewijnseapark.be.
The canals in Bruges certainly contribute to its reputation as somewhere magical to visit. Parts of the city are encircled by waterways making crossing a bridge a necessity to get anywhere. Many people choose to experience the city from the perspective of the canals, with various boat tours departing frequently. Virtually all of Bruges’ attractions can be viewed from the edge of a canal, juxtaposed against the water.
Market Square (Markt)
Situated at the heart of the city centre, the Market Square in Bruges is home to the famous Belfry of Bruges and other significant buildings such as the Provincial Court. The perimeter of the pedestrianized square is lined with places to sit down to sample the local food and drink, with few destinations in the world able to match such visually stunning ambience.
Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child – Church of Our Lady
The Church of Our Lady is a gothic style church that has one of the tallest brickwork towers in the world, and is also home to Michelangelo’s only piece of work to leave Italy during his lifetime, the Madonna and Child sculpture, which forms part of the large altar area inside. The exterior of the church is a prominent Bruges landmark, owing to the sheer height of the tower.
A handful of operational windmills can be found in Bruges, situated not too far from the main town centre. Used to grind flour, the Sint-Janshuismolen pictured here is around 250 years old, with another 3 windmills close by. They add a surreal element to the surrounding area, and visiting is a good excuse to take a walk and take in more of the city along the way.
Where to Go
- Climb the Belfort Tower for the most amazing views
- Take a tour of the city by boat along the canals
- Walk out to the windmills in the North East of the city
- Spend the afternoon in the Markt having lunch
Hotels in Bruges
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