Bruges or Brugge in Dutch, located in northwestern Belgium, is the capital of the province of West Flanders with a population of approximately 120.000 inhabitants. The name of the city means bridge in Old Dutch and this explains a lot!
The historic centre of Bruges which is a UNESCO World heritage site is the most beautiful and interesting part of it. The Market Square is the entrance to the historic part of the city, plenty of colourful town houses prepare you for a medieval journey but on that point you still cannot imagine what beauties are coming next. The most impressive building in the huge square is the Belfry Tower, 83 meters tall, with a carillon with 47 bells and a panoramic view of the city, if you are in the mood of climbing 366 steps.
A short walk from the tower will take you to the most photographed place in the city, Rozenhoadkai (the Quai of the Rosary). From this point, I strongly recommend taking a boat trip as this is the best way to see the picturesque canals as well learn some interesting facts about the old town by the boatman-tour guide. The boatman I had was the most amazing tour guide ever, so vivid that kept me thinking he was playing a role, made me enjoy the boat trip even more. You can also see the city by walking as the historic centre is quite small.
Very close to this location you can visit Kathe Wohlfahrt, a wonderful wooden toys and decorations shop, which is, unfortunately, more often crowded but really unique.
During the boat trip you need to be a bit careful and try not to hit your head into the bridges as many of them only allow the boat to cross
The southern end of the canals takes you to the Minnewater area, the perfect place for a romantic walk. This is also the swans favourite spot and there is often more wildlife to be found in the closeby park.
Except from the Belfry tower, there is another tower to be seen from various locations of the city and this is the one of the Church of our Lady, 122 meters high, the second tallest brickwork tower in the world.
The most stunning building on Minnewater Lake is the Castle de la Faille, built in the serene park and completing the lovely landscape at the Lovers Lake.
Of course, you cannot leave this Belgian gem without having a delicious waffle, so do pay a visit to Lizzie’s Wafels and if you are a brew Fan, De Halve Maan Brewery is the place for you, especially if you like Brugse Zot beer.
Easy to reach by train, from Brussels (1 hour ride) and very convenient for a one day trip, Bruges is, in my opinion, the Belgian city you should not miss.
Have you been or are planning to visit Bruges? Which is your favourite Belgian city?