14
May-2011

Bruges

Belgium, City-trips   /  
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Bruges, the Venice of the North ! One of the most beautiful city in Europe !

Beautiful and bustling tourist town, Bruges in BELGIUM is worth a visit. It is pleasant to walk through the canals, admire the rich architecture of the medieval town and its typical squares. The city has a charm! They say that Bruges is a romantic city, you will be seduced by its old buildings, its belfry and walls. The historic city center is listed on UNESCO ‘s World Heritage. The city is famous for its two traditions : lace and the Ascension Day, the procession of the Holy Blood. Do not miss the delicious chocolates !

One day is not enough to see the city but you can still see the most of it. The ideal is to stay at least a weekend there.

Getting to Bruges

by train

Bruges is accessible by train from the Belgian cities.
View schedules on the site of the SNCB.

by car

Bruges is located near the North Sea. Take the E40 motorway between Brussels and Ostend. Once there, leave your car at the car park and discover Bruges on foot or by bike. Numerous bus commute between the station and the Grand Place.

Visit the historical center and canals

The Grand Place or Grote Markt is the heart of the old town. It is lined with typical Flemish houses (facades looks like stairs).
In the center of the square, you’ll find a statue. On the east side, you’ll find the Provincial Hotel (seat of the provincial government of West Flanders), where there is also the tourist office in the city.
On one side of the square you can visit the Halles dating from the 14 – 15th century. The building is rectangular with the Belfry tower 85m high, it is possible to enter in the picturesque courtyard and climb the 366 steps of the Belfry and have a beautiful view of the square.

By Breidelstraat street you come to the Burg Square, one of the most beautiful squares of the city. We can realize the wealth of the city. On this great site you can see the City Hall (Stadhuis), which dates from the 14th century, whose facade is decorated with statues of the Counts of Flanders.
To the right of the Town Hall, you will find the Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heilig Bloed kapel). It is famous for having a few drops of Christ’s blood that the Count of Flanders brought from the Holy Land in 1150 and which he donated to the city.

There is more than 50 canals across the city. It is because of these canals that the city is nicknamed the “Venice of the North“. Go through the Rozenhoedkaai  and enjoy the view on the canals and the Belfry!

Keep strolling on the Rozenhoedkaai and discover the magnificent Notre-Dame or O. -L.- Vrouwekerk church. We can see it from far thanks to its slender tower. To your left you’ll find the Gruuthusemuseum palace built in the hollow heart of Notre Dame. Enter the courtyard, you can take a picture in the three couches in front of the house.
Go through the St John of Nepomuk bridge, it is topped by the statue of the saint. Stroll along the quay lined with linden trees to discover a beautiful view of the canal , its buildings and boats.
In front of the museum Arentshuis, we find ourselves on the Bonifatiusbrug bridge in a particular shape. The setting is absolutely poetic !
See also the former St. John’s Hospital.
Take your time and stay a moment along the Lake of Love or Minnewater on south of the Begijnhof. This is an old harbor basin with Gothic houses.
The Begijnhof hosts a church and white houses of the Beguines grouped around a green space.
Bruges is the world capital of chocolate with over 50 chocolate shops, the chocolate museum Choco-Story and a chocolate fair.

The only museum in the world of french fries is in Bruges ! It traces the history of French fries.

The city has a map to visit the city in 48 or 72 hours! More info on their website: http://www.bruggecitycard.be

Guided tours are organized during the summer, check with the tourist office.
It is possible to visit Bruges in a carriage.

What should not be missed in Bruges

  • Make a boat ride through the canals : one of the best ways to discover the charms of Bruges
  • Admire the view of Rozenhoedkaai
  • From May to September, a night tour of the city is a must! Discover its magnificent illuminations until midnight.
  • Eat mussels and french fries in the evening in a restaurant
  • Taste Belgian beer and waffles
  • Rent a bike to explore the city
  • Kiss your partner on the Lake of Love

 Shopping in Bruges

The main shopping streets are Steenstraat, Zuidzandstraat and Zilverstraat with the mall.
On Wednesday morning discover the craft market held on the Grand- Place. And on Saturday morning on ‘ tZand .
From mid-March to mid-November, there is a flea market on Saturday and Sunday in Dijver.

Where to stay in Bruges ?

We have booked rooms in a dorm at the St Christopher’s Bauhaus Hostel.
There is a bar with a nice atmosphere in the evening and breakfast is free.

Events in Bruges

Find the calendar of city events on their website : http://foto.brugge.be/events_brugge/events.html

  • The procession of the Golden Tree is held every five years at the end of August, the next appointment will be in 2017.
  • Bruges hosts each year a Christmas market and the famous festival of ice sculptures (late November to mid -January).
  • In August every three years, it’s the canals celebration or Reiefeest .
  • Every year on the occasion of the Ascension there is the procession of the Holy Blood.

A trip from Bruges

Not far from Brussels or even closer to the coast, you can visit Blankenberge, Damme (7km accessible by boat), Knokke -Heist, Zeebrugge and Oostende .

More information about Bruges

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