Bruges

A city lost in time, typically medieval, romantic, pulled out of a fairy tale… Everything seems like a beautiful frame in Bruges, everything seems perfect with the untouched charm of history.

Masterful plazas, big candelabra, carriages everywhere, narrow streets and canals that elevate the romanticism and make this town one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Maybe cause of that its historical center is World Heritage of UNESCO since 2000.

It may look like a little forgotten town with no importance at all, but what many don’t know is that Bruges was one of the main economies in Europe between the XII and XV centuries. This town was the place for trades from all around the world. Trades of almost everything, since silk to wool, oriental tapestry, wine, fruit and exotic animals, among others.
But, the river that allowed this trade was blocked, cutting access to town. Therefore, Bruges fell asleep for almost 400 years.
Thankfully it was reborn and it’s nowadays the destiny of thousands of tourists.

Bruges has a surprise in every corner 

I can tell you I visited this city in a day! I was in Brussels, caught the train and in an hour and thirty minutes I was in Bruges, I went early in the morning and came back at night and I can assure you I was able to properly enjoy the city. Of course I didn’t enter every place, but I did absorb the essence of the city.

Grote Markt

We can start by one of the main squares, Grote Markt or Grand Place that is the central square and it’s breathtaking, with medieval buildings, even that reconstructed, typical Guildhuis Renaissance houses and the high Belfry – Belfroi, dated from the XIV century, which offers a panoramic view of the city in all its glory, after a climb of 366 steps. Here we also have, in my opinion, the most incredible and monumental building of the city, the Provincial Palace, an example of the neo-Gothic from the XIX century.

Beffroi Tower

Continuing to walk around town by streets scented with chocolate (yes, Bruges is filled of little chocolate stores and in every corner its aroma is in the air), we arrived at another square, Burg Plaats. Here is located the Stadhuis (city hall), of Gothic style and imposing building that shows Bruges power in the middle Ages.

Side by side with the city hall there’s the Old House of Archivists, in a Renaissance style. This plaza gathers all architectural styles, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.

Heilig Bloedbasiliek Sanctuary

Also at Brug square there’s the Heilig Bloedbasiliek sanctuary in a small and discrete entrance that can be missed by those most distracted, but don’t miss it, its interior keeps a powerful relic: a flask with God’s blood (it is said so!).

One of the most important places is the Our Lady Church (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk), not only because of its Roman/Gothic style with a 122 m tower, but also because here you can find a beautiful art piece, a Madonna from Michelangelo.

Begijnhof was one of the most special places for me; it’s what we can call the home of a community of nuns.
This space offers the intimate and unique experience of observing the life and the prayers of the nuns, exactly like it was usual centuries ago. The name Begijnhof refers to a combination of small constructions used by the beguine nuns. This sisterhood was created in the XIII century and many women joined the order after the reduction of the male population after the war.

Begijnhof

The place was founded in 1245 by the Flanders Countess. Most houses of the complex are from the XVII and XVIII centuries. Enjoy these residences with white walls, the stone paths, the old lamps and a small garden.
The entrance is free, however the privacy of the residents must be respected.

The Tower of Our Lady Church as background

The city has also two important museums, Groeningemuseum and Memling in Sint-Jan-Hospitaalmuseum, that I didn’t have the chance to visit, on a next trip to town I’ll go for sure and if you have the time, don’t miss them.

Enjoy a boat ride on the beautiful canals; Bruges is considered by many the Small Venice of the North.

Not even the intense cold ends the lines for a boat ride

Lose yourselves in the city, on the alleys, eat chocolate, picture yourselves in a fairy tale populated by knights on their beautiful horses, live a love story at the bucolic canals… Enter the medieval Era that Bruges immortalized in every corner, in every moment!

For those who are undecided about visiting Bruges, you can always watch the good and original movie  In Bruges with Colin Farrell, which shows the city very well.

Where to stay
Dukes’ Palace Hotel (5 stars)
You can also opt for one of the several nice B&B in town.

Where to eat
The wonderfull Pierre Marcolini chocolates cannot be missed, or the most famous Godiva and Neuhaus

Bruges is one of the most important gastronomic destinations in Belgium, with almost 16 starred restaurants in the Michelin Guide. From those highlight to the 3 stars ones, De Karmeliet and the Hertog Jan.

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