Exploring Bruges, Belgium

Exploring Bruges, Belgium

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The historic and picturesque city of Bruges, in Northwest Belgium, is a fascinating place to just wander and take in the many sites. Built around sea-trade and canals, Brugge is sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North. To call it this is perhaps disingenuous though, since though it does share some superficial similarities with Venice, it is more than a facsimile – it is a city in its own right, with a proud history, strong culture and intriguing architecture.

Strolling around the pedestrian-friendly city, you will find a charming place, with cobbled streets and old buildings beside narrow canals and could be forgiven for thinking that you had strayed into a fairytale. A boat trip on the canals is also a good way to get a sense of this beguiling city.

Some may be familiar with the film, ‘In Bruges’ in which two hitmen are holed up in the city, with gruesome results. Your own sojourn here is bound to be less dramatic, and far more peaceful – though do expect crowds in the main tourist season. The clock tower, familiar from the film, is known as the ‘Belfry of Bruges’. It is situated in the main square – you can climb up this bell tower for excellent views over the mediaeval city centre.

Bruges is magical at any time of year, but perhaps it is at its romantic and fantastical best around Christmas, when the whole city is like a Christmas card. The ancient town houses are decked with lights, there is an excellent Christmas market, and an ice rink in the town square. Horses and carts clatter along the cobbled streets through the crisp air. They even import ice and snow for grand ice sculptures which are created in front of the station.

In summer, Lake Minnewater, with its surrounding park, is the perfect place for a wander, or a romantic picnic. Swans swim peacefully on its surface, and you can wander between the flowers and escape the crowds of the city centre.

If you are in Bruges on market day then the stalls are well worth a look. Get up early to get some fresh local produce, and to get things that you may not find in the mainstream shops. There are markets all year round, then the special Christmas market over the winter.

Bruges is known for beer – and there are plenty of hostelries serving steins. There is even a Beer Museum where you can find out more about Belgium’s favourite tipple. If beer is not your thing, then why not head to a cosy café for a mug of hot Belgian chocolate? Food is good and plentiful here too – but be sure to head away from the main tourist square though, if you don’t want to pay extortionate tourist prices.

There are many options for accommodation, so why wait? Bruges’ magical, historical streets are there, just waiting for you to come and explore them. Whatever the time of year, whatever the weather and whatever your interests, you are bound to find a love of Bruges, the most beautiful Belgian city.

Content Courtesy- www.traveleze.co.uk

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