It is funny, but there are no attractions in Bruges…almost! The main sightseeing in Bruges is BRUGES ITSELF!
The whole old city is named as a UNESCO World Heritage site: its streets, gardens, towers, bridges, seafronts, churches, swans, restaurants, and chocolate shops. Bruges reminds me of a precious casket, accurately and scrupulously carved from stone, water, and greenery by some extraordinarily talented giant and left at the channel network.
You may walk throughout the city, and after any turn, in any lane, and on any waterfront you can expect an unspeakably charming sight which forces your photo-camera to work, work, and work.
Yes, I agree, there is a statue of the Virgin and Child by Michelangelo. It is the only piece of art by Michelangelo exported from Italy during his lifetime.
It’s true that Bruges has another famous attraction—a brewery/museum. De Halve Mann opened in the 16th century, and still brews beer to this day. You can visit the brewery and at the exit taste a glass of beer, so-called “Brugse Zot,” and have a lunch. The cuisine is not refined (it’s not France, after all!), but expensive just the same—as is everything in Bruges, I must say.
Yes, there are several churches with wonderful interiors, which I have already shown.
There is a permanent exposition of Salvador Dali under the visiting card of Bruges—the famous belfry tower, or Belfort.
There are also the Beguinage convent and other educational monastic institutions which you may visit, but they are not breathtaking.
Finally, the main attraction of Bruges: numerous chocolate shops. Belgian chocolate is really amazing. I won’t post any photos because our stocks of chocolate are almost exhausted, and there is no need to rip open old wounds, but you can visit the web-site of our favorite chocolate shop in Bruges.
Well, I guess these are all Bruges’ attractions. Then why does an endless stream of tourists from all over the world come here in any season?!
THIS IS WHY…
It is a well-known fact: Bruges is famous not only for its chocolate, but also for its beer. Here, you will find more than 600 varieties of beer. For each gourmet—his beer! Bruges is not inferior here, even to Prague.
Besides De Halve Mann, the most famous pubs in Bruges are De Garre and Brugs Beertje. They will offer you a choice of more than 100 varieties in De Garre, including their own strong beer Triple de Garre 11%. Pub Brugs Beertje is a picturesque place known for its easy party atmosphere, good cuisine, and hospitality.
Canals and bridges
Belgian Bruges is a city of canals; it resembles the Italian Venice and the Russian St. Petersburg in this respect. No wonder that the second name of the city is Venice of the North.
Three big canals converge at the center of this tiny and undeniably unique city All three have a great depth; even large ships can easily move here. But it is precisely the small canals that give Bruges special charm. The whole area of the city is riddled with artificial canals of different lengths and widths with quaint bridges slung over them.
Boat trips are very popular among tourists because many interesting places and restaurants can be reached only by water. Who knows what an amazing view awaits you just after the next bridge?
Bruges has many bridges: 54, including several drawbridges ensuring free movement of the large ships, but several unique wooden footbridges have also been preserved.
Channels of Bruges, surrounded by unusually picturesque facades and manicured waterfronts, will delight you with a meeting with regal and graceful swans who have chosen this particular, fantastically beautiful city as a place of residence.
Some more of Bruges’ attractions
Of course, one of the most famous monuments of Bruges is the watchtower Belfort located on the Markt.
This square is the busiest in the city; a huge crowd walks here at any time of the year. Every hour nearly five dozen bells of the Belfort tower begin their chimes, to the delight of the audience.
Be sure to visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood, the Town Hall with a magnificent Gothic hall, and the Lake of Love. Basilica of the Holy Blood is a modest little building tucked away in the corner of the Town Square. It is the oldest shrine of Bruges. The lower church was built by Theodore Alsatian, Count of Flanders, at the beginning of the 12th century. The church is dedicated to the Holy Blood of Christ. Theodore Alsatian brought the receptacle with the sacred relic—drops of “Blood of the Lord”—from the Second Crusade in the 1147-1149.
According to the latest statistics, the population of Bruges is only 115,000 people. It is very small as you can see, but the number of museums in this town can rival such giants as Brussels and Amsterdam: twenty museums (!) per four main streets and two squares. That is impressive.
Many believe that Bruges is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and I totally agree with that, but with one amendment—this is the most beautiful city in the world. Here, you will find many monuments of the Middle Ages because Bruges’ medieval attractions were not damaged during the two world wars. Bruges has a huge number of churches and museums, and all this on the background of history which stopped here somewhere in the 15th century. You will remember Bruges!
How to get to Bruges
The easiest way to get to Bruges is from Brussels which has a big international airport. Trains to Bruges depart twice per hour from the airport. The journey time is 1 hour 30 minutes. Bruges’ railway station, where you will arrive, is also very convenient. It is located within the city, just 1500 meters from the center. Trains from Paris and Amsterdam also arrive at this station.
From Bruges, you can go to see other cities of Belgium:
Bruges-Ostende. Journey time is 15 minutes.
Bruges-Ghent. Journey time is 20 minutes.
Bruges-Kortrijk. Journey time is 40 minutes.
Bruges-De Panne. The trip takes one hour.
Bruges-Antwerp. The trip takes one hour and ten minutes.
However, having a car in Bruges is a real inconvenience. Bruges is a medieval city with narrow streets, many of which are pedestrianized or have one-way traffic. The city is literally riddled with quaint canals, so moving around the old city by car is a nightmare.
The most reasonable solution would be to leave a car at the parking lot near the train station where the parking fee per day is low. In addition, the driver and passengers are provided with free travel passes for bus routes, although it is better to travel on foot in Bruges. The more experienced traveler will be able to find a free parking lot in the new city or along the circular canal.
Recently, I told you about our vacation in Bruges at the rented for quite a low price house. Today I showed why you should take a trip to Bruges and take a look at its attractions.