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Belgium is one of the most beautiful countries in Western Europe and if you are on the way to see it in real, start with Bruges. If traveling to other cities, tourists usually seek for sights, the things are different in Bruges. Each street, park, building, or pond are real masterpieces in that place and it truly emphasizes the originality and beauty of the Belgian city.
With a historic center full of canals, cobbled streets, and beautiful houses, which have made it the most visited city in Belgium, we recommend that in addition to knowing all its wonders do not forget to try its gastronomy with specialties such as chocolate, craft beer, waffles or fries, which we are sure will put the icing on the trip.
This jewel of Flanders, a World Heritage Site known as the “Venice of the North”, is worth spending at least a full day and above all, spend the night in the city for a stroll at sunset while its beautiful buildings are illuminated when most tourists have already left.
Features of Bruges
Why do more and more tourists come to Bruges these days? The thing is that here one can meet awesome nature and unique architectural ensemble. Canals, medieval houses, churches adjacent to the North Sea – that’s why thousands of people visit Bruges every year.
It is worth noting that despite the small size of the city, in comparison with other Belgian places Bruges is quite large. It comes with an original location – the main part of the city is located on an island, and the historical center is permeated by the world-famous Belgian canals. Tourists, who have been traveling in Belgium several times discovered some secrets. For example, to get to know the city in half an hour, you just need to take a boat tour along the Bruges canals. In half an hour you will see the whole city from the inside! Besides, if compare hotel prices it becomes clear why many travelers choose Hotelhunter.
Also, Bruges is known for its original architecture. All those buildings seem to have appeared from a fairy tale of the past centuries. You can rent a bike and take a ride through these picturesque streets, which are imbued with the spirit of antiquity and medieval events. If you don’t like cycling and are afraid of water walks, then know that Bruges is a paradise for pedestrians. Car traffic here is not as active as in other European countries, and so you will feel calm and safe walking through the old streets of this northern Belgian town.
Who should choose Bruges for a trip
Belgium has always attracted tourists with its extraordinary history and architecture. Therefore, it is not surprising that thousands of people worldwide come to Bruges annually. That place is a real treasure trove of ancient masterpieces, art objects, museums, towers, and so on. You should visit that city if you like such things:
In the Middle Ages, this Belgian city was considered one of the richest places in Europe. Since then, many old buildings, churches, and various kinds of attractions have been preserved. Especially famous in this sense is the Belfort Tower, which is located on the main square of the city.
All the most famous temples of Belgium are located in the central part of Bruges. To see that architectural beauty, you just need to plan the tour correctly. By the way, tourists can visit several of the most famous churches of Bruges if they come to the city center. Several cathedrals are located here next to each other.
For lovers of painting, Bruges will also seem like a special place. There are many museums in this city, the most famous of them is the Groninger Museum. In this temple of art, connoisseurs of beauty will see a unique collection of paintings created by legendary artists of all times. In addition, the collection of Flemish primitives presented here is considered the most valuable selection not only in Belgium but also in the rest of Europe.
For fans of gastronomic masterpieces, Bruges can be a real find. Here you can taste the original Belgian cuisine, which naturally cannot do without the popular Belgian waffles! Wonderful Belgian chocolate and traditional craft beer – Bruges will satisfy any taste preferences of kids and adults! Cafes and restaurants in the central square are especially popular.
Chocolate is always a special thing for Belgians. They produce and sell it in a variety of forms. For example, walking through the streets of Bruges, you can go to a small candy salon, where you will find this chocolate in a wide variety of types and forms – small “blocks”, tiles, in the form of sweets, various figures, and much more. There are different types of chocolate, so all sweet lovers will be satisfied.
There are a large number of shops in the city where you can buy anything from an original souvenir or a traditional Belgian chocolate bar to stunning jewelry, designer shoes, bags, and so on.
In the evening, as soon as the sun goes below the horizon, Bruges becomes deserted and cold and you can enjoy a walk alone. Therefore, many tourists prefer to travel to this place all alone. This also has its special charm!
And finally, Bruges is definitely worth a visit for those of you who adore the movie “In Bruges”. Any tourist will easily find all those urban locations that could be seen in this movie.
5 appealing places of Bruges
Bruges is a memorable city. Here you can find beauty at every step. But still, there are certain places that are mandatory for tourists to visit in the first place.
1.- Grote Markt
The central square, which the residents themselves often call the heart of Bruges, is one of the main beauties of the city. That place comes with a special flavor and there are always a lot of people here. All sightseeing marches in the city start from here. In ancient times, the Grote Markt Square was a place where various fairs were held, artists performed, street artists painted their masterpieces, and so on.
Up to date, you can still discover ancient market buildings and awesome hotels in Bruges. Most of the houses that stand on Grote Markt were built more than 10 centuries ago! Today, the ground floors in many of them are occupied by cafes, restaurants, and stores.
The main object that attracts attention to the square is the 83-meter Belfort tower with an observation deck at the top. Also, here you can visit a stunning building in the Gothic style. Today it is used for government meetings.
If you are traveling to Bruges in winter, be sure to visit this square to see the wonderful skating rink. By the way, it comes with free entry.
2.- Lake of Love
Another amazing attraction of Bruges is located on the territory of Minnewater Park. Its name is the Lake of Love. The pond has an artificial origin and dates back to the 13th century.
The history of the name of the lake is interesting. They say it is based on romantic love, which has a sad ending. Today, if you come to this place, you will see an old stone bridge connecting the shores. This bridge is a special symbol for lovers. Many still believe that the vows made at this place will bring eternal love, and a walk of the married couple along the bridge will make their marriage happy.
In addition to couples in love, the Lake of Love is a favorite place for artists.
3.- Minnewater Park
The picturesque place, Minnewater Park, cannot be described in words. This is a very ancient park, the first mention of which was in the 16th century. Previously, it was called by a strange name that only locals can understand – whitewash meadow.
At the beginning of the last century, the territory of Minnewater Park was divided between several owners, and in 1979 a plan was developed to create a single recreational area. Today Minnevater is a cozy green park not far from the railway station.
This place has an idyllic atmosphere, which especially attracts lovers of silence and privacy. Usually, a sparsely populated park becomes the epicenter of events during festivals. The most famous of them is the Cactus Festival and the World Parks Festival. In summer, the lawns of the park become a concert venue for various creative bands.
4.- The Church of Our Lady
The amazing beauty of the temple is known all over the world. The Catholic Church of Our Lady was built at the beginning of the 12th century and was expanded and rebuilt for two more centuries. Today, the 122-meter tower of the temple, combining elements of Romanesque style and refined Gothic, remains the tallest building in Bruges. That landmark is famous for the fact that it houses the only Michelangelo sculpture outside Italy, The Virgin Mary with the Baby. The second name of the sculpture is “Madonna of Bruges”.
5.- City Hall
City Hall of Bruges is a magnificent building that was erected in 1421 on Bruges Square. It is a unique masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The front part of the hall is decorated with stucco and stone statues of the Counts of Flanders. The sculptures are copies of the originals, presumably created by Jan van Eyck. The original statues were destroyed during the French Revolution.