This stunning Flemish capital is often overlooked by visitors flying into Brussels, but travel an hour out of the city and you will find yourself in one of the most beautiful city break locations, Bruges.
Often referred to as The Venice of the North, the heart of the city has been well preserved through the centuries, with its medieval core listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site making Bruges holidays a cultural affair. Wander beside the endless snaking of the beautiful canals or take a stroll through one of the many green and picturesque parks, especially beautiful during the Spring; also ideal for joggers and cyclists. Get in touch with the city's proud history through a visit to one of many fantastic museums, or simply gorge yourself silly on mussels and beer in a majestic square. Holidays to Bruges offer a civilised pace of life for all visitors.
One of the highlights of Bruges can be found in the form of the city's medieval history and culture. Simply wandering around the cobbled streets of the picturesque old centre will transport you back to a previous age - albeit with all those modern luxuries you can't do without. You'll discover a lot of these luxuries in an array of old-style hotels located right in the middle of the medieval centre.
The true iconic sites of Bruges can be found in the city's main squares. Holidays in Bruges won't be complete without a wander around the majestic Grote Markt and an ascent up the famous and towering Belfry. The 366 steps that transport you to the top of the striking tower may get your thighs burning, but the extensive views of the city will ease any pain. The neighbouring Burg Square is a little more sedate, but equally as attractive. The Basilica of the Holy Blood is a historic and religiously-significant church which is said to hold a vial of Jesus's blood.
If your legs are done after the belfry climb, you can always explore the cobbled streets by horse and cart, or alternatively gaze at the medieval architecture from a canal boat trip. The 30-minute tours will provide you with sights and information on attractions such as the Hospital of St John. You can also find some lovely accommodation options hanging beside the lovely canals.
Sweet lovers, couldn’t come to Belgium without visiting The Choco-Story Museum in Bruges situated between Markt and Burg Square. Chocolate can be found in every corner of this wonderful city during Bruges holidays, with various chocolate houses specialising in glorious hot chocolates and waffles. Dumon Chocolatier will provide you with your classier range of milky delights.
Behind the Church of our Lady is the impressive Gruuthuse Museum which was once home to the richest family in Bruges, while in front of the Church the medieval St John’s Hospital houses the Memling museum, Hospital Museum and the Old Pharmacy
The winter provides the most magical time to enjoy holidays to Bruges, as snow blankets much of the city and the Christmas Market gets in full swing, providing a fairytale-esque atmosphere. The summer months are much warmer, especially July and August, so this will provide the best period of travel for those hoping to catch some rays - even if that shouldn't be your number one priority.
Out and About in Bruges
Beer is a massive part of Belgium's culture, and in Bruges you'll find that this culture is celebrated tenfold. There are a variety of specialist beer houses dotted around the old town, and one of the finest is Bierbrasserie Cambrinus which is home to hundreds of bottles of Belgian beer - some local, and others from around Belgium. If you'd like an insight into the local brewing culture, you can take a guided tour of De Halve Maan Brewery, Bruge's oldest working brewery and the creators of the famous Brugse Zot beer.
A wander around the sedate grounds of the Beginhof is a great way to escape the crowds and enjoy a slower pace of exploration while on holidays in Bruges. The grounds are very pretty and are home to some simple and quaint white buildings. Beware of the swans though, especially if they are nesting, they will have your arm off!
If you find the energy to venture further afield and stumble across the outskirts of the old town, you'll be met by a variety of old city gates as well as a plethora of windmills, all set atop grassy knolls. This area provides a great place for a chill after a hard day of adventuring.
If you've dug into the endless supply of beer, perhaps it is now time to try Belgium's other big culinary treat? Tuck into a big steaming cauldron of Moules et Frites, more commonly known as mussels and chips. Most restaurants have the dish on their menu, but one of the most attractive places to enjoy this meal is surely in the grandeur of the Grote Markt - just remember to wash it all down with a nice glass of Brugse Zot.