Millions of tourists arrive in Bruges every year. Many come because they heard of this wonderful place, where time stood still. Sometimes it’s referred to as the “Venice of the North” and when you see all the canals and bridges, it is a beautiful sight. A town as in a fairytale, a place for romance where all will explore and discover the beauty of the architecture Bruges is so rich of. While wondering through the maze of narrow streets, it’s not difficult to imagine yourself in the middle Ages. It is for this reason the entire historical center is under the protection of UNESCO.
No matter in what time of year you visit, Bruges has something to offer in every season. The spring is announced by the blooming of life all over the city, swans and ducks caring for their younglings on the banks of the canals, flowers popping up in the parks. In summer there’s life and laughter on every little square you’ll encounter. The carillon plays his tunes while you enjoy one of the many tasteful beers Belgium has to offer. In fall the city gets ready to face the cold, putting on its most colorful jacket in shades of brown and red. The sunlight plays on the surface of the canals, offering you a spectacle to remember. In winter the city isn’t dead, but very much alive with an ice-skating rink surrounded by a Christmas market where you can get warm over a cup of hot chocolate or a mulled wine.
Small as it is, Bruges is best explored on foot. Going across town takes about half an hour, going around the city following the canals is 7 kilometers (4.5 miles). By walking you’ll enjoy the most.
You’ll feel right at home, roaming the narrow streets along the mysterious canals over old bridges. Feasting your eyes and looking at history itself, because every house, facade or brick has a story.
But don’t be fooled in thinking Bruges is an old city! It is very much alive, offering you a rich diversity monuments and art. But also restaurants and bars where you can find the marvelous Belgian beers or shops with the amazing chocolates!
Writing about Belgium’s undiscovered gems of history and tourism, Bruges in West Flanders is not one of those, it is possibly one of the two or three best known places in Belgium to visit along with the WW1 battlefields and Brussels Grand Place, especially for the English speaking world.
Out of the main holiday season when the cobbled streets, squares and canals are not over-run by fellow tourists. In the high season you are not going to be swamped by the sheer volume of people.No need to worry. Despite the fact that it is much busier the town retained its charm, beauty and sense of history throughout the weekend. In fact just a few minutes from the hot spots around the main market square there are oases of peace and tranquility tucked away to delight the senses, and the camera.
If you set out to design a fairy-tale medieval town, it would be hard to improve on central Bruges (Brugge in Dutch).
Picturesque cobbled lanes and dreamy canals link photogenic market squares lined with soaring towers, historic churches and old whitewashed almshouses. And there’s plenty of it. The only downside is that everyone knows. That means that there’s a constant crush of tourists in the centre, especially through the summer months. So to really enjoy Bruges stay overnight (day trippers miss the fabulous evening floodlighting) and try to visit midweek (avoiding floods of weekend visitors). There’s a special charm in spring when daffodils carpet the tranquil courtyard of the historic begijnhof retreat, or in winter (except Christmas) when you can have the magnificent, if icy, town almost to yourself.