Literally Everybody Loves Bruges.
Bruges dreamily evokes a world long since gone. In the 14th century, Bruges was one of Europe's leading trade centres. But during the following century, the waterway linking the city to the sea silted up. Despite attempts to build a new canal, Bruges' economic lifeline was gone. Traders and townsfolk abandoned the city, leaving it suspended in time.
- Population of 255,844
- It's said that there are over 360 types of beer served!
- Declared a UNESCO Heritage site in 2000
Markt square is the striking main town square located in the heart of Bruges. From here you can access the Belfort Tower. This is a very busy and popular place and is lined with lots of restaurants and bars to choose from, however you are much better off getting away from the square and into the smaller side streets for food as the prices are much cheaper. On Wednesdays there is a market held in the middle of the day selling traditional food, flowers and gifts.
2. Belfort / Belfry
Right in the heart of Old Town you’ll find this 83-metre high 13th century bell tower that dominates the skyline of Bruges. It is nicknamed the ‘Leaning Tower of Bruges’, as it leans one whole metre to the left. Climb the 366 steps to the top of the tower to get a great view of the city!
3. Church of our Lady
Dating back from the 13th century, the Church of our Lady is also the tallest building in the city at 122.3-metres tall, with a tower that is the second tallest in the world! Go inside the church to see the remarkable art treasure; Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child. This small marble statue was the only work of art by Michelangelo to leave Italy during his lifetime.
4. Burg Square
In the small square of Burg you’ll find Belgium’s oldest Stadhuis (Town Hall), along with the Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed (Basilica of the Holy Blood), where a few coagulated drops of Christ’s blood are kept and cherished. Also located nearby is the Crown Plaza where you can visit the basement and see the old foundations of the building for free.
5. De Halve Maan Brewery
Bruges used to contain over 54 breweries within its Old Town walls, sadly after the war the need for small scale breweries declined and nowadays we are left just one. Luckily De Halve Maan Brewery, established in 1856, remains and you can visit on a 45 minute guided tour of the old building. They tell you about the history, the art of drinking beer and give you complimentary samples at the end of the visit in their bar. Delicious!
Bruges is famous for chocolate, beer and the humble potato chip – a winning combination sure to deliver a taste sensation.
1. Tearoom Carpe Diem
Visit this beautiful tearoom where you can relax and enjoy a coffee and a delicious sweet treat. Perhaps a Belgian waffle, pancake or pastry or maybe a delicious fresh champagne breakfast!
2. Frituur Peter
The best place to get frites (fries) in town has to be the little green stands located in front of the Belfry Tower in the Markt. The stalls are jammed packed full of fast food goodies with a few local specialties thrown in as well.
3. T Ganzespel
If you want traditional Belgian food such as meatballs in sauce, veal with cream sauce & soup, then follow your nose to T Granzespel. From the hostel continue along Langestraat then turn left onto Ganzestraat. The restaurant will be on the left hand side.
4. Belgian Chocolate!
A must try whilst in Belgium is the chocolate! There are a few places worth checking out:
You can pick out a few different flavours for your own selection box. Get in early so you can get a good view of the chocolatiers through the window at the back of the shop as it tends to attract a crowd. Try more unusual flavours like lavender or saffron – but for the less adventurous there is a wide variety.
La Belgique Gourmande
La Beligique Gourmande has delicious chocolates that are made on the premises. The staff are happy to chat to you about the making process and will often be walking around with free samples for shoppers.
This is a family run company making around 83 different filled chocolates.
A great place for traditional dishes such as mussels and frites, Flemish stew or huge meat dishes for the carnivores out there.
1. De Garre
A cosy little bar, tucked down a narrow side street in the city that is named after the strong beer it serves. The house beer, ‘Triple de Garre’ is 11% strong with a smooth flavor. Each glass of beer comes with a portion of local cheese to help soak up the potent brew.
2. Le Trappiste
Located not too far from the main square in a 800 year old medieval cellar, Le Trappiste is certainly an authentic experience in town. Beer lovers will adore the fact that they have 15 types of beers on tap, 80 bottled beers and 20 on the guest board!
3. De Coulissen
The only real nightclub in town, you can hang out and dance the night away here. The club itself has a touch of class and an ever changing roster of DJs who spin tunes till the early hours.
Poatersgat is a cool little pub with around 120 brews on the menu to try. The name of the pub means ‘monk hole’ in the local dialect, which is exactly what the place is – a small candlelit venue below the ground from the street entrance.
5. ’t Brugs Beertje
Swarming with nostalgic beer advertisements, this welcoming bar is a great place to relax and try Belgium’s national drink with over 300 types of beers on the menu!
Click the coloured pins to find out how to get here
Beer and Chocolate - what more could you want!"