Beautiful Bruges

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I had Bruges figured into my August travel plans from the moment I found out that it was an optional stop on Busabout's North Loop through Europe.

I didn't really even know much about Bruges (or Belgium, for that matter), which made it difficult to answer the “Why are you stopping there?” questions that I received from a few of my Busabout companions. From pictures I had seen of this little medieval town, though, I knew I just had to visit.

And it turns out that my instincts were right — Bruges remains one of my favorite stops in Europe so far, even after a month on the road.

Bruges

Bruges

What to say about Bruges? Well, it's located in the Flanders region of Belgium, and Dutch, French, German, and even Flemish are spoken here (English too, of course, because Bruges is now a popular tourist town). It's known for its chocolate, its beer, its waffles, and its lace, and the town's cobbled streets are lined with shops and restaurants selling all of them — including plenty of chocolate shops who whip up some, er, naughty creations.

Bruges' beautiful and colorful buildings are incredibly well preserved due to Bruges falling into relative obscurity for quite a few centuries. In fact, for a while it was referred to as “the Dead City.” It came alive again in the mid-1900s, though, when wealthy British and French tourists decided it would make a lovely holiday destination. Once the city decided to focus on tourism (and restore and spruce up many of its historical buildings), Bruges took off once more.

Today, there's no doubt that Bruges is touristy. Wander around Markt Square near the Belfry at any time of day, and you'll realize this.

Bruges Markt Square

Bruges Belfry

But I still LOVED it nonetheless. Bruges was small. Bruges was relaxed. And Bruges was beautiful.

Bruges Burg Square

Bruges

Bruges Markt Square

If you find yourself heading to Bruges for a couple of days (it would make a perfect weekend getaway from any nearby country), here are some things you should do:

Take a walking tour. I took a FREE “In Brugge” walking tour with Can You Handle It? tours. The tour was ideal for the younger traveler — we learned about the history of Bruges, saw plenty of sites from the movie, and were entertained by our guide Caitlin. She also pointed out great places to eat and drink all around the city.

Bruges

Bruges

Cruise the canals. Bruges is sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the North” due to its extensive canal system. You can't ride a gondola here, but you CAN take a 35-minute boat tour for about 7 Euro.

Bruges

Bruges

Bruges

Eat. You MUST try a Belgian waffle (try it with white chocolate and strawberries!). Also eat some fries (the stands in front of the Belfry in Markt Square sell the best ones in town). And of course you must also pick up some Belgian chocolate!

Belgian Waffle in Bruges

Wander around. Every single street in Bruges is interesting. With beautiful buildings, pretty chocolate shops, and cafes and pubs galore, you can simply pick a direction and walk and probably find something cool.

Bruges
Like “Lovers Lake”

Bruges

Bruges windmill
Or a windmill

 

To those who may try to tell you that Bruges (and Belgium as a whole) is boring, I would urge you to ignore them.

Bruges is actually pretty awesome, and well worth at least a couple days of your time.

——

Who wants to go to Bruges now??

 

 

*Note: I visited Bruges as part of my Busabout trip around Europe. They provided me with transport on all 3 of their Europe loops, but all opinions of the destinations I visit are entirely my own!

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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53 Comments on “Beautiful Bruges

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  1. What can I say, I love Bruges also, its small, colorful, clean and easy to maneuver by boat or just walking and if I can get a cyber taste of that waffle, it would be totally the best experience!

      It’s a great place to visit for a couple of days; I would definitely go back sometime!

    I’ve been to Brugges but I don’t remember it to be as pretty as it looks on your pictures! (I blame the weather for that, even if I visited it in August it was grey and gloomy). But I agree with you, Belgium is not boring at all! I’d even say it’s much more interesting than the Netherlands where all the towns look more ot less the same. In Belgium even if they are near each other they are so totally different. Take Ghent, Brugge and Oostende as an example. Belgium used to be one of my fave countries in Europe, for its diversity (but then I started travelling more East and everything has changed;))

      Interesting to hear you say that about Belgium! I definitely want to see more of it.

    Such gorgeous photos in your blog. I loved Bruges. I loved the oldness, the medievalness, plus the Zot beer and Dumon chocolate also helped.

    Bruges was indeed one of our favorite places to visit and for all of the reasons you have mentioned! The boat ride was lovely and so relaxing and I still remember the waffles, chocolate and fries! Happy Travels!

    Flemish is the same as dutch, just a different accent. I mean, all Belgians who live in Flanders speak Flemish 🙂
    You are right about Bruges, its amazing! Did you see the movie with Colin Farrell? Oh, and did you notice this dog in one of the apartments near the water that stares out of his window every day? You can even Google his pic :d

      Yes, I have indeed seen the movie! And yes, we spotted the dog in the window on my canal boat ride!

      very sad to say that this lovely dog died earlier this year (2016) 🙁

    Bruges is beautiful, but I actually prefer the smaller medieval town of Ghent. I travel to Brussels every year and usually venture out by train to some of the smaller towns. Bruges was first on my list, but I’ve found that the town I return to again and again is Ghent. That is, when I’ve gotten my fill of Brussels — which is one of my favorite cities in the world.

      I’ve heard good things about so many cities/towns in Belgium – Ghent being one of them. Since I only had 2 short days in Bruges as it was, though, I didn’t venture anywhere else. Next time!

      Have you been to Antwerp yet?
      Would definitely recommend it:-)

        Not yet! Definitely want to see more of Belgium now, though.

          Hi there! I came across your blog (which is awesome btw) and couldn’t resist checking what you wrote about my country : Belgium. If you loved Bruges, you would go crazy as seeing the very centre of Brussels! It’s full of small streets and the architecture is kind the same. Plus there are atmospheric bars everywhere 😉 When the sun is up, it’s so gooood. I would honestly be glad to help you planning your trip if you come back around here!

            Thanks for the offer, Isabelle! I definitely do want to visit Brussels someday!

    I have been to Brussels three times now, and every time I am aware of how close I am to Bruges and that I must go there. But I have yet to make this a reality. I am kind of obsessed with it and immediately click on any blog post about Bruges. Your pictures are like travel porn for me.

      Hahaha. I am totally okay with my photos being travel porn to you!

      In all seriousness, though, you really should get yourself to Bruges!

    Beautiful photos! You definitely convinced me that it’s worth visiting Bruges

    Amazing architecture. I can see myself wandering around this place for quite a while!

      It’s so easy just to get lost wandering all the little cobbled back streets.

    Amazing architecture and I love the idea of cruising in a boat amongst the buildings. Plus of course the chocolate.

    I love small, walkable cities. Plus when you throw in the gorgeous buildings, canals, chocolates, and WAFFLES.. I’m sold. It looks impossible to take a bad photo there. Great post.

      Yeah, definitely tricky to take a bad photo in Bruges – it’s such a photogenic place!

    Bruges looks like a nice city, and really sometimes it’s the smaller (why would you go there?) kind of cities that end up being my favourite. Any place known for chocolate, beer, and waffles is the place for me.

      I’m so with you, Alouise! Two of my top 3 favorite stops on this trip have been little towns that a lot of people haven’t even heard of!

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