A few weeks ago I finally made a trip to a city that had been high on my list of places to visit for a very long time. The city in question is Bruges, the capital of West Flanders sutuated in northwest Belgium. It is one of those must-see places that are incredibly popular with tourists not only from Europe, but all over the world. It is famous for its canals, beautiful medieval architecture and culture. It also owes a great deal of its current popularity to the cult 2008 movie In Bruges, which was filmed on its cobblestoned streets. It is also known for its Christmas market, and that is why my boyfriend and I picked this time of the year to travel there. Needless to say, my expectations were sky high and Bruges did not disappoint! If you are planning a trip there sometime soon, read on! Below I have listed a few tips and suggestions based on my experience.
If you are planning to travel to Bruges via Brussels, allow sufficient time for the connection and keep in mind that the train ride actually takes over an hour! We thought it would take 30 minutes to get to Bruges from the Belgian capital and were wondering if we had missed our stop at one point! The trains are not as frequent as you may think either, so this is definitely something to factor in when you are planning your itinerary.
The historical centre in Bruges is where you would want to stay if you would like to be a stone's throw away from all the action, main sights and attractions. It is not very big and the demand is high, so book your accommodation well in advance! We were unable to find any hotel rooms in the city centre, as all hotels were booked solid weeks before our travel date. We ended up booking a room at Bella Noche Bruges, a B&B located in a residential area within walkable distance of the centre. It is a family run establishment and opened only a few months ago. The landlady was very nice and did her utmost to make us feel welcome and the room was nice and spacious, so I would definitely recommend it! Check out their website here.
Bruges has a reputation for being a tourist magnet, yet I was very surprised by how empty and dark the residential areas were at night! Not a soul in sight on a Saturday night, it did not feel unsafe in any way, but still I would have expected to see more people out and about at 7pm. The two main squares and the surrounding streets were jam packed with people at all hours though!
When in Bruges, I highly recommend that you try all of these things at least once: Belgian waffles, Belgian chocolate, Belgian fries and fruit beer. Even a wino such as myself could not resist a glass of cherry flavoured Lindemans! Exquisite stuff.
Finding a good and reasonably priced restaurant in Bruges is extremely hard. Most of the restaurants are way overpriced, possibly because they cater primarily to tourists, and the quaity of the food leaves a lot to be desired. Do your research in advance and get some tips from locals before you go if you can.
Historium in beautiful Market Square is well worth a visit if you are into medieval culture and history. They have a great gift shop too and a cafe on the first floor where you can sip a drink and take in panoramic views of the square. Perfect for people watching!
All in all, Bruges is a truly magical city and it is probably one of the most picturesque cities I have ever been too. If you are into photography, you will love it! I definitely will be going back.
Below are few photos from my trip. Enjoy!