There are some cities that take your breath away: Bruges in Belgium is one of those for me. The capital of West Flanders in North West Belgium, this medieval city is a tourist paradise complete with stunning architecture, delicious food and photo ops at every turn.
Easily accessible by train from larger centres like Brussels or Paris, this vibrant city of under 120,000 people should not be overlooked if you are planning a trip to Belgium. Totally walkable, you can see all the major sights in one day, but you’ll want to stay much longer.
Stay and be pampered at one of their world-class hotels, like Hotel Van Cleef. A 700-year-old, now converted Italianate mansion, right in the heart of Bruges.
Stay and check out their grand squares, like their Grote Markt or Historic Centre where you can see buildings like the medieval Basilica of the Holy Blood.
Stay and sip some of their exceptional beer. Belgium has over 180 breweries in the country and has been brewing since the 12th century. Bruges has a brewery right inside it’s ancient city walls, called De Halve Man, this brewery produces ‘Brugse Zot’, coming in either light (Blond) or dark (Dubbel).
Stay and sample their world-class chocolate. A major industry in Belgium since the 19th century, the Belgian have been perfecting chocolate since the late 1600s. My favourite is their Praline – a harder chocolate shell conceals a softer, chocolate centre often mixed with caramelized almonds or hazelnuts, finely ground into a delicious paste.
A great way to see these highlights is to hop on a canal boat tour and cruise through the city. It offers a new perspective and kindles wonder on how these incredible buildings were every built in the first place and how they are able to remain so beautifully intact today.
This canal-based city’s historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so if you are an architecture or photography buff, this city will not leave you disappointed. If you are a foodie who enjoys sampling hundreds of beer and savouring every bite of delicious chocolate, you may never want to leave.