After a few days in Brussels, we hopped on a train and decided to explore the small city of Bruges. We were surprised to learn upon arrival that the historic center is pedestrian-only! So, we started our walk around town through St-Janshospitaal and followed along Bruges’s medieval streets.
Bruges left us completely enchanted by its medieval buildings that have been extremely well-kept, its picturesque canals filled with swans and the serene atmosphere that we experienced there. This is undoubtedly one of Europe’s most romantic cities! But to make your visit even more special, here are the things you can’t miss out on while in Bruges:
WALK AROUND THE HISTORIC CENTER
Bruges is currently considered the best preserved medieval town in all of Europe and its historic center is protected as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Here, life is lived at a slower pace and each corner deserves to be appreciated because everything is just so beautiful and well preserved.
TAKE A BOAT RIDE ALONG THE CANALS
And after a pleasant walk along the streets of Bruges, there’s nothing better than to explore the medieval town through its canals. The typical boats took us through the main tourist attractions of the city in a magical atmosphere that made this boat ride one of the most romantic moments of our trip.
Built in the 12th century, this is Bruges’s oldest building. When we entered, we felt immediately transported back in time to discover how different illnesses were treated more than 800 years ago. And there is a lot to visit here: the old pharmacy, the dormitory and the museum full of historical medical artifacts are a must!
SHOP AT STEENSTRAAT AND SIMON STEVINPLEIN
To take a little bit of Bruges home with you, pass by the artisanal shops on Simon Stevinplein where you will find the famous Belgian chocolate and the best locally produced crafts. On Steenstraat you can find the main international fashion brands inside Bruges’s picturesque medieval buildings.
ADMIRE THE ARCHITECTURE AT THE CHURCH OF OUR LADY (ONZE LIEVE VROUWEKERK)
The bell tower of the most famous church in Bruges made us feel small with its 122 meters in height. Make sure to head inside to admire the well-known statue sculpted by Michelangelo of the Madonna with her son.
VISIT GROTE MARKET AND THE BELFRY OF BRUGES
Since its medieval times, it is in this historic market that you can find the heart of Bruges. The medieval buildings here are home to cafés and restaurants that are the perfect place for you to try the traditional moules with a refreshing Belgian beer. Nearby, you’ll also find the belfry of Bruges whose panoramic view of the city is a must.
Some of the most important historic monuments can be found here, around Burg Square, Bruges’s political center. Our walk through the square took us through the city hall building, which dates back to 1376, the Palace of Liberty and the Basilica of the Holy Blood, where a relic of Christianity is kept.
Have you visited Bruges? What has been your favorite moment in this medieval town?
honeymooners, Bruges 03/2012