When you think of visiting Belgium, your choice of where to stay usually boils down to two cities: Brussels and Bruges. Whereas Brussels can seem like the more obvious choice as the Belgian capital, Bruges’s medieval charm ended up attracting us even more.
If you’re thinking of visiting this small, yet great, European country but you don’t have much time, the choice can be even more difficult. After all, Brussels or Bruges: which is the best destination?
The cosmopolitan capital of Belgium, Brussels is a fascinating urban center filled with history, art and cafés to discover. It’s here that you can admire the typical European architecture with its lacy details in washed stone. As the capital city, Brussels is also home to some of Belgium’s most iconic landmarks such as Maneken Pis, the Atomium and the vast Grand Place.
But Brussels is also commonly known as the “capital of Europe”. It’s undeniable that one of the city’s main landmarks is the European Parliament, an institution where some of the most important decisions are made at European level. Those interested in the History of Europe can also discover it through interactive exhibitions at the Parlamentarium museum. And if you want to visit all of Europe in one day, you can do so at the Mini Europe park where you’ll find the main monuments from across Europe.
The multicultural environment here allows the arts to flourish and you can breathe an air of modernity through the medieval streets of Brussels. This is the perfect destination for history buffs, art connoisseurs and lovers of the city hustle and bustle.
Bruges is an excellent alternative for those who are looking for a more peaceful destination, far away from the city noise and full of charm. With a historic center that is practically intact and has been extremely well preserved since the Middle Ages, visiting Bruges is traveling back in time to an authentic fairytale. Its cobbled streets that run along the banks of the picturesque canals create the perfect atmosphere for a romantic getaway.
We loved taking a boat ride, admiring the historic monuments in the center of Bruges and observing the swans freshening up by the canals. While some people may fear that there is less to do and see in Bruges than in Brussels, we felt like every corner in Bruges had a story ready to unfold.
BRUSSELS VS BRUGES
The truth is, both cities are fascinating destinations that appeal to different types of travelers. We think that the difference is similar to comparing Lisbon to Óbidos – where one city has almost all of the main national monuments, the other holds the typical charm of a traditional Portuguese village.
So, for a couple of days filled with art, culture and history, there is no better destination than Brussels. But for a romantic weekend getaway, we recommend the charming city of Bruges without a doubt!
What about you? Which Belgian city do you prefer?
honeymooners, Belgium 03/2012