It’s true, Bruges is straight out of a fairytale. Wandering around the cobbled streets as horse drawn carriages trot by you can really forget what century you’re in.
Bruges has a very unique charm to it, I’ve really enjoying putting my map away and just strolling through the streets without a set itinerary or plan. It’s such a small walkable city that if I see something interesting in the distance it’s very easy to just change direction and go check it out. The central Belfry towers over the city and is visible from almost everywhere, so making your way back to the middle of the city is easy. There are so many little side streets, alleys and alcoves to explore and I’ve found several little hole in the wall bars or cafes by just turning down an alley off a main street.
There are several canals which run through the middle of Bruges, and you seem to cross one of them every 5 minutes. There are some very picturesque views as you cross over the bridges and it’s hard not to stop every few minutes to take photos.
De Halve Maan (translates to ‘The Half Moon’) is a family owned brewery in Bruges which manufacturers all their beer in the city. For a small price you can take a guided tour through the entire site which consists of the old and modern breweries. The guide explains the history of this brewery, the process of brewing beer and will answer any questions you have. If you are at all interested in beer (or even if you’re not) this is a great tour to go on. Oh and the price also includes a glass of unfiltered Brugse Zolt at the end of the tour, definitely worth the price of admission.
I’ve been in Belgium for two and a half days ago far, and my diet has consisted almost exclusively of beer, waffles and fries. While probably not the healthiest choice I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the Belgians know how to do all three of these things really well. Just listing of some of my favorites, fries with specialsauce from Frituur De Beizen. These twice deep fried fries are perfectly crispy and served with a combination of tomato sauce, mayonnaise an be onion. A plain waffle from Oyya, don’t need to add any toppings or anything to a Liege waffle, the sugary batter caramelizes when cooked so it comes out really sweet with a crunchy outside. And then there’s the beer, having tried quite a few the other night I would have to say my favorite has probably been a very nice blonde beer called LA Chouffe which we got from De Garre, a bar at the end of an alley squeezed between two chocolate shops (can’t really think of a description more representative of Bruges than that).
The biggest attraction and the biggest building in Bruges is the Belfry. It’s had several uses since it was built including a fire watch station, a watch tower to look out for invaders and a garrison to protect women and children in the event of an invasion. It’s located right in the Markt Square and very easy to find, for €10 (€8 for under 26 year olds) you are able to climb the 366 steps up to the top for an unparalleled view of Bruges. It’s a steep climb and you might have to wait a while since only a certain number of people can be up there at one time, but the view alone makes it worth it.
It’s a very charming city and one that I’m glad I visited. It is becoming a lot more well known and so it’s quite busy (especially this weekend since it’s Easter). But it hasn’t lost the feel of a medieval town yet, all it takes is wandering a few streets away from a central area and you can be completely alone on the edge of a canal in this beautiful city.