Although cosmopolitan and modern in its outlook, a visit to Bruges can also feel like stepping back in time. Much of the centre of the city is free from vehicles and has subsequently been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city is a maze of old narrow streets and canals, leading many to call it the Venice of the North.
Places to go
Perhaps one of the best ways to get a feel of the city is through the variety of guided tours; both walking and bus tours are available. The town has a variety of museums and churches well worth a visit, including the Choco-story museum, the highly unusual Jerusalem church and the Freit Museum, telling the story of the humble chip.
If staying a few days in Bruges, the Bruges City Card offers great value for money. Potentially saving up to 200 euros, it gives free entry into 24 museums, galleries and places of interest around the city. There's also the opportunity for a free round trip on the city's canals and a 144 page colour guide to the city.
For those wanting a more romantic view of Bruges, horse drawn carts can be hired to take you for a evening ride around the city. Finally, the city is home every winter to an international snow and ice sculpture festival in the town square.
Food and drink
Being a coastal region, most of the delicacies revolve around sea food. Local specialties include shrimp croquette or mussels in white wine, both of which come served with chipped potatoes in mayonnaise, a dish known as 'fritur'. Many restaurants will allow you to eat outside, combining the delicious food with the stunning views of the area. Stay away from the main tourist areas when selecting a restaurant, as prices are often extortionate. Also be aware that many items presented as free with the meal (such as bread) may in fact appeal on the bill, often for much higher prices than you would expect.
The Brewery De Halve Maan is well worth a visit, giving an insight into the long history of the town with hops as well as demonstrating traditional brewing techniques.
Ferries to Bruges
- LD Lines - Ramsgate to Ostend
- Norfolkline - Rosyth to Zeebrugge
- P&O Ferries - Hull to Zeebrugge
- Transeuropa - Ramsgate to Ostend
Bruges is a compact city, so the easiest way to get around is probably by walking. There are buses that serve all areas of the city for a cheap fare, and bicycles are available for hire. Please be aware, however, that the cobbled streets of much of the old part of Bruges may make the journey uncomfortable for cyclists.
For more about the iconic city of Brugges check out the city's official website.