My husband and I recently returned from visiting one of the most charming cities in Europe. Bruges is located in Northwest Belgium and is known as the Venice of the North. I am not surprised! Bruges is a romantic city with canals, parks and over 200 restaurants and several chocolate shops on nearly every street!
We boarded the Eurostar from London and then got off at Brussels. The next train was every 15 minutes to Bruges. The great thing about travelling by Eurostar is that unlike flying,we don’t have to arrive three hours before departure and there is no maximum baggage allowance!
We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Dukes Palace thus named as it was the former residence of a Duke.
The staff were wonderful and catering, the room was lovely with a huge en suite and overlooked the garden. We asked what the story was with the giant red poodle but was told there wasn’t one..it’s just art. ??
The buffet breakfast is probably the best hotel buffet breakfast I have ever had. It included a seperate table with huge slabs of chocolate for you to cut a chunk off yourself and bottles of sparkling wine and fruit.
Which brings me to some of the things Belgium is famous for…basically it’s all about the food! Belgium chocolates, waffles, beer and pomme frites (french fries because they were actually invented in Belgium). Mussles also seemed to be sold at every restaurant and their ice cream was as good as I remember gelato being in Italy! Every restaurant we ate in was excellent but sadly not cheap. They know they are catering to tourists so if you plan a trip, be prepared to spend a lot on your meals. Alternatively, you can choose to get some to go food from the market square or eat from restaurants further away from the market square.
The city itself is beautiful and well worth exploring. It is a great place for leisurely walks.
The archetecture is beautiful and I found myself just wishing I could peak into a typical Belgium home and view those high pointed ceilings.
One of the best ways to see Bruges is to go on the canal boat ride. A lovely way to spend 30 minutes cruising down the canals.
Or if it is raining, you can choose to do a carriage ride as they often have extra covering for protection.
If you are looking for doing some siteseeing, the Church of Our Lady has an actual Michaelangelo statue of the Madonna and child.
One of the oldest cathedrals in Bruges is the Basilica of the Holy Blood, also one of the prettiest cathedrals I have ever been in.
Some other highlights for me include:
- Groeningemuseum which houses flemish art through the centuries including a beautiful Jan Van Eyck.
- Choco-story which calls itself a museum but what you get is the history of chocolate which ultimately leads you to a chocolate gift shop. Great place to go when the weather isn’t great and you’ll pick up some interesting informative facts about chocolate.
- Lumina Domestica or the Lamp museum will give you the history of interior lighting. We bought the ticket as a combined one with choco-story which is located in the same building. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of lamps, over 6000 of which are antiques. Great if you are an interior design student! Sadly no gift shop for lamp lovers at this museum.
- Minnewater or the ‘Lake of Love’ a beautiful lake for lovers!
I look forward to returning one day to Bruges. I hear they do a great Christmas market in December. I recommend it for those looking for a romantic getaway or even a short break with your girlfriends. Great for shopping too!