Medieval, romantic and picturesque are just some of the words used to describe Bruges. And they’re pretty accurate. We visited the Belgium city this summer to celebrate the boyfriend’s birthday.
A quick and fairly inexpensive train journey, courtesy of the Eurostar, got us to Bruges in just over three hours. Once in Brussels you have to change to a local train which will take you on to Bruges. The station is a little confusing, so do ask someone for help if you get lost.
We packed so much in to this trip that I don’t know where to start. Actually yes I do. Start with praline. You’ll find streets dedicated to chocolate in the city, many of which offer free samples, so don’t get overwhelmed and spend your entire budget in one shop. One pointer I have, that I come across a lot in a lot in my research before the trip, was to visit chocolate shops where you can see the kitchens. They do the nicest chocolate, plus you’ll get to see where it’s made too.
For something a little different to do in Bruges I’d suggest visiting the St-Anna Windmills. Located east of the city centre are just four of the remaining mills. We spotted just two on our walk-The Bonne Chiere Mill and the Sint-Janshuismolen. The latter we found out was built in 1770 and has been occupying it’s original site ever since.
You can’t write a blog about Bruges without mentioning beer. Albeit myself and my boyfriend aren’t huge beer drinkers, but we gave it a go because you can’t visit without trying at least one Belgium beer. On a number of recommendations we headed underground to Le Trappiste. It’s a specialist beer bar located in an 800 year old cellar with around 15 beers on tap, plus plenty more in bottles. We opted for a four beer paddle, and left it up to the bar tender for recommendations. Friendly staff, strong beer and a great atmosphere, it was the perfect way to start the birthday celebrations in Bruges.
On our final afternoon in Bruges we took a walk by Minnewater Park on the way to the train station. Apparently in English this is translated to mean the Lake of Love and you can see why. Despite visiting in summer the colours and more reflective of autumn with it’s burnt orange and dark green leaves. You’ll find locals, runners and tourists dotted around the area, but it’s still a peaceful place to sit and relax before saying goodbye to the city.
We also took part in the slightly touristy activity and climbed The Belfort, which overlooks the Markt. This Unesco-listed site is a 13th century Belfry and to reach the top you have to climb a whopping 366 steps. Just a tip, be prepared to wait in line for a while, especially during peak visiting months. I’d say we queued for about two hours, but once you get over the wait (and the exhaustion from the climb) the views are totally worth it.
For anyone looking to book a weekend escape add Bruges to your list. You won’t regret it.
Until next time.