Discover Bruges, Belgium

Often referred to as the Venice of the North, the historic city of Bruges has deservedly been awarded UNESCO World heritage status. Most of its medieval architecture is intact and its labyrinth of canals is stunningly beautiful.

Travel to Bruges couldn't be simpler. Travel from London on Eurostar takes just over 3 hours. The ports of Dunkerque, Ostend, Calais and Zeebrugge all have regular daily sailings from the UK. Zeebrugge is only ten minutes drive to Bruges itself. Calais, despite being the furthest of the ports from the city, is still only 72 miles away. The nearest airport is Brussels and there are regular rail and bus transfers. There is an excellent network of motorways leading into the city from all directions, however driving within the historic centre enclosed by the main ring of canals, is actively discouraged.

Being such a well preserved city, you can enjoy centuries old sights at the Markt, Beguinage, Vismarkt and the Burg, where the stunning gothic town hall stands. Everywhere you look you can see the finest examples of different periods, renaissance, neoclassical, baroque, gothic and medieval. One of its most delightful landmarks it's the 13th century belfry which above its magnificent tower has a carillon of 48 bells, which can often be heard at free concerts.

Bruges doesn't just have charming architecture to offer, you can indulge yourself in the many fascinating museums and art galleries that are dotted about. Bruges is famous for its exquisite chocolates so a visit to the Chocolate Museum is a must for all chocoholics! There are museums dedicated to beer brewing, archaeology and diamonds too. The Groeninge Museum hosts six centuries of Flemish fine art and the Shrine of St. Ursula at the Memling Museum, is a religious masterpiece from the Flemish painter Memling.

Eating out in Bruges is a gastronomic delight, with restaurants varying from the cosy fireside of the Oud Brugge with its specialities of eels and mussels, to the haute cuisine of the restaurant of Patrick Devos, with art nouveau interior and careful use of local produce to create inventive dishes. Accommodation is abundant, offering something for all tastes. For example the four star Hotel Oud Huis de Peellaert has been restored from two outstanding town houses previously home to Baron de Peellaert. Its 50 rooms are comfortable and luxurious and offer a lavish base for exploring Brugge. However if you are on a budget there are great hostels to choose from, such as the Bauhaus hostel, which provides affordable dorm rooms with breakfast included.

Bruges has so much to offer; its panorama is bewitching, it's a showcase for culture and history and there are so many captivating places to visit. So whether it's a short break flying in from the UK or car hire Milan, wherever you visit from in Europe a trip to Bruges will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.



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