Bruges is a lovely little city located in the Northern part of Belgium, which I had the pleasure of recently visiting. After a week in London, my fiancé and I were looking to have a relaxed weekend before leaving Europe. There are many options from London, but we decided on Bruges due to its close proximity (it’s just a 3.5-hour Eurostar ride) and its reputation for maintaining its historic medieval feel. Here are some of my Bruges favorites:
1. It feels like a fairy-tale
Bruges truly feels like a page out of a Disney story. With cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and swirling canals, it is a city that has held true to its history and is very romantic. The architecture is stunning and many buildings remain from hundreds of years ago. The city is also very walkable and it’s easy to see the main highlights over a weekend. But despite being fairly small, be warned that it is very easy to get lost. We decided to embrace it as part of our trip.
2. Gorgeous canals
Bruges is often referred to as the Venice of the North, and it’s for a reason. The winding canals are what made the city for me. Canal boat rides are not to be missed as they are a fun way to explore and also learn a few historical facts. It’s popular among tourists, so it’s best to do early in the day.
3. Chocolate lovers heaven
Bruges has many chocolate shops, and it’s honestly hard to go wrong with any of them. We popped into several and were always pleased. They all have a high standard and are plentiful around the city. However, my absolute favorite was the highly rated Chocolatier Dumon. I got their sampler box, which contains the best selection and each one was better than the last. It’s true melt-in-your-mouth perfection and was definitely a highlight of the trip. And if Belgian waffles are your sweet of choice, I highly recommend Chez Albert.
4. Beer that anyone can love
I’m not a huge beer drinker, but I absolutely love Belgian beer. Most restaurants and bars have extensive beer menus with local options. My favorite? Pauwel Kwak. Served in a tall, funnel-like cup, it’s fun to drink and has a distinct crisp taste. 2be is a good place to try different beers as they have a nice selection and are located on a particularly picturesque part of the canal with outdoor seating.
5. The city runs at a calm pace
There really isn’t much chaos in Bruges. Yes, there are many tourists that visit — but outside of the town square, it’s pretty peaceful. Bikes are a popular mode of transportation, along with walking. There are gorgeous parks like Minnewaterpark, which was our favorite. Restaurants close on the early side, and there aren’t many late-night bars or clubs. I honestly had the best sleep in months. Much appreciated for this Manhattanite!