Known as the “Venice of the North,” Bruges offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty in Medieval Belgium.
This picturesque city in Belgium is often compared to Italy’s Venice due to its network of canals and charming medieval architecture. Bruges is famous for its well-preserved historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which features cobbled streets, stunning medieval buildings, and romantic bridges spanning over picturesque canals.
Visitors can enjoy taking boat rides along the canals, exploring the medieval churches and museums, indulging in delicious Belgian chocolates, and admiring the beautiful architecture that earned Bruges its nickname as the “Venice of the North.”
Starting with this beautiful hamlet’s medieval architecture, picturesque canals, and charming cobblestone streets, it feels like a step back in time.
Bruges is an easy train ride away, this adorable medieval town sits about 120 km/75 miles northwest of Brussels, the capital of Belgium, and about 35 km/22 mi southwest of Ghent.
So, whether it’s a romantic getaway or a cultural excursion, Bruges is a must-visit destination for travelers looking to experience a fairytale-like atmosphere steeped in history and charm.
Here’s a list of things to do:
- Visit the historic Markt (market square): and its iconic Belfry tower located in the historic part of the city. One of the most instagramable locations in Belgium.
- Take a boat tour: Motor through the picturesque canals to learn about the town’s history. Spy restaurants, bridges, and gardens as you float by.
- Explore the Groeninge Museum: This space boasts a vast collection of Flemish art from the Middle Ages to the present day. Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, and Gerard David are just some of the artists highlighted.
- Visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood: Visit a 12th-century church that houses a relic believed to contain a vial of Jesus’ blood.
- See the Choco-Story Museum: See Bruges’s history and demonstration of chocolate-making. It’s located in the town center’s sixteenth-century “Huis de Crone” building. Take their self-guided tour with an audio guide.
- Take a stroll: Gander around the small rectangle Minnewater Lake, also known as the “Lake of Love”. Exhale and enjoy graceful swans and a tree-lined walkway.
- Visit the Memling Museum: This museum contains the artworks of Hans Memling. The museum sits inside the St. Johns Hospital, a hospital from medieval times. Stroll through the hospital wards, church, and chapel while viewing artworks and early medical instruments.
- Stop by the Bruges Lace Center: This place showcases the city’s famous lace-making tradition. It’s said that a quarter of all the women in Bruges were lacemakers at one time.
TIP: The currency of Belgium is the Euro.
Did you know?
Brugge and Bruges are the same place, just in different languages. Bruges is the French name for the city, while Brugge is the Dutch name. Bruges is the official name in both languages, but Brugge is the more commonly used.
A little history:
Bruges was founded in the 9th century as a settlement near the mouth of the Zwyn river. It became an important center of trade and commerce, especially in the 12th and 13th centuries, when it was a major port and hub of the wool industry.
During this time, Bruges was one of the most prosperous cities in Europe, attracting merchants and artisans from across the continent.
In the late 14th century, the silting of the Zwyn and the rise of nearby ports like Antwerp led to a decline in Bruges’ importance as a center of trade.
However, the city’s well-preserved medieval architecture, including its famous canals, has made it a popular tourist destination in modern times.