Destination of the Week: Bruges
Have your camera ready when you step into the enchanting land of Bruges. This small, Belgium city is a photographer’s dream with cobbled streets, chocolatiers, historic churches, horse-drawn carriages and whimsical canals complete with floating swans.
The historic centre of the capital of West Flanders has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and if you’d love a holiday that transports you straight into a Hans Christian Andersen fairy-tale, look no further.
What to do
Bruges is a wonderful place to sit in a quaint café, nibble on Belgium chocolate and take in the sights of everyday life in a storybook setting, but there’s also quite a bit to do, if you choose.
Climb to the top of The Belfry, an 83-metre high medieval tower, for stunning views over Bruges and the countryside. Indulge in pure romance on a horse-drawn carriage tour or a boat trip through the magical waterways. Visit the Museum St-Janshospitaal, the Kantcentrum to watch lace makers and the celebrated Groeningemuseum.
The Markt is a large square and the central hub of Bruges, home to medieval buildings, open-air restaurants and a bustling vibe. If you’re in town on a Sunday evening, head to Restin’s Lucifernum for vampire inspired entertainment or have a drink on any night of the week at Café Vlissinghe, Bruge’s oldest pub, in the Saint-Anne quarter.
Where to stay
Stay in the historic centre to be close to all the main attractions and really immerse in the storybook feel. There are hotels that range from budget to 5-star, the only problem is getting in due to the popularity of Bruges, so book well in advance.
Hotel De Orangerie (£££)
A former convent, Hotel De Orangerie is located in the heart of Bruges on a dreamy canal. The luxury boutique hotel is furnished with antiques and art works, it has a lounge with an open fireplace and a waterside terrace where you can enjoy lunch, coffee and High Tea.
Hotel Boterhuis (££)
A 3-minute walk from The Belfry, the Hotel Boterhuis is in the perfect location to see all the sights on foot. The hotel offers free Wi Fi on the premises, a bar and a terrace. There are hardwood floors throughout and all the rooms feature desks, air-conditioning and en suites.
St Christopher’s Inn Hostel at The Bauhaus (£)
This value for money hostel is centrally located and offers a 24-hour front desk and free hiking tours. It has a popular bar, a garden, a restaurant and all guests are treated to buffet breakfast in the morning.
Where to eat
You may just decide to fill up on Frites and Mayo, Belgian Chocolates and mouth-watering waffles, but if you want to head out and about for dinner, Bruges has a wonderful gastronomic scene, from lively taverns to Michelin-starred restaurants.
Pergola Kaffee (£££)
The Pergola Kaffee sits along the Groene Rei canal in the centre of the city and it’s a romantic spot to wine and dine. Serving gourmet Flemish cuisine with a twist, restaurant guests can try King Crab, Artichoke and wasabi mayonnaise and Bouillabaisse with North Sea Fish and saline touches.
Restaurant Ganzespel (££)
Intimate and romantic, set off the beaten path a tad from the historical hub, Restaurant Ganzespel serves traditional Belgium dishes for reasonable prices. Try Meatballs and Kalfsblanket or one of their delicious pasta dishes.
You can get pretty much anything you like in this pub, housed in a 17th century building, for budget-friendly prices, from steak and chips to beef Carpaccio. Really though, it’s all about the beer tasting menu.
Image souce: (c) istock/thinkstock