You will fall in love with Bruges the first time you step into Bruges. Bruges also known as Brugge is a mere three hours on the Eurostar from London Kings Cross St Pancreas station, with a brief change at Brussels Midi. Bruges is the perfect city for a romantic short break.
The quiet, quaint, cobbled streets with its medieval architecture, which is largely dominated by museums and churches, will have you promising to return again and again. The best way to get to discover Bruges and enjoy a picturesque view of the city is on foot and by boat rides. The beauty and allure will charm you. Little wonder Bruges is often referred to the Little Venice of Belgium
If you’re taking a romantic break after the lockdown, here are 6 things to do.
‘The Chocolate Walk’
You will be spoiled for choice here. Be careful though, there are so many types to choose from that you may end up spending a lot of money. There are many chocolate shops along this walk, offering samples that you may be tempted to eat too much. And who will blame you? With the amount of walking involved in exploring Bruges, you will certainly need the calories.
Do not forget to visit the The Old Chocolate House, where you will be blown away by an array of different hot chocolates, with toppings such as gingerbread crunch, chilli and marshmallow. Have these with waffles. Yum, yum!
This is the main market square. It is also the heart of the old town. The cobblestone plaza is surrounded by traditional medieval step roof buildings. You will be spoiled for choice of many restaurants and bars in the square.
3. The Lake of Love (Minnewater) and Lovers Bridge
What is a romantic break to Bruges without a visit to the Lake of love? If you are a hopeless romantic like I am, you will love the story behind the name. Legend has it that a pretty, young girl named Minna fell in love with a warrior named Stromberg from a neighbouring tribe. Her father, however objected to the relationship and arranged for Minna to marry somebody he had chosen for her. Minna ran away into the forest.
Unfortunately, by the time her warrior lover found her, it was too late. Minna was too exhausted that she died in her lover’s arms. The lake was named the lake of love in honour of their love. Take a stroll arm in arm along the bridge and soak in the beautiful, peaceful, and romantic scenery. You will even be rewarded with the sight of swans in the water.
4. The Church of our Lady
Built in the 12–15 centuries, this beautiful church is a ‘must see’ when in Bruges. The brick steeple dominates the skyline of the city. It houses a wealth of art treasures, including the Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child. While we are talking churches, don’t forget to visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood
5. The Belfry Tower
This medieval bell tower is right in the centre of Bruges. One of the most prominent symbols of the city, the tower comes with a Carillion with 47 bells. If you can handle it, climb 366 steps to the top and be greeted by the most gorgeous bird’s eye view of the city below. One can easily understand why it was used as an observation post to spot fires and other troubles in the city. Depending on your time of visit, it can be difficult to get into because of its popularity. You may need to buy an e- ticket to make entry less stressful.
6. Bruges City Hall (Stadhuis)
The city has been governed for over 700 years from the City Hall. One of the oldest buildings in Belgium, it is a very pretty building both outside and inside. It is a place to visit.
Bonus: Other things to do in Bruges
Belgium is famous for its’ Belgian chocolates, Belgian waffles, and Belgian Fries. You will be greeted with carts selling these in the market square.
Giant waffles doused in cream and chocolate will blow your mind. Fries are extremely popular in Bruges that they even have a Chip museum. Get them from pretty much any chip cart on Markt. If you are a beer lover, do not forget to try a wide range of famous Belgian beers from a local tavern, especially the Brugse Zot and Straffe Hendrik.
When to visit Bruges
You can visit Bruges any time of the year. You may, however, want to visit at certain times to experience certain festivals. For example, Bruges Beer festival is held in February.
April-May is the Holy Blood procession through the streets in Medieval costume, July -August is the Cactus(music) festival. Travel around November - December for the glittering Xmas market experience in the Old town. Events may be affected by the Covid-19 restrictions. Do your research before you go.
Finally, Bruges is the perfect, enchanting city to visit if you are on a romantic break. The cobbled alleys, with the beautiful canals and equally beautiful squares will charm you and reignite the romance in you.
Have you been to Bruges? Share your experience.
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