A Weekend in Bruges

August 22, 2017

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Bruges in northern Belgium is one of Europe’s most famous cities. A weekend in this beautiful city gives you a wealth of culture, history, and entertainment to enjoy, from drifting along peaceful canals to exploring its cobbled medieval streets.

It also couldn’t be easier to get to from the UK, with regular ferries from Dover to Dunkirk putting you within around an hour’s drive of Bruges. Alternatively, take a ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam and either drive to Bruges or take the train from Amstedam’s Centraal Station.

 

Friday

Afternoon

If you’re arriving on Friday afternoon or evening, the best thing you can do is go for a wander after settling into your hotel. Bruges really rewards a bit of unplanned exploring, allowing you to see quiet streets and picturesque buildings you might miss on the standard tourist trail. This is particularly delightful when the city is lit up after dark.

 

Saturday

Morning

Start your day at one of the city’s most prominent landmarks: the Belfort or Belfry of Bruges. This lofty tower can be climbed by 366 steps, rewarding visitors with stunning views across the city. First thing in the morning is a good way to avoid the queues inside, too.

After enjoying the panorama, head back down to street level and explore the Market Square (Markt) and its shops and stalls, as well as the nearby Burg Square with its beautiful and historic buildings. Although Bruges retains its medieval look and feel, you can step back in time to the middle ages with the Historium Bruges on Market Square. This fun museum presents a historical view of the city through clever multimedia displays and experiences, including VR. It’s an especially good choice if the weather isn’t at its best, too.

Afternoon

For a cultural afternoon head to Bruges’ best art gallery, the Groeningemuseum. Stroll amongst the stunning Flemish art and Renaissance masterpieces, and you’ll see works by Van Eyck, van de Steene, and Gerard David, as well as later Flemish expressionist artists.

 

Sunday

Morning

A boat tour along the canals is a must. It gives you a peaceful and relaxing view of the city, letting you see things from another perspective. There are landing stages throughout the centre, with trips lasting around half an hour, taking you past the city’s major landmarks.

After your waterborne adventure, make some time for some very important retail therapy by visiting one of the city’s many chocolatiers. While there are over 50 in Bruges, there are only a handful that make chocolate on the premises. One is The Chocolate Line, a great place to find interesting flavours and fantastic gifts and souvenirs.

Afternoon

If you have the time before heading home, have a wander around the stunning Stadhuis on Burg Square and marvel at the breathtaking gothic interiors of this 15th century hall. You can also pop next door to the Basilica of the Holy Blood (Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed), home to a vial supposedly containing drops of Christ’s blood. It is brought out into the beautiful chapel for worshipping at 2pm every day.

 

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