Belgium is not just Bruxelles and EU headquarter that now all Europe is learning how to hate for its laws and politics but Belgium is also a country with beautiful and ancient cities and the country of the best chocolate I have ever tasted xD
Some Information about Bruges
One of the cities I enjoyed the most in my world wandering, is Bruges or Brugge in Dutch. Bruges is one of the best-kept medieval cities in whole Europe, therefore it has been included in the UNESCO world heritage list. Bruges is divided into two parts: the proper city, which hosts the historical centre, and the Zeebrugge, which means “Bruges on the sea” as it is located near the sea. Bruges got more and more power in the XII century thanks to its rising wool production that allowed them to create economic colonies even in England and Scotland. Thanks to its strong ties with England, Bruges earned its economic importance so much that Hanseatic League’s, Genoan and Venetian ships docked in its Harbour, making this city the centre of commercial trades between Mediterranean and northern European countries. It is also said that the first stock exchange was born in this medieval city. Europe’s college, which is a post-university studies institute, has its permanent headquarter here.
Bruges has much to offer but of course, when you travel, you never have the time to do everything so I could just have one day trip here and it was really worth it. I will list here the top sightseeing you absolutely must see if you will ever visit Bruges 😉
- How to Reach from Bruxelles:
First of all, I will explain how to reach this lovely place if you are staying in Belgium’s capital. You just need to head to Gare du Midi or Gare du Nord and you find a train that departs to Bruges every hour. The tickets can be easily bought at the ticket office in the central station of Bruxelles. I highly advice you to check the kinds of tickets on Belgian Rails’ website to find the most appropriate card for your needs
- Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk – Church of Our Lady
If you’re coming to the town from the train station by foot, like I did, you will surely pass through the beautiful and lovely alleyways of Bruges, which were totally deserted when I visited here, creating a peaceful atmosphere. The first thing that we saw as approaching the town was none other than this gothic masterpiece, which stands out above all the other buildings in Bruges. As expected, it is the second tallest tower in Belgium, after the one in Antwerpen. The church is really imposing and picturesque, in every angle of the town you can easily spot it and makes a perfect sight for photos. The Church of Our Lady is also famous for the marble sculpture of the Madonna and Child made by Michelangelo, bought in Italy by two rich merchants from Bruges.
2. Markt – Market Square
Of course, the market square is the main meeting point located in the heart of Bruges; it is crazily huge with Belfry dominating over there. On a square’s side you can find the Provinciaal Hof, which was used as a sort of town hall by the governors of Bruges in the past. Belfry, which is a nickname that Bruges inhabitants gave to the medieval bell tower, is one of the main highlights of Bruges and can offer a beautiful view over the whole town, which is really beautiful! There is much to walk before reaching the top, the stairways seem endless, my boyfriend even threatened me and said he will never do something like this again xD
When I visited Bruges, the Markt hosted a big Christmas market with stalls selling food, various things like jewels or Christmas decoration. I did not buy anything as such but I decided to indulge myself and taste the Bradwoorst, which is exactly like Bratwurst its german counterpart, just with a dutch-sounding name ahaha Another sight of the square I liked very much are the colourful houses all near each other that make up a beautiful picture.
It is the other important square in Bruges that before had the function of a fortress and was surrounded by tall walls and gates. It is one of the oldest places in the town and its main highlights are the Stadhuis (Town Hall) and the Heilig-Bloedbasiliek (Holy Blood Church). The town hall is the oldest in Belgium and as you can already tell, the style is gothic. I must say that Belgian gothic is really rich in details and catch your attention for its strict beauty. The church was built as residence a duke of Flanders that, later, left his home country to fight, in the Holy Land, the second crusade. While he stayed there, he managed to get to own a special relic, which throughout the centuries attracted more and more pilgrims.
4. The alleyways and canals of Bruges
I was quite lucky because when I came here, it was Christmas season and all around the town there were many stalls selling various things and everywhere there were people, this made Bruges really a lively and enjoyable place. What makes this town so special are the lovely alleyways that can make you catapult in the past, when Europe was authentic, and the small cute shops you find at every corner. Another landmark of Bruges are, of course, the renowned canals, called by the inhabitants Reien, that in the past were used to bring around the ware, while now they are used for tourist purposes. I advice you to have a stroll here because you can discover some nice places like that chocolate shop we found and where we bought the most part of the presents for our relatives, a place where they displayed all kinds of belgian beers and another place where you could even taste them but as I do not drink, I did not enjoy xD I enjoyed more the chocolate, so did my relatives too ahah