So about a month ago, I took a little mini-break to Brussels (you can read my full post here), and while I was there, decided to go and see what Bruges has to offer as well. The city is only a hop skip and a jump (well, an hour and a bit by train) from the Capital itself, so you can easily make it a day trip.
I definitely recommend doing this if you’re planning to visit Belgium anytime soon. While Brussels is fairly hectic and vibrant, Bruges is the perfect place for a calm and relaxing wander. Following the weaving canal as it winds its way around narrow streets of beautiful brick buildings could not be a more picturesque way to spend the day. These are some of my favourite snaps from our afternoon there…
After arriving at Bruges station, we made our way into the centre of the town, which is only a short walk away. Aiming for the main square, we followed a long street lined with the prettiest shops you’ll ever come across. It’s kind of bizarre in a way as the street feels so old and medieval, and there’s quite a few stores selling traditional produce like lace and chocolates, but then you’ll also find your average H&M, New Look, and McDonalds (I even spied a MAC store but managed to stop myself from venturing in!)
Unsure of where to go? Just look up and head towards the imposing bell tower in the distance…
The main square is probably the most instantly recognisable view of Bruges. It’s what you’ll see on all of the brochures and I can completely see why! It’s such a gorgeous, open square with so much interesting architecture, you could stand and admire it for hours. The tall thin houses are so distinctive and I just love how bright and colourful everything looks, even in the grey January weather.
The smell of frites from the many food carts start to fill your nose and the clip-clops of horse and carriages seems to transport you back a hundred and fifty years.
*Just for the record, on a moral level I actually really disagree with these touristy horse and carriage rides. The horses usually aren’t treated well and they always look so unhappy so think twice before you decide to take one!*
Now, for lunch we did make our only mistake of the day… We were starving so decided to opt for a decent sounding cafe right on the main square. Sure it was pretty, and it had a really cute fireplace to warm our frozen hands, but the food was semi-average and my simple main course with a drink and coffee came to nearly 50euros!!! If we’d looked further from the centre, we probably would have found a much better meal.
If you’re looking for a classic dish to try, there’s two I would point you in the direction of. The first is obviously moules-frites (you just can’t beat it!), and the second is Beef Carbonnade – a kind of beef in beer stew which just falls apart in your mouth and usually comes with fries or bread to mop up the rich sauce.
After filling up on lunch it was time to take a stroll along the canal itself. Now this is where I warn you, you will get lost. We must have walked round in circles about three times before finally finding the dock where the sight-seeing boats leave (only to find they were closed for January…).
But you know what? I think getting lost in a new city is part of the fun… There’s something wonderful about stumbling across a cute little cafe or interesting building which you would never have found otherwise.
In parts, Bruges reminded me of a smaller version of Amsterdam and a much colder version of Venice. There were lots of lovely little bridges and alleyways providing endless photo opportunities (for any bloggers, this is seriously Instagram heaven).
I would have loved to take a boat tour just to finish the day off, but instead we had to make do with crepes… A worthy second option in my opinion!
I’d love to hear from you guys what you think of Bruges. Have you ever been or would you like to go? Do you have any recommendations of what to do/see/eat?
Check back in on Sunday for a special bonus post this week 😉
Thanks for reading! Joanna xxxxx