With all the craziness going on in the world right now and so many of us sticking close to home I thought is would be a good time to invite you all for an emotional break from the stress upon us. For those of us who love to travel and are grounded due to the recent Coronavirus I would like to invite you to escape with me on virtual tour of the beautiful city of Bruges in Belgium.
Touring The Historical City of Bruges, Belgium
I have had the pleasure of visiting this gorgeous, old world city twice now and I am absolutely in love with it. Nicknamed the “Venice Of The North” this charming city is known for its beautiful canals, cobble stone streets and medieval architecture.
We had a day and a half in Bruges on my first trip to Europe in 2018 and when I had the opportunity to travel abroad again this past October I just had to take another side trip. Although there is plenty to see and do like tour museums, shop and visit historical churches, you can definitely get a taste for this city in a day or two and be content.
I really wanted to embrace the historical aspect of Bruges and that meant staying at a hotel that also had a historical feel. We chose to stay at the quaint, Hotel Jan Brito . It is just a short walk from the town square AND it was a hop, skip, and a jump to a parking garage. (Something you want to think about when staying in Bruges. Parking can be an issue.)
Built in the 16th century as a home to noble families that lasted many generations, this mansion was converted to a 37 room luxury hotel for the modern day traveler. This hotel definitely did not disappoint me. It had everything I was looking for. Antique furniture, old architecture creaky floors and more.
The bedding was a little drab in our room but the bed was comfortable.
Our room overlooked a beautiful courtyard adorned with formal garden and statues. A great place to sit and relax if you need a break.
I will be doing a future post on Hotel Jan Brito and the equally stunning hotel we recently stayed in so stay tuned for more information on those at a later date!
Grote Markt (The Market Square)
The market square is just lovely. This was the epicenter for commerce in medieval times and the Grote Markt still draws shoppers in today. Wednesday is Market Day in the Square. Every Wednesday vendors set up stalls to sell a variety of goods such as produce, meats and cheeses, flowers, snacks and handmade goods. Although I was not there on a Wednesday the market square is a must see and heart of the medieval part of city. It is lined with restaurants and cafes.
If you are looking for a little romance you can also take a carriage ride from the square and tour the city streets.
Shopping In Bruges, Belgium
Pick any little street off the Market Square and you will find an abundance of small shops to wander, browse and buy til your heart’s content. Shops that sell gifts, souvenirs, lace and tapestries are plentiful in Bruges.
And of course, my favorite…. handmade CHOCOLATE! You can literally throw a rock in Bruges and hit a chocolatier. I wouldn’t recommend it though as you might accidentally hit one of the thousands of tourists around you. My husband and I enjoyed going into the shops, tasting samples and gazing at all the tempting treats!
The Legendary Belgian Waffle
Of course if you make it to Belgium you just HAVE to try a Belgian waffle right?! If you are looking to try an authentic Belgian waffle I would recommend getting one from a small cafe that specializes in waffles. The first time I went to Bruges I got one at a full service restaurant and it was just “Meh,” nothing to write home about. On my last trip I got this one from a little walk up cafe and it was amazing!
The Venice Of The North
Taking a leisurely boat ride down the canals is an inexpensive and great way to enjoy the sights of the city. For around 9 or 10 Euros per person it is well worth it.
It is a great way to relax and enjoy the view of the gorgeous medieval architecture the city has to offer.
We had a very pleasant and entertaining trip down the canals and we learned a bit about the city as well. We had a great tour guide that spoke English and liked to crack the occasional joke.
Breakfast and Saying Goodbye To Bruges…..For Now
After a good night’s sleep my husband and I decided to walk back to the Market Square for a bit of breakfast. We stopped at one of the cafes and had a hearty meal.
It was delicious and the croissant was amazing! With so much French influence in this city and country I wouldn’t expect anything less!
Just a few things worth noting when visiting Bruges, Belgium….
• Bruges is very pedestrian and bicycle friendly. While you wander through the streets you actually forget you are on a STREET and there will be occasional cars coming through. Watch out for the cyclists as well. They sneak up on you!
•Parking is limited. Check with your hotel to see how far the closest parking garage is.
•Wear sturdy walking shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking. I ended up hurting my ankle from all the walking on the uneven cobblestone streets.
•You will hear many people speaking Dutch and French in Bruges. Don’t worry, most people also speak English as well!
Thank you so much for “traveling” with me today. I hope it took your mind off of the chaos in the world right now and got you dreaming of brighter, happier days and perhaps of visiting Bruges, Belgium! Turn off the news and focus on the positives in your life. Just looking at a photo of a beautiful place can raise your spirits!
I will be adding these photos and more to my Pinterest board Travels To Europe. Please stop by, get lost in the photos and be sure to follow me if you’d like!