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Bruges Travel Guide

About Bruges

Often dubbed the ‘Venice of the North’, the photogenic waterways and fairytale architecture make Bruges one of the prettiest cities in Europe.

Bruges’s stunning UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town is a medieval masterpiece, like an open-air museum where visitors can experience a rich concoction of Flemish architecture, art, history and food.

Immortalised in the movie In Bruges, it has become immensely popular, and its streets throng with camera-wielding tourists throughout the year. They are here for good reason: magical sights are found around every corner, and the sound of horse-drawn carriages riding cobblestones only adds to the city’s romantic allure.

The landmark Belfry Tower on the central Markt square is probably the foremost attraction, as the views from the top of this 15th-century masterpiece are stunning. Don’t miss out a boat ride down Bruges’s iconic canals either, remembering to visit Burg Square, where you’ll find the Basilica of the Holy Blood, which claims to possess the blood of Jesus Christ himself.

The city is replete with museums that showcase everything from furniture to folklore. The Chocolate Museum and Beer Museum are self-explanatory, while the Frietmuseum is where visitors can learn why French fries should really be called Belgian fries.

Gourmands won’t be disappointed either. Bruges is bursting with restaurants where local Belgian cuisine reigns supreme. Those on tight budgets might wince at some of the prices, but it’s hard to hold that against this city this pretty.

In many ways, Bruges has become a victim of its own popularity. Old Town property prices have been pushed beyond the reach of most locals and many of the quaint, canal-side dwellings are being used as second homes by part-time residents. Consequently, Bruges can feel like a bit of a ghost town in the quieter seasons and even the summer when visitors have gone to bed. If you’re looking for hedonism, look elsewhere.

Still, visitors will be galvanised by Bruges’s historic beauty, which is largely unspoilt by progress. Preserved in a time long-forgotten, it makes the city the perfect cultural mini-break or a great stopover for travellers exploring Europe.

Key facts

Population:
117,260
Latitude:
51.213349
Longitude:
3.224884

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Featured Hotels

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Hotel Navarra

A grand hotel in a compact city, the Navarra is housed in a gorgeous, listed building in the heart of Bruges. There are 94 comfortable rooms in total, not to mention a fabulous swimming pool and sauna, which is the perfect tonic after a day of sightseeing. If you’ve brought your wheels to the city, the hotel’s on-site parking will ease the burden.

Hotel Fevery

Small, friendly and family-run, the Fevery is in a quiet spot just 10 minutes from the central market square. Rooms are simply furnished, but homely and good value. The fact there are only 10 of them keeps the service personal, ensuring the vibe stays like that of a suburban bed and breakfast, rather than a slick city hotel.

The Pand Hotel

Quite possibly the best place to stay in Bruges, The Pand is a small, luxurious hotel in the heart of the Old Town. Sumptuous but not showy, this former 18th-century carriage house has a friendly, laid-back ambiance and one of the best champagne breakfasts in the city. Festooned with the owner’s personal collection of antiques, there are 26 individually designed rooms to choose from.

Hotel de Orangerie

Opulence abounds in the 20 large and lavish rooms of this lovely boutique hotel, housed in a former 15th-century monastery. Those facing the picturesque canal have some of the best views in town. If you can tear yourself away, the lounge bar has a warming open fire in winter, or you can enjoy afternoon tea in the elegant winter garden.

NH Brugge

This hotel has an interesting history, as it was a monastery from the 17th century, but is now a classified building. With a buffet breakfast, a restaurant, bar, free Wi-Fi, and room service, guests will be delighted with their stay and wish for more. Located in the “Venice of the North”, a UNESCO World Heritage site, NH Brugge is a convenient and enjoyable place to stay.

 

Ensor

Ensor is a family hotel, located in Bruges’ Old Town, in a quiet area alongside a typical Bruges canal. With 12 rooms, it’s a small but comfortable hotel. The hotel is just a short walk into town and not far from the train station either, so the location is convenient as well. Described as a budget hotel, if needed you can attempt to email directly and lower the rates.