BrugesWith a fairytale medieval town look, it is hard not to be captivated by Bruges. Adorned with whitewashed traditional buildings, market squares, grand old churches, romantic canals and cobbled streets, the city center’s every corner seems fit for photography.

It is no wonder that thousands of visitors are lured to this Belgian town every year. In the summer months, in particular, you can see hoards of day trippers finding their way around. But if you want to really experience what Bruges is all about, do an overnight stay. If you have the time, stay for a couple days as there are plenty of things to do and see. If you want to enjoy the quieter side of the city, come during spring and winter, except for the busy Christmas week.

Bruges sits in the northern section of Belgium, in a region called Flanders. Despite its compact size, the town exudes a cosmopolitan vibe. But it has been cherishing its glorious past, being one of Europe’s best preserved pre-motorized towns. It is so easy to stroll around the city’s historical center without being lost or bored. However if you want to cover more distance, another ideal way to get around is by riding a bicycle. And you will not be alone while doing this, as the town is a cycling paradise. The majority of the traffic in the center is composed of Bruges inhabitants on two non-motorized wheels. As expected, there are many bike rental companies all over the city. Some of them even offer a guided bicycle tour – something to seriously consider if you want to get to know Bruges’ top spot in a couple of hours.

Bruges-Grote-MarketOne of the most popular areas of the city is the inside portion of the city walls encircled by a canal. Here, you will find a large number of exquisite centuries-old houses on cobble stone streets. You are not in Belgium if you don’t see chocolate shops at some point, so Bruges also has its fair share of establishments selling these delicious delights. Also it is not hard to find world-class hotels in the city as it is a major tourist destination. But if you are on a budget, you can also make your way to a Bauhaus, a local name for youth hostels. If you want to maximize your stay, then it is best to get the Bruges Card, which offers discounts to the city’s main attractions.

One of the most iconic landmarks in the city is the Markt (Market Square), which has been the center of activities in Bruges since the medieval times. The centre of the square is marked by the statues of the war heroes, Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck. It is also home to the 83-meter Belfry tower, which has served as the perfect lookout point for the city. Other notable landmarks worth visiting include the historic Saint John’s Hospital, the Burg, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and Begijnhof.

There are many interesting museums in Bruges that will delight even those who are regular museum-goers. Aside from the standard art museums like the Groeninge Museum and Lucifernum, you can also drop by the quirky and highly specialized establishments like the Brewery De Halve Maan, which uncovers the beer-making process, the glittering Diamant Museum (Diamond Museum) and the Choco-Story Museum, which offers chocolate making exhibitions, not to mention delicious samples.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!