ADD TO LISTBruges is a fantastically preserved medieval town that dates back to the Middle Ages. The medieval brick buildings perch by the canals that give the town its reference as "The Venice of the North". The historic center has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is also the capital of the province of West Flanders in Belgium.
You can climb the Belfry to see a great view of the town or take a boat ride through the canals to get a different view. Bruges was also a major center of Flemish painting and you can find works by artists such as Hans Memling and Jan Van Eyck in the museums.
Other key attractions in Bruges include their lace handicrafts and the fantastic chocolates.
Last edited Aug 28, 09 3:07 PM. Contributors: Danvier C.
Questions answered about visiting Bruges
Travel Tips from people who've been to Bruges
Belgian etiquette varies from Dutch etiquette in a number of ways, so don't treat Belgians as if they were Dutch. Belgian etiquette is more like that of France and Italy. Both the Flemish and the Walloons prefer to be addressed in the polite form and using tu or toi when addressing others is generally considered impolite. It's not allowed to smoke in public buildings and although service is included in the bill at cafes and restaurants, it's customary to leave a small tip.
Belgium has the same universal emergency telephone number for ambulance, fire and police assistance as other EU countries: 112. If you dial this number, you'll be connected to the emergency service you need, whether that be the police, fire or ambulance. The operator who takes your call speaks Dutch, French and English. Various police stations are located throughout Bruges. If you want to report a complaint, it's best to go to the big police station at the Hauwertstraat.
Bruges has an excellent public transport system. The station lies within walking distance of the historic centre and the shopping streets. A bus departs from the station to the centre on average every two minutes. During the morning and evening rushes, that frequency increases to one every minute. The best way to get to your destination at night is by bus. Bus departures continue until 23.10 p.m. during the week, and 2.10 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. It's cheaper to buy a ticket in advance rather than on the bus.
If you're looking to have a good night out, then head to Bruges' Eiermarkt, just behind the town square. You'll find a mix of small cafes, bars and a discotheque for the young and not-so-young crowd. Various dance cafes like Coolcat, Pick, Ambiorix and 't Ei all have their own specific character and all draw a totally different crowd. The Eiermarkt is an especially good place to relax on a terrace during the summer. DJs often feature at the weekend.
In Summer, Bruges is packed with tourist but come autumn, the capital city of Belgium’s East Flanders is a picture-perfect composition of romantic canals and old buildings hung with red and golden vines. The best way to see, feel and experience its charms is on foot. Strolling through the city, it’s easy imagine being back in the 11th Century, or even an earlier time.
The relative quietness of autumn also provides the chance to linger over Northern Renaissance art and the best place to start is at the Groeninge Museum, to see the works of Flemish Primitives artists. Then visit the Memling Museum to admire the work of the 15th Century artist Hans Memling. Nearby is the Gruuthuse Museum, a mansion built in Gothic style. To view an example of Renaissance Chamber.
For all its museum prices, however, Bruges best work of art in the town itself, whose most panaromic view can be observed from Belfry Tower, a 83 metre high bell tower located at the centre of the town. If you have the stamina to climb the 366 steps to the top, you will be rewarded with a breath taking vista. The whole of flanders at your feet, not unlike a toy city.
Tour Bruges one chocolate at a time. There are many, many chocolate shops in Bruges. Try them all, one chocolate at a time. The shop owners are used to people who come in to buy one, two or three different chocolates at a time so don't be afraid to sample your way through chocolate heaven. Before you leave, stock up on your favorites. Just remember NOT TO LEAVE YOUR CHOCOLATES IN THE CAR if you are traveling during the warm months. Oh yes, DO climb the steps to the top of clock tower. Unforgettable views and great pictures. Try to stay in one of the many small hotels off the main road. Also, have coffee on the main square but avoid eating in those restaurants: they are expensive and the food is not as good as in spots in more secluded sections of this amazing city. The boat ride is quite expensive but a very nice way to cruise through this city with its canals. Try to stay at least two days and longer if you can.
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