Bruges is a pure and untouched surreal medieval town. Small towns have always been our favorites, Bruges was one of the first towns we fell in love with, the perfectly preserved cobblestone streets, the elegant houses lining the pristine canals dotted by the swans, arch stone bridges crossing over canals and the historic churches are sure to create an aura of a fairyland.
The Song “Chaar Kadam” from the popular Bollywood movie ‘PK’ which is completely shot in the gorgeous town of Bruges is enough to leave anyone wonderstruck. We headed to Bruges for a relaxed and laid down trip, oblivious of the excitement and adventure awaiting us.
Bruges is one of the popular day trips from Brussels, we have asked very often to recommend between Ghent, Antwerp, and Bruges. Though all are different and equally beautiful, there is something magical about this quaint little town of Bruges.
We reached Brussels-Midi/Zuid Station early morning (one can also take a train from Brussels central) only to know that all the trains to Bruges were canceled due to a local strike. After waiting for sometime dispirited we decided to check if there were any buses running to Bruges and to our utter astonishment the guy at the information desk informed that a train had just arrived and was ready to leave to Bruges in 5 mins. We bought tickets and rushed to the platform and boarded the train waiting there.
The train started around half an hour late and stopped at Ghent, which is on the way to Bruges. We were waiting for the train to leave Ghent when there was an announcement that the train is canceled and another train on some other platform would now continue to Bruges. We ran towards the platform and boarded the train, which was about to leave. Finally, we reached Bruges!
Once in Bruges station, we visited the tourist office where a lady handed us a walking tourist map and informed us that all the sightseeing points were at a walkable distance which completely relieved our worries as we were already overwhelmed with the hustle and loss of enthusiasm.
After a delectable treat of colorful donuts and pastries in a bakery shop next to tourist office, we started walking towards the nearest sightseeing point as per the map. We came to the picturesque ‘Minnewater’, the name translates into English as “Lake of Love,” a small pristine lake flocked with beautiful swans, the reflection of the surrounding trees with hues of fall, quaint brick houses, and a neo-Gothic castle created a romantic atmosphere.
Beguinage of Bruges is a tranquil area with gorgeous lush greens and houses a museum with information on Beguinage history and its inhabitants.
We stopped by to try out some waffles. When in Belgium one should indulge into trying as many flavors of waffles as possible and it can’t be better than Bruges in Belgium to taste some of the exotic flavors.
Bruges also has some of the best fries made yummy with a topping of mayonnaise or tomato ketchup. Indeed, Bruges is said to have the first and only museum dedicated to potato fries and the production of Belgian fries.
We visited the ‘Church of Our Lady’ and ‘St. Salvator’s Cathedral’ and walked into the heart of medieval Bruges the Markt Square, which was packed with tourists. Fine buildings and busy horse-drawn carriages flanked the square.
Markt Square houses belfry with a carillon of 47 bells and a climb up to 366 steps rewards one with breathtaking panoramic view of the city, the Basilica of the Holy Blood with the exquisitely adorned basilica and amazing stained-glass windows and the Bruges City Hall which is one of the oldest city halls in the entire region.
Next stop was the Jan van Eyckplein, one of the prettiest squares named after renowned Bruges painter Jan van Eyck whose statue stands in the middle of the square.
The square was once a center for most of the port activity. Today the tranquil and less touristy atmosphere of the square and the colorful ornate buildings along the canal holds a captivating appeal.
We spent some time relaxing around the square and started walking in the direction of the St.-Anne quarter looking for the windmills. We visited the beautiful and peaceful Sint-Annakerk church in Sint-Annaplein and finally came to the Kruispoort that has 4 windmills dating from the 18th century. We took some pictures with the windmill and started heading towards the station.
On our way back to the Bruges station we took lots of pictures of the narrow cobbled streets, colors of fall along the canals, the tourist boats, and the medieval buildings. One cannot just stop taking pictures of this wonderful town; every corner has something to fascinate everyone.
Though the best way to see the sights of Bruges is on foot one can also rent a bike and enjoy the ride or take a relaxed horse carriage ride through the heart of the city of Bruges under the guided tour of the carriage driver.
Usually, people tend to combine Bruges with Ghent on a day trip from Brussels but we believe Bruges deserves a full day at leisure to completely enjoy it.
Have you been to Bruges? Do share with us your experience in comments.
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