Nothing seems to have changed in Bruges since the Medieval Age. The capital of West Flander in northwest Belgium looks for all the world as though it has been plucked from the pages of a medieval fairy tale with picturesque cobblestoned lanes, beautiful canals, and marvelous centuries-old buildings.
The history of Bruges (or Brugge in Dutch) dates back to the first century when it was used as a fortification by the Roman to protect the coastal area against pirates. With its strategic location at the crossroads of the southern and northern trade routes, Bruges grew into a commercial metropolis in the heart of Europe during the medieval time.
Most of Bruges’ medieval architecture was left intact.
Apart from the religious wars in the 16th century and the French Revolution, Bruges refrained from the devastations associated with other conflicts in this part of Europe, including both World Wars. Most of its medieval architecture was left intact, making it one of the most well-preserved medieval towns in Europe.
Bruges’s most popular landmark is Market Place where a 13th-century belfry is located. Named as Béguinage, the 22 meters high bell tower houses a municipal carillon comprising 48 bells. Other sights include the City Hall, hospitals, the religious and commercial complexes as well as the historic urban fabric. The city illustrates an exchange of influences on the development of art and architecture, particularly in brick Gothic, which is characteristic of northern Europe and the Baltic.
Tips for visiting Bruges
- The train from Bruxelles-Midi to Bruges takes less than one hour, making the city an ideal destination for day-trippers from Brussels. It costs around 15€ per ride, but you can opt for a Weekend Ticket which is 50% cheaper.
- Bruges’s old town is relatively small. You can either explore it by feet or by horse carriage. A canal cruise is also an option if the queue is not too long.
- Try visiting midweek, because the city is packed with tourists on weekends (and certainly on holidays). The crowd reaches its peak in summer months.
- Belgian mussels and fries is a classical Flemish dish. Try it at Bruges or any fishing village and town along the coast.
29 thoughts on “Bruges: Where The Time Stands Still”
Bruges really is a magical town!
Great pictures Len! I was in Bruges only once, and it was unfortunately raining. The city is still fantastic, but those reflections of blue skies in the canals bring it to a whole new level 🙂 -Verne
Many thanks 🙂
Bruges is magical. I loved the day trip I took with my friend. Your pix are beautiful
It is very kind of you, Uma 🙂 Thanks!
It looks like it belongs in a fairytale!
Your second photo has this classical feel, with the church at the background, framed with vibrant colors of trees, stillness of the canal complete with swans. You do have an eye for good photographic spots!
Your comment made my day 🙂 Thanks a lot, Bama!
In rain or shine, the city or town should we say – sparkles.
Great weather you had. Beautiful city indeed.
I would love to see this magical town covered in snow, if I have the chance 🙂
Now that is truly something to think about. We lived close enough to drive but never visited in winter. We also heard it does not snow that often in the Benelux so that would indeed be a rare chance to see!
Oh, so the weather is the same as Hamburg. We do not have much snow here. Only rain and icy wind!
Really pretty… lucky with the weather you had! From an outsider looking in, European cities seem to take on similar vibes after a while don’t they? ☺️
Yep! They share similarities because the merchants did not only trade goods, they also exchanged culture.
I know it might get dull after a few visits. That’s why I always include different activities into my trip, or example, museums visiting. I highly recommend you to visit Science Museum in Europe. It’s awesome! You don’t have to be a scientist to enjoy them 🙂
Yes, I will be going through a few museums in my spare time to get deeper into their culture (although more the bespoke museums). Glad you ended by clarifying we don’t have to enjoy science, being a science dropout in high school isn’t very flattering. 😂
I read so many great things about Bruges, and it certainly looks so charming and atmospheric.
Sao Len viết cả tiếng Việt lẫn tiếng Anh hay thế 😊
Hihi cám ơn chị 🙂
Gorgeous photos, Len!
Thank you 😀
Ooh wow! It is so charming. I would love to visit it during Christmas time for all those lovely markets, but I guess its really busy then as well.
I’m sure the town would be full of people! But I think Bruges will be more pretty thanks to the Christmas market. If there were snow, it will become a winter wonderland 🙂
Great post, Len. We tried the mussels and they were delicious, as well as their potato fries. 🙂 We haven’t been here a long while, but you reminded me of how beautiful the city is.
Hihi I was surprised when they served the mussels in such a large pot 🙂 And it’s enough for 2-3 people.
Yes! A huge portion!
It’s a city on my list of the cities I must visit. Your pictures remind me that I shouldn’t wait so long 😉
You should do it before the town is overwhelmed by tourists 🙂 It’s an easy day trip from Paris. I guess it takes 2-3 hours, including changing trains.