How To Spend A Weekend In Bruges

Bruges in Belgium is the perfect city for a weekend trip. It is compact and easily navigable on foot, with most of its key sights just a stone’s throw away from eachother. I first became aware of this stunning medieval location after watching the film ‘In Bruges’. If you do not know this film, it is a black comedy featuring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two hit men sent to Bruges to hide out.

The film features the city’s characteristic canals, cobbled streets and Flemish architecture. Despite the dark theme of the film, I was drawn in by the historic, mysterious setting. A few years later, I booked my Eurostar ticket and finally took the trip.

To get to Bruges, we travelled via Eurostar from London St Pancras to Brussels Midi, which took around two and a half hours. Then we took a 45-minute local train to Bruges. The Eurostar ticket covered the whole journey.

While travelling by train is not the quickest route, it is certainly the most scenic.

Arriving in Bruges on a Saturday afternoon, we quickly got out into the city to find our bearings. Our walk into town followed a route alongside the picturesque canals. We wandered for miles along the cobbled streets, taking in the charming surroundings.

By the time we arrived at the Market Square, it was nearing dusk and the sky was an impressive purple colour. Every Saturday, stalls are erected here for the weekly market.

The Market Square in Bruges is where the Belfry can be found. When we visited, this medieval bell tower was housing a Salvador Dali exhibition.  Later on in the weekend, we climbed the 366 winding steps to the top in order to enjoy amazing views over the city.

 

A mixture of architecture can be found In Burg Square (Castle Square). One of the buildings here is the Basilica of the Holy Blood. This was originally built in the 12th century and allegedly houses a vial containing the blood of Jesus.

A feature of Bruges that is impossible to miss is the horse and carts. The galloping of horses and the wheels of carts going over the cobbles is a familiar sound of the city. Another way of seeing Bruges is by river. There are regular boat tours along the canals.

 

Looking at the menu one night, we were amused to find the word for whipped cream in Flemish was Slagroom.

I enjoyed lashings of slagroom and ice cream on a beautiful Belgian waffle during the weekend. I also ate plenty of chocolate and some wholesome Flemish Stew, which is a staple dish at a lot of the restaurants.

We tested some tasty local brews at the Staminee de Garre. This pub, located down an alley off the Market Square,  has more than 100 different types of beer and a great atmosphere.

As with anywhere, the cafes and restaurants outside the main centre were a lot cheaper, and had better menus.

Another sight we visited in Bruges was the Choco-Story Chocolate Museum. Here, we learnt about the history of chocolate and there were even chocolate making demonstrations.

It was interesting, but I was disappointed not to get more free chocolate. The only piece of chocolate we received was a tiny piece each during the demonstration. Then, conveniently, there was an overly expensive gift shop filled with chocolate at the end.

Worth a visit, but not if you prefer eating chocolate more than learning about it.

Do not miss going for a walk along the canals at night. They are beautifully lit up, creating an atmospheric and romantic setting.

Have you visited Bruges? What was the highlight for you?

 


 


3 Comments

  1. March 20, 2012 / 11:15

    I just started writing up my trip to Bruges today – great minds think alike! Lovely sunset photo of the Belfry. I went with my mum last year and glad we didn’t bother with the Chocolate Museum now after reading about it, we did a brewey tour instead which came with much better samples!
    Lucy recently posted..In pictures: The water temples of Tirtha EmpulMy Profile

    • March 20, 2012 / 21:47

      Hi Lucy, I loved Bruges and would like to go back there someday. Might check out a brewery tour if we do as sounds more fruitful than the chocolate one :-) Looking forward to reading your post.