Hello fellow wanderers! There is so much I want to share about the magical little city of Bruges! What had originally attracted me to make Bruges part of our honeymoon was because I heard from many people that Bruges was beautiful, romantic and known as the ‘little Venice’ of the north. So we hopped on the train at Brussels Midi station and about an hour later we arrived.
First thing I realized was that Bruges was not as dual-lingo as Brussels, and Flemish is the predominant language. We grabbed an expensive city bus ride from the train station to the central square
(about 10-15 minute ride) and then feasted our eyes on the beautiful and well-preserved architecture of the city.
Bruges is a medieval city which experienced a golden age between the 12th and 15th century before its port began to stilt and their trading economy went down hill. Surprisingly, it was in the 19th century when it became one of the world’s first tourist attractions for the wealthy because of its ancient architecture. While much of it is Gothic, the city also has it’s own particular style which I believe is similar to much Dutch-influenced cultures. One perfectly romantic way to see much of the city, is by taking a boat ride tour through the canals. No, there are no gondolas, but the tourist boats only cost 8 euros for a half hour tour, and the guide explains certain buildings as well as historical and cultural tid-bits.
Every turn of the river bend seems to bring another beautiful sight to behold. Restaurants with a port, old yet classy homes, parks and gardens. The city is not all lounging in boat rides, there is some adventures and challenges to be had as well. Such as climbing all 366 steps of the Belfry Tower! This is a medieval bell tower from the early 1200’s with a winding stair case all the way to the panorama view, just beneath the bells. If you ever go up the tower, do stay until the clock strikes the hour. You will hear a most enchanting and bewitching melody…
At this point, we were in love with this city. While much of it was old, we noticed it was impeccably clean, unlike anywhere we had yet seen. It also felt simply peaceful and safe. Belgium, after all, is known to be in the top 20 most peaceful countries to live in.
Now we were hungry! Oh yes, time to find some delicious Belgian food!
We walked around away from the bell tower and came across a small enclosed plaza lined with restaurants. We purposely walked away from the main city square, and found this peaceful little restaurant. I had Mussels and Fries, which were very good, though perhaps not the best I ever had, which to be fair, was probably due to the fact that it wasn’t the right season for mussels, so they were imported. After lunch, we knew time was running out. With only a couple hours more, we went ventured off once more, back to the city square. My newly wed husband insisted that we should get a carriage tour. I love horses and I find carriage rides so romantic, and it was our honeymoon!
We found a young girl carriage driver, apart from giving us a tour (much of it was a repeat of what we saw by water but still it was nice to get our bearings on land) we chatted with her and found out she desperately wanted to travel and maybe even move to Canada. We encouraged her to keep up her dream, but she seemed convinced it was nothing more than a dream that would never see reality. It broke my heart a bit, and remembered how privileged we were to travel about the world.
There is a break for the horse right by a park that is filled with swans! It’s a beautiful place to take a picture, and there is a neat fountain nearby with the head of a horse bronze statue. This is also the halfway point of the tour, so after about 5 minutes or so, you get back on the carriage and head back to the city square.
After the carriage tour, it was nearly time to head to the train station, which we found out was not too far of a walk from the city square, so we could pass on the pricey bus! I don’t think I ever took my time more than when we made our way to the train station. We walked passed chocolate shops, bought a few souvenirs, and then came to one of the cleanest, cutest most quaint neighborhoods I had ever seen in my life! My husband had to plore me to keep moving when I stopped to take pictures every ten seconds!
Next thing we know, we’re on our way back to Brussels, dreaming and imagining what life would be like if we lived in a lovely place like Bruges…And that concludes our short visit to the Little Venice of the north!
Have you been to Bruges? What did you think of it? Do you plan to go there soon? Let me know in the comments below!