Holiday Guide for Bruges
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Step back in time in the beautiful World heritage listed Belgium city of Bruges. Suspended in time 500 years ago when the river silted up, this medieval town is a gem. Bruges is a great place to unwind and relax by wandering around the old markt, eating as many mussels as one can, and sampling all the local beers.
Bruges (or Brugge) was founded by Vikings in the 9th century. In Medieval times Bruges became a prosperous port town as the area had good access to the North Sea by the river Zwin. Bruges' cloth and wool industry boomed and the city was at its economic peak in the late 14th century when it became a key member in a powerful association of northern European trading cities. The city expanded to 200,000 in 1500 and the city's art community blossomed as well. In the early 16th Century the Zwin started to silt over and by the 1530's the sea trade had ceased and Bruges dwindled. The city managed to escape any damage in either of the World Wars and as a result is quite well preserved. Bruges was only really revived in the 20th Century when it was rediscovered by international tourism and nicknamed the 'Venice of the North'.
Things to See:
The old Markt square is the cultural centre of town, and is always bustling with shoppers, tourists and locals. The Belfort (belfry) sits at the edge of the square and has a great view over the town.
The only brewery inside the city of Bruges is 'De Halve Maan' (or half moon) and has been active since 1856. There are multiple tours daily all year round, and the view from atop the brewery is good. They also give you a free homemade beer at the end of the tour.
Bruges is known as the 'Venice of the North' due to the canals that run through the town. Take a trip on the canal to unwind and see the city from a different view.
The food, especially the seafood in Bruges is amazing. There is no shortage of lovely little restaurants, cafes and beer halls. Try mussels Provencal, with white wine or curry sauce. The beers too are amazing, some of the beer halls have over 300 different beers. The fruit beers are quite tasty but steer clear of the chocolate beer, two things that weren't meant to be mixed!
Brugesís main train station is 1.5km from the city centre, which is easily accessible by bus. There are frequent train services from Brussels (which is served by the Euro star), Antwerp, Zeebrugge,other cities in Bruges and also the surrounding countries including the Netherlands. Euroline buses have services from the UK and the Netherlands, picking up from the train station.
Bruges' winters are quite chilly, with cold temperatures often sitting around 0C and often causing the canals to freeze over. The spring and autumn are better but can still get cool. Summer in Bruges is warmer, with temperature in the early-mid 20's.