Wednesday, 15 February 2017

A day in Bruges

Hi guys,

You may have seen my last blog post where I talked about my time in Brussels and why I think it is definitely a city worth visiting. If not, then feel free to check it out on my Travel page if you're interested.

I mentioned in this blog that I would definitely recommend spending a day in Bruges. Bruges is another Belgian city and is just over an hour's train journey. The trains are really accessible and easy to use and they are really reasonably priced too.

We got the train from Brussels Central Station (Bruxelles Central / Brussels Centraal) and it was such an easy journey.

 


If you have read my blog on Paris you'll probably be familiar with my favourite travel website but for those who haven't, I used the website Rome 2 Rio (www.rome2rio.com). This website provides a variety of travel options to enable you to get from destination A to B and is especially helpful with trains and metros. I would definitely recommend using this website to look at which train/metro to get to reach your required destination.


So, what is there to do in Bruges and why is it worth a visit?

Markt


Markt is a Dutch word and roughly means Market Place/Market Square so you'll find a lot of the main squares in Belgium are referred to as 'Markt'. This may seem strange as, like me, you might assume that the main language in Belgium is French. However, they actually have three main languages: French, Dutch and German. A lot of people from Belgium speak all three but this is dependent on where you live.

 

The Markt is a really nice square filled with little shops, restaurants and several of the attractions. When we visited, there was a large canopy tent in the centre of the square as there was a Beer festival on at this time. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of beer and neither was my friend. If this had been a wine or gin festival, we would definitely have been straight in there!

Belfry Tower


Belfry Tower is located in Markt and is a large tower that is said to be leaning slightly east.

 
 

 It is one of the main attractions in Bruges and is definitely worth seeing as it is such a pretty old building originating back to medieval times. You can climb the tower if you wish to for a small fee.

Bruges Canals


Bruges is a city with canals running throughout and is actually distinguished from other Belgian cities in this respect.

 

I have to say that the canals really do add to the overall beauty of the city - there is just something about cobbled streets and canals that seems so picturesque.

Belgian Chocolate


You can't go to Belgium without trying some Belgian chocolate (or buying some)!

 


 There are so many chocolate shops in Bruges - they are literally everywhere you turn! Different shops do offer different prices/deals and also different chocolate so it is worth having a look in a few. Most shops offer tasters too so definitely make the most of those!

Minnewater Park


Minnewater Park is a small (ish) park located on the outskirts of Bruges centre, near the central train station.

Minnewater Park reminded me of a smaller version of Central Park, with the lake, bridges and smaller separate areas of the park including closed off seating areas and paths.

 
 
 

I loved visiting this park and would definitely recommend it. If it is a nice day, it is the perfect place to sit and chill out for a little while. There is also a human sized chess board surrounded by a lovely seating area - this would be a fun way to spend an afternoon if you are in Bruges for a few days.

The main bridge across the lake is known as the Love Bridge.

 

I really struggled to see why the bridge was referred to as this as I didn't see anything particularly romantic about it but, nevertheless, it is one of the park attractions and is definitely worth a visit.

Basilica of the Holy Blood


I had read about this church on Google before visiting Bruges but hadn't really looked at many pictures and so, when we stumbled across this pretty building, I didn't actually know that it was in fact the Basilica I wanted to visit.

 
 

I am so glad that we went in despite this as, of course, I wanted to visit anyway but also due to the fact that it was such a beautiful church.

This church is slightly different to other churches that you may visit as, instead of simply praying, lighting a candle or taking in the amazing decor, there is an additional attraction once inside. The Relic of the Precious Blood is a glass bottle said to contain a cloth with Jesus' blood on it. You are able to view the Relic and are given a prayer by a priest to say during this time.

In particular, I loved the decor of this Basilica. The huge stained glass windows were breathtaking and the decor of the altar consisted of a beautiful intricate design.

 

I would definitely recommend visiting here. It is a free attraction and you are able to stay as long as you wish.

Church of Our Lady


Similar to the Basilica of the Holy Blood, the Church of Our Lady in Bruges was not only a beautiful church. It also had an additional attraction: a sculpture created by Michael Angelo.

If you've not heard of him before, Michael Angelo is the artist that painted the amazing ceiling design at the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

Unfortunately when we visited, the church was not open for visiting in full but we did get a quick glance of the sculpture before leaving. I would definitely recommend researching opening times/viewing times and ensuring that you can visit properly.

To view images of the church, click here.

Cobbled Streets & Shops


This is probably a really random reason to visit Bruges but the cobbled streets were just so pretty.

 
 

There were so many little streets and side streets to visit, all with shops, cafes and restaurants on. It is a really nice city to have a leisurely wander round going from shop to shop and just taking in their culture and lifestyle.

I have to say, if you are wanting to go shopping then Bruges is the place! There were literally so many shops - you could have spent at least a day just shopping here.

As mentioned above, a lot of the shops were chocolatiers but they weren't all the same and we did go in several different ones. The chocolate literally looked and tasted amazing!

Sweet Treats


Aside from Belgian chocolate, Belgium is also famous for its amazing waffles and pancakes. 

We stopped at the prettiest little restaurant down a cobbled side street and had the most amazing pancakes.

 


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If you're looking for a city break, I would definitely recommend visiting Bruges - whether that is as a day trip from Brussels or for a weekend. It is definitely worth a visit!

We wanted quite a chilled day in Bruges as the weather wasn't that great but there are so many other things that you can do. I would also recommend planning your time as everything shuts quite early - we tried to visit Sint-Janhospitaal around 4pm and it had already closed. To read more about what to do in Bruges click here.

I hope you've enjoyed reading!

Love,


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