“Welcome to Bruges, Everything here is over 600 years old!” That is how our hotel greeted us. A 1.5 hours train ride from Brussels, we had just entered fairytale town. I am a sucker for fairytales and this little town was definitely a place one could live Happily Ever After……. Be warned, a whole lot of sappiness ahead!
Where to Stay
We stayed at Ibis Brugge Centrum, a hotel that has moulded its modernistic facilities into a historic setting. The view from our room was simply divine, almost postcard like.One thing common in all the Ibis hotels we stayed are the friendly and super helpful staff, one of the main reasons why we would recommend them to anyone.
Bruges is characterised by narrow cobble stone pathways with very less vehicles and lots of horse driven carriages.Attention single girls!! You might literally meet your knight in shining armour here! This town is best explored on foot and has surprises awaiting you at every corner.
Things to do in Bruges
Visit the Godshuizen (Almshouses)
Homes to the elderly, unmarried and the widowed in the early 14th century and now a convent, it is attached to a beautiful chapel. It is believed that people here live such pious lives, they are guaranteed a place in heaven. For me, it already looked like a piece of heaven.
More or less a town square, this part of town is alive until the wee hours. That is something considering that the rest of the town pretty much shuts down by 7 PM or earlier. Climbing the belfry or the bell tower here is a definite must as the aerial view of the city is something you should not miss. The Salvador Dali museum is also located here.As for its restaurants, they are very touristy and pricey and do not offer authentic flavours. The tiny, cozy restaurants buried deep in this town offers much better local fare.
Ahh!! The Chocolate Shops
Most part of our walks around the city involved my nose stuck to the window displays of the many chocolate stores here and Vishnu pulling me away from them. It is like you have entered Charlie’s chocolate factory sans the creepy Charlie. I have never seen so many varieties of chocolates in one place. Hot chocolate is a definite must try here and we loved the ones at Jean De Bruges and The Old Chocolate House. As for chocolate spreads and chocolate liqueur, Mathilda’s in the Markt is simply awesome.
The Beer Wall
Yup, you read that right. This legendary wall has more than 1100 beers on display, a perfect setting for some “hammered” photographs.They offer a taste platter consisting of four strong/weak beers as per your choice at €10 and you can enjoy them overlooking the river. It is a true beer lovers paradise. Also, there is a Tintin souvenir shop right next door which offers some awesome memorabilia’s.
If you have watched the cult classic, “In Bruge”, a movie that massacred the romantic angle of this beautiful town for me, this bridge is where Ray & Chloe share their first kiss. Legend has it that a young girl named Minna died trying to reunite with her lover here, so if you cross the bridge with your man, your love becomes eternal.
Disclaimer: I did warn you about the mushy bit! 🙂
The canals in Bruges have this postcard like characteristic that anyone can fall in love with. Swans, the epitome of romance, can be found here in plenty. The setting calls for a boat ride, to take in all this splendour.
In addition to these, there are many museum’s and churches with historical importance that you can enjoy here. Bruges is like a theatrical set, a town that blends perfectly with nature. We initially had planned only a day here but extended our stay just to explore everything this town had to offer. I would go on to say that this is most definitely the highlight of our stay in Belgium. Like all good things, our stay here had to come to an end,but it definitely did set the bars higher…!