Bruges Travel Information
The beautiful Bruges is one of Europe's best preserved mediaeval towns, and
is incredibly picturesque.
You can take a cruise along the romantic canals or ride in a traditional horse
and carriage to discover the intricate narrow lanes and waterways of the
Browse in the tiny lace and chocolate shops, or simply just relax in one of
the many pavement cafes on the old market square and enjoy a glass of
Belgian beer while people watching.
With its handsome old buildings, cobbled streets and ancient churches,
romantic Bruges is an open air museum.
Get a quote for a City
break to Bruges with flights or P&O North Sea Ferries with Hessle
Bruges Travel and Flight
The town's old-world charm is so complete it can seem like a
medieval film set. Throughout the year streams of tourists photograph
its beautiful buildings and wander in and out of the chocolate and lace
shops to the endless ringing of church bells and clattering horse-drawn
carriages on the cobbled streets.
Just a compact 1¾ miles from North to South and 1¼
mls from East to West, it only has a population of around 100,000 but yet a
staggering 3 and a half million people visit the town each year. Perfectly circled
by a canal, and crossed over by several more, boat trips on its romantic
waterways bring Venice to mind.
Once a wealthy port, Bruges took
when its river silted up and it remained neglected until the opening of
a new port at Zeebrugge in 1907, which marked a return to prosperity.
Luckily, the years of slumber ensured the survival of the old buildings,
leaving Bruges as one of the best preserved examples of northern
Renaissance architecture in Europe.
Among the most interesting sights is
the Grote Markt (main square), surrounded by historic buildings and
dominated by the 13th century great halls and belfry (a dizzying climb
to the top provides good views over the rooftops).
One block away is the
Burg square, an attractive architectural ensemble which includes the
Chapel of the Holy Blood and the Palace of Justice – the starting point
for tours by horse-drawn carriage. There is also the Gothic Cathedral
and the soaring, majestic tower of the Church of Our Lady, filled with
In a tranquil area South of the old town is the
Beguinage, formerly a place of refuge for young single women and now a
nunnery. Bruges at night is an experience in itself, offering endless
strolls through quiet cobbled streets and romantic views of floodlit
canals and buildings.
On flat land midway between Ostend and the
coast. Motorways to the South connect the town with the principal cities of
Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent.
Based in North West Belgium, 55 miles North West of
Brussels. 62 miles North West of Brussels airport and 17 miles East of Ostend and its
Where to Stay
There are a large number of
hotels for a town of this size, catering to high numbers of year-round
tourists; something for every budget. Many are located in historic
buildings around the heart of the old centre.
What to Do
Daytime: walking around the town's charming narrow lanes (leaflets
from the tourist office); historic sights, museums and galleries;
carillon concerts; International Music Days, pageants and processions
(check with tourist office for dates); canal-boat tours (mid-March to
mid-November); brewery tours; horse-drawn carriage rides (summer only).
Nightlife: some clubs, but mostly beer drinking in cellars, taverns and
bars occasionally with live music.
Bruges has some of Europe's best preserved mediaeval sights, including
the impressive Markt Square and its Bell Tower, where the carillon
concerts are a must, and the beautiful 14th century gothic City Hall on
Markt Square, Bruges
Visit the Beguinage, a graceful convent and the picturesque Minnewater.
Art lovers should head for the magnificent Groeninge Art Museum. The
Gruuthuse Museum displays lace and furniture in an exquisite stately
palace, while the centuries old St John's Hospital displays some of Hans
Memling's greatest works.
Also unmissable is Our Lady's Church and Michaelangelo's statue of the
Madonna and Child.
Madonna and Child, Bruges
A great number of
restaurants offering similar menus of local favourites, moules gratinees, salmon or steak in
bearnaise sauce. Mainly focused in Grote Markt; almost exclusively
for tourists but a memorable experience. Dotted around the surrounding
streets are Indian, Spannish tapas and other international restaurants. Many
of the restaurants are in characterful old buildings and offer the option of
fireside or terrace seating. Vegetarians are generally well catered for
If you order a big beer, be prepared for probably the largest lager in
the world, served in a heavy 2 pint glass more like a jug.
Noordzandstraat, Zuidzandstraat and
Steenstraat are the principal shopping streets, with modern shops
typical of any provincial British high street. At their West end is a large
square with a Saturday market.
Numerous small specialist shops in the
streets and lanes around Burg square. Bobbin lace is the local
speciality, but beware of Chinese imports. Belgian chocolate shops
obviously are on almost every
Half day tours: Zeebrugge
maritime theme park; various country parks. Full day: Knokke-Heist for
beach resorts, golf, bird-watching, casino; border town of Ypres
(beautifully rebuilt after World War I) and Flanders Fields; Brussels; Antwerp;
Ghent; bike tours of Flemish villages
By far the best way to explore Bruges is on foot or by bicycle, but
local buses also offer a frequent service. For a relaxing view of
Bruges, take a canal trip or a tour by horse drawn carriage.
In the old town, a bus service connects the main square to the station.
A day bus pass gives unlimited travel.
Who is it for?
Beautifully preserved old buildings on every corner appeal to those
interested in history. They also create a unique atmosphere that
attracts those who just want to wander around charming cobbled streets
and scenic canals and relax in the many restaurants and cafes. Visitors
come from all over the world and you will hear British and Americans
wherever you go. Popular with tourists whatever the season, it can get
particularly crowded during holiday periods, which are worth trying to
avoid for this reason.
P&O North Sea Ferries have a direct sailing from Hull to Zeebrugge, coach
transfers are then available into Bruges. You can get a quote with
Hessle Travel here -
PO North Sea Ferries
Direct flights from the UK to Brussels airport are
available at discount rates from your local airport. The flight time to Brussels airport is approx 1 hour. From
Brussels it is just under 1 hour to Bruges.
Belgium's main international airline
It is impossible to wander the cobbled streets and romantic squares of
Bruges without being tempted by a pastry of a waffle at one of the many
teahouses, or a full blown helping of traditional Belgian cuisine at a
Bruges is world famous for its lace and chocolate shops, which you will
find in abundance around Markt and Burg Squares. Other Bruges
specialities include pottery, ceramics and biscuits, and you will find
some superb antique shops and jewellers.
Town Hall, Burg Square
Daily average temperatures (Approx) 'C
JAN 6 FEB 6 MAR 9 APR
11 MAY 16 JUN
18 JUL 20 AUG 21 SEP 18 OCT
14 NOV 9
Bruges by Hessle Travel
> The medieval city has beautiful walks, scenic canals and
> Climb the Belfry's 366 steps, the view is worth it
> Watch intricate lace pieces being made at the Lace Centre in the
Saint Anne district
> Bump over cobbles in a horse drawn carriage
> Take a break in Bruges and see a wonderfully preserved city
naturally embracing contemporary art and new buildings
Book yourself a flight or city break to Bruges with Hessle Travel.