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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 Old Town.


Bruges

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 Travel.


Bruges Travel and Flight Information

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 a decline 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 artistic treasures.

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.

Location
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 airport.

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.

Must See
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 Burg Square.


Markt Square, Bruges

Visit the Beguinage, a graceful convent and the picturesque Minnewater.

Must Do
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

Restaurants
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 in Bruges. 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.

Shops
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 corner.

Excursions
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

Getting Around
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.

Getting There
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

To Relax
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 restaurant.

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

Weather
Daily average temperatures (Approx) 'C

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Bruges by Hessle Travel

Bruges Highlights

> The medieval city has beautiful walks, scenic canals and enchanting squares

> 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.

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