When I first think of Europe, a small charming village usually comes to my mind, something like the village you see in Beauty and the Beast if you know what I mean. After visiting capital cities after capital cities of the many close-knit countries in Europe, my personal notion of the typical European city completely changed. That is until I made an impromptu stop in this northern city in Belgium, a small touristic city called Bruges or Brugge locally.
Originally my plans were to spend an extra day in Brussels, but we decided that we had seen enough of Brussels and wanted to branch out to travel somewhere people don’t usually go. Don’t get me wrong, Bruges is an extremely popular tourist destinations and everything in the city is built around tourism, but there’s just something different about the charm of this city.
Bruges is the classical European city I’ve always imagined in my head, and I’m sure that I’m not alone. To say that this village is just “charming” would be an understatement.
Curious tourists from all over the world usually make a stop in Bruges when travelling to Brussels. We arrived by a 3-hour train ride directly from Brussels which is how most people get to the city. There is also a cruise port nearby where cruisers can come and go. Spending a day in Bruges is the perfect length of time. The moment we stepped off the trains we realized that this was not a typical city in Europe we’ve been used to visiting. You know, the cities like Paris, London, Berlin, Rome and the list goes on. Instead, this was different. Everything felt smaller, but not in an uninteresting way whatsoever.
Roads in Bruges
Bruges Belfry from hotel
So we got off the train and proceeded to walk to our hotel which was right in the heart of the city. The roads and sidewalks were all paved in bumpy brick roads. Streets were narrow and had many small alleyways that would lead to other streets. After 20 minutes of walking later, we were standing in the middle of the city and also happened to arrive at our hotel. Our hotel happened to be right beside the Belfry of Bruges. One of the signature landmarks of the city!
This is not a large and pronounced city as it isn’t even bolded on google maps. We were deciding between Bruges or Ghent. At the end, we couldn’t resist the countless stories about Bruges and we completely agree. So this is our story in pictures.
Bruges has many small rivers and canals that run directly through and around the city. This can make for a beautiful picturesque backdrop especially when the weather is in your favour.
The Bruges Marks lies directly in the heart of the city. It is also known as “Market Square”. This is where the Belfry of Bruges is located and many other attractions. Also a great location for pictures of the triangular shaped buildings as shown below!
One of the most intriguing places in Bruges come from a Roman Catholic basilica, Basilica of the Holy Blood. It is said to contain blood from Jesus Christ himself and worshippers are free to have a look.
Overall, the city does not cover a large area and everything could be explored in a day, but that’s not the point. Everything is closely packed together to create an alternate experience. You don’t need to spend much time traveling from end to end to catch all the amazing landmarks. Many of the most beautiful spots and landmarks lie within 10 minutes of each other all near the city center. Though that’s not the exact reason why I fell in love with Bruges.
It’s the overall atmosphere of the city. It is a “charming” destination, I say in quotes because I don’t have words to describe the actual feeling. Something you can only understand should you see for yourself. You won’t be overwhelmed with things to do and places to see. Instead, you’ll be sitting on a patio in the middle of the city, probably enjoying a lovely cup of coffee or Belgian beer embracing the beauty around you. This is one European city that fits and satisfies my imaginary image of “Europe”.
So if you ever happen to have extra time in Brussels (or any city nearby), Bruges would make a perfect day trip! One you would definitely not regret!
Thanks for following!