Visit Bruges: ‘the best citytrip in the Benelux’

Bruges is said to be the best citytrip in the Benelux. This historic city recently won the Zoover Award for Best Citytrip in Belgium and landed on the 5th place in the international competition.

But what does it take to become such an exclusive travel destination?

This lovely city boasts romantic sceneries, medieval charm, historic canals and cobblestone lanes. By many it is called ‘the Venice of the North’. Bruges is unique. With swans gliding in the canals and horse-drawn carriages along the winding streets, it almost seems surreal.

Bruges is a UNESCO world heritage city. It’s a medieval settlement which has maintained it’s historic character along the centuries. The town authorities have done everything in their power to preserve the medieval look of the city. While strolling down the cobblestone lanes, you pass by numerous sights that characterize the pitoresque centre. The heart of the city is the market square. From there every other major sight is within walking distance.

Bruges’ most famous landmark is the Belfry. You can climb the 366 steps of the 83-metre high tower. From there you have an excellent view over the city.

The Basilica of the Holy Blood located on the Burg square, is a beautiful church. It houses a relic: a vial containing the blood that is said to be of Jesus. It was built in the Gothic style.

The Jerusalem church is located in a quiet area of the city. It was built by the Adornes brothers, prominent merchants of Genovese origin. They wanted to built an exact copy of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Your entrance fee is also valid for the Lace museum in the former mansion of the Adornes. It keeps the tradition of making lace by hand alive. There are demonstrations every afternoon in summer.

Bruges’ concert hall, designed by architects Paul Robbrecht and Hilde Daem, opened in 2002 as part of the city’s European City of Culture celebrations. This modern music temple is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, making for excellent accoustics. It’s architecture has caused considerable controversy.

If you’re tired of going around on foot, than you should take a ride on one of the tour boats around the Brugse Reien, the historic canals that have been dug for transport of goods in and out of the city. The canals were connected to the estuary of the Zwin into the sea through a fairway. During a boat trip on the canals of Bruges you are treated to some fantastic views of monuments and historical buildings.

Bruges has an absurdly high amount of chocolate shops. You can’t help but succumb to the temptation of tasting the very best Belgian chocolates. The Chocolate line, of chocolatier Dominique Persoone and Fabienne De Staerke, is your accesory to indulge your craving for chocolate. The shop treats you to exciting chocolate creations.

When your stomach starts to roar, you’re in for a treat, because the stars are shining in Bruges! Bruges and gastronomy have long been inseparable.

On July 22nd 2014 the new Hertog Jan opened it’s doors after 4 years of planning and renovations. The restaurant, led by chef Gert De Mangeleer and maître-sommelier Joachim  Boudens, holds three Michelin stars. Their philosophy is the reason why they bought their own farm in Zedelgem. This enables them to grow their own vegetables, fruits and flowers. In the restaurant, in the same location, you can savour the endeavours of their own produce.

The Karmeliet is offcourse one of the most famous Michelin-starred restaurants of Belgium. The leading chef is Geert Van Hecke. One of his greatest qualities is to elevate ‘ordinary’ products to an explosion of flavours.

Both of these restaurants have obtained Michelin stars, a high ranking of the Gault & Millau and appeared on the Restaurant Magazine Top 50 Restaurants of the World list.

Bruges is well-known for hosting a wide range of romantic and charming hotels.

Hotel Dukes Palace is a deluxe establishment located in the heart of the old city centre. The hotel combines authentic elegance with modern day comfort. The Duke Palace’s spa offers a wide range of soothing massages and beauty treatments. It’s an oasis of relaxation and rejuvenation.

De Tuilerieën offers efficiency, charm and Flemish tradition in a mansion dating from the 15th century. The building, an elegant patrician house,  has been transformed into a luxurious contemporary hotel. The hotel offers a Royal arrangement with one night in an Executive room, champagne on arrival, a 4-course dinner in De Karmeliet, free access to the spa and a copious breakfast buffet.

If you don’t mind a little drive, Hotel La Réserve is only 25 minutes away by car. Located  in Knokke-Heist on the Belgian sea-shore, La Réserve is a luxurious retreat.

If you want to learn more about Bruges’ top restaurants, hotels and sights, feel free to visit our website.