Travel and Tourist Information
ABOVE: Bruges (Brugge), Belgium at night.
the Flemish-speaking locals, is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Northern
Europe. This description of the city, published more than 80 years ago in Muirhead's
Guide to Belgium and the Western Front, is still valid today:
"The beauty of its buildings gives Bruges a high place among those European towns
that have preserved their medieval aspect, and it is renowned for the wealth of its art
treasures, which include several masterpieces of Flemish painting.
"More than fifty bridges
(from which the name of the town is derived) span the various canals; and rows of gabled
houses, mirrored in calm water, afford many charming perspectives.
"Some of the picturesque
buildings prove, on closer approach, to be modern antiques in a style of somewhat facile
quaintness; but enough of the older mansions remain to carry the traveler back in
imagination to the age of the Counts of Flanders and the Bergundian dukes."
Quaintness and popularity go hand in hand, as you'll discover if you join the other
tourists who flock to Bruges during the summer season.
Still, crowds are the price you pay
for not vacationing in Wichita. And look at it this way: While you're muttering about the
ubiquitous backpackers with their iPods and Let's Go! paperbacks, the retired
their Blue Guides, and the platoons of group tourists with their American Express
nametags or Rick Steves guidebooks, they're probably wishing you'd gone to
Blackpool or Disney World.
ABOVE: A horse and carriage in Brugge's market square.
The city's official tourism site has succinct information in English.
Best Things to See and Do in Bruges, Belgium
Nancy D. Brown, a travel
writer from California, wrote this one-page article (with video) for her
What a Trip blog.
Tips on traveling in Belgium
If you plan to drive in Belgium, read our articles on
driving in Europe and
car rentals: when to rent, when to lease.
Museums and sightseeing
ABOVE: The Belfry was constructed in the 13th
The city museum of fine arts is filled with works by Flemish masters, and this page
supplies a readable introduction to the collection.
Brugse Vrije (Liberty of Bruges)
Explore the headquarters of the administrators who governed the area surrounding Bruges in
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote this poem and
The Belfry of Bruges
ABOVE: Canal scene, Bruges.
canal boat tours
After you've explored the town on foot, see where you've been from a boat.
Where to stay
ABOVE: Bruges is filled with gabled houses, many
of which have been turned into hotels.
Hotels in Bruges our partner
Europe's No. 1 secure reservations service has dozens of
properties in central Bruges, with more on the outskirts. Descriptions include
photos, ratings, and reviews by paying guests.
If you're traveling with
your family, staying more than a day or two, or simply want to live like a local, a
holiday rental can be a convenient alternative to a hotel. Airbnb lists scores
of apartments, private rooms, "tiny houses," and other accommodations in Brugge.
Bruges is well-supplied with tourist shops
for every taste, including many chocolate shops.
There's no need to list them here; the town is compact enough that you'll find
plenty of shopping opportunities on your own.
However, we will mention one
business that's unique and deserves a plug:
If you're an archbishop in the market for new vestments or a clergyman in search of a
chalice, this surplice store is meant for you. Other visitors with a taste for ecclesiastical needlework
are also welcome at the atelier, whose clients have included Pope
John Paul II.
ABOVE: Holy Blood Procession in May.
of the Holy Blood
Every May, some 1,500 Bruges citizens (many in medieval costume) take part in
this mile-long religious procession that dates back to the year 1150.
Check the calendar for rock concerts and festivals in or around Bruges.