I’m recapping my recent vacation travels again in today’s post and this time we’re making our way back to Belgium into the quaint city of Bruges, or as the French say, Brugge! A few days after traveling to Brussels, we hopped back over the border of France and Belgium into this beautiful city that simply oozes charm. Honestly, I had never been too curious about Belgium but Bruges sold me. If you remember from my travel post about Brussels, there was a strong French influence in the city but Bruges, on the other hand, is in the Flemish region of the country and has a much different feel! 🇧🇪
Relax and walk along the canals
I really didn’t research anything about the city before stopping in for the afternoon, so my friend and I just started exploring. We came upon the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a real life story book — the magnificent canals that run through Bruges. In Milan there are canals as well, but I had never seen such picturesque ivy covered walls, traditional homes, and fairy tale bridges on either side of these calm little channels.
I felt like I was in a Disney movie, and couldn’t believe that people actually live and go out to dinner in places that cute. We crossed over the adorable bridge and found a stunning restaurant (third photo below) just covered in greenery as well as secret gardens and quiet streets. If we had had more time, we could have popped on one of the boat tours going by as they seemed to have gotten the best view of the city!
Admire the architecture
The city has some incredible architecture, as most of its original medieval style is still intact and it is considered one of the most well-preserved medieval towns in Europe!
The one aspect of Bruges that immediately stands out to a Belgium-newcomer are the roofs. Almost every building and house has the same triangular shaped “step-roofs” or “crow-stepped gables.” This is a design seen in several other countries as well, that was conceived due to the availability of square shaped stones at the time they were built as well as the convenient access it provides to reach the rooftops (before cranes and tall ladders came about).
Take some time in the Markt
One of the most beautiful places to find these step-roofs is in the Markt, or “Market Square” center of the city. When I visited, there was a big festival happening in the square so we heard some traditional music and walked around there for a bit. There were a bunch of cute cafes, restaurants, and bars surrounding the large square and I spent a little time here just taking everything in.
I also learned that the city center is a World Heritage Site of UNESCO!
Explore the quiet narrow streets in the center
Not far from the Markt, we stumbled upon some peaceful little streets and just strolled down them admiring the colors and architecture around us. Bruges is definitely a small enough city that you could be around people and activity in the center square and main streets if you wanted, but also find quiet, calm streets to walk down nearby. I love when you’re traveling and find your own little spots that aren’t bustling with people but still make you feel like you’re getting to know the city.
Take a waffle break and keep on walkin’!
And don’t forget that you’re still in Belgium so if you need a little energy boost mid-walk, you can find easily find one of the best waffles of your life! 😍
Have any of you been to Bruges? I would love to go back for a few days next time and hop on a boat and see all the streets a little closer. What do you all think about the city? Would you visit?