Monthly Archives

August 2016

Where to eat well in Bruges

By | A Local's Guide to Bruges | No Comments

Places to eat and drink incredibly well in Bruges. Explore the best restaurants and bistros in Bruges.

Take a walk on the Bruges side – the medieval city is perfect for exploring on foot. Here’s an easy few hours, or half-day walking tour of Bruges that includes canals, museums, the Belfry and even a sleeping dog. With fortifying Belgian beer and restaurant stops along the way…

If you’re staying in Bruges for a long weekend and arrive Friday evening, make sure you stroll around the city’s illuminated streets at night. You’ll have the historic centre to yourselves, as many tourists are tucked up in bed or ensconced in restaurants. Bruges at night may be quiet, but it is always magical.

Rise early the next day and put on your walking shoes. I did the following walking tour of the best sights in Bruges in three hours, but it could take you half or even a whole day if you stop en route for lunch, museums, retail therapy and a canal boat ride…

Starting Point
Your walk begins in Bruges’s main square – the Markt. If you’re up early and have a head for heights, climb the Belfry (queues are insane later) and enjoy a bird’s eye view of Bruges in all its medieval glory. Then once back on terra firma, turn right and head down Breidelstraat towards the Burg, where you’ll find a plethora of monuments, including the Basilica of the Holy Blood and the 13th-century City Hall. I love the smorgasbord of architectural styles here: Romanesque, Gothic (City Hall), Renaissance, Baroque and neo-classical all vie for attention.

Head to the northern edge of the Burg and turn right onto Philipstockstraat, then first left onto Wappenmakersstraat. You’ll find the edible Choco Story here (demonstrations at 12.15 and 3.15) and historic buildings as you do a return circuit to the Burg via Kraanrei, leperstraat and Cordoeaniersstraat. Back in the Burg head for the southeast corner into narrow Blinde Ezelstraat – making your way under the arch towards the Groenerei (Green Canal) with delightful views from the bridge. Ahead you’ll see the colonnaded Fish Market (Vismarkt) that houses a craft market when it isn’t purveying the scaly stuff.

Canal boat rides
Canal boat jetties are plentiful along this stretch – and again if you are up early you’ll avoid the queues. Seeing Bruges from the water is a must: look out for Fidel – Bruges’s famous golden Labrador resting his noble head at a window seat in a house above the canal on Groeneri.

From Groenerei turn left into Tanners’ Square (Huidenvettersplein). The restaurant on the corner is a suntrap as well as a tourist trap – like most in the centre of Bruges – so either dig deep into your wallet or just grab one of their delicious beers. I highly recommend the refreshing Tripel Karmeliet. At 8.4% it packs a delicious punch!

Rosary Quay
Tanner’s Square is home to a small craft market, a few restaurants and the former Tanner’s Guildhouse. Walk across the square and you’ll reach Rozenhoedkaai (Rosary Quay) offering the most well-known quayside view of Bruges. This is a beautiful place to see at dusk and at night when the hordes have left.

Follow Djiver towards Bruges’s main art museum – the Groeninge – with its wealth of medieval and modern treasure. The garden here leads to Groeninge lane and takes you through the Arentshuis museum courtyard. Ahead you’ll see the tiny Bonifacius footbridge and on your right, the 15th-century Palace of the Lords of Gruuthuse which features life in Bruges up to the 19th century.

At the end of the bridge you’ll see the Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk) straight ahead of you, well worth a visit. Exiting onto Mariastraat, pop into the Hospital Museum – Memling in St John’s (St John’s Hospital) – just across the road. The hospital was in use until 1976 and has a unique atmosphere. A good lunch stop is French restaurant Malesherbes on narrow Stoofstraat, which leads to Walplein and the famous Half Moon Brewery – Bruge’s only surviving city centre ale-making house. They have a restaurant here too but it will be crowded. Cross over the square to Wijngaardstraat where there are plenty of lunch options (albeit expensive) or stop for tea at Carpe Diem, before crossing the bridge near the water fountain and arriving at the Beguinage almshouses.

Minnewater Lake
The calm serenity of the square of houses (homes to a community of nuns) is also home to a church. Continue south to Minnewater Lake (the lake of Love) and exit via Prof Dr Sebrechstssr, passing the Minnewaterkliniek a former city hospital. You’ll find a street of houses at the end on Oostmeeers. Walk along here until you reach St Saviour’s Cathedral (Sint-Salvatorskathedraal). Founded in the 9th century it is the oldest parish church in Bruges.

From St Saviours turn down Zuidzandstraat – one of Bruge’s main shopping streets with international brands – and continue till you reach t’Zand and the Concert Hall on the square. Rest here for a coffee – there are a few café options – then return to the Markt and Burg via Zuidzandstraat and Steenstraat (more retail therapy). Recommended restaurants for a good supper in the Burg area include Delaney’s at Burg 8 and Tom Pouce at Burg 17 followed by an extra strong nightcap at Staminée De Garre. This historic pub’s house beer is the Tripel de Garre at a gravity defying 10.5% proof. You have been warned!

Gina Baksa

Bruges under the spell of the Middle Ages

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The historic centre of Bruges has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

The city derives its name from Old Dutch for ‘bridge’; and Brugehoofd (“bridgehead”) or Brug (“bridge”) in modern Dutch. The name comes from the city functioning as a bridge on the Reie River, which was used as a channel to bring merchandise to the city, which controlled the commercial traffic. As one of the cultural and commercial capitals in Europe, Bruges developed cultural connections with other parts of the world.

The city enthusiastically welcomed foreign traders, especially the spice and pepper traders from Portugal. And because of the many Italians present in Bruges at the time, the city quickly became a centre of Renaissance and Humanism. At one time, it was considered the world’s major city of commerce. And history scripts it as an alluring city in the Northern part of Europe with as much character and flamboyance as Venice in the Mediterranean World.

Like many Flemish cities, it was textile trading that propelled Bruges to prosperity. Much exchange was associated with England’s woollen industry, was then the source of the best quality wool. By the latter part of the thirteenth century, Bruges had become an international port for trading cloth. It is often purported that even when the King of France, Philip the Fair, visited Bruges in 1301, his wife, Joanna of Navarre, was so astonished by the inhabitants’ wealth and luxurious apparel that she supposedly claimed: ‘I thought I was the only queen, but I notice here that I have six hundred rivals’.

During the time of Philippe le Bon (1419-67), the city became a centre of Flemish art with Jan van Eyck, and Memling exercising considerable influence on both Flemish and European art. Flemish art thrived and Bruges’ artists, commonly referred to as the Flemish Primitives, produced masterpieces that are still seen today in various parts of the wold. The excellent condition of many of these existing early Flemish paintings is no doubt due to the expert approach of the artists and the quality of the colours they applied, bound with oil.

Bruges quickly became an economic capital of Europe in the fifteenth century and the city’s economic wealth subsequently brought affluent traders to the city. These affluent traders lived in splendid houses filled with great art works. In the beginning of the Burgundian dynasty, the influential Flemish primitives such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling discovered their creative niches in the city of Bruges, which then swiftly became the inspirational source for many artists.

Settlement and Architecture
The historic city of Bruges is testimony to a major change of influences in architectural advancements over a long period, especially in Gothic brick. The increasing prosperity of the city was mirrored in the architecture of public buildings, like the magnificent Belfry at the Grand Place. Bruges also supported revolutionary artistic influences in the advancement of medieval painting. Being the homeland of the Flemish Primitives School, Bruges tends to be an excellent model of architectural ensemble, showing significant periods in the cultural and commercial areas in medieval Europe, of which the social, public, and religious institutions are a living testimony. It is an exceptional illustration of a medieval historic settlement, which has kept its historical fabric, and where the cities identity is partly original Gothic architecture.

Right from the Middle Ages up until modern times, the architecture of Bruges has been mainly distinguished by Gothic brick and most specifically by a construction style called Travéeoise. This style of engineering was well recognized during the early 16th century. With some subsequent variations, it was kept up until the 17th century which also became the foremost inspiration for reconstructions in the 19th century.

Great Monuments
Bruges has the majority of its Gothic architecture intact. A lot of its medieval buildings are distinguished, and among them is the Church of Our Lady, which has a brick spire reaching 122.3 m (401.25 ft.), making it one of the highest brick towers in the world.

The Madonna and Child sculpture, which can be viewed in the transept, is considered Michelangelo’s sole sculpture that was taken from Italy during his lifetime.

Also, the most distinguished land mark of Bruges is its 13th-century Belfry housing – a city carillon made up of 48 bells. The most important squares in Bruges are the Grand Place and the Burg. For more than 1,000 years, the Burg square has continued to be the symbol of alliance between social and religious authorities, plus the seat of many other public institutions, such as the dispensing of justice.

Flemish Primitives
Bruges also happens to be the homeland of the Flemish Primitives as well as a centre of the growth of painting in the Middle Ages with artists such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling making significant advances in both illusionism and natural representation. Their Paintings generally has complex iconography with their subjects generally being religious scenes or small portraits with narrative painting or mythological subjects being comparatively rare.

Groeninghe Museaum

Bruges’s principal gallery, The Groeninge museum – where some of the best Flemish primitives are stored – is also referred to as ‘The city museum of Fine Arts’. The term ‘Groeninge’ pertains to the immediate ‘Groeninge straat’, which means Groeninge Street. The name also relates to the Groeninge fields found in the Kortrijk city where the Flemish army defeated the French king’s army in 1302. A superb and treasured collection of Flemish masters is the pride of the Groening museum. These collections in the museum span multiple centuries (from the 14th to the 20th century) and focus generally on works by artists who resided and worked in Bruges.

Jan Van Eyck, of whom the Groeninge Museum keeps two original works plus an early copy, is mostly considered as the originator of the school of Flemish Primitive as well as its generally well-regarded optical realism. He had an enormous impact on Flemish painting in both the 15th and 16th centuries. In conjunction with their technical excellence, fine preservation state, and results, the paintings of Jan van Eyck are also outstanding for their objective yet enticing depiction of persons (the saints) and nature, which he brilliantly reproduced in miniature.

Gruuthuse Museum
The most diverse of the 26 museums in Bruges is The Gruuthuse museum, a museum of applied arts located in the house of Louis de Gruuthuse. In the late middle ages, this house belonged to the family Van Brugghe-van der Aar, -the lords of ‘Gruuthuse’ who possessed the monopoly of selling ‘Gruut’ – a medieval mixture of spices used in making beer. The ‘Archaeological Society’ of Bruges established the current art collections and antiques in 1865. The building was at first used by the city of Bruges to display the archaeological collection of the Société Archéologique, and over the years, extended into a more standard museum in 1955 after the city had acquired the collections.

The Gruuthuse collection extends from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. The museum showcases the interior of a house of a rich family, just like how it would have been in the late middle ages with a collection of everyday tools and utensils showing everyday life between the 15th and 19th centuries. The collection includes lace, furniture, gold ware, and items of everyday use, which will transport you back through time to medieval Bruges. The main hall in the museum happens to be one of the main attractions with its magnificent collection of Flemish tapestries, richly ornamented rafters, and impressive fireplace, all depicting the wealth and affluence of the lords of Gruuthuse. On exhibit are also the renowned and prestigious lace collections in gold and silver, weapons, ceramics and the small musical instrument cabinet. Among the collection is the most known item- the painted terracotta bust of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

The exterior of the museum is to some extent original, and in part a reconstruction; whiles the interior is generally a reconstruction of the late 19th century Neogothical medieval interior.

Bruges under the spell of the Middle Ages

Bruges maintains the urban architecture that defines and documents its different stages of advancement. And the historic centre continues to cover absolutely that same areas as the boundary of the old settlement. The reconstruction of its facades in the late 19th-century reconstructions introduced a neo-Gothic style that is exclusive for Bruges and it continues to be an energetic, living city.

The historic centre of Bruges has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. In the last half of the 19th century, the city became one of the first tourist sites of the world bringing in wealthy French and British tourists. The city still makes use of a full-time carillonneur that offers free performances on a consistent basis. Reconstructions of household and commercial structures, churches, and ancient monuments brought about an increase in tourism in general as well as economic activity in the ancient downtown area. International tourism has exploded, and new efforts have resulted in Bruges being marked ‘Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2002. It attracts about 2 million tourists every single year. Ideal for romantic getaways or short stays in Autumn or Winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Local’s Guide to Bruges

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The best local travel guide to Bruges, featuring up-to-date information on guesthouses, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, exhibitions and art in Bruges. Walking the streets of Bruges feels like walking through time, with dozens of old buildings each in possession of a story to tell. A Local’s Guide to Bruges; travel tips and unique ways to spend your time by a resident of Bruges.

The cobblestone streets with gothic buildings go back to its origins as a medieval city, and its old market square pulses in the heart of town. It is so pristine an example of a city from the Middle Ages that the center of town is a designated Unesco-World Heritage Site. Locals offer their tips, recommendations and advice for Bruges in Belgium,

Market Square of Bruges

This section of the city is immediately identifiable by the eminent belfry that has stood here since the 12th century. In the tradition of many similar European cities, this old square was the center of commerce and has since been shut off to traffic in order to allow pedestrians to roam freely. In the center of the square is a fountain featuring Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, two Belgian heroes credited with fighting in the Battle Of The Golden Spurs between the County of Flanders and the Kingdom of France.

Belfry Climb. Do not forget to climb the 366 steps to the top of the 83-metre high Belfrytower of Bruges. Excellent views of the city, Marketsquare and hear the bells ring. €6 with Bruges card / €8. Grote Markt (the big square). 09:30 – 17:00

“When friends visit me in Bruges, i go to  Little Venice (Klein Venetië),one of the smallest pubs in Bruges  on the Rozenhoedkaai. You can admire a great view of the most beautiful canals, have a belgian beer, only steps away from the market place, the fish market and the Burg.”

 Canal Tour

Although it shares the distinction with other cities like Amsterdam, Bruges does enjoy a reputation as “The Venice of the North,” for its intricate network of canals. A trip to this city isn’t complete without a waterside perspective, and luckily there is no shortage of boating companies eager to show you around. Departing from different ports all over town, you’re sure to gain new insight and a more intimate understanding of this city and its history as you watch the scenery float by.

Belfry Tower ­or Belfort

This belfry is one of the most immediately recognizable icons in Bruges. Built in the 12th century, it suffered a catastrophic fire shortly thereafter and the entire city’s archives were lost. The tower was soon rebuilt, and various wooden spires and stone parapets have been added over time. The tower in its current form has stood since 1822. For a fee, visitors can hike the stairs to behold an unparalleled panorama of this exquisite city.

Beguinage (Begijnhof)

The Beguinage began in 1245 as a Beguine house, which is to say a set of houses for women who wanted to devote themselves to religious works without having to sequester themselves away from the rest of the world. The largest of the houses belonged to the Grand Dame, who oversaw the work of the group. In 1937 the Beguines turned the compound over to the Benedictine sisters who still live there today. A courtyard with a grove of poplar trees imparts a sense of peace to all who visit here. The beguinage in Bruges is also known as the convent, between the centre of Bruges and the station, with white painted houses and fine plane trees, is a quiet place to walk.

Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heilige Bloed Basiliek)

This building was originally the home of the Count of Flanders. It contains a relic of Holy Blood allegedly gathered by Joseph of Arimathea and brought from the Holy Land by the Count after the Second Crusade. The lower chapel is dedicated to St. Basil and was constructed in the Romanesque style. The upper chapel is devoted to the Holy Blood and was done and redone in the gothic style. The blood itself is kept on a cloth in a vial, and is celebrated annually on Ascension Day via the Procession of the Holy Blood. Basilica of the Holy Blood, Burg 10,  Apr-Sep 9:30AM-11:50AM & 2PM-5:50PM, Oct-Mar 10AM-11:50AM & 2PM-3:50PM Try and get there early so you can view the chapel when it is still quiet . Entrance is Free

Lake of Love or Minnewater

It is easy to fall in love with this picturesque and pastoral lake that became a canal. Graceful swans, the symbol of the city, dot the land and the water, while quaint brick houses and willow trees fill the idyll in a beautiful manner. There is a local legend that states that lovers who cross the bridge will be together forever. That legend, combined with the serene beauty of the surroundings, makes it easy to understand how this came to be called the Lake of Love.

Groeninge Museum

Six centuries of Belgian paintings are on display in this municipal museum. From Renaissance and Baroque styles, to neo­classical and realist, a wide variety of schools are represented. Famous names like Jan van Eyck, Hieronymous Bosch, René Magritt and Jan Provoost are all present and accounted for. There is also a modern art collection dating back to the post­war period. Marvel at the Flemish Primitives, so called because they were the first, in the 15th century, to start pushing boundaries with new styles and painting techniques. Also known as “The city museum of Fine Arts”

Dijver 12, B-8000; opened 7 days  from 9:30AM-5PM. ‘, Groeninge museum in Bruges houses a collection of artworks that span 7 centuries (14th-20th), focusing mainly on works by painters who worked  and lived in Bruges. €8 / €6

The Hospital of St John

Closed on Mondays. Sint-Janshospitaal contains a museum of several paintings by Hans Memling, within the early medieval hospital buildings.  €8./€6 with Bruges card, Closed on Mondays.

Choco-Story Museum,  This Choco-museum, on several floors describes chocolate’s transition from cocoa into chocolate. It is run by the Belgian chocolate manufacturer Belcolade. Stay for the chocolate making exhibition to get some excellent samples. €7./€6 with Bruges card  ; Wijnzakstraat 2 (Sint-Jansplein),  050/61.22.37, 10AM-5PM.

Brewery De Halve Maan,

This brewery and beer museum offers a tour of the history of the brewery , as well as an overview of the city from its tower. The tour lasts less than an hour and is a good way to get a feel for Belgian beer brewing. The tours start at the exact turn of the hour, be at least fifteen minutes early. The entrance price includes one flemish beer: Brugse Zot or Straffe Hendrik which is served after the tour at the outside terrace or indoor bar. €7.00 including 1 beer ; Walplein 26,  +31 50 332-697, Apr-Oct M-Sa 11:00-16:00, Su 11:00-17:00.

Church of our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwkerk,)

A fascinating church with architecture from theGothic and Romanesque  periods. In the end of the church are  fine tombs of Charles the Bold and his daughter Mary of Burgundy with contrasting Gothic and Renaissance styles. The church also houses”Madonna with child”, one of the few Michelangelo sculptures outside of Italy, the . Fee 2 euro to see the Michelangelo. Mariastraat.

Jerusalem church

In a non-touristic area of Bruges, a highly unusual church with octagonal tower built by the Adornes brothers, merchants of Italian extraction. It includes a fine black tournai marble tomb, late Gothic stained glass, and a tiny and rather spooky chapel containing an effigy of the dead Christ.

DiamantMuseum ,  . Diamond museum offers a large range of exhibits from mining to polishing and all the history in between. Everyday at 12:15 there is a live polishing demonstration. Individuals €6, Groups €4.5, Students €3, Katelijnestraat 43,  050 33 63 26‎; 0:30AM-5:30PM

 

 

In Bruges, the movie

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“In Bruges”, the movie  is a 2008 British-American black comedy crime film written and directed by M McDonagh. with stars as Colin Farrell and  Ralph Fiennes. “In Bruges”, the movie was filmed in the Belgian city of Bruges. Actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two Irish hitmen in hiding, with Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes as their boss.

Beautiful Bruges attractions is the quintessential fairy-tale city with its maze of cobbled streets, picturesque canals, elegant houses and historic churches; you can easily feel that you are stepping onto a movie set.

Our city’s mood changes with the seasons, from the lively, bustling crowds of the summer to the peaceful, icy winter streets.

There’s a wide array of things to see and do here in Bruges; the less active among you might choose to hire a horse and carriage or take a relaxing guided tour of the canal. If you prefer to walk, you can lose yourself in the winding streets or, for a little peace and quiet, visit Minnewater Lake, the so-called Lake of Love. We challenge you not to find this spot with its dazzling colours and graceful swans, truly romantic.

When you’re ready for something to eat and drink, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Bruges has a wide range of cafes and restaurants which can’t fail to tantalise your taste buds. From the  3 Michelin starred ‘De Karmeliet’ whose chef patron, Gert Van Heecke, is one of the godfathers of Belgian haute cuisine to simple ‘Frietkot’ or fries vans selling freshly made, piping hot chips with, of course, a good dollop of mayonnaise, you will find something to suit all tastes and budgets. Then there’s the chocolate…lots of it and it’s some of the best you’ll ever taste. Bypass the many chocolate shops around the Main Square or Markt and head for the cool and contemporary Bar Choc on Walstraat. There you can sample dishes such as rabbit in chocolate sauce, chocolate pancakes or gorge yourself on one of the 44 kinds of hot and cold chocolate drink; all made from real Belgian chocolate of course. Chocoholic heaven!

If you are a culture vulture, you’ll definitely want to make time to visit at least one of the galleries and museums. From contemporary Belgian plastic art to some of the finest works of the neoclassical period, via the whacky Frietmuseum (an attraction dedicated to the humble potato) we’ve got it all.

Film fans might like to follow in the footsteps of Coin Farrell in “In Bruges” and make the lung-busting 366 step climb to the top of the Belfort  – not for the faint-hearted.When you’re done with your sightseeing, head to the Markt at the centre of the medieval city; grab a table at one of the cafes and enjoy watching the world go by with a glass of famous Belgian beer. The local drop; “Bruges Zot” or Bruges fool is definitely one to try. You’ll find bars selling as many as 100 different beers from light golden ales to dark, fruity sticky beers each served in its own specific glass. After a day of sampling all that Bruges has to offer, what could be better than making your way home to White Rooms?   Our interior designer, Natalie Haegeman really has thought of everything to create a concept which is both contemporary, comfortable and completely in harmony with its central location.

You can unwind in the cosy living room, soak weary limbs in the antique bath tub and chill out in front of the flat screen TV before heading back into the city to enjoy more food, drinks and the vibrant nightlife. Or, if you prefer, it’s off to bed to catch up on your sleep ready to start your adventure again tomorrow.in bruges,

Sweet Dreams!

Data: In Bruges-The movie Release date: July, 2008 (Belgium)

Director and Screenplay: Martin McDonagh

 

Music by: Carter Burwell

Awards: Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy

 

 

 

 

Food and Drink Recommendations in Bruges

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Bruges has the highest concentration of Michelin starred restaurants in Belgium – there’s an almost never-ending number of fantastic restaurants to indulge your gastronomic side. Here’s a selection of our favourite food and drink recommendations in Bruges, straight from the local’s mouth!

Michelin star restaurants 

A’Qi
Map
Awarded a Michelin star in 2012 and retained ever since, the chef here offers her take on Asian Fusion cuisine.

De Karmeliet
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This three starred restaurant will shut at the end of 2016, so it’s worth catching it whilst you can! Geert Van Hecke remains one of the landmarks in culinary Belgium, he’s known for his real craftsmanship, demonstrating unrivalled respect for the ingredients.

Hertog Jan
Map
This three star restaurant is located in a fully renovated old farm, close to the city of Bruges, where they grow their own fruits and vegetables.  Chef Gert de Mangeleer delivers a  culinary experience of seasonal dishes.

Fine Dining

Den Heerd
Map
A modern restaurant with a delightful garden, this is a good option for both lunch and dinner. Whilst not cheap, it offers excellent value for money.

Zeno
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Stunningly presented food in a beautifully designed restaurant. A lot of thought is put into the experience, and it shows.

Rock Fort
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A more contemporary dining experience, loved by trendy locals and tourists alike. The food is nouvelle cuisine in style, but the main reason you go is to see and to be seen.

Afternoon Tea

Hotel Orangerie
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Afternoon tea on the canal-side terrace in the summer is a lovely experience. The scones in particular are worth the visit!

Tea-Room de Proeverie
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A less formal afternoon tea experience, the speciality here is their hot chocolate. It’s also a good place to try the famous Belgian waffles, with lashings of whipped cream!

 

Snacks
Cafe Vlissinghe
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The oldest pub in Bruges, it’s been on this site since 1515, hidden in the beautiful historical Saint-Anne quarter.

Books and Brunch
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This delightful cafe has walls lined with books that customers are encouraged to peruse and read. Stop for breakfast or lunch, and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.

Sanseveria Bagel Station
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For a quick and easy lunch, head to this bagel shop. As well as bagels filled with everything from smoked salmon to nutella, there are quiches and salads for you to enjoy.

 

Is Bruges the ultimate best medieval town?

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The Historic Centre of Bruges is the city’s UNESCO World Heritage site and it depicts the many stages of the cultural evolution of the city.

Bruges is a haven for those enchanted by swooping and high flying designs that haunt with their shapes as much as they do with their imposing presence.

This is evident from history of the city’s name, as mediaval Bruges was once known as Bruggas, Brvggas,  and Brvccia in the earliest days of the country, around 840–875. The name is most likely derived from the Old Dutch word for bridge or the Middle Dutch words brucge and brugge, which is fitting considering Bruges’ status as a bridge between the classic beauty of old Europe and its more modern avant-garde face. The city of Bruges is historically unique even amongst the old world European wonders which surround Belgium.(see Bruges guide).

The complex history of Bruges began with the mysterious the Pre-Roman Gaulera settlement; however the first cultural and historical mentions of the area concerns the construction of fortifications built after Julius Caesar conquered the Menapii during the tumultuous first century B.C. At that time Bruges was an important stronghold and the fortress was built specifically to deal with pirates. In later years Bruges’ connection to the sea would lead to it becoming a place known for nautical interest and trade, making it a haven for those looking for money, a fresh start, or an enriching port side holiday.

One of the high points in Bruges’ history, sometimes referred to as the golden age, was between the 12th and 15th centuries, beginning when Bruges was given a city charter and when the now famous canals and walls were built. This helped to establish the ever important connection to the sea and helped to revitalize the area, marking a period of intense trade and an era which brought money, spices, art, and culture to Bruges. All of it led to the city becoming a home to wondrous invention and architecture, as well as sumptuous food. The blend of wonderful flavours and sights was a product of the French influence on Flemish style brought about by the cloth trade and its remnants still exist today. Another early cultural influence to the area during this time came in the form of an Italian style merchant economy, leading to an intense patronage of the arts which helped to give Bruges its cultural soul.

In the centre of the city, one of the most profound influences on this area exist in the form of Original Gothic buildings, standing as essential parts of the community’s identity. The Historic Centre is made up of astounding examples of architectural genius that resonates with the spirit of structural ingenuity that became the hallmark of a resurgence of vitality in medieval Europe. This area also marks the birth of the famous artistic movement known as the Flemish Primitives, specifically notifyng of Bruges’ history of patronage towards this movement.

In terms of the actual layout, the centre is a marvel of urban planning with a conservative spatial arrangement which denotes specific stages of the areas development, especially considering that the centre is located directly on the original settlement. The marked position of the architecture, including the presence of brick Gothic buildings, is also infused with the presence the Flemish artistic sensibility including the influence of artists like Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling.

In regards to the architecture alone, the city of Bruges is a haven for those enchanted by swooping and high flying designs that haunt with their shapes as much as they do with their imposing presence. With several churches and cathedrals dating back to the Middle Ages that are a sight to behold, this area is built and maintained to preserve the city’s history as a port city in Northwest Europe. One of the prizes of the city is the St. Savior’s Cathedral, Bruge’s most ancient parish church and a place known for its paintings. In this parish you will find The Historical Museum Belfry and Halles, which allow the opportunity of having a wonderful walk through the history and also present a spectacular view.

One of the main artistic and historical attractions in Bruges is most certainly the Vlaamse Primitieven, otherwise known as the Flemish Primitives, which as we’ve covered, began with the sudden affluence brought into Bruges by rich merchants of that time. This led to the building of palaces that were filled with some of the most ground breaking artworks of this specific movement which created a demand for the works of the high concept Flemish Primitives, chief among them being Hans Memling and the famous Jan van Eyck. From any of the Bruges guesthouse locations you can find museums which house these complex works of medieval art.

A more accessible and current example of Belgian artistry, unique to Bruges, can be found in the city’s food and culinary wonders. Bruges has an excellent gastronomic reputation, constantly providing travellers with exclusive opportunities to taste one of a kind dishes, while standing on the cutting edge of fine dining. The current attitude of the city’s most impressive chefs is avant-garde and constructed from a rich world of sights, smells, and taste, which have influenced the city. Bruges has become a hub for expert cooks and master chefs, and the food of the city is often used to compliment the artwork and culture that the city is known for.

One particular treat you will find nowhere else is the delicacy of the Bruges’ chocolate. Belgium is of course known for making some of Europe’s most flavoursome and high quality chocolates, but even in this sea of high quality confections, Bruges’ chocolate makers stand out. This is why any exclusive guesthouse in Bruges will provide you access to some of the Bruges’ best chocolate shops, setting the mood for the perfect romantic weekend.

Of course chocolate is not the only culinary niche that Bruges has managed to occupy in its unique and Belgian manner. As evidenced by the annual Bruges Beer Festival, there are many artisanal breweries nearby that produce some of the most rich and tasty beers in all of Belgium. There are all sorts of beers to choose from in Bruges including pale lagers, lambic beers, and Flemish reds.  Like the Flemish artwork, the enchanting architecture, the delicious food, and the divine chocolate, beers of Bruges are part of the patch work that makes this enchanting European city worth a visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where divine gastronomy meets interior design

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If you visit Antwerp then there is a good chance you will find a mix where divine gastronomy in a historical building meets interior design.

Three star Michelin chef and co-owner, Sergio Herman moved from Holland to big City Antwerp. Where divine gastronomy meets interior design

His toprestaurant “The Jane” was designed by Dutch architect Piet Boon. Sitting there is not only a “A memorable dining experience” but also looking around to watch the spectacular light- chandelier.

“…culinary landmark in Antwerp..”

It was the intention of interior designer Piet Boon to mix the artisanal feel of the historic chapel, propelling it forward with a contemporary underground atmosphere.

The goal of the renovation of the chapel was not to do a makeover, but was focused on bringing out the existing materials of the space.

A selection was made of high quality materials such as leather, oak and natural stone prompting a specific palette for the lighting. A massive radial chandelier (12x9m) called the ‘Lion fish’ suspended over the dining area contributes to the ambient divinity of the old chapel.

The result is a scenic experience seamlessly combining engineering expertise with gastronomy and artistry. Antwerp is a 50 minutes drive from medieval Bruges.

“Sex on the plate” S Herman

http://londondesignjournal.com/home/2014/4/25/the-jane-antwerp-by-piet-boon-with-pslab

https://trulyexperiences.com/blog/2014/10/comers-britains-exciting-new-generation-of-chefs/?from=related-posts

 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Bruges

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We’ve collected some of the most common questions about Bruges (FAQ).

Bruges or Brugge?

Brugge is the Dutch version of Bruges, the two terms are interchangable. It’s also referred to as the Venice of the North, thanks to its numerous canals. You can read more about that here.

Does Bruges have an airport?

No, the nearest airport is in Oostend or Brussels. Here’s a map.

How do I get from Brussels to Bruges?

It takes 1 hour 15 minutes hours by car, or just over an hour by train.

Does the Eurostar go to Bruges?

Not directly, but if you buy a Eurostar ticket your travel onwards from Brussels to Bruges is included. It’s just one train, from the same station as you arrive in on the Eurostar.

What language is spoken?

In Bruges there are a mixture of languages spoken – Flemish (a Belgian version of Dutch), Dutch, German and, to a lesser extent, French are all considered native. English is spoken by almost everyone in Bruges as a second language however.

What public transport is available?

When you are in Bruges, it is best to avoid driving as the busy, labyrinthine medieval streets of the city centre can be a nightmare. There are buses that you can use to get around, which are specifically designed to fit through the narrow streets.

The historic centre is not very big, so it is possible to walk between most locations. There are also numerous places to hire a bike, and cycling is easy within Bruges.

Are taxis available?

There are taxi services available within the city, although they will be more expensive than using the buses available.

Is Uber or Lyft available in Bruges?

No, not yet! Uber is only in Brussels or Liege

What currency is used?

 Belgium uses the Euro.

How far is the train station from the centre of town?

You can walk from the station to Markt Square in 20 minutes. Our apartments can be reached in less than that.

What is the local speciality?

Food and drink! Beer, chocolate and moules frites (mussels with french fries), specifically. Check out our Restaurant Recommendations to learn more.

 

Local tips

  • It’s fun to get lost in Bruges while you wander through the lovely historic streets. Remember you can always use the bell tower in the city centre to help re-orient yourself.
  • Bring good walking shoes, the best way to explore the city is on foot. Don’t wear heels, they will make it way too difficult to walk down the quaint cobbled streets.
  • If you want to use Bruges as a base for exploring other destinations in Belgium, you can use the Belgian Railways Railcard. It costs around 85 Euros and it is good for 10 single journeys between any two Belgium stations.
  • You can purchase the Bruges Card, which offers you discounts to most of the major attractions and can be picked up at any of the hotels or hostels around the city.
  • Also, if you are planning on visiting more than two of the museums it might be worth buying a combined Musea Brugge ticket.
  • If you visit during June, July and August watch out for the mosquitos around the canals. They are especially active at dusk.
  • Remember that all the museums in Bruges are closed on Mondays!
  • Some cafes and restaurants (particularly in the more touristy areas) insist on a minimum card payment of 25 euros. Cash machines are available, but they’re not plentiful.

Tourism in Bruges

8.75 million people visited Bruges in 2015 and studies expect it to be 13.5 million in 2030.

Two million nights are spend in Bruges. This brings a revenue of 441 million euro and creates jobs for 6000 people.

Brussels-Bruges is the most popular combination via bus or car but also Amsterdam-Bruges becomes more and more important.

A lot of British tourists combine Bruges with Ypres to visit the World war heritage sites.

During high season days Bruges attracts 45.000 people per day.

19.000 people live in the inner city of Bruges,  while Bruges has a population of 117.000 inhabitants.

 

How to Get From Brussels to Bruges or Ghent

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Looking to travel to Bruges, Antwerp, Brussels or Ghent to Brussels via Rail, Bus and Air.

By Car:

If you come by car coming from Ghent or Brussels or Antwerp, the E40 will bring you to Bruges straight away. (exit Oostkamp) and follow 8 km to the centre of Bruges, where you can enter the centre of town via Katelijnestraat .(ap Katelijne). Nearest underground parking site is Katelijneparking.

For apartment Dijver turn right at the Church of our Lady and drive via Dijver over de small bridge and take the first road at the right – Eekhoutstraat  (ap Dijver)  Nearest underground parking site is Pandreitje (click for street view), which is the nearest to the venue.
In case ‘Pandreitje’ is full, there is another car park: continue straight on ‘Predikherenstraat’ (so don’t turn right into Frèren Fonteinstraat), cross the ‘canal’ andturn immediately right (alongside the canal) into Predikerenrei (Click for street view). This is Centrum Parking Langestraat.

nb: Please do not take motorway exit 10 (Bruges-Sint-Michiels), as major road works start on 1 March and access to the centre via the tunnel under the station (Boeveriepoort) or Smedenpoort will not be possible.
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By Train:

The Eurostar connects London with ‘Brussels South’. The trip takes 2hrs and 45min.
Trains from ‘Brussels South/Brussel-Zuid’ to Bruges (the train with final destination Ostend) leave every 5 minutes past and 26 minutes past the hour.

The Thalys connects Brussels with Amsterdam, Paris and Cologne. Trains leave and arrive at ‘Brussels South’ ( Brussel-Zuid/Gare du Midi).

Here you can find the timetables of the trains from European cities to Bruges on the ‘railway-website’ of Belgium. eg  Getting from Brussels airport to Bruges? How would you get from Brussels airport to Bruges market square or city centre, without a car?

The national airport of Belgium lies just outside of Brussels. Its railway station is located under the airport.

First take the train to Brussels ‘Zuid / Midi’ station and take the train in the direction of Brugge, De Panne, Knokke or Oostende. The first stop is Ghent, the second is Bruges.

– 3 trains per hour / about 85 minutes / € 13.50

– First train at 05:36, last train at 23:52 (on Sat and Sun at 05:33 and 23:52).

 

You can take a taxi from the trainstation towards the guesthouse. The cost of the taxi will be ∼ €10 .
A taxi from the guesthouse towards Brussels airport will cost ∼ €175 (one way).

By plane

International Brussels Airport (Zaventem)

Brussels Airport is about 1h30 mins away from Bruges by train. A taxi to come and pick you up at the airport would cost about €175 (one way).

 

Brussels South Charleroi Airport of Charleroi

Brussels South Charleroi Airport receives many low-cost flights daily from various cities  across Europe. A bus company Flibco : travel from bruges to brussels  will be laying on a direct shuttle bus to and from the station of Bruges with a frequency of 9 trips a day (round). Using this service, you will travel more comfortably, it’s cheaper and often also faster than other transport alternatives (train and/or bus). Booking online is cheaper.

Travel by Train from Charleroi-Sud (South) to Brugge (Bruges) in 2h.  Get train times and buy train tickets for Charleroi-Sud (South) to Brugge (Bruges).

https://www.trainline.eu/trains/charleroi-sud/brugge

 

International Airport of Ostend

There are also less regular flights towards the International Airport of Ostend-Bruges. A taxi to pick you up at the airport will cost approximately  €75 (one way).

How to get from Ostend Airport to Ostend and Bruges?

Public transport – Bus and train (Ostend and Bruges)
Good public transport connections enable travellers to travel easily between Ostend Bruges Airport and the two cities in West Flanders. Bus line 6 runs between Oostende railway station and the bus stop Raversijde Luchthaven directly in front of the airport building. Travel time by bus from Ostend Bruges Airport to the train station of Ostend is 17 minutes. It is no problem if you miss the bus, because bus line 6 runs every 10 minutes. On Sundays and holidays bus line 6 departs every 20 minutes. The price of a ticket for a single ride is € 3.00. At Oostende railway station you can take the train to Brugge railway station, a journey by train takes 15 minutes. The price of a train ticket to Bruges is € 4.10 for adults and € 2.50 for children. Please consult timetable bus line 6 and website Belgian Railways for more information.

How much is the taxi fare to and from Ostend and Bruges?

A taxi to Ostend costs € 10 to € 15. A taxi journey to Bruges takes longer and is therefore more expensive, the price is about € 70. Make a taxi reservation Ostend Bruges Airport through YATTAXI, an online booking platform for reliable and reasonable priced airport transfers.

All info about Bruges to Brussels via Rail, Bus or Air.

How to Get From Brussels to Bruges or Ghent

How to Get From Amsterdam to Bruges or Ghent

Popular destinations from Bruges

Bruges to Paris

Bruges to Amsterdam

Bruges to London

Bruges to Berlin

Bruges to Luxembourg

Bruges to Venice

Bruges to Nice

Bruges to Munich

Bruges to Cologne

Bruges to Zurich

Bruges to Edinburgh

Bruges to Brussels

Bruges to Milan

Bruges to Geneva

 

 

Looking to travel to Bruges, Antwerp, Brussels or Ghent to Brussels via Rail, Bus and Air. Times and tickets for travelling.

 

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