Because I had 11 countries to visit on my Europe itinerary, some countries were only a pit stop (Siena, Dresden, Innsbruck, etc.). That's all I had time for when stopping in Brugge, Belgium. I only stayed one night in Brugge so I had to see what this medieval town was all about. In case anyone didn't know, Brugge is known for its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings.
Here are a couple suggested things to see if on your visit: The Belfry, Basilica of the Holy Blood, take a canal ride, and Markt. The main square, Markt, features a 13th-century belfry (bell tower) with a 47-bell carillon and 366 step tower with panoramic views. Built in the 1200's the Belfry is definitely something to see or climb up if you are willing! The Basilica of the Holy Blood is a church famous for the crystal vial kept inside that is reputed to contain a drop of Christ's blood brought back from the Holy Land. Each year in May, this sacred relic is carried through the streets of Brugge in the Procession of the Holy Blood. An elegant spiral staircase leads to the upper chapel (built in 1480) where every Friday the vial containing the Holy Blood is brought out and shown to the faithful. Another thing you should do, when visiting Brugge is taking a canal ride. There are quite a few different canal cruise operators you will find as you walk around, and the average trip will take between 35 to 40 minutes. Visitors to the city can walk over the Rosary and find several spots at which to buy a ticket. There are actually five locations that book departures. Boat rides typically begin at 10:00 a.m. and complete operations at around 6:00 p.m. The boat captain will also double as a tour guide, which will be helpful to understanding the history of the city. Tours are narrated in English, Flemish, French, Spanish, and Japanese. Markt, the very heart of the city, is also Bruges main square. Here you will find the Belfry, different restaurants, and if you are planning on taking a walking tour of the city this is a good place to start.
Here in Brugge is also where I had my very first Belgian waffle. In case you were wondering what the difference is between a regular waffle and a Belgian waffle, let me educate you. Belgian waffles typically have a yeasted batter which makes them light and fluffy, but sometimes baking powder is used instead. Where as regular waffles are made in a smaller waffle iron that doesn't make pockets as deep as the Belgian waffle. You can add fruit, chocolate, Nutella, and even powdered sugar on top of the waffle. I added Nutella and bananas on top of my waffle. Because who really needs unclogged arteries anyway right?
When in Brugge, I stayed at the Ibis Brugge Centrum Station, which I highly suggest. Prices are good (around $51/night), in an ideal location, easy for travelling by train or car and central to the town centre. Hotel was spotlessly clean in all areas. Rooms a very good size for a single traveller, but probably a little cramped for two or more. Rooms were bright and airy. Air conditioned rooms as well, I might add. Shower was roomy with constant supply of hot water. Although no on-site parking, public car park is just metres away and 24 hours is only 3.50 euros. Car park ticket also entitles you to free bus in to town.
I hope I convinced you to stop by for a visit in this cute, medieval town! Walking down the cobbled roads or even taking a carriage ride through the main square will take you back in time.
Inside Basilica of the Holy Blood Church