Bruges, an open-air museum
If you have seen the Colin Farrell movie “In Bruges”, forget everything you think you might know about this place! Bruges, an open-air museum, is a tourist dream for every tourist in search of beautiful architecture, harmony and quiet, a warm environment and a journey into the past – since Bruges is the best preserved medieval city in Belgium.
The traditional buildings in Bruges date back as far as the 12th century and they’re perfectly preserved and inhabited. Colorful Flemish houses entwine in neat lines and the amazing thing about the place is that the old part of town is crossed by a maze of intricate canals linked by round bridges.
Bruges will make you fall in love instantly. If all you want to do is walk around town, admiring the houses, the canals and maybe enjoying a frugal meal or a coffee in one of the coffee shops that line the promenade in the center, you can do that! But you should know there are many more things to explore in town.
A must, in my opinion, would be a cruise on the canals. Seeing the city by boat gives you a beautiful perspective, swaying on the gentle waves of the shallow waters. It’s not expensive – it only costs a few Euro – and it’s a worthwhile experience.
If you want to travel in a more “organized” manner (meaning you have an itinerary), here are some of the sites you shouldn’t miss:
– The main market place, a square dominated by the medieval Belfry and Halle. The bell tower measures 83 meters in height and is one of the tallest and most handsome in the country! The imposing Town Hall is also nearby.
– The beautiful Romanesque Basilica of the Holy Blood, where a vile of the Blood of Christ is said to be preserved.
– The wonderful Groeninge Museum, containing the finest art collection in the city.
To get to Bruges, you can rent a car in Brussels Airport, since the city is located only about an hour’s drive away from the Belgian capital city.