Everything you’ve heard about Bruges is true. It is an absolutely beautiful city. It is impossibly picturesque and I had to stop every few steps to to take photos.
It is also packed to the rafters with tourists. It an incredibly slick tourist machine. More than anywhere else in Belgium, this is a city that knows exactly what it has to offer the tourist and sells that tourist experience very well.
This is perfectly summed up for me by “Love Lake”. This is billed as the most romantic spot in Bruges. The receptionist at the hotel described it that way. We took a canal tour and the guide used the same words. We heard a passing horse and cart driver say the same. It seemed like a nice but quite ordinary lake to me. Whether or not it is romantic, that is how the lake is being packaged to tourists, and so people go, and seem believe the hype.
As Belgium is such a small country, Bruges is easily reached by day trip. This means that during the day, it can be quite unpleasant, as there are hordes of tourists crammed into narrow streets and so it is difficult to walk around the main tourist areas.
By early evening, the day trippers have gone and Bruges for me really came into its own at this time.
The canals are magical by night. We stayed in Europ Hotel, which faces on to a canal, and every single night I stopped to take the same photo because I could not bring myself to walk past the view without trying to capture it to keep forever.
We also found our favourite place in the whole of Belgium for a beer. We happened upon t’ Brug Beertje completely by accident as it is down a random side street. It had a really massive selection of beers, a relaxed atmosphere, very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful staff, and although we were not the only tourists who managed to find it, there were a lot of locals drinking there too. I would really recommend anyone visiting Bruges to look this place up. It might not appear to be much from the outside, but it is a really special place. All of their beers are also available for takeaway as gifts or souvenirs.
Bruges is absolutely a tourist trap, but deservedly so. It is without doubt one of the most beautiful places I have visited, and there is absolutely loads to do. I always imagined that I would visit in winter for the Christmas markets and I definitely intend to make that trip. Bruges would be like a fairytale at Christmas.
I don’t think my words can do justice to just how lovely Bruges is, so I will let my photos do the talking for me.
- Bruges: Venice of the north. (europeantraveltales.wordpress.com)