Bruges is one of those great little cities that tourists love.
It seems to have been frozen in time... And in fact it was.
Back about five or six hundred years ago, it was a busy river port town, then the harbor silted up and traders moved on.
This little walled city didn't change for centuries, and that's why it's thriving today... because it is so well preserved.
Tourists do crowd this medieval city of gothic design...
...but somehow you don't mind.
We've never felt there was anything wrong with calling yourself a tourist and going to the most popular destinations...
...everyone wants to see them for a good reason.
Brugge is in the Flanders part of Belgium.
Did I confuse you with that spelling change?
Just so you know what you're looking for... remember that French/Flemish language sharing arrangement in Belgium.
It's Bruges in French as well as English,
And it's Brugge in Flemish (or Dutch).
We have Flemish friends in Belgium, so we just had to include that.
We only spent a day in Bruges, but it's a great little city to stay in.
We always suggest
trying to spend the night in a popular city like this...
The day crowds go home at night, and you'll feel like you've got the city to yourself.
This historic center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The current city boundaries still coincide exactly with those of the medieval city center.
Structures and squares and canals
are preserved. Much of this little city seems defined by it's canals... You find water at many turns.
Head first for the Market Square. This is the heart of town and you can get your bearings from here.
The city center is closed to cars, so if you drive in, find a parking lot on the periphery.
It's an easy city to explore on foot.
As an alternative, since this is a tourist town, you'll find horse-drawn carriages to take you around the cobblestone streets.
can always find the Market Square because it is crowned by the Belfry
tower. You can see it in the photo above.
This Bell tower has been here for seven hundred years. If you're lucky, you might catch a carillon concert... The carillonist plays a manual keyboard to ring the 47 bells.
Cruise the picturesque canals, and you'll discover hidden gardens and quaint bridges.
This romantic city looks even more romantic from a boat on the canals.
There are museums where you can see early Flemish paintings... you may find they were painted right in this city.
Visit the churches...
Tour the 14th century City Hall.
Need we say more?
If you are a chocoholic, you'll love Bruges.
There are 49 chocolate boutiques according to the official Brugge website...
AND a chocolate museum!
You'll be tempted by stores all over town.
They are so serious about their chocolate that some of the family run chocolate makers shut down if the weather gets too hot... don't want to ruin the chocolate!
Bruges' crocheted lace was famous in the 16th century, and you can still see ladies making it.
Shops are full of lace edged hankies, lace collars, lace mats... anything lace you can imagine.
There is always time for a Belgian beer...
Take a brewery tour in and sample a beer at the end for a small fee. The tour lasts about 45 minutes, and it's given in three languages.
So when you're in Belgium, find this little town that time forgot, but tourists have found. Even though you won't feel like you discovered it for yourself, the Old World charm in Bruges will win your heart.