UNESCO World Heritage Week: Getting Lost in Brugge.

Ride a bike along the canals lined with world heritage buildings, gorge on home made fries, wash them down fresh beer, and follow it up with world’s best chocolate. Getting lost in the oldest city of Flanders is not without its perks.

  1. Climb the belfry, ride into the middle ages on a horse drawn carriage and stroll in the main square:

 

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The bell tower of Bruges happens to be one of the most important buildings in town, and most popular too. Set up in the 13th century, it is a part of a complex that served as market hall and warehouse for the traders. Today it is a museum and a watchtower apart from being the home to a carillon with 47 melodious bells. Begin your day by climbing a mammoth 366 stairs to the top of the tower; witness the wealth of the city at the treasury museum, the complex mechanism of the bells, which work even today, and enjoy sweeping views of the Belgian countryside from the top.

On the ground, you can choose to ride the horse drawn carriages that trot along the Markt Sqaure, or walk around Brug, the quaintest town square in Europe while sampling freshly fried Belgian frites with mustard mayonnaise and tucking into waffles overloaded with toppings. From the square you can walk to the main shopping district or saunter along the cobbled lanes lined with souvenir shops, café’s, and chocolate boutiques.

  1. Discover Flemish history, sample chocolate, and enjoy some beer.

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Spend your afternoon to venture a little off the beaten track. Explore the quiet St Anna District, home to the museum of lace, the folklore museum, and the oldest pub in Bruges, Café Vlissinghe. Housed in the renovated old lace school of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, the Lace Museum traces the history of lace making in Bruges. The Folklore Museum, set in a 17th century building, displays many an antique treasure of Flemish history and offers an insight into the daily life of the locals about a hundred years ago.

If history is not your subject, there are other things you can spend your afternoon doing: getting lost in a chocolate jungle and looking for hidden chocolates at the Choco-Story museum, or tracing the origin of fries and their importance in Belgian history at the Frites Museum. You could choose to wrap up your afternoon with a leisurely tour of the beer museum perched on top of a former post office, or sip actual beer al-fresco in one of the many café’s.

  1. Cruise the canals, ride a bicycle, and indulge in a unique culinary experience.

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Bruges is set along meandering canals and criss-cross waterways. Cruising through these canals is a great way of experiencing the Flemish town, especially at dusk. Passing through beer breweries and café’s, churches and cathedrals, and narrow stepped gabled homes helps you take layers off the history of one of the oldest Cities of Belgium. It also helps you make friends with resident Swans, breathe in the beer-scented air, and get to know the friendly captain of the boat.

If you prefer exercising your limbs, hire a bike and explore the quaint town like Bollywood did in Pk. Ride along the canal, stop by a bookshop, and pause for world’s best hot chocolate. Along the way, discover the houses that have defined Bruges since Middle Ages, listen to the tales behind their tiny windows, and marvel at the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage City in the fading light of the day.

End your day at one of the many Michelin Star restaurants that dot the city. Choose from the delicacies like horse steak, black pudding made with pig’s blood, eel in herb sauce, and tongue set in gelatin, or play it safe with the stew or mussels and mushroom and wash it all down with some freshly brewed beer.

Orientation:

Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is well connected by road and rail with all major cities, and takes a little over an hour to reach from Brussels. Bruges can be covered in a day, but if you want to enjoy the evening and flood lit monuments, it is best to stay overnight and catch the morning train back to Brussels.

 

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