Bruges is one of the best preserved medieval cities in the world thanks to the fact that it didn’t become a popular tourist destination until the late nineteenth century. It was founded during the eleventh century surrounding a fortress established during the ninth century.
Until the fifteenth century Bruges (Brugges in Dutch) was one of the wealthiest cities in the continent. Like Venice, the town is canal-based, transforming it into one of the most important commercial centres in the North of Europe.
At the end of the fifteenth century the Zwin channel that had been responsible for the city’s good fortune began to stilt and the city fell into decline.
At the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, Bruges was completely deteriorated and poor-stricken. Nevertheless, it was completely restored and quickly became one of the most fashionable tourist destinations.
Currently, over 7.8 million people visit the city’s cobbled streets every year, making it into the country’s most visited town, even more than in Brussels. Bruges is the capital of the province of West Flanders and was declared a World Heritage Site of UNESCO in 2000.
Although Bruges is a small city and it is difficult for visitors to miss its top attractions, this is a list of the monuments you must visit:
If you’d like to visit a few museums while you’re in Bruges, we recommend Gruuthusemuseum, a medieval mansion, which makes people travel back in time. Another good museum is the Groeningemuseum, Bruges’ most important art museum.
If you have enough time, we suggest taking a canal boat tour.
Bruges is a remarkable town but quite small, so you will only need from half a day to a whole day to explore this medieval masterpiece. We recommend spending the night in Brussels instead of Bruges, since the hotel prices are more expensive.
Although you can take a bus or rent a car, the best option is to either take the train or book a guided tour of the city:
If you haven’t booked the tour from Brussels but would like to get a guided tour of the city in English, we offer a 2.5-hour tour for 15 € per person.