There are so many places to see in and around the Markt in Bruges and the medieval architecture of the ancient buildings is simply beautiful. Take a walk just a couple of blocks away from the city centre and there are more stunning details in the simplest of structures. I found myself drawn to doors – some brightly painted, others ornamented or elegantly carved, and all individual.
It’s easy to travel around when visiting Bruges. You can drive a car on all but the narrowest of cobblestone streets in the centre of town.
Bicycles can go anywhere, and parking is never a problem.
For an old world feel take a slow carriage ride along the bustling thoroughfares and quieter back streets.
However, for a completely different perspective on this beautifully preserved city, you must go on a canal boat ride.
At first glance it seems a little ‘touristy” but at €7.60, a half hour cruise along the canals of Bruges is not just great value. It’s also great fun.
The boats sail come rain or shine and there are dozens of them on the canals every day.
Their captains tell the stories of the medieval buildings and the people who lived in them in centuries past, the ancient bridges and the canals themselves. Bruges is sometimes known as “The Venice of the North” and when the little boats filled with people gazing upwards in wonder sail up and down the waterways it’s not hard to see why.
At the end of the day, when the boat rides finish, the water stills and the canals become restful.
The Markt in the centre of Bruges is surrounded by lavishly ornamented Gothic buildings including the Belfry, the City Hall and the Provincial Palace and usually it’s overflowing with tourists.
They come to admire the architecture, absorb the history and enjoy a waffle or a serve of friets from one of the many cafes or vans. On Wednesdays though, the tourists have to compete for space with the vendors who come to sell their fresh food and flowers – it’s market day!
Fruit and vegetables from around the world are sold at the grocers’ stalls while local cheeses and meat, spicy sausages, fresh bread and smoked fish are available too.
The variety of beautiful flowers is amazing and so is the price – so little for such glorious abundance!
In September it’s impossible to leave before buying some enormous strawberries and sweet jewelled raspberries – waffles and friets are not on the lunch menu today!