Why Bruges, Belgium Is Popping Up On Everyone’s Travel Bucket Lists
By Leah Freeman-Haskin
Imagine stepping back in time to winding cobblestone streets, medieval architecture, and bustling markets. This is Bruges, Belgium. A city once made famous by the film In Bruges featuring Colin Farrell and today for topping many travel bucket lists.
Known as the ‘Venice of the North’ for its extensive canal system, Bruges has been named a UNESCO world heritage site. Its city center is home to 13th to 16th century Flemish architecture and a wide array of local culture and history.
“The Historic Centre of Brugge is an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble, illustrating significant stages in the commercial and cultural fields in medieval Europe,” the description states on the UNESCO website.
The city also takes its beer and chocolate very seriously. Head to Katelijnestraat where the scent of chocolate wafts through the air and decadent displays fill the shop windows. Chocolatier Dumon is a local favorite, offering some of the best chocolate in town.
And then there’s the beer. As ingrained in the landscape as Bruges’ medieval architecture, beer is the most important beverage in town. Bruges is home to a local brewery that has a two-mile pipeline that funnels beer from their bottling plant outside of town. In one hour, Da Halve Maan—or “The Half Moon”—pumps enough beer to fill 12,000 bottles, according to Travel + Leisure.
If you are looking for more action than sampling local beers and the city’s iconic chocolate, head to the Belfry of Bruges, a medieval bell tower located 366 steps above the ground where you can see incomparable views of the historic city below.
And while in town, be sure to taste the moules-frites. The national dish of Belgium includes fresh muscles and French fries made to perfection. According to departures.com, restaurant Poules Moules offers the best in town.