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Bruges

Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in bruges

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Cosmopolitan and bourgeois, Bruges is one of the best preserved pre-motorized cities in Europe and offers the kind of charms rarely available elsewhere. Part of Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern part of Belgium, Bruges is a postcard perfect stop on any tour of Europe.

bruges Travel Guide :

Bruges

Get in

Bruges

By train

Travelling to Bruges on Belgium's excellent rail system is a natural choice. Trains to and from Brussels leave every 30 minutes during the day, and if you are travelling on the Eurostar that same day, there is no cost. Otherwise, buy a ticket when you get to the station. For more information on schedules and prices, visit the website of the NMBS/SNCB (http://www.b-rail.be/main/index.html).

Bruges

By car

If you are planning a bus-tour: be aware busses and camping vehicles are not allowed intra muros. There is a perfect parking place for them on the south side of the city with a newly designed gangway bringing you directly into the heart of the town. It is in general a bad idea to venture inside with a car, as parking is limited and finding your way difficult. Nice city mini-buses cruise the town with high frequency, and in any case, the city can be traversed on foot in about 30 minutes.

Bruges

See

Once over the circling canal and inside the city walls, Bruges closes in around you with street after street of charming historic houses and a canal always nearby. In recent years, the city has turned so much towards tourism the locals sometimes complain they are living in Disney-land. The newly cleaned houses should however not confuse you; they are truly centuries old. And if you can get away from the chocolate-shops, you can visit some more quiet areas s.a. St. Anna, and imagine what life in the late middle ages must have been like.

Some highlights:

  • Groeninge Museum (Dijver 12, 7 days 9.30am-5pm, 8 EUR entry) is also known as 'The city museum of Fine Arts', and has a collection of artworks that span several centuries (14th-20th), focussing mainly on works by painters who lived and worked in Bruges.
Bruges

Do

Have beer in the Grand Place, climb the clock tower, go to Minnewater Park or Van Eyck Plein, nothing is very far away in Bruges; it's a remarkably compact city.

  • Tour boats -- It's essential to take a ride on one of the tour boats around the canals - the multilingual guides provide a potted history of the city in just a few minutes - at only a few Euros, it's the best introduction to Bruges. A boat tour will show you places which are otherwise unreachable, as not every canal runs next to a street. In 2005, the adult fare was about EUR 5.70 each.
  • Walks and rides -- everywhere, although there are plenty of horse-drawn tourist buggies and bicycles for hire in the cobbled streets as well. The horse carriage tours are nice but expensive.

If you are a runner, try running the 7km circle around the old center. Walk along the canal and see all of the medieval gates that used to control the traffic in and out of Bruges. Simply stunning!

Bruges

Eat

Restaurants are not always cheap or wonderful; sad to say that Belgian cuisine is a long way behind French in terms of variety, although mussels and frites or fricadellen, frites with mayonnaise are outstanding here. Stay away from the central market place ("Grote Markt") when eating. Tourists are easy victims here. You will find great food if you wander off the beaten track. Find a street with more locals than Japanese and ask somebody. The locals will be glad to help.

  • Brasserie Forestière, Academiestraat: Nice and calm restaurant, good food, not too expensive. Meal of the day (soup, main dish, dessert or coffee/tea) costs ? 11.
  • L'estaminet, at the Astrid Park: good food, nice terrace, cool bartender. Try the renowned spaghetti for 7 euros or the delicious croque monsieur.
  • La Romagna, Braambergstraat 8. Excellent family-run italian restaurant and pizzeria. Inexpensive. Good menu for vegetarians.
  • In't Nieuw Museum, Hooistraat 42. Belgian grill restaurant, well off the tourist track. Excellent steaks, reasonable prices. Not at all for vegetarians.
Bruges

Drink

  • De Garre, 1, De Garre: Hidden in a backyard, this pub offers a nice atmosphere and about 100 different kinds of beer, including home-brewed ones.
  • t Bruges Beertje, Kamelstraat. This excellent pub (recommended in the CAMRA guide to the Benelux region) has hundreds of different beers and an authentic beer-cafe atmosphere. The front bar is crowded; what looks like the door through to the restrooms opens on another bar area. In 2005 it was closed for most of July - this might be an annual occurrence.
  • Curiosa, just of the main square (address needed) is a good place for a lunch as well as a beer.
Bruges

Buy

Chocolate shops abound and the standard is always high, so too are the boutique-style beer shops. Plenty of arts and crafts too, with some excellent local artists. The lacework is risky: if everything sold was produced locally, the entire town would be working in the lace industry! There is a school for lace though, where you can still get "the real thing".

Bruges

Sleep

Although one or two chain hotels do exist in Bruges, your best option is probably to choose from the multitude of little bed and breakfast options that dot the city. Note that during the summer, Bruges is a very popular tourist destination; reservations are probably preferable.

Bruges

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