Bruges – Little Venice, A Fairytale Town
The sheer beauty of this fantasy city, Bruges, cannot be caught in words. If there is heaven on earth, it’s here. The city looks like it came straight out of your favourite story book (imagine Hogsmeade). Being here you forget everything….the world around you, the people, the worries of everyday life. Nothing exists outside that moment.
1. History of Bruges
The area has been occupied since the prehistoric times. The first fortifications are of the time of Caesar, however this region became important when it emerged as a major port and trading centre. Cloth market was of significance to this city. Contact with the English and French brought immense wealth to Bruges. Merchants were readily welcomed to trade in the city, spice market had also gained importance. Bruges was at it’s peak in the later period of the middle age. In the last century, the city has become a major tourist hub because of its medieval architecture and scenic surroundings.
2. Night Life of Bruges
Nightlife here is pretty subdued with limited nightclubs. The most happening place would be the Old town where they serve some good quality beer in numerous bars. With a variety of over 300 types of beers, you’ll be dancing without music. Other than that, the city itself is beautiful at night, expect yourself to fall in love with the scenes, the lights and the dark night make for an amazing view.
3. Safety in Bruges
You need not worry, as this city is one of the safest in all of Europe. Pickpockets are like mosquitoes, they are everywhere so take appropriate measures to avoid such mishappenings. Other than that overcrowding is an issue, so, be alert. Hotel accommodations might give you some grief but on the whole the only real problem is that you might overeat and give yourself a tummy ache. Relax, keep your wits about yourself, and most importantly enjoy.
4. Living Expenses in Bruges
Trendy areas have a moderately high rental with one bedroom apartments at the price of € 800 a month and three bedroom apartments costing about € 1300. Budget hotels have hotel tariffs of around € 67 (USD 73) whereas Hotel Dukes’ Palace Bruges arguably the most expensive, right in the city centre, charges you € 230 (USD 252).
5. Cuisines of Bruges
A fine gastronomic culture with such high quality food is something any foodie will relish. Fast food of Belgium is pretty popular; waffles stacked high with fresh fruits and whipped cream with a drizzle of caramel, the best fries in the whole world, a really good beer collection and the unlimited chocolatiers providing an endless supply of mouthwatering deliciousness, you can’t not salivate. Steaks, stews especially waterzooi, mussels, soups, mashed potato (Belgium does love its potato), croquettes, meatballs in tomato sauce, we haven’t even scratched the surface yet. Forget about your waistline when in Bruges, cause the call of the food is too tempting to resist.
6. Statistics of Bruges
The city is the capital and largest in the province of West Flanders of the country. It is located in the Flemish region and has an area of about 13,840 hectares and is home to 117,170 people.
UNESCO has declared its historic city centre as a World Heritage Site. Along with a few other cities, Bruges has popularly been called the ‘Venice of the North’ because of the canals running through the city.
The population density of the city is 850 per sq.km.
7. Public Transport in Bruges
Bruges main railway station provides trains to all the major cities of the country. Travelling by bus is the most convenient way for those who are on a strict budget. However, at night the only mode of transportation available are the taxis and they’re more on the costly side. If you want to get a more leisurely experience, rent a bike and go around the city. There are horse drawn carriage tours and boat canal tours for those who want to explore the city in a more lavish way. There is a travel card available and further information is available here. Zeebrugge is the second largest port of Belgium and ferries carry passengers to-and-from major cities of Europe.
Pollution in Bruges: Belgium as a whole is not that polluted when compared to other countries and their pollution estimates. The air quality is acceptable and fluctuates between 60 to 70 in its PM 2.5 levels.
8. Weather of Bruges
Bruges experiences temperate climate with frequent rainfall even in its driest month and is colder than the other European cities. Cloud cover is constant with limited sunshine. Summers here do not exceed on an average above 21°C with average rainfall of 733 mm in a year. Be prepared for the cold even in summers and always carry an umbrella.
Spring: March till April. Average high: 11°C; Average low: 4°C
Summer: May till September. Average high: 19°C; Average low: 11°C
Autumn: October till November. Average high: 13°C; Average low: 6°C
Winter: Mid November till February. Average high: 7°C; Average low: 3°C
9. Culture of Bruges
Bruges celebrates so many festivals, from food to culture to music, if that’s your thing, you’re in the right place. Art centres like De Werf is host to jazz musicians and concerts and the theatre scene is also active in the city. The city is also home to more than a few dozen Museums catering to different interest and ideas.
10. Places to visit in Bruges
Things to do in Bruges: The basilica of Holy Blood, Markt in the town square is hubbub of people all year around; Brewery De Halve Maan shows you the whole process of beer making; Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk, Jerusalem church, The Begijnhof; Take a horse drawn carriage around the city; Take a ride in the boat canals; Grote Markt and Belfry Climb gives an amazing view of the city from above; Minnewater is a beautiful park and a great place to relax, and most importantly if you’re here in December then the christmas market is an absolute delight that is unforgettable.
Things to do for Kids in Bruges: Choco-Story Museum would tell your munchkins the evolution of their favourite treat, Balloon rides over the historic centres will surely amuse the little ones and you a lot and boating is naturally a must.
Museum and Galleries: Groeninge Museum, Museum St-Janshospitaal, Historium, Arentshuis, Choco-Story.
Places nearby: Antwerp is 82 kms from Bruges and has a wealth of medieval and renaissance architecture; the city has much to offer in terms of tourist attractions. It’s cobbled streets and quaint shops are similar to that of Bruges.
Offbeat places: It’s pretty easy to get lost in the city with its streets and medieval feel, termed ironically the ‘secret Bruges’, the streets here are free from tourists and you are open to explore to your hearts content all that this hush-hush place has to offer.
Author’s Conclusion: Bruges should be on everyone’s bucket list. In one word, the city is perfect…You don’t need anyone, just go, explore everything, get a new perspective, because this city is one of those places that truly inspire you.
|City||Bruges / Brugge|
|Area||138.40 sq. km|
|Languages||Flemish, French, German, English|
|Currency||Euro (EUR) (1 € = 1.10 USD as of 7th March 2016)|
|Time Zone||Central European Time (UTC + 1)
Central European Summer Time (UTC + 2)
|Driving||Right Hand Traffic, Left Hand Driven vehicles|
|Helpline||Police – 101 ; Fire and Ambulance – 112|
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