Bruges, Venice of the North - 2 days
Updated: Feb 26
Have I mentioned before that I’m also a big fan of weekends away? Yes, I am and despite the friendly jokes I get from my friends, I still do try to do it once a month. Long story short, this is how in the middle of June 2019 I ended up in Bruges. Well, this and having watched the movie In Bruges.
It’s really easy from London as you get on the Eurostar, preferably on a Friday evening after work and in just a few hours and a brief change in Brussels, you’re in magical Bruges.
The weekend started with checking in at the charming Sint Nik B&B where we were welcomed by a small bag of local chocolates (how good is that?) and the cutest flemish decorated mansard. Breakfast was sumptuous and the lovely Julie made us banana pancakes that were enjoyed with Speculoos spread – delicious!
The town itself is a little jewel, filled with art, craft beer and of course, chocolates and waffles, and they’re EVERYWHERE. If you get the chance to go, probably 2 days are enough or maybe 3 if you want to see a few more breweries or diamond crafts, but for me, it was enough (and I mean this mainly in chocolate terms).
Day 1 started with a visit to the Belfort, the city belfry that offers wonderful views of the city, followed by the town's prettiest square, the Burg . Next came the Stadhuis, an incredibly decorated building and the beautiful Basilica of the Holy Blood. We then moved on to the fish market for lunch and a relaxing boat trip on the canals.
The afternoon took us to Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk to see Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child and Groeningemuseum for the Van Eyck’s, although my favourite was probably the hospital's exhibition, Sint-Janshospitaal, which has lots of artworks by an inspiring Flemish artist called Memling.
The evening brought about a tasting menu at Bonte B with delicious fresh fish and one of the best duck dishes I’ve ever had. The service was not necessarily the best, but if you are a bit more patient than me, which is not too hard, the food is definitely worth it. We next moved on for drinks at Groot Vlaenderen, a coquet local-favourite bar with friendly service and lovely cocktails!
Day 2 involved a walking trip to east Bruges to see the windmills and a very long promenade followed by a few drinks at the wonderful Pergola, where the magical river view was the only thing topping up the delicious drinks. We also joined a brewery tour at Bourgogne des Flandres, which was definitely worth it not only for the flavoursome beers but also for the friendly staff. And just before heading back to the train station, we stopped at what I personally think to be the best chocolate in the world, the epic Neuhaus.
The verdict? If you have a spare weekend and an appetite for the Flemish charm and bohemian views, Bruges is just the place. You can do a lot or you can do a little, but you will still feel like it was a worthwhile escape from the city.