City escapes ~ Beautiful Bruges – Part one

As the last of the summer sunshine glows across the city and the leaves turn golden, I’m slowly starting to get back into the hectic city life that the post-summer season brings. Travel is never very far my thoughts at this time of the year as we leave the warm weather behind. City breaks are one of the best ways to escape the city before the end of the year. So whilst I plot my plans for the next few months, I thought I’d travel back in time and share my trip to Bruges this Easter.

Picture your most comfortable shoes and get ready to explore…

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Bruges is a great place to go when the seasons change, leisurely wander its cobbled streets, peek through windows full of chocolate, and drink Belgian beer, all without the heat and crowds of summer or the dark days of winter.

As a relatively small city compared to London you don’t really need to follow a map all that closely, enjoy the thrill of exploring its streets and you’ll discover pretty courtyards.

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Colourful streets lined with shops full of chocolate.

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And eventually you’ll be suddenly stunned by its monumental buildings.

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The Belfort is its most famous building and worth seeing by day and by night.

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Sadly we didn’t manage to climb the tower, from which the views are meant to be spectacular, as the queues were so long. But with so many pretty places to see I didn’t feel like we missed out.

Instead we took time to unwind in the calmer parts of the city’s outskirts, where you’ll find its historic windmills.

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And the calmest canals you may ever see…

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They encircle the city and eventually with the right turning will take you right back into its centre.

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Cycling is very popular in Bruges, particularly around the canals and windmills at the outskirts of the city. We had been tipped off by our lovely AirBnb owner that the nicest place to cycle was out to Damme – what I would call a village just outside Bruges. So we hired a bike for about 8 Euros and set off out of the city for an even calmer part of Belgium.

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The route there is stunning as it takes you out of the city and into Belgian countryside. It was a fun way to get out of the tourist hot spots and into quieter natural surroundings.

It’s about a 9KM cycle and you will know when you’ve reached your destination as you’ll spot this windmill.

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Hop off your bicycle and wander into the centre. There are some grand buildings like Bruges but it’s very small and if you walk right through you’ll find yourself at the edge of the countryside with beautiful old churches.

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There are a handful of small restaurants to stop and get lunch and of course a Belgian beer.

If I’ve sold you on visiting, make sure you keep an eye out for part two where I’ll share some of the most important aspects of the city – where to find the best chocolate, waffles and belgian beer! And practical tips about how to get there and where to stay.

Have you been to Bruges? Do you have a favourite city escape?

1 Comment

  1. October 10, 2014 / 5:36 pm

    Beautiful pictures! I visited Bruges in December last year for the Christmas markets but we didn’t get the chance to get outside the town, that little windmill is Dammes is gorgeous 🙂