Bruges: Where the Middle Ages Come Alive

After London just last month, I travelled to Belgium last week! Together with my brother and boyfriend we pooled some money, and bought my mother a hotel trip for Christmas. After long pondering, the destination was determined on Bruges, a city which is still largely the same as it was in the 16th century.

We only went for one night, so we got up (sort of) early on Tuesday, hopped on the train, and came back Wednesday evening. Even though the trip was super short (we were technically only in the city for 30ish hours), we saw most of what Bruges has to offer.

brugge2Bruges is a small city in the north-west of Belgium, close to the coastal region. Most of its centre has been built in the 12th to the 16th century. In the 16th century the city wall as it is still seen today was built, and the canals in and around the city were finalised. Where other cities have continued to bloom after the Late Middle Ages, Bruges actually lost most of its inhabitants as the economical centre shifted to Antwerp. Because it never had to deal with increased population, there has never been a need to destroy older buildings to make place for new (and bigger) ones.

brugge3Of course, plenty has been changed throughout the centuries, but it’s fascinating to see how many fronts have been preserved. Most historical cities have a few streets they preserved (or in the case of Stockholm, one island). In Bruges, 90% of what you see inside of the city walls, is at least inspired by 16th century architecture, with plenty of authentic buildings in between. And it looks absolutely stunning.

Because it’s February, hardly the top tourist season, the city was largely empty. We saw a lot of stores geared towards tourists though, and I think Bruges is very crowded in summer during high season. Even though it was low season now, all of the attractions were open. We went to a Dalí exposition, the Historium, the Diamond Museum and the Fries Museum, and of course had plenty of delicious food.

brugge5We also went to a fabulous place called Books & Brunch, but I’ll tell more about that in a next post 😀

brugge6Bruges is a great destination for a weekend trip, and telling by the amount of backpackers we ran into, it’s also quite popular for backpackers. The food and museums are on the expensive side, but the hotels are cheap in off-season. Highly recommended if you want to feel like you’re on the set of a historical movie while having all the modern conveniences at the ready.

brugge7Have you ever been in Bruges?

For more travel, check out my posts on London (UK), Cologne (GER), Scheveningen (NL), and Stockholm (SWE).

12 thoughts on “Bruges: Where the Middle Ages Come Alive

  1. Ahhh! This totally does look like the setting to a historical movie or book – which makes me want to go there even more 😀 I’m already curious about that Books and Brunch shop (of course) but I loved all the gorgeous pics you shared this time around. And the history of the place you so awesomely added in your post! Going off-season would be a big plus for me since that means less crowds and more time to peruse at your leisure haha! Thanks for sharing your trip with us Celine^^

    • Doesn’t it look amazing? It was so strange yet awesome to be in a place that looks so unlike most modern cities. I’d definitely recommend going off-season. Thanks for stopping by Micheline 😀 I hope you can do like a HUGE Europe trip some day

  2. My boyfriend and me do want to go to Bruges one day, it’s a little far from where we live (Burgundy) but we bet it’s worth the trip ! Your pictures are tempting 🙂

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