Get Away From it all in Fairytale Brugge

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 26-01-2012

If you’re trying to think of somewhere to relax for a few days or longer this year but aren’t too keen on a lot of sun, sand and sangria, try heading to Brugge in Belgium for a city break with a difference. Car hire comparison sites are ideal for picking up a decent motor and using it to explore Brugge and the surrounding area, as Belgium has perfect conditions for driving and there are numerous interesting destinations within easy reach by car.

Brugge, or Bruges, is of course most famous for its network of charming canals lined with medieval timber-framed houses that look like something out of a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. Cobblestones and quaint gables are much in evidence, and as you stroll along the quiet streets you half expect to bump into the Pied Piper or witness a goose laying golden eggs.

But the enticement of Brugge goes way beyond such attractive fantasies. Brugge is after all a UNESCO World Heritage city and has remained in something like a time warp since the late middle ages whilst also managing to adapt successfully to the demands of the modern world. It is no mere museum but a thriving town that has a lot to offer its visitors.

It’s not for nothing that Brugge is known as the Venice of the North, and its mixture of historic buildings, churches and museums, all set like glittering jewels in a filigree work of snaking canals, is a truly magical one to experience. Once there you can set out to explore the many attractions by foot, boat or even horse, and you’ve always got the car to reach the outlying areas and rolling countryside.
Brugge was originally settled in Roman times but its golden age was between the 12th and 15th centuries, when it was a major trading centre, with Hanseatic ships crowded into the harbour and others from the distant Levant bringing exotic spices and other commodities to medieval Europe. Many of Brugge’s buildings have survived from that time and they offer a unique insight into life as it was experienced then.

Don’t miss popping in to the Arentshuis, a first-rate art gallery packed with examples of the famous art of the region. Bladelin House is one of the city’s iconic buildings, a mansion dating back to the 15th century that has a distinctive Italian look deriving from its time as a Medici bank. The famous Brugge Belfry towers over the city and personifies its proud military and economic history.

After exploring Brugge itself, why not take the car further afield? A great attraction of Belgium as a holiday destination is that it is relatively small and compact. In fact, you can get a good idea of the entire country in under a week, and Brussels and Antwerp are two other great cities here that should not be missed if you have the time.

With a world renowned cuisine that includes of course the famous Belgian chocolate gateau, drenched in cream and accompanying a cafe latte, Brugge has all the makings of the perfect city break and one you’ll want to return too, often.

David Elliott is a freelance writer who loves to travel, especially in Europe and Turkey. He’s spent most of his adult life in a state of restless excitement but recently decided to settle in North London. He gets away whenever he can to immerse himself in foreign cultures and lap up the history of great cities.

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