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With Bruges it’s love at first sight! Bruges is mysteriously medieval and unashamedly ebullient. Though a city of human proportions, it takes a while to explore its wealth of treasures. The city owes its greatness to history and now wears its Unesco World Heritage Site label with pride. For centuries the canals of Bruges have linked the city to the sea, a guarantee of wealth and prosperity. International merchants built up Bruges into one of the largest Hanse cities. In the 15th century the city flourished as never before. Large parts of the medieval heritage remained practically intact. Therefore, it is only logical that Unesco designated the entire city centre as a world heritage site. Saunter along the enigmatic canals, the arteries of the city, and immerse yourself in Bruges’ Golden Century. The economic affluence of the 15th century brought rich merchants to Bruges. They moved into majestic city palaces, packed with works of art. In the wake of the Burgundian dynasty, the great Flemish primitives, including Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling found their creative niches in Bruges. The fine arts reigned supremely and Bruges quickly became the meeting place and source of inspiration for many artists. The world famous masterpieces and other top collections can be seen today in one of the 30 Bruges museums. In medieval Bruges, polyphonic chamber music and choral music reverberated vibrantly. Internationally renowned polyphonists had the run of the elegant city palaces of the rich Burgundians. Since the 19th century this tradition has been continued in the splendidly restored City Theatre, one of Europe’s best preserved city theatres. And also in the contemporary Concertgebouw (Concert Hall), a stone souvenir of Bruges 2002 when Bruges was the Cultural Capital of Europe, top productions follow one after the other. At the grand parties in the princely palace of the dukes of Burgundy, romance was all the rage. This is where mysterious stories found their roots. The legend of the Bruges swans came about in the period after Mary of Burgundy’s passing. Pieter Lanchals, a name which means 'long neck', who was one of the town administrators belonging to the court of Maximilian of Austria, was executed in the Bruges market square. Legend has it that Maximilian punished Bruges by obliging the population to keep 'long necks', or swans, on their lakes and canals till eternity. To this day, proud swans guard the Bruges canals. This elegant image, the windy, mediaeval streets and cobbled squares turn Bruges into the most romantic destination. Back in the early Middle Ages, Bruges was one of Europe’s most important sea ports. One hundred years ago, Bruges revisited this successful past when it turned the port of Zeebrugge into one of Europe’s most significant ports for container traffic and a considerable gas terminal for a large part of Europe. For cruise ships too, this port, right by the North Sea, is an excellent mooring place at a stone’s throw from the historic heart of the World Heritage city of Bruges. When the Flemish cloth industry lost in importance in the 15th century, Bruges concentrated on the production of various luxury goods. Guilds and, later on, trade organisations, kept a watchful eye on, and protected, the creation of these quality products. Besides panel painting by the Flemish primitives, Bruges excelled in the goldsmith art, the production of illuminated manuscripts, diamond cutting and lace. Today, the World Heritage city is still an international centre of refined craftsmanship. Bruges is a leader in the field of calligraphy and letter sculpting. Moreover, two reputed colleges train culinary talent, allowing them to create gastronomic furore in Bruges and overseas. The capital of chocolate is the obvious place where you will find the cream of artisan chocolatiers.
The 10 classic places that no one should miss!
Some places are so special, so breathtaking or so unique that you simply have to see them. Bruges is filled to the brim with wonderful witnesses of a prosperous past, whether they be peaceful and picturesque, spiritual or, on the contrary, extremely entertaining.
Idyllic walks along misty canal banks; nostalgic rides in open carriages, wrapped up warm in cosy woollen blankets; all rounded off with a top class meal at one of the many gastronomic restaurants. In the crisp air of winter, the historic centre of old Bruges becomes even more romantic, more poetic, more mysterious. It is almost as if the World Heritage city waits for the coolest months, until the large mass of summer visitors has gone, to show its most charming side: a side reserved only for those in the know.
To savour and to feast, that’s what Bruges is all about. A land of plenty for lovers of the finest delicacies. Nowhere else will you find so many appetising culinary delights in such a compact area. Indeed, the citizens of Bruges themselves are mightily fond of authentic food and drink.
Looking for a cozy drink? Discover the many cafés in Bruges.
Looking for a night on the town? Discover the many bars in Bruges.
Bruges already has quite a few shops that offer that bit more: authentic addresses that continue to surprise you with a sophisticated or original range. The city stands for a harmonious mix of creative, trendy newcomers, vintage addresses that retail nostalgia and old favourites and that have been expertly run by the same families for many decades.
There is no better way to fraternise with the townspeople of Bruges than to immerse yourself in the infectious ambiance at the innumerable events that sweep through the whole city.
How to reach Bruges?
By car / coach / ferry

By car / coach / ferry

TO BRUGES From the UK you travel to Bruges by ferry or by Eurotunnel: Hull (UK) – Zeebrugge (B) with P&O Ferries. (crossing: 1 night). Take the N31 from Zeebrugge to Brugge. Estimated distance Zeebrugge – Brugge is 17 km or 11 miles (30 min driving). Dover (UK) – Dunkerque (F) with DFDS Seaways (crossing: 2h00). Take the motorway E40 to Brugge. Estimated distance Dunkerque – Brugge is 76 km or 47 miles (1 h driving). Dover (UK) – Calais (F) with P&O Ferries or DFDS Seaways (crossing: 1h30). Estimated distance Calais – Brugge is 120 km or 75 miles (1h30 driving). Folkestone (UK) – Calais (F) via Eurotunnel (35 min). Estimated distance Calais – Brugge is 120 km or 75 miles (1h30 driving). IN BRUGES A 30 kph zone is in force throughout the entire city centre. This means that you are forbidden at all times to drive faster than 30 kilometres per hour. Parking in the city centre for an unlimited period is cheapest in the public cark parks in front of the railway station and under the ’t Zand square. Both car parks are within easy walking distance of the market square, or else you can use one of the city buses operated by De Lijn. The bus transfer (max. 4 people per car) from the station car park to the city centre and back is included in the price of the parking ticket. Bruges is a compact city, made for people. The use of motorized transport in the historic city centre is discouraged. There are a number of outlying car parks within easy walking distance of the centre where you can park free of charge. A little further away are the park-and-ride cark parks, also free, from which you can reach the centre by bike or public transport. A blue zone has been created around the city centre. You can park free of charge for a limited period in this blue zone (max. 4 hours) between 9.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. Always remember to use your parking disc! Above ground parking in the city centre is also possible for a limited period (max. 4 hours) between 9.00 a.m. and 8.00 p.m., but is paid (1 hour: €1.80; 2 or 3 hours: €2.40; 4 hours: €9). Payment can be made via an sms/text message, using the 4411 app or by cash or bank card at one of the parking ticket machines. The correct number plate of your car must always be entered into the machine in advance. If you are staying overnight in Bruges, ask your hotel or guesthouse about parking options in the vicinity.

By plane

By plane

TO BRUGES >>>Via Brussels Airport-Zaventem It is easy to travel from Brussels Airport-Zaventem to Bruges by train. Every day there is a direct hourly service to Bruges. In addition, many other trains from Brussels Airport-Zaventem regularly stop at Brussels-North, Brussels-Central or Brussels-South railway stations. From these three stations there are daily three trains an hour stopping at Bruges on their way to Ostend, Knokke or Blankenberge. Taxi rides to and from Brussels national airport are available from Bruges taxi services at a fixed rate of € 200.00 (price adjustments are possible throughout the year). >>> Via Brussels South Charleroi Airport This popular regional airport receives multiple low cost flights every day from various cities and regions in Europe. The bus company ( provides several direct shuttle bus services to and from the station in Bruges on a daily basis. The Bruges taxi services drive to and from Brussels South Charleroi Airport at a fixed rate of € 250.00 (price adjustments throughout the year are possible). >>> Via Ostend-Bruges Airport The railway station at Ostend is just a 15-minute bus ride away. From here, there are at least three trains to Bruges each hour between 6.00 a.m. and 10.00 p.m., with final destinations in Eupen, Welkenraedt, Brussels Airport-Zaventem, Antwerpen-Centraal or Kortrijk. The train journey to Bruges takes about 15 minutes. Please consult the website of Belgian Railways for more information about timetables and fares. Taxi rides to and from Bruges with the Bruges and Ostend taxi services are charged at the fixed rate of € 70.00. Prices may be adjusted in the course of the year.

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