Bruges, the romantic capital of West Flanders in northeast Belgium, is noted for its narrow canals, cobblestone streets, and historic buildings. Its port, Zeebrugge is an important gateway for European commerce and fishing. In the city center’s central burg square, the famous stadiums (14th century) – Stadhuis – abuts a beautiful authentic belfry with an elaborate carved ceiling. A few meters away is the magnificent and extremely Gothic Stavanger church with an adjoining bell tower. Just beyond is the imposing Schloss Charlottenburg, where one can view some of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture in the world. In the vicinity of the church is the university and Botanical Garden; the Stortingfabrica and the Modern Art Gallery; and the Schloss Charlottenburg Palace, which were destroyed during World War II.
The canals and the surrounding streets provide excellent opportunities to take pictures of the wonderful scenery and to see some of the historical sights. It is possible to tour the entire city by foot or by water, but if you want to be even more adventurous, you can rent a bike and tour the canals by bicycle. One of the canals that Bruges is so famous for is the Molen van Sloten. This narrow canal can be seen from the top of the Bruges Tower, and it takes about 25 minutes to ride from the city center.
If you are into art, you will not be disappointed by the rich collection of galleries in Bruges. There are numerous art museums in the historic center of the Belgian city. Some of the most famous ones include the Droogte van Sloten Museum, which are an example of early Belgian art, and the Van Sloten Museum, which are still in the process of reconstruction after being destroyed during World War II. Many Flanders of the art world consider Brugge as their favorite place for discovering new artists. The major art fairs in Brugge are the Flemish fair, which are held every year, and the Brussels International Festival, which are usually held during May.
If shopping is your thing, then Bruges is definitely for you. The most popular shopping streets are De Wijre and Bredekerke. The flea markets and secondhand shops selling just about everything imaginable are a great attraction. Some of the major products imported from across Europe include textiles, ceramics, and China. The tradition of local farming continues to live on, even in Bruges, and some of the best local produce can be found in the countryside surrounding the city.
Another thing that people in Bruges should know is that in restaurants and hotels in the Belgian city you can enjoy your meals and stay at a nice hotel without having to tip your waiter. Most European restaurants in Bruges have very reasonable prices that are comparable or even better than those in major cities throughout Europe.