Just Back From...Bruges

Bruges lived up to its reputation as a fairytale city, even in the cold and mist of winter. We've just returned from a whirlwind weekend where we indulged in the finest chocolate and Belgian brews (separately, of course), found tranquility along the canals, and discovered medieval art and architecture at every turn. Here are just some of the highlights of our trip.

Bonne Chiermolen, one of four remaining timber-stilt windmills in Bruges

 Astridpark, one of the largest parks in Bruges, dating back to 1850

Astridpark, one of the largest parks in Bruges, dating back to 1850

 The St. John Altarpiece, c. 1479 by Hans Memling, displayed at Sint-Janshospitaal, one of Europe's oldest hospital buildings

The St. John Altarpiece, c. 1479 by Hans Memling, displayed at Sint-Janshospitaal, one of Europe's oldest hospital buildings

 A lovely interior design and home furnishings store, Goûts et Couleurs

A lovely interior design and home furnishings store, Goûts et Couleurs

 The popular Minnewater Lake, known as the "Lac d'Amour", still beautiful in the mist

The popular Minnewater Lake, known as the "Lac d'Amour", still beautiful in the mist

 Enjoying a fine Belgian beer at 't Zwarte Huis, a jazz club and restaurant housed in a merchant's house built in 1482

Enjoying a fine Belgian beer at 't Zwarte Huis, a jazz club and restaurant housed in a merchant's house built in 1482

 The Gothic Revival architecture of Provincial Hof, overlooking the main Markt square in Bruges

The Gothic Revival architecture of Provincial Hof, overlooking the main Markt square in Bruges

While we build out the Compass & Key destination guide for Bruges, here is a quick summary of our trip for you planners out there:

TIME OF YEAR: The first weekend of January, following the weekend of the New Year

TRAVEL: By train. Eurostar from London to Brussels - 2 hours; Brussels to Bruges - 1 hour (trains depart every 30 mins).

STAY: Hotel Orangerie, a former convent dating to the 15th century, which will be undergoing some renovations through early February. Ideal location, friendly staff and a fabulous breakfast.

EAT: While many restaurants were closed for a winter break, we thoroughly enjoyed traditional cuisine at Le Chef et Moi near our hotel, lunch at 't Zwarte Huis, with its vast beer selection in a historic setting, and a delightful breakfast at Salé et Sucré, a family-run tearoom. Of the many, MANY chocolate shops, don't miss the gourmet and creative options at BbyB

WANDER RATING: 9/10. It's exceptionally easy to wander around Bruges, as the city area is so small. Everything is within a 10-20 minute walk.

Stay tuned for a complete destination guide with plenty of itineraries for wandering Bruges. In the meantime, find inspiration with our other destination guides in Europe and beyond to help you plan an incredible vacation.

See you on the road,

Tara


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