The historic city of Bruges has long attracted some of the world's leaders, including Margaret Thatcher who made her famous Bruges speech at the College of Europe, which is still considered a political centre today. Bruges has so much to offer visitors, so here's why you should renew your e111 card, pack your suitcase and head to the charming city this winter.
As we already mentioned, Bruges is famous for its historic background. But not only is the city a hub for political activity, with many European politicians making important speeches here, the town itself is arguably the best preserved medieval cities in Belgium. As you walk among the cobbled streets and look up at spiral towers, you'll feel as though you've gone back in time. Bruges also claims to have more castles per square mile than any other country in the world, so if you're interested in exploring the past a trip to Ezelpoort, Castle Loppem or Castle Ten Berghe is essential!
Bruges is home to its own unique cuisine, which is both indulgent and delicious. Think unique craft beers, handmade chocolates and waffles. Head to the oldest bar in the town, Vlissinghe, which has been standing since the 16th century for one of the best meals you'll experience while in Bruges. It serves award-winning Brugse Zot, which should be top of your list if you're a beer fan. The 'Chocolate Walk', a trail which runs past some of the best chocolatiers in the city, is a must-do for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Home to a canal system that rivals Venice, Bruges is perfect for a river cruise. A thirty minute canal boat tour when the town is lit up for Christmas is an experience like no other, you'll be given an overview of the city's interesting history by a friendly and welcoming guide and you'll have the chance to see the city from a different angle. For just €8 this is an experience not to miss while you're in Bruges.
No winter break to Europe is complete without visiting some of the many Christmas markets. Bruges celebrates the festive season in style, with an ice rink and sprawling Christmas market which can be found at the heart of the stunning medieval Market Square. This year's market runs from the mid-November until early January so there's plenty of time to fit in some gift shopping for your family and friends back home.
Museums & Art Galleries
For those who are looking for a bit more culture on their winter break, Bruges is perfect. The city is home to the Groeinge museum, which is home to a world famous collection of Flemish and Renaissanceartists, such as Jan Van Eyck, Gerard David and Hugo van der Goes. Alternatively, why not head to the 't Begijnhuisje – a tiny 17th century house which has been converted into a miniature museum that's designed to give visitors an insight into exactly what life was like back then.