One of Western Europe’s most perfectly preserved locations, Bruges (a UNESCO World Heritage city) combines medieval historical charm with fairytale romance. Picturesque cobbled lanes and dreamy canals link photogenic market squares lined with soaring towers, historical churches and lane after lane of old whitewashed almshouses – earning it the moniker of ‘Venice of the North’.
TIME TO EXPLORE
The obvious place to start an exploration of the city is in the two principal squares: the Markt, overlooked by the mighty belfry, and the Burg, flanked by the city’s most impressive architectural ensemble.
The octagonal belfry towering 83m above the square offers a 366-step climb for panoramic views across the town’s spires and red-tiled rooftops (if you are claustrophobic you might prefer to give this a miss and admire it from afar!). Visitor numbers are limited to 70 at once, which can cause queues at peak times.
The belfry’s 47-bell carillon is still played manually on a changing schedule, which is posted on a signboard of the former market halls in the old market square that the belfry dominates.
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