Bruges Travel Guide

from Travel Insurance Direct
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Bruges, Belgium


Capital of the Belgian province of West Flanders , Bruges is a lovely medieval city. Aptly nicknamed ‘Venice of the North’ for its beauty and romantic network of canals and bridges, the city has remained basically unchanged since the latter part of the Middle Ages. The city was an important trading centre in the thirteenth century, attracting traders from afar to sell their wares and purchase Flemish cloths.


Vikings discovered and settled in Bruges in the ninth century. Because of its proximity to the North Sea , Bruges became a major harbour. A wall was eventually built to protect the city. Bruges lost its importance as a trading centre by the fifteenth century, partly because of the silting up of vital waterways, and also because it had become more popular to transport goods over land. Another factor was that the larger port of Antwerp had taken over in prominence. The decline continued and by the end of the sixteenth century Bruges had become one of the least prosperous cities in Belgium.



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Bruges has had a revival, however, in the busy tourist trade, attracting visitors from all over the world who marvel at its unspoilt beauty with its cobbled streets and canals with picturesque bridges. Additionally, the harbour of Zeebrugge, just a few miles away, helped to revive the area.

Bruges is a place that has many lovely Gothic churches and buildings. It also has the Flemish art school which produced many famous Flemish painters.


As much of the city is for pedestrians only, the city is perfect for leisurely strolls with stops at the many cafes and restaurants to sample the local cuisine. There are a variety of ways to see Bruges other than by foot. There are canal-boat trips, horse-drawn carriages, as well as scooters and bicycles for hire.


Apart from exploring the delightful pedestrian streets, sampling Belgian beers and admiring the medieval architecture, there are several museums to visit as well as galleries with wonderful works by Flemish painters. For shoppers there are plenty of interesting shops selling all manner of crafts, including Bruges lace and tapestries.


For chocolate lovers, Bruges will not fail to please with its Chocolate Museum and tours where you can observe chocolate being made. The Church of Our Lady in Bruges contains a marble sculpture of the Madonna with Child (Pieta) by Michelangelo.


The Eurostar is one way to get to Bruges and is a wonderful way to have a mini-break back in time to another world where time stands still.


European Health Insurance Card


Visitors with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are entitled to free emergency medical care, but this should never be used in place of comprehensive travel insurance. 




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We strongly advise a visit to the FCO website for updated travel information and general travel advice before you book and pay for any travel.