One of the nice things about living in London is that it is really easy to leave London and go just about anywhere in Europe without much hassle.
The small medieval town of Bruges makes for a great weekend trip in winter, as it is relatively tourist free during the colder periods and it is entirely accessible by foot or bike. There is plenty to see architecturally and lots to eat and drink as you go along.
In celebration of being together for four years Woody and I jumped in the car on Friday evening after work and headed for Belgium to drink beer and be merry. The trip took just under four hours with the tunnel, which means we weren’t wrecked by the time we got there and we managed to get to bed before witching hour.
The trip was a spontaneous idea, so we booked though booking.com the day before leaving and found a good deal with Martin’s Hotel that was fairly inexpensive and the hotel is located in an extremely central spot right behind the Market Square.
- The Historium is an easy way to learn about the city really quickly. The history is told through a narrative about one of the painter van Eyck’s apprentice’s and the setup is cleverly designed. There is an semi-optional stop at the Duvelorium Grand Beer Café after the tour and an optional VR experience at the end. I enjoyed both and in that order. It’s a fun activity whether you’re a big human or a little one (just skip the beer if you are a little human). We got the combo deal of entrance, beer and VR for €19 each – pricey-ish, but worth it.
- Next door to the Historium is the Beer Museum and is well worth the visit if you’re interested in how Belgium’s best loved fermented drink came about. €14 will gain you access and three beers at the café afterwards. I can’t say there is much to see, but it’s interesting nonetheless, but the beer is the best part.
- Bumble about town and see the Church of Our Lady which houses the Madonna and Child by Michelangelo and is viewable for €4.
- Groeningemuseum is right next door to the Lady Our Mother Church. The courtyard between the two is awfully quaint and has a lovely gift store.
- Eat waffles and mussels – not together and not necessarily from the same place. There are endless tea rooms and cosy restaurants around. Avoid the ones on the main square to get the best prices and take cash, as a lot of places don’t accept cards.
- There are some lovely routes to go running either inside the city or there is a9km route around the city – nothing like an historic jog to get your medieval blood pumping. Another idea is to rent a bike from one of the many bike spots in town.
- Eating out? Be mindful of reserving a place at a restaurant before hand, tourist season or not a lot of the nicer restaurants are almost always fully booked during the weekend. Do some research and book in advance. Try De Koetse.