Bruges is full of old-world charm that has been attracting visitors for centuries. Today, it’s a city break favourite thanks to its array of bars, restaurants and hotels. Scratch the surface and the Venice of the North will show you the best in chocolate, beer and historic landmarks – the entire city is Unesco-designated, after all. Here are some of the must-visit attractions in Bruges, Belgium.
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Forget those marbled seashells – real Belgian chocolate is finely ground, with a high cocoa content and pure cocoa butter. The Chocolate Line is a family-run chocolate factory in the city centre, where choc aficionados Fabienne and Dominique – along with their son Julius – make delicious artisanal products while supporting sustainability and social projects. Visit to see (and taste) how their chocolate is made, plus how they give back.
The Rozenhoedkaai – named after the rosaries that were once sold here – is vintage Bruges. Its painterly composition of reflective canals, ancient houses, a quaint bridge and the Belfry peeking out from the back, make it the most photographed spot in the city. Catch it at a golden hour if you can. Magical.
The Belfry Tower and Cloth Hall overlook the Markt square, a space that dates back to 958CE. In medieval times, crowds would gather here for festivals, tournaments, uprisings – and even executions. By day, it’s a meeting spot for locals, tours and a place to enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride. At night, the buzzy bars, restaurants and music venues come alive while ice skating and a Christmas market grace the square in winter months.
From the Beguinage, it’s a two-minute walk to the Minnewater Bridge, which sits above the Lake of Love. Legend has it that walking across with your partner will lead to eternal love. Head towards the verdant Minnewater Park for a view of the lovely Castle de la Faille with its soaring spires.
Read our guide and discover the most beautiful towns in Belgium.
This article was originally written by Nana Van De Poel and has since been updated.
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