You probably have heard of the Venice in the North, or Bruges in Belgium. Although it’s been said to be such a small city that you can visit all of Bruges in one day, there is a lot of history and culinary culture here to see and taste. One of the best ways to learn about Bruges itself is through a short walking tour. The ‘Can You Handle It’ tour has come up with an ideal route for travellers to explore Bruges in a most fulfilling way. Follow us from one of the most popular hostels in town to see Bruges at a glance!
The oldest bridges in Bruges & oldest port in Europe
With the name Bruges originating from the old Dutch word for ‘bridge’, the city typically impresses its visitors at first sight with many old bridges and canals. The two oldest bridges in Bruges are the Mee Bridge and the Horse Bridge, which are also the first two attractions that your tour guide will lead you to.
Between the 12th and 17th century, this city was one of the busiest ports in Europe, making it an extremely wealthy trading centre back then. The two bridges were also where the famous movie ‘In Bruges’ was filmed. After going through Queen Astrid Park, you will also enjoy the perfect view of a picturesque Bruges, with a little bit of everything typical about Bruges: the tower, canal, cute houses, boats, and swans. This is called the picture perfect Bruges that you can find on chocolate boxes, postcards, and even condoms.
The Hidden Park - Queen Astrid
The tour follows an interesting track that leads you from one of the most popular attractions to a very off-the-beaten-track in town: Queen Astrid Park. This is a very quiet and peaceful park where locals tend to hang out, go for a walk, or just enjoy the fresh air.
The park was named after the Swedish Princess Astrid, who married the Belgian Prince Leopold the 3rd in 1924, in memory of her death from a car accident in 1936. Astrid was the favourite ‘Belgian version of Princess Diana’ to many people. Thus, they named many places in Belgium after her.
The Fish Market
Lying nearby the small canals surrounding the city, the Fish Market is the next stop of the tour. Having been here since 1820, the Fish Market used to be a place for locals to sell fresh fish between Tuesday and Saturday from 8AM to 1PM. Nowadays, the area is still used for a fish market from Tuesday to Saturday, and partly for an arts and crafts market. If you are into hand-made art, antiques, and vintage items, do not forget to check this place out!
The historical Burg Square
Follow the tour guide to one of the two most important squares in Bruges - the Burg Square and the Market Square (Grote Markt). The first inhabitants in Burg Square from the 800s were the vikings who spoke Old Norse, and called this stop Byggja (or the landing port). At Burg Square, you can find an impressive architectural compilation of the most important historical buildings in Brugge - the City Hall, the Royal Palace of Justice, and the Basilica of the Holy Blood.
The famous & sweet chocolate street
Lying between Burg Square and Market Square is the famous and delicious Chocolaterie de Burg - the street for chocolate lovers. You will be overwhelmed, yet excited about how many types of chocolates you can try in the shops here.
On Chocolaterie Street, you will also find the prior ‘Red Light District’, and also the smallest street in Bruges. The guide will also take you on a small quick tour through the Beer Museum, also on the same street. The museum is open every day from 1AM to 5PM, and a discount is given to the participants of the tour.
The central Market Square
Passing through Chocolaterie de Burg, you will step onto the Main Market Square - the most important meeting point in Bruges, with its tallest tower - the Belfry. It took 100 years for the Belgians to build this tower in the 1200s, and was originally built as a watchtower.
Nowadays, you can visit Belfry tower and climb up 366 stairs through the very narrow and spiral staircases to reach the top for a panoramic view of the city. It may get very windy, causing the view of the landscape to be blurry from here through the surrounding glass walls. Thus it’s better to capture a panoramic view from the Historium Museum, which is also located in the Market Square. The Historium exhibits a large collection of artwork and stories about the history of Bruges through time.
Curious to know more?
The tour ends at a small street in the corner of the Market Square - Sint-Amandsstraat. This is one of the best food streets in town with affordable restaurants, such as Pasta Presto, Vagevuur, and Humpty Dumpty.
‘Can You Handle It’ tour is an interactive and unique way of quickly grasping an overall image of Bruges: from the city’s history to its cuisine. Curious to know more about why there are so many swans in the city, and all the spots where the movie ‘In Bruges’ was filmed? Take the tour for free today!
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