There's nothing I love more than a European mini-break in autumn and for this years November getaway I booked a trip to Bruges. Bruges is a medieval town in Belgium renowned for it's exquisite chocolate, array of beer and traditional historic buildings which makes you feel like you're going back in time. It is a picturesque town with dainty cobbled streets, bustling market squares, horse drawn traditional carts and long windy canals which gives Bruges it's nickname 'the Venice of the north'.
When we arrived in Bruges the weather was a little bit on the brisk side so we donned our hats and scarves, however it wasn't that unbearable that it ruined our day. The first place we headed to was the historic market square (the markt) which features the 12th Century Belfry Tower known for being in the movie 'In Bruges' as well as one hectare of market place filled with gift shops, traditional food stalls, restaurants and bars. It is a tourist hotspot or as the locals like to call it, a tourist trap. Prices for drinks and food are heavily inflated here as it is the prime spot for visitors so it is best to visit this place first and resist the lure of expensive drinks - save your money for the truly authentic bars with are just 10 minutes around the corner.
Once we had checked out The Belfry, our next plan was to sample some Belgian food. Belgian Waffles, Mussels and Frites with mayonnaise are some of the most popular street food in Bruges and stalls and cafes serving these can be found all over the town. Just before lunchtime my husband and I had our Belgium waffles - I opted for the classic combination of strawberries and chocolate while my husband went for a topping of strawberry ice-cream - both of which were very delicious, you cannot not have waffles when in Belgium. Later on in the day, just before we set off to go catch the ferry I grabbed a portion of frites and mayonnaise which was equally as pleasing. The mayonnaise in Bruges isn't like the mayo that you get in England - it is much creamier and has so much more flavour.
With our bellies full we then decided to go on a canal tour of Bruges. These tours cost approximately 8 euro, they last around 45 minutes and they take you through all the long, winding canals so that you can see all the major sites of the town. I really enjoy boat tours as I feel that you can learn a lot from them and it's great to see the town at a different angle - from the waters edge.
After our boat ride we then tried to hunt down the '2be Beer Wall' bar. The '2be Beer Wall' attracts thousands of visitors annually due to their extensive range of authentic Belgian beer and their beer wall bar entrance that showcases over 1700 beer bottles. I sampled two authentic Belgian beers - Kriek Boon and Mongozo. The Kriek Boon was rather fruity and had a sweet and sour taste, it wasn't that strong compared to my husband's beer, but it still had an intense flavour. The Mongozo was as 'exotic beer' brewed using African recipe but made in Belgium and it had a lovely, smooth rich coconut taste, it was definitely my favourite.
Once we sipped our last beer it was time to return to the ferry port and say 'tot ziens!' to Bruges. It was a short, but sweet trip and although we were only there eight hours we did get a lot done because Bruges itself is only a small town. Would I return again? Definitely.
Have you been to Bruges?