I have to admit, the first time I ever heard of Bruges was when I saw the trailer to Colin Farrell’s dark comedy “In Bruges“ back in 2008.
The film makes fun of Bruges as a place “no one has ever heard of” but also cherishes it for being one of the loveliest, most romantic city in Western Europe.
Either way, the film locked Bruges a spot deep within my social consciousness; if I would be in the region, I would go. Amsterdam became nearby enough.
From Amsterdam Centraal, I took a 9:17am NS International Train to Antwerp Centraal, arriving at around 10:31am.
Then I switched to a train heading in Belgium’s direction. You have to be careful here as you might have to change again at Ghent, lest you may continue onwards into France or the edge of Belgium. And I did just that: I overslept my stop at Ghent and woke up at around 12:20pm as the train was pulling away from Wevelgem.
Too tired to curse to myself, I stumbled off at the next stop at Menen and spent an extra 9 euros to take a 12:38pm train heading in the opposite direction. I got off at Kortrijk at 12:56pm, just missing the connecting 12:56pm train to Bruges. No fear, however, as the European rail system is quite comprehensive; I only had to wait an extra half hour to get on the 1:35pm train to Bruges, arriving at around 2:20pm. Crisis averted.
From the train station I took Bus 4 (14 also works) heading northwest, stopping right in front of Snuffel Hostel. After checking in, I walked southeast towards The Markt.
Once you come across The Markt, you’re at the main hub of Bruges.
On the southern part of The Markt is the Belfry, where for 10 euros you can climb up 366 steps to its bell tower, even as its rings a song every 15 minutes.
The views of Bruges from the top of the belfry:
Adjacent to The Markt is The Burg, similarly surrounded by an array of medieval buildings, including the Town Hall, the Basilica of the Holy Blood and the Liberty of Bruges.
From The Markt and The Burg, everything to see in Bruges is within a 10 minute stroll, so take your time to explore the canals and the various exhibits each building has to offer.
On the southern part of Bruges is the Princey Beguinage of the Vineyard at the Minnewater (Lake of Love), a tranquil spot to walk around if you’re getting tired of all the cars and traffic in the city.
I found a beautiful gaggle of swans swimming in one of the canals, following them up north as they headed towards The Markt and The Burg.
Afterwards, I headed back up to Snuffel Hostel, grabbing dinner before calling it an early night. Eat your heart out Colin Farrell!
– At time of posting in Bruges, Belgium, it was 37.4 °F – Humidity: 86% | Wind Speed: 10km/hr | Cloud Cover: drizzle