One day in Bruges is enough to see the main sights and soak up the picturesque setting. Talking to friends about my weekend trip, it quickly became clear that Bruges is the most popular Belgian destination. This Unesco recognised area is known for its historic city centre and the idyllic canal-side beauty, the abundance of chocolate and beer and featured recently on film: ‘In Bruges’, a homage to the destination.
Hotel De Tuilerieën – this is the luxurious abode where the film star cast of In Bruges stayed. The building is an elegant patrician house from the 15th century that has been transformed into a contemporary hotel. Hotel De Tuilerieën counts 45 unique rooms and overlooks the canals of Bruges.
A’Qi – There are plenty of places in town to have the speciality moules frites, but if you want something more special I recommend A’Qi. A few miles out of town this charming little eatery serves immaculate Michelin starred food. Karen Keygnaert is the leading lady in the kitchen producing pretty dishes with an Asian twist. We loved the Sunday set lunch menu, highlights included langoustine with Yuzu sauce, duck with Japanese citrus fruit and the most delightful dessert of blood orange, cheesecake and peach.
De Halve Maan Brewery – it would be easy to lose track of time in this authentic beer house. Take a guided tour round the brewery and learn about the old-brewing process in the museum before trying the delicious brew.
De Proeverie – when you are weary of sightseeing pop in to De Proeverie for hot chocolate. They get their chocolate from the shop across the road, Chocolatier Sukerbuyc and make a delectable drink served with freshly whipped cream for extra comfort.
Basilica of the Holy Blood – This tiny little church has amazing artwork and memorable stained glass windows but is most famous for housing a phial claimed to contain a cloth stained with Jesus’ blood.
Michelangelo’s Madonna – this unique beautiful sculpture is on show inside the Church of our Lady. After wandering around the decorative church head for the cordoned off museum where the masterful marble figures are found.
Climb the belfry on the Grote Markt – you will have to queue for this tourist attraction but it is worth the wait. The impressive 12th century medieval bell tower has become a symbol for the city of Bruges. After climbing the 366 narrow steps to the top you will be rewarded with a stunning view of the city while listening to the bells played by carillon (hand keyboard).
Float along the Gronerei (green canal) – a walk down the canals in Bruges is one of the most romantic strolls you could have, but if you fancy a float head for one of the boat tours which cost 7 euros for a 30 minute ride. Take in the scenery whilst relaxing on the rippling water.
Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled with Eurostar.
· Eurostar operates up to 9 daily services from London St Pancras International to Brussels with return fares from £69.
· Tickets to any Belgium station start from £79.
· Fastest London-Brussels journey time is 2 hours.
· Tickets are available from eurostar.com or 03432 186 186.