The medieval Flemish architecture and cobbled streets of Bruges is a step back in time. Bruges first received its city charter in 1128, when new walls and canals were built. Bruges is often compared to Venice and Florence as it experienced a prosperous period in the 16th century, still apparent by its Renaissance flamboyance. The Count of Flanders was based in Bruges and the town was a hub of commerce, with merchants from 34 different countries coming to trade here. Like Venice, Bruges was famous for its high quality lace, and the same kind of luxurious lace can still be found at Kantcentrum lace center and 'T Apostelientje lace shop.
Bruges is also the capital of the Flanders region, and it boasts many cultural monuments, along with its medieval architecture. The canals are a great way to see the city. While they were formerly used for transporting goods into the city, they are now used exclusively by tourist boats. The Beguinage, where Benedictine nuns still live in a pleasant escape within the city, and it offers quietude among its whitewashed buildings, beautiful gardens and museums. A wealth of artworks can be found in the Bruggesmuseum, and the Groeningemuseum, one of the top museums in Europe, will take your through six centuries of Flemish, Dutch, and Belgian painting, and you will find here masterpieces by Jan Provost, Jan van Eyck and Gerard David, along with a collection of Flemish Primitives. The chocolate museum tells the Choco-story of Belgium’s most famous export, and there are 49 Belgian chocolate boutiques throughout the city.
There are countless beautiful medieval buildings throughout Bruges. Three towers keep watch over the city, and climbing up to the top of the 13th century Belfry of Bruges will give a breathtaking view of the red roofs of the city. From the Belfry of Bruges 83 meter tower, you will see the highest church tower in Europe, the Church of Our Lady of Bruges along with the very peculiar tower of the Saint-Salvatore’s Cathedral.