Bruges is often called the" Venice of the North". The city originated on the banks of the river Reie. In the course of time a real town gradually develloped, which was connected through canals to the deeper branch of the North Sea, the Zwin.The Bruges' canals are referred to as "Reie", named after the river "Roya" wich used to flow into the Zwin estuary. For those who want stroll along the most beautiful, "forgotten" inner canals we advice a 2,8 km (1,7 miles) walk, starting at the "Zand Square" and finishing at the Bonifacius bridge near Church of our Lady.
Places of Interest
It looks like a postcard. It is very close to Tanners square and the Fish Market, not even two minutes away. In addition, the main square Grote Markt is five minutes away. From here, there are several hiking tours through the channels, and also throughout the city. Yes, its worth the wait in line. Everything looks like something straight out of a medieval tale, with buildings like castles touching the water, all perfectly maintained. The bridge and the wooden docks are still intact despite their age. Also, the houses and shops are decorated with classic facades.
On your way from the train station or the coach parking to the city center you cannot escape the Minnewater Park. It's a beautiful entrance to Brugge. The Lake Of Love is the heart of the park.
The beguinage in Bruges dates back to the 13th century, to 1245 to be specific, and it counts as one of the best preserved. Most of its buildings are not as old, from the 19th century, but the original layout of the Beguinage has been kept as well.
A Beguinage was a community of women who follow the example set by the apostles: poverty, simplicity and preaching. These are lay orders, who do not take binding vows. They could at any time break their vows and leave the Beguine community.
Bruges has a total of 46 almshouses in the city centre. These houses, small and white, with the name of the founder painted on the facade, where build out of social consideration from the 14th century on. They were mainly destined for seniors and people from a determined trade. In later times they were also for single women or widows. These white almshouses were built by rich families so single women had a place to stay.
The Arents Courtyard (Arentshof) is one of these places where you can escape Bruges' busy shopping streets. Take your time to relax and calm down here. Enjoy the breathtaking view of the majestic spire of the Church of Our Lady and watch the coming and going of the horse drawn carriages and tourists.
Belgians have a long-standing passion for antique fairs and flea markets.
However, in Dutch, ‘rommel’, which translates literally as ‘stuff’, sounds a tad disrespectful when you are talking about the religious statue that used to perch on top of Grandma’s cabinet.
Or what about the postcards and old magazines that Uncle Bob used to collect without missing a single issue or the car models you played with for hours on end when you were a kid?
While the picturesque town center is endlessly fascinating we mustn’t forget Bruges’ city ramparts. The green lung encircles almost the entire town and offers a variety of interesting locations worth discovering. You can for example admire the four remaining windmills as well as four medieval town gates. The modern Conzettebridge spans the entrance to the small marina and is just one of many bridges that frequently open for boats.
On the north-east side of the city four ancient windmills can be found.