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BRUGES – WHY GO?

A medieval time-capsule laced with canals, Bruges charms with its market squares and church bells. Come in winter to skip the summer crowds and enjoy this atmospheric city to the full.

MUST SEE, MUST DO

Canals
Look out for swans gliding past on a boat trip through the winding canals – it’s a great way to explore the medieval city from the water. You’ll pass underneath picturesque bridges and be able to see into beautiful gardens, which are especially inspiring when the bulbs are in bloom.

Beguinage
Founded in 1245, the tranquil white-washed houses of the peaceful Beguinage courtyard now house nuns of the Order of Saint Benedict, so try and keep your camera clicks to a minimum as you snap away at the beautiful buildings.

Chocolate
With nearly 50 chocolate shops to choose from even the biggest chocoholic would find it hard to taste treats at every one. Go upstairs to the cosy cafe at The Old Chocolate House and order the Maison Special – hot chocolate with Grand Marnier and Crema Catalana.

History
Crammed full of history, Bruges is bursting with medieval buildings, historic churches and the spectacular Burg Town Hall, which dates back to the 14th Century. Visit the museum inside and if you’ve got a head for heights climb to the top of the belfry (it’s  due to reopen this summer after extensive renovations).

MAKE A DATE

February
Catch up-and-coming talent at the Bruges Festival of World Music in the last week of February in the Stadsschouwburg.

April-May
Inside Bruges is an interior design festival with a twist. This outdoor festival has florists, designers, carpenters and more scattered through Bruges' medieval streets.

March
Watch films from Latin America, Asia and Africa at the Cinema Novo Film Festival, held in the third week of March.

May
Locals dress in medieval costume and re-enact scenes form the bible every year on Ascension Thursday as part of the Procession of the Holy Blood.

July
Hear world music at the popular three-day open air Cactus Festival held during the second weekend in July in Minnewater Park.

July
Enjoy three days of revelry in the market square in the Bruges Triple Days festival.

July
Classical concerts are held at churches and venues across the city over two weeks (in late July) at the Early Music of Flanders Festival.

August
Every three years (including 2010) the Festival on the Canals sees the waterways being illuminated and plenty of eating, drinking and dancing.

August
Bruges ' biggest festival Klinkers hosts (mostly-free) concerts on the Markt and the Burg in late July/early August.

December
Get in the festive spirit (or just drink some) at the Kerstmarkten Christmas Market in the Markt.

BRUGES ROMANCE
Take a hot-air balloon ride over the spires of the city for the ultimate panoramic view.

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Die Swaene - Bruges

Extravagantly decorated and elegantly regal – just like the graceful birds that Die Swaene takes its name from ... more
Rooms from £240
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Pand Hotel - Bruges

Tucked into a tree-lined backstreet just steps away from the canals, the Pand Hotel oozes character, comfort and time... more
Rooms from £195
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With its timbered facades, gabled roof and leaded windows, the waterfront setting... more
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