Some places are so special that we feel the need to preserve their essences for centuries to come. One such place is medieval Bruges, Belgium, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will take you back in time the moment you cruise its encircling canals, or set foot on one of its car-free streets. And to reward you for your efforts, there’s the legendary beer and chocolate!
Exploring the City and Its Chocolate Shops
In the absence of cars, the best way to take in all the sites this city has to offer is by foot or boat. On a tour of Bruges, you’ll float down its canals past cobblestone bridges, ivy-strewn homes, and striking churches.
Walking along the fairy-tale streets, visitors will find themselves meandering through a patchwork of slender alleys and wide-open squares. Those looking to browse the local shops will find themselves in no short supply of exquisite stores. Chocolate lovers will delight in the smorgasbord of gourmet Belgian chocolate made in artisanal shops throughout town. Bruges’ shop owners are knowledgeable and often happy to share their expertise — as well as samples — with patrons.
Beer aficionados and newcomers alike are sure to be enticed by the selection of delicious brews that are available at every store, bar, and restaurant in Bruges. Belgium-brewed beers range from its revered Trappist ales to the sour yet sweet oud bruin (“old brown”), also called Flanders brown. Both beers, each of which has roots that extend back hundreds of years, are often considered to be among the worlds finest.
It’s estimated that Belgium has the most breweries per capita in the world. Many offer tours where visitors can get an in-depth look at the brewery’s centuries-old history and modern brewing techniques. Even if you prefer to just kick back, you can enjoy a refreshing beer inside the brewery or out on the patio.
Springtime in the Low Countries is like nothing else. The landscape becomes vivid as tulips and daffodils burst into fruition while the people are invigorated by fresh air and warm sun: It is a time when the celebration of life is in full swing. In Bruges, the enchanting architecture and delectable culinary offerings are the cherries that sit atop this quintessential time to travel through Holland and Belgium.
As part of Vantage’s Waterways of Holland & Belgium: Tulips, Windmills & Canals tour, you’ll get to know this ethereal city, enjoy an indulgent on-board chocolate-making demonstration, and fall in love with this Venice of the North.