Grab your spears and shields, we’re heading back to the Middle Ages. The moment I added Brussels to my backpacking itinerary, I knew a day trip to Belgium’s charming medieval town was a must. Bruges, or Brugge in Dutch, lies in the northern part of Belgium in a region called Flanders, approximately one hour by train from the country’s capital. Other popular day trips from Brussels include Antwerp and Ghent, but I had my heart set on Bruges and as the cliché saying goes… follow your heart. So early Thursday morning, I caught the train from Brussels Central Station to Bruges and literally stepped into a medieval fairytale.
Weaving between the cobbled streets of Bruges feels like moving around a three-dimensional postcard. Cyclists fly by like fairies with wings, cotton candy clouds paint the sky, and ducks glide through the tranquil canals. The A-frame brick buildings stand side by side, hugging one another. The restaurants spill onto the sidewalks, fostering a quaint dining experience. The medieval heart of the city pulses, inviting locals and visitors alike to marvel at the picturesque sights. It comes as no surprise that the historic center of Bruges is listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.
The Belfry of Bruges, or the Belfry Tower, stands 83-meters tall and casts a shadow on the Grote Markt as if guarding the city and its inhabitants. Three hundred sixty-six steps of a spiral staircase wind up the tower, leading to a viewpoint that is absolutely worth the climb. From the platform at the top, the tower’s 47 bells sing in perfect harmony, the untamed winds grow fiercer, and the fearless birds soar higher. A prominent symbol of the city, there’s no place like the Belfry to wave goodbye to the enchanting medieval town below.
Antwerp and Ghent, I’m coming for you.