Bruges has the distinction of being Europe's best-preserved medieval city and Belgium's most popular tourist destination, a veritable 13th-century 'open air museum'. It is a small town with lots of character and charm, with cobbled streets and a maze of waterways inviting exploration by foot, horse-drawn carriage or canal boat. For a spectacular view over the red tiled roofs the more energetic can climb the 366 stairs of the central bell tower (belfort). The winding streets are lined with gorgeous buildings and churches and among them are a collection of museums housing some of the country's finest art, notably the Stadhuis and the Groeninge Museum. A must-see for visitors to Europe, the entire historic centre has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bruges is also known also as the 'Venice of the North' and as such attracts many romantics to its intimate streets and canals; the graceful ambience of its ancient buildings provides the perfect backdrop for a special weekend away.
Bruges incredibly well-preserved medieval architecture makes it one of the most exciting tourist attractions in Europe. Besides architecture, sites to see include several museums. First is the Groeninge Museum, with six centuries of paintings from different styles, including works by Jan van Eyck, a Flemish Primitive painter. The Memling museum is also not to be missed, with the wooden Shrine of St. Ursula. Also, the only work of art by Michelangelo to leave Italy during his lifetime, can be seen in the Church of our Lady. The Chapel of the Holy Blood also displays an ampul reputed to contain the blood of Christ.
Of course a visit to Bruges wouldn’t be complete without a canal or carriage ride, sampling the chocolates and waffles, shopping for craft work including Bruges famous lace, visiting art galleries, climbing the belfry or trying several of the more than 350 available Belgian beers.