Overview:

Bruges is Belgium’s grandest city. Once the seat of the Count of Flanders, it reached the zenith of its prosperity during the long reign of Philip the Good in the 15th Century, prompting one author to write that it ‘displayed a magnificence which no monarch could rival with a power that was dreaded by all its neighbours.’

Six hundred years on and Bruges had lost its power, but not its beauty. Grand, stately buildings ring the city’s airy squares and canals snake the city centre, prompting comparisons with Venice. From the centre of Bruges’ market square, a visitor can enjoy a perfect blend of historical opulence and continental colour.

The streets of Bruges, although narrow, are neat and clean. The Flemish culture manifests itself in the succession of food and beer festivals that are held annually and the friendly, languid and positive attitude of its inhabitants.

Known to some as the ‘Venice of the North’, the title suits Bruges rather well. In fact, after a few days enjoying the atmosphere and wandering its streets, you might draw the conclusion that Venice would be happy enough being known as the Bruges of the South.