For me, one of the things I like best about Brugge is that it is a small city so you can walk everywhere. You do need to keep an eye out for cyclists - none of whom seem to use a warning bell of the type I am used to back home in the UK.
Walking near the canal is specially full of lively interest whether admiring the bridges, the architecture of the buildings alongside, the people and the carriages and horses.
The horses have a "station" and resting place in a shady spot next to the canal near Het Minnewater close to the small bridge that leads you across the canal to the Beguinage - an old convent set in peaceful grounds with a small museum and a display of lace and lace making.
You may hear the canal boats before you see them as the "whoosh" of the water and the voices of the "sailors" not to mention the engines will be heard first.
And if you end your walk near the entrance to the Beguinage, ready for a rest and refreshments you will find plenty of restaurants, cafes and ice cream sellers.
“We came to Bruges, which is a splendid and beautiful town. And I have spent in travelling and in other ways 20 stiver and 1.”
— from the Journals of Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)
Brugge, because of its many canals, is referred to as Venice of the North. Brugge lies inland; the Flemish coastline was by the North Sea, leaving sea-arms as the water receded. Ships, including the war ships of the Vikings, navigated these waterways to reach Brugge.
Throughout the Middle Ages the sea-arms leading to Brugge were enlarged to allow large trade ships to reach the city. By the 12th century most cargo was brought to the two small medieval outer ports of Damme and Sluis, which are existing today. During Brugge’s Golden Era of the 14th to the 16th centuries the rivers and canals were regularly dredged.
Today commercial ships no longer sail on the picturesque canals of Brugge; they are used exclusively for tourist boat tours. The city permits five companies to offer tourist excursions by open boats on the canals; each company is allowed four boats.
Just by the Gruutehuse museum, this is perhaps the most picturesque corner of Brugge, the St. Bonafacius Bridge. Although the bridge looks ancient it was not built until 1910. As you walk through Brugge you will find many beautiful canals with old home leaning up against them. It seems like it a smaller, sweeter and more compact version of Amsterdam. So many sites like picture postcards in Brugge.
Brugge is often described as the 'Venice of the North' and it's easy to see why. The picturesque canals just add to the perfect picture postcard scenery which can be found around every corner. As you can see from my pics, during our visit in February the canals were frozen solid. During the warmer months I imagine they are the hive of activity with boats galore sailing up and down them.
It's known as the Venice of the North for a reason. The canals definitely add to the atmosphere and character of the town. Another thing you will notice is all the swans around town. Legend has it that in the 15th century the people of Bruges had executed a town administrator named, Pieter Lanchals, a name which means ' long neck'. The family coat of arms featured a white swan. Legend has it that Bruges has been punished by making the town responsible for the swans on their lakes and canals forever.
I'd have to say that walking along the canals of Bruges is what one really should come here to do. These pictures cannot capture the glory and beauty of Brugge, even on an overcast dreary day. The houses and bridges along the canals are picture perfect! It was like walking in a work of art.
As much as Venice Brugge is known for its extensive romantic canals. There are plenty of boats to satisfy the crowds of tourists, and even though at times the canals get crowded, it doesn't prevent you from enjoying the city.
The most attractive side of Bruges is the many canals traversing it. The city is often called Venice of the North. Since Bruges is a relatively quiet city the canals take on a romantic and peaceful character. There are several sports where boat tours start.
The central part of Bruges is surrounded by the wide and deep oval shaped canal shown in the photo. Many smaller canals branch off of this main canal. During the 13th. and 14th. centuries while Bruges was at the height of its prosperity, the canal was dredged and the sharp corners rounded, so that merchant ships could pick up and deliver freight at businesses along the canal route. The fortress ( castle ) shown in the center rear of photo #1 was built directly on the water's edge to protect the passage of these ships through the canal.
Walking along the canal banks is and excellent way to see Bruges. Many open air restaurants, cafes, etc., are located along the canal banks. Many fascinating ancient bridges span the great network of canals. Shown in photo #1 is the primary dock for the tour boats, and tourists awaiting to embark. Taking a boat tour is another great way to see and learn about Bruge. Most of the boat tours cost about 5 euros per person. Sunday mornings are good times to take the tours. Photo #2 shows a longer section of the main canal. Photo #3 shows Baroque era apartment buildings located along the banks of the main canal. Shown on the left is the pedestrian promenade.
Brugge is surrounded by wide canals, with smaller ones branching off from the main ones. Walking along the canals is an excellent way to experience the city. You can walk along the major canals to see the normal tourists sites, or wander along some of the smaller canals to really appreciate Brugge. There are many outdoor cafes along the canal to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
I figure Brugge must stand for bridges as there are many winding canals with bridges going across them in every nook and cranies. Walk about and you will discover pretty little squares behind the larger buildings along the canals, with al fresco dining and street markets in the weekend. But there's nothing better than being out by the streets, watching the world passes by while basking in the sun!
Perhaps the most charming aspect of Brugge is its CANALS AND WATERWAYS. Everywhere you turn there is stunning views of picturesque bridges spanning the tranquil waters weaving through the city. I have been to Venice Italy and agree with the comparison of Brugge as the "Venice of the North"
Brugge is often called 'Venice of the North' because of its many canals. Brugge was a centre of trade during the Middle-Ages and these canals were enlargedd to allow large trade ships to reach the city.
The network of canals makes for some great views. The canals are now travelled by tourist boats instead of trade ships.
One of the things that makes Brugge such a romantic city and a wonderful travel destination are its water canals. Because of its canals Brugge is often called "The Venice of the North".
I think a city which has waterways, canals and consequently boat tours is from the start advantaged in its beauty and attraction for the tourists. At least I know Brugge's canals do a lot to impress you :) No matter if it rained, I still enjoyed 100% Brugge's views. Wonderfull place to take some lovely pictures also :) (you know how I like to do so).
During the Middle-Ages, the waterways of Brugge were enlarged to allow merchant ships to reach the city. Nowadays, no commercial ships are allowed on the canals, but only tour boats.
There are some places where the canals (and the boats that are following the waterways of course) makes some sharp bends. Standing in such a place doubles your view on the canals. I know I've already talked too much about canals, but if you want a great picture, you have to include: one boat, the canals, some vegetation, at least one nice house .. and .. your smiley face :)