We all sometimes need a break away from work and the pressure of our rushed lives. To spend this well earned time why not visit Belgium. It might not be the first destination that comes to mind but it is considered of one of Europe’s best kept secrets.
Belgium is a small country that can be easily driven through in less than three hours. But, if you take your time and stop to explore you will begin to discover the charm, beauty and history of this interesting country.
Bruges is in West Flanders. This charming medieval city has many UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the ideal place to start a relaxing weekend break. It is famed for its cobbled squares, narrow streets, canals, gabled houses and Gothic buildings. Its beer, chocolate and lace are also not to be missed. There are numerous attractions in the city with quality museums, churches and waterways. Wander through the splendid architecture of the city or enjoy the markets, the magnificent bell tower (Belfry) or the famous Burg square.
Why not experience Bruges from a totally different angle:
Boat Trips on the Canals: Take a boat trip on the charming canals where there are fantastic views of monuments, historical buildings and picturesque bridges. Along your journey you will see aspects of Bruges that you would miss when walking.
Horse and Carriage Rides: In the heart of Grote Market horse and carriage rides are available to take you through the medieval town. The ride lasts about 35 minutes and takes in side streets, residences and the main attractions. A short stop is made at the edge of the Minnewater (Lake of Love) for the horses to feed and rest. This is a chance to visit the peaceful Begijnhof, a 16th century group of small houses around a garden covered in tall trees. These houses have been home to the Benedictine nuns since 1927.
Flights from Dublin to Brussels-Charleroi airport start at around £69 return. From here you can rent a car and drive to Bruges, 150kms away which will take about 1 hour 30 minutes.
Bruges has over 100 hotels, but it also has four million visitors a year, so make sure you book your room well in advance.
With a hire car you could also explore other wonderful cities such as Gent or Antwerp or one of the many other charming towns and villages in the nearby area.