Discover boutique hotels in Bruges, Belgium
‘I’d like to see Bruges again before I die,’ says the murderous Harry Waters (Ralph Fiennes) in the cult noir film In Bruges. You can see why – the mediaeval town’s step-gabled facades, criss-crossing canals and cobblestoned streets would melt the heart of even the most hardened contract killer. And, ok, Bruges’ beauty may not be a big secret – you’ll be sharing the Markt square, crooked belfry and Belgian beer bars with plenty of other punters – but with scenes this postcard-perfect, do you really mind? Plus, there are plenty of ways to sidestep the day-trippers: just hop on a canal boat for a watery perspective, stroll the city by night or get lost in an interior scene by Van Eyck (in a word: extra. Let’s just say Gianni Versace had nothing on Flemish merchants). And though Bruges is a feast for the eyes, it’s also a literal feast. For your mouth. Duck into the bars and brasseries for fat moules frites by the pot-load, hearty beef stews and heady Half-Moon brews. You can deliver the final insult to your arteries by devouring an entire box of Dumon chocolates as the Eurostar rolls you home.
When to go
We think Bruges is best in late October or early November, when the summer crowds are gone, the Christmas market crowds are yet to arrive and you can cosy up in a snug pub with a hot chocolate. It’s an enduringly popular weekend city-break destination so, if you can, visit during the week for quieter streets and museums.