What did we think of Bruges? We liked Ghent so much better! Just as adorably medieval with even prettier canal streets, many less tourists and a livelier, younger crowd.
Just being honest.
However, we still enjoyed our visit to Bruges and would recommend it. The city streets are charming in any direction, especially in the quaint neighbourhoods. Normally these streets are just around the city center, but in Bruges they seem to be everywhere!
There are also tons of places to shop and eat, with the note that you have to be careful about which ones are targeting tourists. We have heard stories of people being surprised by hidden charges at the end of the meal.
We agree with the advice we got prior to coming, that the town is more pleasant to visit in the evening hours when the tour buses leave. The streets quiet down and it’s easier to get a sense of the city. It also made us feel bad for the residents of the city, who deal with mass tourism every day. Apparently they feel like they’re living in “Disney Land”.
My favorite stop: The Chocolate Line, a sweet shop recommended to me by the chocolate judge I encountered in London. The chocolatier (or shock-o-latier as he likes to be called), Dominique Persoone is known for shaking up the world of traditional truffles with his creative and sometimes strange ideas like filling fine chocolate with wasabi, fried onions, sundried tomatoes, or sake. I like a person who thinks outside of the box! And at least his talent at doing so has gotten him somewhere as he has created desserts for numerous Michelin star rated chefs!
Shane’s favorite stop was Brugs Beertje: a pub whose drink menu was the size of an encyclopedia, full of over 300 beers to order! Speaking of which…
Beer of the day: Westmalle tripel. This seems to be one of the most popular beers throughout Belgium. It is a delicious trappist beer that is a safe way to break into the world of Belgian beers. In General Belgian beers are stronger which may not appeal to all, but the Westmalle is able to feel light despite being stronger.