A long-term favourite, and a love of many, the romantic, enchanting city of Bruges is known as the 'Venice of the North' due to its sheer number of bridges and canals.

The pretty chocolate-box capital of Flanders in north-west Belgium is a magnet for chocolate and beer connoisseurs while its charming cobbled streets, medieval buildings and quaint canals and squares make it a romantic, magical destination for two.

Top Sees for a Fee:

Climb the winding staircase - 366 steps in total - of the medieval Belfry tower for jaw-dropping views overlooking the city. One of the most iconic sights in Bruges, it's one of 33 belfries designated World Heritage sites in the city, and home to a treasure chamber and municipal archives. Arrive early to avoid the queues and hear the carillion of 47 bells which ring at every quarter of the hour.

Markt 7, 8000 Brugge. Tickets: Standard: € 12; 0-5 years: Free; Up to 25 years and over 65: € 10.

Belfry Tower and Markt Square

Dominating the skyline of the city, the 122-metre brick steeple of the Church of Our Lady is the second highest tower in the world. Built between the 13th to 5th centuries, step inside the Baroque style interior, to view a valuable collection of art treasures, including notable paintings such as the Pieter Poubus (Last Supper and Adoration of the Shepherds).

Church of Our Lady, Bruges

The tombs belonging to Charles the Bold and Mary of Burgundy as well as the heart of Philip the Handsome are, along with sculptures of the twelve apostles. The highlight however, is Michelangelo's magnificent Madonna and Child sculpture. Originally carved in Italy before being donated to the church in 1514, it has been stolen from the church twice in its history before being recovered.

Mariastraat, 8000 Brugge. Tickets: 0-17: Free; 18-25: € 5; 26-64: € 6; 65+: € 5.

Michelangelo's Madonna in Bruge, Church of Our Lady

Top Sees for Free:

Escape the hustle and bustle of Bruges' busy shopping streets as you explore the city's charming network of canals and bridges, boasting more than 80 in total.

Rozenhoedkaai with Belfry Tower in background

Take a stroll over the Minnewater Bridge with your beau and your love is destined forever - at least according to widespread folkloric myths anyway.

Grab the perfect Instragram-worthy photo at Rozenhoedkaai - which translated means Rose Head Quay, where rose-sellers' stands stood during the 18th century.

Wander through the peaceful Arents Courtyard and over the quaint Bonifacius Bridge – also called 'the lovers' bridge - a famous Bruges beauty spot.

Bonifacius Bridge and Bakkersrei canal

Head to the market and historic centre of Bruges for two attractions Bruges is most famous for - chocolate and beer.

Relax with a refreshing cold beer on the balcony of Duvelorium beer café overlooking the medieval cobbled square and its pretty, colourful Gothic buildings.

Pick up a selection of tempting treats from the chocolate artisans at Dumon Chocolatie. This family-run business is claimed to be the leading chocolate shop in Bruges, where you can buy everything from creamy pralines to hand-rolled truffles.

An added bonus is entertainment comes in the form of their in-house mini chocolate factory churning out melted chocolate. For those with a sweet tooth, indulge in a cup of their speciality hot chocolate.

Dumon Chocolatier, chocolate shop in Bruges Markt Square

Go for a romantic stroll around the idyllic Minnewater Lake, known as 'the Lake of Love'. Set in the centre of Minnewater Park, discover the romantic myths and legends surrounding it. The name 'Minnewater' comes from the Dutch and is made up of two words: 'minne', meaning 'common' and 'love', and 'water'.

Minnwater Lake, Bruges

Getting Around:

Bruges is less than one hour from Brussels by train and has an extensive public transportation system, with many of the popular tourist attractions within easy reach.

Take a cruise down the city's enchanting waterways on a canal boat trip from Rozenhoedkaai, or enjoy a romantic ride in a horse-drawn carriage across the cobble-stone streets.

Horse-drawn carriage in Markt Square

Going Out:

Fom beer and waffles to mussels and frites, a trip to Bruges is a gastronomer's dream. Choose from a kaleidoscope of culinary options ranging from fancy five-star restaurants to cheaper options.

Boasting more than 10 Michelin-star restaurants, Bruges is establishing itself as a fine dining hotspot. Head to the Grote Markt area to discover everything from friteries to fine dining.

Ale enthusiasts can choose from over 300 varieties of beers at 't Brugs Beertje in the centre or take a trip to Bourgogne des Flandres Brewery to see the experts at work.

Grote Markt restaurants by night, Bruges


Budget: Offering views of the belfry tower and ideally located for shopping and sightseeing, two-star Hotel Van Eyck is just three minutes walk to the Grote Markt (bell tower) and 15 minutes walk to the train station. Offering clean, comfortable accommodation, guests rate the comfortable beds, free wi-fi and breafast buffet.

Korte Zilverstraat 7, Bruges 8000 Belgium. Phone: +32 50 33 52 67. From £48.

Midrange: Superb hospitality, top-notch breakfast and spacious rooms with fabulous views are but a few of the reasons why guests return to the award-winning Townhouse boutique bed and breakfast. Top tourist sights are just a stone's throw away, with the Markt square reachable within an eight minute stroll.

Werkhuisstraat 18, Bruges 8000, Belgium. Phone: +32 50 61 58 52. From: £93.

Luxury: Tucked away in a leafy square, on the cusp of the city centre, is the comfortable yet lavishly decorated four-star Pand Hotel. Original antiques, art and plush fabrics adorn this beautiful boutique-style hotel built inside an 18th century carriage house. Upgrade to a junior suite to enjoy a whirlpool and four poster bed, whilst perks include waiter service, champagne breakfast and a lounge log fire.

Pandreitje 16, Bruges 8000; Phone: 00 32 3 808 73 66; From £134.

Fact File:

Currency: Euro - £1 = €1.20

The Flight: Manchester International to Brussels (BRU); Flights 1 hour 5 minutes.

Time Zone: GMT+1.

Best Time to Visit: The months between June and September are an ideal time to visit due to the milder weather. Autumn sees Bruges fill with vibrant colours, making pleasant strolls by the canals made even more magical.

Visas/Injections/Precautions: None.