Rick Steves’ Europe: Bruges, Belgium

Belgium’s exquisitely preserved medieval city is home to picturesque canals, gilded architecture, great beer and handcrafted chocolate

bruges-chocolate-steves.jpg
Alan Copson / JAI / Corbis

Traditional Belgian Chocolates

Traditional Belgian chocolates
(Alan Copson / JAI / Corbis)

Bruges, which gets Rick Steves' vote for the sweetest town in Belgium, has a passion for chocolate. You'll be tempted by display windows all over town.

Belfort River Dijver, Bruges

Belfort River Dijver Bruges Belgium
(Alan Copson / JAI / Corbis)

The center of the old city contains an extraordinary concentration of art and architecture from the Middle Ages

Basilica of Holy Blood

Basilica of Holy Blood
(Dave Bartruff / Corbis)

The Basilica of the Holy Blood is named for a vial of the blood of Christ that, according to legend, was brought from the Holy Land to Bruges in 1150 after the Second Crusade.

Bruges Market Square

Bruges market square
(Courtesy of Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door)

Bruges' Market Square, ringed by great old gabled buildings and crowned by a bell tower, is the city's colorful heart. The belfry has loomed over Market Square since 1300.

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges Belgium map
(Guilbert Gates)

Right from the start, Bruges was a trading center. While relatively sleepy today, in its 14th-century heyday, it was in a league with London and considered Northern Europe's most important textile market.