Chocolate, seafood and waffles: Bruges in a nutshell

  • Published
  • By Second Lt. Kathleen Polesnak
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
While Venice and Amsterdam both boast shimmering canals, complete with boat rides and quaint architecture, there's another city not far from Spangdahlem Air Base with windy waterways and plenty of style - Bruges, Belgium. 

It's no wonder this city is known as the "Venice of the north." 

Here, pointed brick roofs jut into the blue sky and low arching stone bridges hover over canals. A slew of museums dot the city, ranging from the history of chocolate, to century-old tapestries, to art exhibits. Beer is as plentiful and diverse as the people, and fresh seafood is always on the menu. 

While cars can still navigate parts of Bruges, boat rides along the canal are affordable - about €6 per person -- and serve as a pleasant introduction to the city's history and architecture. Most tours are given in German and English. Bruges was hardly affected by damage during World Wars I and II, so its authentic architecture and facades remain in much of the city. 

Finding sustenance is an easy feat in this Belgian city. Chocolate lovers can find a shop on every corner, and seafood fans can venture to the fish market for Bruges's specialty dish, mussels. And if chocolate doesn't cure a sweet tooth, Belgian waffles can be devoured at dozens of snack stands and restaurants. 

Walking is the easiest and simplest way to get around the city, but if the cobblestone streets cause sore feet, horse-drawn carriages and bikes are other readily-available options. Shoppers can get their fix with hand-made lace, homemade toys and trendy clothing. 

Exempting anyone with claustrophobia or difficulty climbing stairs, a trip up the Belfry Clock Tower in Market Square is worth the hike. Three hundred and sixty six steps lead visitors to an impressive view of the city, and thankfully for many, the climb is broken up by floors containing historical items and information. 

Bruges is less than a four-hour trip via car, making it an ideal destination for a quick weekend getaway. Whether traveling with friends, family or a significant other, the city has a gamut of sites, eats and entertainment. Parking is easy to find, especially when using a GPS. 

For more information, visit the Bruges tourism Web site at