The contrasting Belgian cities of Brussels and Bruges combine together to make the ideal twin centre city break.
This holiday lends itself perfectly to travel by rail from the UK – by Eurostar from London St Pancras to Brusssels Midi and by onward travel by local train from Brussels to Bruges. Both cities are of course famous for their chocolates and beer, but both have a lot more to interest the tourist as well.
The charming and beautiful city of Bruges is small and friendly. Most of the main sights are within the central area around the Market Square, which makes life very easy for the tourist. The Market Square (Grote Markt) is the heart of medieval Bruges.. On the north side of the Square is the Belfry tower which offers magnificent views of Bruges and the surrounding countryside for those brave enough to attempt the 366 steps up the narrow spiral staircase to the top. Other sights worth visiting include the Gruuthuse, a museum and mansion which dates back to the 13th Century, and the St. John’s House Mill and the Koelewei Mill (Sint-Janshuismolen and Koeleweimolen) which are both functioning grain mills and museums which can be visited.
The train service between Bruges and Brussels runs hourly nad takes about an hour. Trains run to Brussels Midi station, from where the Eurostar service to London also leaves.
Brussels is a city of contrasts with enormous diversity when it comes to places of interest and things to do. The Grand Place, with its ornate baroque and gothic guild houses, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. It’s an ideal spot for sitting at an outside café and watching the world go by. It is also a venue for many concerts & events throughout the year and during the warmer months has a vibrant, daily flower market.
The Town Hall (Hotel de Ville) is a striking gothic building overlooking the Grand Place. Tours are available of the interior, which contains 15th century tapestries and works of art. The RoyalPalace which overlooks BrusselsPark is also well worth a visit – it is open to the public during the summer months.
Many visitors to Brussels will insist on a visit to the Manneken Pis before they leave the city. This famous bronze sculpture of a little boy peeing in the base of a fountain has been amusing visitors since 1619.