Bruges has been lovingly named the Venice of the North for its medieval waterways. Once instrumental in the commercialisation of the town, its canals were the epicentre of Europe’s textile trade during the 14th century. Today, the labyrinth of these picture-perfect waterways along the Reien has become an irresistible magnet for tourists. Amble along the riverside or partake in a slow river cruise to soak up the quintessentially European atmosphere of the medieval town. Feast your eyes on the graceful swans skimming over the surface of the shimmering waters.
Wander into cobblestone streets and cross the ancient stone footbridges to search for aristocratic, flower-draped manor houses. Admire the Flemish canal houses decked with gabled roofs and brickwork facades. Look for mythological elements in the stone gargoyles and decipher the stories in the wall reliefs that display apprentices at work. Hours can flit by without an agenda in mind.