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Why Bruges is the perfect city for a late summer break

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 9/1/2018 Marianna Hunt
Bruges has some of Europe's prettiest canals © Provided by Shutterstock Bruges has some of Europe's prettiest canals Head to the Belgian canal city for Flemish art, world-class chocolate and secret bars.

Why go now

The summer tourist crowds are ebbing away, easing the pressure on sights and museums, while the city’s arts festival continues until mid-September (triennalebrugge.be/en/) and the pop-up eateries and floating installations will still be in place. Connections from the UK to Brussels include Eurostar (eurostar.com), (ba.com) and easyJet (easyjet.com/en). Trains from Brussels to Bruges take around 55 minutes.

Stay here

The Hotel Dukes’ Palace (1) is the only five-star hotel in Bruges: smart, central and polished. Doubles from £155 (telegraph.co.uk/tt-dukespalace). More homely is ’t Geerwijn (2), a long-standing B&B in elegant, traditional style. Rooms from £71 (telegraph.co.uk/tt-geerwijn).

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't Geerwijn

Bruges, Belgium

8Telegraph expert rating

You are in reliable hands at this well-located, well-priced property – the oldest continuously active bed and breakfast in Bruges. This experience is evident in the neatly-presented bedrooms, in the elegant, traditional style of the public rooms, and in the warmth and professionalism of the hospitality. Read expert review From £73per night Rates provided by Booking.com

Walk here

Start at Markt (3), Bruges’ medieval market square. After admiring the Cloth Hall and soaring Belfry Tower, head down Breidelstraat, passing the Bruges Beer Museum (4) on your left. Soon you emerge on Burg Square (5) with its magnificent Gothic town hall. Take a right and cross over a cobblestoned bridge, glancing back at the Basilica of the Holy Blood. Turn right again, following the canal alongside the Renaissance townhouses of Rozenhoedkaai (6) and Dijver, until you reach the Archaeology Museum (7). 

a large clock tower in front of a building: Burg Square © GETTY Burg Square See this

Get acquainted with the great masters of Flemish art at Groeninge Museum (8) (entry €12/£10.75; visitbruges.be). Don’t miss the medieval masterpieces by Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling, as well as the gallery’s famous collection of Flemish expressionist paintings. 

Try this

Bruges is laced with a network of canals, so jump aboard a sightseeing boat at Rozenhoedkaai (9) and take a tour of the canals (visitbruges.be/en/bruggemetdeboot). Trips take 30 minutes and cost around €8. 

Get acquainted with the great masters of Flemish art at Groeninge Museum © Provided by Getty Get acquainted with the great masters of Flemish art at Groeninge Museum Shop here

The main shopping area is centred on Steenstraat (10). The Chocolate Line (thechocolateline.be/en) is widely considered to be one of the best chocolate shops in the world. 

Bruges means chocolate © Provided by Getty Bruges means chocolate Drink here

Descend a stone staircase on Kuipersstraat to Bruges’ most secret bar. Inside the 800-year-old vaults of Le Trappiste (11) (letrappistebrugge.com) you can choose from an impressive selection of local brews from around €4. 

a close up of a glass of wine: And beer, too © GETTY And beer, too Eat here

Tucked away just off Markt Square, De Stove (12) (restaurantdestove.be) is a perfect introduction to the best of modern Belgian cuisine. Specialities include mussels in coconut cream with lemongrass. Expect to pay around €28 a head, including wine.

a pond of water: Take a picturesque bike ride to Damme © GETTY Take a picturesque bike ride to Damme Off the map

Pick up a bike from one of the city’s many rental stands (around €10 for four hours) and follow routes 23, 60, 10 and 6 for one of the most picturesque cycling trips in Belgium. Twenty minutes of canalside road will take you to medieval Damme, with its gabled houses and crumbling churches. 

Related: Great Hacks For When You Are Traveling Solo (Provided by Buzz60)

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