Thursday, 24 March 2011

Brussels & Bruges: Do's and Don'ts!


Having only spent 48 hours there, I am certainly no expert on Belgium and its many delights. However, using the time I did have as a guide, here is a much briefer than usual list of do's and don'ts...

Do's

- Try the local speciality. Delicious and numerous, chocolate shops are on every street. Whilst all are probably great, if you are a chocolate purist, there are a couple of things you might want to consider. We were surprised to learn that of the 50 or more shops in Bruges, only 5 make their chocolate on the premises. You’ll pay more for the privilege, but it might be worth it. Speaking of cost, it’s wise to shop around – the price varies vastly from shop to shop!

- Relax. The cities are lovely for wandering around and best done at a slow pace. Take time out for sitting at outdoor cafes and watching the world go by – you’ll leave wanting more, I promise!

- Travel around by train. Fast, efficient and cheap, the train services between cities in Belgium are an easy way to see multiple areas. Trains between Brussels and Bruges departed every half hour when we visited, and the special weekend prices halved the usual cost. Definitely the best option.


Don'ts

- Get your languages confused! Brussels, although located in the Flemish part of the country, actually speaks French as its primary language, whereas Bruges is decidedly Dutch. English is a standard everywhere though, and a good bet if you don’t want to accidentally offend anyone!

- Miss out on visiting Bruges. I really can’t speak highly enough of this lovely little city. Easily explored in a day, I also would imagine you could spend a whole weekend enjoying its many charms. Mid-week would probably be even better, without the huge number of visitors that a Saturday typically brings.

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