Bruges has been a city since the XI century and that’s probably why its beauty reminds us of the charm of a fairy tale. It is said that this town in the Northeast of Belgium is so beautiful that it seems unreal. Whoever visits will confirm that every canal, gallery and brewery has been set up here as if it were a theatre stage. Contrary to what most people think, Bruges doesn’t get old, it just revives. For those looking for an autumn break, this little town invites you to discover its best hidden secrets.
It’s well known that Bruges has a medieval façade and that almost everything is protected here — the historic town of Bruges is a UNESCO Heritage Site. However, there is much more than old (and beautiful) buildings and towers to discover across its streets. Here is a list of top secret places to pop in if you truly believe that Bruges is not a traditional destination anymore.
Frietmuseum: A very different museum
f you love fries you are in luck! Belgians love this yellow basic delicatessen (another tip: don’t leave Bruges without trying a classic dish of moules-frites) and a good example of this is that they have their own “fries museum”. Here visitors can find out more about the history of this grocery, the sauces we use to accompany them as well as the pop culture that has emerged around them. For design lovers, this will be the chance to kill two birds with one stone. The Saalhalle is one of the most emblematic buildings in Bruges — It is the only in the city built in naked rock.
Vlamingstraat 33, 8000 Bruges
Image: Friet Museum by yad.craby via Flickr
Toyo Ito Pavillon: An encounter between tradition and contemporary art
At the beginning of the article I remarked the fact that Bruges is going in a different direction. It still keeps that beautiful appearance however, it has decided to be a new destination for those looking for contemporary experiences. In this sense, The Toyo Ito Pavillon was declared in 2002 “Cultural Capital of Europe”. It may look like a bus stop or even a car park entrance however this work, designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito, is the best example in town when it comes to finding the coexistence between History and the new future. The pavillon was initially supposed to be a temporary artwork but apparently the public requested for it to be left permanently…
Burg, 8000 Bruges
The New Historium: A place to smell and feel medieval Bruges
This museum, which opened its doors two years ago, offers visitors the chance to go back to medieval Bruge. In other words, you will be able to feel like you were standing in the middle of a historical scene in the 15th century — Maybe you could transport yourself back to a room with famous painter Van Eyck. The new Historium is one of those places that should be mandatory for anyone hoping to discover the town’s soul. The tour visit ends at the balcony where you will be able to take as many pictures as you desire.
Image: Historium by yad.craby via Flickr
Markt 1, 8000 Bruges
Sound Factory: An interactive universe for travellers
In Bruges they believe anyone can become a musician. How is that possible? The Sound Factory museum seems to have the answer. Here visitors will be able to compose their own songs by combining from traditional bells to digital sounds. But there is one more reason you should pop in: the interactive installations are based on the top floor of the Concertbuilding and this means you will be able to feel the frequencies whilst enjoying the views to the Belfry, Church of Our Lady and Sint-Salvators cathedral. So you know: For only 6 euros you can be a musician for a day. Not bad is it?
‘t Zand 34, 8000, Bruges
Conzettbrug Bridge: Mobile architecture
Image: Conzettbrug via commons.wikimedia.org
Bruges is also considered one of the cities known as the “Venice of the North” and this doesn’t require much explanation. It was Swiss engineer, Jürg Conzett, in 2002 who decided to open the access to the canals by designing this unique gadget completely compatible to the environment and the landscape. Conzettbrug is definitely what we could call a drawbridge from the XXI century.
Conzettbrug, Coupure 8000 Bruges
Do you fancy a trip to Bruges this autumn?