Just a two-hour drive from England via the Eurotunnel, Bruges might just be Belgium’s best kept secret. While staying at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Bruges, London-based photographers Nige Levanterman and Sarah Lauren toured the fairytale Medieval town, its charming cobbled lanes and magical waterways. Here, they share their top five spots for the perfect Instagram moment.
The green side of the city
It’s not without reason that Bruges is often referred to as “The Venice of the North.” Linked by dreamy canals and photographic squares, Bruges is a perfect romantic destination. Among its many canals that branch out from the Reie River, the central Groenerei canal (the “green canal”) is the most charming. Lined with traditional almshouses and greenery, wait for the perfect moment when a boat drifts in to snap your photo of the day.
The Michelangelo masterpiece
Don’t leave Bruges before visiting the Church of our Lady Bruges – besides, it can be glimpsed from practically everywhere you go in the city. Step inside and see the many 15th and 16th-century artworks, but most importantly, Michelangelo’s white marble Madonna and Child statue – the only one of its kind to leave Italy in the artist’s lifetime.
The city centerpiece
There might not be much to see inside, but the belfry’s 13th-century exterior is one of the must-do photo ops for Bruges travelers. Snapped by Sarah Lauren, the photo shows off the city’s many spires that surround the city’s central square. Top tip: Climb the bell tower’s 366 steps for stunning panoramic views before indulging in a portion of Belgian fries in the market below!
Psst! If you're a movie fan, you'll surely recognize the Belfry as a key filming location of the film In Bruges featuring Colin Farrell!
The most photographed house in Bruges
Towards the far end of the Dijver canal you’ll find a charming string of 15-century buildings. This striking red-brick build on the corner of the canal was the Heren van Gruuthuse mansion, where the fugitive English king Edward IV took shelter. Make your way over across the canal to snap the mansion from its most revealing angle, capturing the dreamy nature of the medieval city. Inside the mansion is the Gruuthusemuseum: a museum home to a treasure-trove of antiques, artworks and much more.
The most colorful square
Another unmissable stop – the Bruges market square at the center of the city. Pack your tote for all the local goodies you’ll be shopping for and your camera for all the photos you’ll be taking. The square’s colorful array of buildings stem from different periods, from the neo-gothic court house to ochre-colored, 15-century brickwork. The market’s provincial feel is matched to a wealth of pavement cafes – perfect for sitting outside and soaking up (read snapping up) the historic scenery.
Planning a trip during the festive season? Time it correctly as Bruges has one of Europe's many fantastic Christmas markets.