Bruges, Belgium travel tips

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The heart of Bruges is the Markt, or marketplace, is an excellent place to enjoy the famous Belgian beer and people-watch. As a rule, the restaurants around the Markt are overpriced.

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If you don't mind a steep climb up 366 stairs, go to the top of Belfort, a medieval brick belfry in the Markt. If you can make it to the top, you'll be rewarded with great views of Bruges.

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As many of Bruges's streets are cobblestone, be sure to take appropriate walking shoes. Wear heels, and you're likely to twist and ankle or fall.

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The chocolate shops in Katelijnestraat are more reasonably priced than the ones in the town center.

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If you plan to see other parts of Belgium, buy a Belgian Railways Railcard. It costs about 70 euros, and is good for ten single trips between any two stations in Belgium.

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Although you might think of it a gimmick to draw in tourists, a horse-drawn carriage ride around the city is a romantic way to see the city.

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For a nice day trip from Bruges, take a paddleboat along the Damse Vaart canal to Damme, a lovely village near the Dutch border.

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De Halve Maan offers five different dining areas, and its courtyard is a lovely place to have a meal.

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Be sure to visit the De Halve Maan Brewery. The tour last forty-five minutes, and includes a visit to the top of the building, which offers incredible views of the city.

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For a quick snack, be sure to try a classic Belgian treat---fries and mayonnaise. They are tasty and cheap, and widely available from vans in the main square.

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For a quiet retreat within the city, visit Minnewater Lake, known as the "Lake of Love." It's beautiful and offers a nice break from the hustle of the city.

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Belgium is famous for its beer, but Bruges offers a local brew, Brugse Zot, or Bruges Fool, is highly recommended.

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