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You will feel like you walked into a fairy tale as you explore the enchanting medieval town of Bruges, Belgium. Often called the Venice of the North, Bruges is one of Belgium’s jewels, with cobblestone streets, romantic canal views and historic architecture. The medieval center of Bruges is remarkably well preserved with vast amounts of medieval architecture including the 13th-century belfry with its 47-bell carillon that plays every fifteen minutes. Tucked among 19th century neo-gothic and more modern buildings you find numerous 17th-century houses converted into restaurants and cafes that beg visitors to linger. Not surprising, one of the most popular attractions in Bruges is a boat ride on the canal.

The UNESCO world heritage site is a city of art, and the Groeninge Museum is the perfect place to take in paintings from the 15th to 20th century masters including Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden and Hieronymus Bosch. Stop in the Church of Our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk) to view Michelangelo’s masterpiece Madonna and Child.

Bruges is also well known for chocolate and you can find chocolate shops everywhere. You can also pop in to the chocolate museum Choco-Story to learn the delicious history of Belgium’s hallmark treat. And for beer lovers, De Halve Maan Brewery Tour is sure to please.

For a peaceful respite for the bustling city, visit the Beguinage (Begijnhof), home of the Benedictine nuns. The whitewashed buildings surround a lovely courtyard garden, bursting with a carpet of daffodils beneath the poplars in spring.

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