Bruges is the capital of the province of West-Flanders. In the past the city had a direct connection with the sea via Het Zwin, but that connection silted up. The city's port is now Zeebrugge, 20 kilometres to the north-west of the city. The centre of Bruges is a big open air museum of medieval building: house fronts, canals, bridges and all beautifully restored. This is not to say that the historical centre of the city is in any way 'dead', far from it. People live, work and party.
The city has 120,000 inhabitants, one in six of whom live in the old centre.
Bruges is located in the north-west of Belgium, not far from the Dutch border (Zeeuws-Vlaanderen).
The historical city attracts many domestic and foreign visitors. Many of them are day trippers, but more than a million visitors stay in Bruges for one or more nights each year. This means that tourism is an important pillar of the local economy. The port of Zeebrugge is part of the municipality of Bruges. Although this port is nowhere near as big as that of Antwerp, it is experiencing a healthy growth.
The national airport of Brussels International Airport (or: Zaventem Airport) is located at some 120 kilometres from Bruges and it can be reached via the E40. Private aircraft can also use the airport of Ostende-Bruges at 25 kilometres from the city. In addition, there is the airport of Charleroi (140 km), which budget airlines refer to as 'Brussels South'.
The station of Bruges is located along the railway Ostend-Brussels-Cologne. This means the city is easy to reach from many European cities. At the station square you will find the city buses. Buses leave for the centre with an average of 2 minutes.
Bruges is easy to reach via the E40 motorway: Calais - Ostend - Bruges (exit nr. 8) - Gent - Brussels. Gent is half an hour's drive away, Brussels and Antwerp an hour's drive. The coast is barely 15 kilometres away.
Cars are kept out of the city centre as much as possible. There is a speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour and there are many one-way streets. You can park in the city centre using a blue parking disk, for a maximum of four hours. It is more convenient to park your car in one of the five public car parks (P-Rand), which are situated around the historical centre. The rates are not high, the car parks in Bruges are the cheapest in Belgium. A free bus will take you from the car park to the heart of the old city.
There is a wide range of hotels available in Bruges and there are also many bed & breakfast accommodation. The most popular and cosy accommodations are located in the city centre, but they are often fully booked. We recommend booking your room in advance, especially during the summer.
For more information about Bruges, we recommend Google, and the following sources: