It is often referred to as Belgium’s ‘jewel in the crown’, because of its pristine beauty and was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. Bruges, which is located in the north west of the country, received its charter in 1128; it is egg shaped and a compact 430 hectares in area. The climate is typically north European, which is cold in winter, down to about 28°F, though mild in summer, with a 73 °F average.
The city has about 50,000 people living in its historic centre, but totalling 120,000 if you include the outer suburbs. The old centre is closed off to motorised vehicles, enabling people to move around easily on foot or explore the canals by boat. Touring the city in a horse drawn carriage is another popular option.
The city is a small complete medieval package in itself, being a mix of romantic canals, narrow cobblestone streets, gabled houses, museums and fabulous architecture, all of the same era. It is like being on a period movie set, except that this is real.