Brugge is one of the most popular European cities with Americans. The city has made a concerted effort to retain its medieval character, and visiting it is almost like taking a step back in time. Its compact size makes it an ideal city to explore on foot. Its medieval architecture and canals—it’s called the “Venice of the North”—create picture-postcard scenes around every corner. You will see two spellings for the city: Brugge (Flemish) and Bruges (French), reflecting Belgium’s bilingual nature, but the city is decidedly Flemish, with art and architecture to match.
Your itinerary should definitely include a visit to The Church of Our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk). This iconic church has the only sculpture by Michelangelo (Madonna and Child, circa 1504-5) outside of Italy. Its spire is Belgium’s tallest. Construction on the church began in 1220, and it incorporates a mix of artistic styles. At about 400 feet, it’s one of the world’s tallest brick buildings.