The 5 best urban walks
Landscaped in the 19th century, the ramparts form an attractive green belt around the old town. You can wander along meandering paths leading to ancient city gates, climb up to windmills and drop into neighbourhood cafes along the way. Not many tourists come out here, so you find yourself among local people walking their dogs and kids riding their bikes to school. The total circuit is just over 7 km, almost all on quiet paths.
3) The Merchants’ Quarter
Not many tourists walk through the quarter where foreign merchants settled in the 15th century. You can wander down quiet lanes overlooked by tall Gothic houses and across squares where foreign traders once sold silks, spices, beer and furs. Begin on the square in front of the former stock exchange at Vlamingstraat 35.
4) Forgotten Bruges
A quiet, forgotten corner of Bruges lies beyond ’t Zand square. Here you find small almshouses, intimate restaurants and local shops. Head down Boeveriestraat to reach the ramparts and then follow the meandering path to the right to reach the Smedenpoort. Now turn right down Smedenstraat.
5) Canals by night
You can put together a canal walk once the crowds have gone to take in romantic spots after dark. First walk down Meestraat to reach an ancient bridge which is one of the loveliest (and quietest) spots on the canals. Now navigate your way along the canals Groenerei, Predikherenrei, Verwersdijk and Spinolarei.
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