A Weekend In London

a weekend in london

This is one of the more daunting blog posts I’ve ever written. After living in London for a while last year, it quickly became my favorite city in the world. So how do I even begin to tell what to do when you visit? 

In short, I quickly realized that I'll need to put together several London guides: the best restaurants, what to do at Christmas time, a breakdown of all the neighborhoods, and dozens others I just haven’t gotten around to tackling quite yet.  But since lots of people that I know spend only a few short days in every destination they visit in Europe, I figured the best place to start was giving you "A Weekend in London" guide. 

Let me caveat that London is the most diverse, multi-cultural, fascinating and wonderful city I’ve ever been to, but it is also a city of subtleties. Destinations like Italy or France will wildly romance you straight away with in-your-face culture that you can't miss. They're whimsical and feel so different from anything we have in America.  But London doesn’t pack a punch in quite the same way. While I always liked it right from the moment I arrived, it wasn't until I spent an extended period of time there that I fell completely head over heels in love. But even if you can only stay a few days, I still believe that no matter who you are, there is plenty to love about London. The question is, who are you and what do you love? Because if you don’t know what to look for, chances are you’ll miss the opportunity to see the best of this amazing city. 

I've made a list of recommendations that are purely based on my personal London favorites. When I travel, I love blending a mix of popular attractions with a taste of life as a local, along with some fantastic food and beautiful architecture. If that sounds like something you also enjoy, then I'd highly recommend doing as much of the following as you can. But before we dive into the itinerary, here are a few things to know about how to get around the city. 

 

GETTING AROUND

The route I've mapped out below is strategically planned so you can use your time wisely and not waste toomuch of it in a cab or on the Underground. But nevertheless, there are still a few things you should know: 

  • London recently banned Uber, which will (likely) go into effect soon and is a major bummer. Black Cabs (while fun) get expensive quickly, and many claim they don’t accept card. So with that said...
  • The Underground (or more commonly referred to as the tube) is your friend and incredibly easy to use- especially if you download CityMapper to navigate where you want to get to and from. You’ll need to head to a kiosk at any Underground station to purchase and Oyster card (which obviously, is all in English and is pretty self explanatory). I’d suggest starting with £20, as you can always add more (or “top up” as the English say) if you need more funds. 
  • Pack good walking shoes (I wrote a blog about the best shoes to bring to Europe here) and a rain jacket (I never used an umbrella as it usually only spits, but that can happen any given hour). Walking is entirely unavoidable in London and most of my itinerary will have you walking anywhere from 5-7 miles a day. It’s flat and there are plenty of stops for breaks so I find it to be easy, but consider yourself warned. 

 

I could write an entire blog about transportation, about places to stay, and many other details you should know to plan a trip. But given the fact that I have more knowledge about London than any other destination, I've got to stay focused here if I ever want to get anything posted. So again, the point of this post is to lay out the top things to see and do in a quick weekend trip. So now that we've got all that sorted, let's dive into the 3 day itinerary:

 

DAY 1

Any day that you first arrive in a new city usually involves jet-lag, getting checked into where you're staying, and other time consuming factors you don't initially consider. So let's talk from the afternoon on. Hop on the tube and take the Piccadilly or Bakerloo line to Piccadilly Circus (Exit 1 at the station). Don’t worry- you won’t stay here long. This is arguably the most touristy bit in all of London so look around and take it all in, but it’s not what you’re there to see. Head straight down Sherwood St. until you hit Beak St, hang an immediate left and an immediate right and you’ll find yourself in Carnaby. "From being the birthplace of Swinging London in the 1960’s, the home of Mods, Punks and New Romantics to the street style tribes of today. Carnaby has and always will be the epicentre of culture and lifestyle in London’s West End". This is one of my favorite little areas in London- even though today, it’s highly commercial. I used to work from Joe & the Juice (an upscale Danish juice + coffee bar) most days that I lived there, so it’s a bit nostalgic for me. No matter what time of year it is, Carnaby St. is always lit up at night and feels magical every time you visit. 

Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street

While you're here, be sure to visit Liberty London, a posh department store with more than two centuries of sourcing incredible textiles. Liberty is more of a London institution, really. I always load up on greeting cards for all occasions whenever I’m here (and be sure to walk to their Great Marlborough St. entrance if you’re there during the day to see the most beautiful flower displays you’ve ever seen.) 

Liberty London

Liberty London

Also around Carnaby, you'll find tons of places to eat or grab a drink (Kingly Court is an idyllic open air courtyard with twinkle lights overhead). But where you need to eat is Dishoom: my favorite curry house in all of London.

Most tourists think they have to eat fish and chips in London and while you certainly can, locals will tell you what you really should try is the curry.

London been said to now have more Indian restaurants than Mumbai or Delhi, and their hole-in-the-wall curry establishments (especially on Brick Lane in Shoreditch) are incredible. Considering you’re only here a few days, I'd advise dining at Dishoom, which was voted Britain's favorite eatery. While it’s definitely a much more posh experience than the hole-in-the-wall spots on Brick Lane, it's certainly made waves in London and it seems everyone wants to eat here (I'd definitely advise you make an early booking in advance to avoid extensive waiting.) If you don't have a booking, try to go early to put your name on the list and then head to The Clachan: one of my favorite pubs in London (no real reason- just nostalgic I suppose) for a pint while you wait. 

Dishoom

Dishoom

After dinner, go to the theatre! London has so many amazing shows, whether you choose to partake in a West End performance, The Royal National Theatre, The Globe- you can’t go wrong. I’ve seen several shows in London including Wicked, The Lion King, Matilda, Aladdin and my absolute favorite of all time Les Misérables (I highly recommend this one). 

Still not ready for bed after the show? Head to Archer Street in Soho to close out your evening. I came here for the first time for a friend's birthday and was told that it's where theatre recruiters often come to scout talent (the staff all appear to be talented performers and often hop on a make-shift stage to sing and dance). Most of the entertainment throughout the night is a DJ, but they always play songs that are shamelessly fun to sing along to. I've been back a few times since and have never not had a blast. 

 

DAY 2

Whitehall Gardens | Photo by Joel Smedley

Whitehall Gardens | Photo by Joel Smedley

Wear your walking shoes- today is going to be a doozie. Wake up and head to Borough Market straight away (you can easily get there by the Jubilee or Northern line on the Tube- getting off at the London Bridge station). This is one of my very favorite parts of London. (Fair warning, it’s only open from Monday-Saturday and has a limited market on Monday and Tuesday, so ideally you can go on a Wednesday through Saturday). As I’ve said before, London is such a global city that’s comprised of nationalities from all over the world, so this isn’t any farmers market: it's London's oldest food market and most of the stallholders are the producers themselves (including amazing food from all over Europe).

borough market

While you're here, let yourself completely pig out. Just walk around and nibble on anything that appeals to you- it's seriously one of my favorite things to do in the world because they literally have every kind of food you could ever want. It's also a great place to sample fish and chips (Fish! has been voted one of the best fish + chip shops in London by Esquire) if that's on your list, just don't let it be the only thing you try here!

If it’s chilly out, get a cup of mulled wine to warm up. And if it’s warm? Go for a Pimm's. Either way, I can't recommend this place enough (I daydream about it on a regular basis when I'm not in London).  

Once you can’t fit anymore in your stomach and your bag is too full to purchase anything else, head for the Thames. You’ll likely come out somewhere in-between London and Southwark Bridge, which means immediately to your right, you’ll see Tower Bridge (not to be confused with London Bridge- which many people often call it). If you want you can walk across it, but I’d argue this is a plenty good view (and you truly have so much more you should do).

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

Snap a picture or two and start walking along the South Bank in the opposite direction of Tower Bridge. This route (while a bit long) certainly doesn’t feel like it and takes you by some of London’s most historic landmarks. You’ll see The Globe theatre, St. Paul's Cathedral, Millennium Bridge (the one the Death Eaters destroyed for all you Harry Potter fans), Tate Modern Art etc. Assuming you’re there on the weekend, there are street performers, musicians and all other kinds of entertainment to make the stroll an enjoyable one (plus you won’t be alone, tourists and Londoners alike enjoy this route).  Once you reach the London Eye (which I'd skip riding if you're only there a few days- more important things to do!) don’t take your Big Ben pictures just yet. Keep walking under Westminster Bridge and you'll come to another one of my favorite spots in the city.

Big Ben

Big Ben

For whatever reason, tourists don’t seem to come to this side. It’s much more tranquil, offers a more direct shot of Big Ben, and you can even sit and enjoy the views with a drink (although you have to BYOB if you choose to partake- that's what Haley and I always do!). Once you’ve taken it all in, head back up the steps and walk across Westminster Bridge toward Big Ben. You’ll likely want to take lots more photos along the way...

Big Ben

Big Ben

Big Ben

Big Ben

Once you reach the other side of Parliament, up ahead on the left you’ll see Westminster Abbey. They do offer tours, but again- I’d argue you don’t have time in a short weekend (unless it’s really important to you). Take some photos and then head to your next stop(s) just around the corner: 10 Downing St. (home to Prime Minister Theresa May) and Horse Guards Parade (a ceremonial parade ground with British pomp and pageantry).

Horse Guards Parade

Horse Guards Parade

 

Once you've seen both of these, stroll through St. James’s Park: one of the most prominent parks in central London. Head to St. James's Cafe for a drink or snack (and take it outside to sit in the grass if the weather is nice. After resting your legs, walk through the park toward Buckingham Palace. You certainly can time it with the changing of the guard if you like. I personally never watched it myself because I didn't care enough about it to fight the crowds. Regardless of whether or not you watch the guard change, you should at least pop by Buckingham Palace to see it in person (and if the Royal flag is flying, that means the Queen is in the building). 

St. James's Park | Photo by Joel Smedley

St. James's Park | Photo by Joel Smedley

As previously mentioned, this guide doesn't consider where you may be staying, so take breaks at your own discretion. But this would be a great time to head back to your hotel/ flat to rest and freshen up for dinner. When you're ready to explore again, head to Oxford Circus, at the other end of Regent St. from Piccadilly Circus and head south. You don’t need to spend much time here- chances are most of the shopping you can find wherever you live (and do you really want to spend your few short days in London shopping for high street fashion?) But you still need to see the iconic architecture as the double decker buses and Black Cabs go by. After browsing a bit, head to the gallery at sketch for dinner. Sketch is a gastro-brasserie that's a destination for food, drinks, art and music and is comprised of multiple restaurants. Each is a uniquely-designed concept (but the gallery is my personal favorite). Again, you'll want to make a booking in advance or you likely won't be able to get a table for the evening. If there were ever a place you want to use the toilets, it's here. Just trust me on this one...

The gallery at sketch

The gallery at sketch

 

Looking for a fun place to get drinks after dinner? You can always pop into a local pub (although I find these to be more fun just after work rather than later in the evening). I'd advise walking just 10 minutes to Fitzrovia where you'll find Berner’s Tavern: an upmarket Modern British restaurant in the London Edition Hotel. I came here on my first trip to London and fell in love with the beautiful decor, fantastic drinks and overall incredible ambiance. Chances are that you're exhausted, by now but if you still want to grab more drinks after that, I'd head to The Ivy Soho Brassiere.

 

DAY 3

Another big day so put those walking shoes back on! Head straight to Notting Hill (Notting Hill Station on the Central, District or Circle line) for Sunday Roast (that is, assuming Day 3 for you is on a Sunday) at The Ladbroke Arms. If you're wondering what Sunday Roast is, basically it's a traditional British meal that is typically served on Sunday (hence the name), and consists of roasted meat, roast potato, and accompaniments such as Yorkshire pudding, sausages, stuffing, vegetables and gravy. It's fun to experience and is a very "British" thing to do. We actually went to The Ladbroke Arms for dinner but it's a lovely atmosphere and right on the way to your next activity: Portobello Road- the world’s largest antiques market with over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of antique and collectible. Unfortunately, the market itself is actually closed on Sundays (Saturday is the main day to go) but unless you're big into antique collectables, I believe you can actually see more of Notting Hill without the crazy crowds if you go on a Sunday. And even still, there are tons of shops and darling cafes that will still be open (be sure to visit Biscuiteers and Farm Girl- two of my favorites). But the main reason I love wandering through Notting Hill is the bright pops of color that are unique to this area. Most of the buildings in London are traditional white flats or red brick. Notting Hill, however, boasts a rainbow assortment of every color imaginable. 

Portobello Road, Notting Hill

Portobello Road, Notting Hill

Notting Hill

Notting Hill

Notting Hill

Notting Hill

After letting yourself get lost in this idyllic neighborhood, walk about 20 minutes to the west end of Hyde Park. Call and make a booking in advance so you can have a proper English afternoon tea at The Orangery (right next door to Kensington Palace).  We did this on our initial trip to London and had the best time (and after doing several other high-tea experiences in the city, this one is still my favorite). 

High Tea at The Orangery

High Tea at The Orangery

After tea, take your time strolling through Hyde Park. This is arguably one of the greatest parks in the world and hosts countless concerts and events throughout the year (if you're there at Christmas, be sure to visit Winter Wonderland!) But even when nothing is going on, it's a great place to see tourists and locals alike soaking up one of London's many green spaces. 

The Orangery 

The Orangery 

Take the road that cuts Hyde Park and half and head south. You'll exit onto Exhibition Road, which will guide you directly into South Kensington: a posh London neighborhood that's home to the V&A and Natural History Museum. London museums are all free (they do have a donation box at the front which recommends a contribution) so I'd advise taking advantage of this and popping into both briefly if you have time (if you can only pick one, do the V&A- it's my favorite!) 

 

*Also, should you want to try a church while you're in London, HTB (Brompton Road) is where I went and is also in this neighborhood. They have several services throughout the day so you can try to squeeze it into whatever makes the most sense for your schedule. 

South Kensington

South Kensington

Victoria 

Victoria 

For dinner on your final night in London, head to Sky Garden for the most spectacular views of the city. Sky Garden has a few different restaurants depending on your budget and culinary preferences, but just be sure to make a booking well in advance as this is a very popular destination (for good reason- these views are seriously incredible).  

Skygarden

Skygarden

If you still want to have another drink after dinner, I'd recommend Duck and Waffle nearby for more great views of the city, One New Change for stunning views of St. Paul's Cathedral, or Bronte in Trafalgar Square if you want to head back closer to the city center.  

One New Change

One New Change

 

Again, there is still so much I have to say about London, but I need to draw the line somewhere (and I'm not sure you can fit much more into your schedule in such a short time to be honest!) I hope this itinerary gives you a taste of why this is my favorite place in the world and that you fall in love with it yourself!

 

Still have questions about London that I didn't answer? Let me know in the comments below so I can incorporate it into another one of the posts that I have coming. 

 

Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope everyone has a great rest of the week. Stay tuned on Insta-stories next week... I'm heading somewhere incredibly fun (hint: I went there last October too). Can't wait to share!

xx

Whitney

a weekend in london
BA_button+copy.png

Monday Mavericks: Don't Give Up

MONDAY+MAVERICKS.jpg

Happy Monday from Boston! I've been in Beantown for a long weekend with my friend Haley and we've had so much fun exploring this beautiful city (it's exploding with history + beauty). But today's post isn't a travel guide, it's continuing my weekly Monday Mavericks series that offers quick bits of encouragement to increase optimism in today's world. 

Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library

As I head back to Chicago later today, I'm already thinking about my long to-do list filled with everything I have to tackle before my next set of travels next week. Aside from the regular things like laundry, grocery shopping and heading to yoga to sweat off some of the over-indulging I did the past few days, I have loads of work that's piled up + is now staring me in the face. As if I weren't already feeling behind, there's a passion project I've been dreaming about for a while that I told myself I'd finally get to work on once I got to Chicago. Except- with a month already under my belt, I haven't really made much of any progress on it like I wanted to. 

Life sneaks up on us like that, doesn't it? We can have the best of intentions, but sometimes it feels like we're hamsters on a wheel: working ferociously and going nowhere. It's easy to beat yourself up when you're feeling far from accomplishing all that you hope for or to be tempted to give up altogether at the first sign of a setback.

So today, let's pause and find solace in the fact that just because we're not where we want to be doesn't mean that we're failures or that we're not getting closer. Or as this quote I found puts it:

SAVE THIS IMAGE TO YOUR PHONE FOR THIS WEEK'S WALLPAPER

SAVE THIS IMAGE TO YOUR PHONE FOR THIS WEEK'S WALLPAPER

Contrary to how you may often feel, you don't have to solve all of the world's problems today. In fact, that's a hell of a lot of pressure to put on yourself and completely unrealistic. Yet sometimes we act like we should try, don't we? 

Today, let's absolutely show up to life with all the courage, passion and heart we have in us. Let's take steps in the direction that we want our lives to go (whatever that looks like for you). But let's also respect where we are and not try to plow through to a victory we haven't yet earned. Let's celebrate the areas in our life that we're doing the best we can and give ourselves grace where we deserve it.

If you're like me, this is much easier advice to give than it is to receive. So consider it a friendly reminder to help it set in a bit more. Take a deep breath, turn on some feel-good tunes (I added some new ones to the Monday Mavericks playlist) and keep pressing on- one foot in front of the other. 

“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

 

SUBSCRIBE TO THE MONDAY MAVERICKS PLAYLIST HERE

I'll be cheering all of you on this week! Stay tuned for the first (of many) London guides I plan to finally share. 

 

Thanks for stopping by, friends! Shine on + keep spread goodness everywhere you go. 

xx

Whitney

BA_button+copy.png

Where to go in Belgium: Brussels, Bruges + Ghent

belgium travel guide blonde atlas

Nestled between Germany and France in the middle of Europe, tiny Belgium is easy to overlook. But as small as it may be, make no mistake: this beautiful country is brimming with a variety of European culture and institutions, making it one of Europe's great secrets. 

Belgium is known for its medieval towns, dazzling art, Renaissance architecture an also for serving as headquarters of the European Union and NATO. It’s comprised of various regions including Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north, French-speaking Wallonia to the south and a German-speaking community to the east.

If you’re a new international traveler, fear not. Everything in Belgium feels close together, organized, and the people there are lovely (there's also practically no language barrier). But if that's not reason enough to visit, I have another trick up my sleeve to sell you: the food. Yep, this country is one you'll want the stretchy pants for. Whether you choose to indulge in something savory like buckets of mussels or the best fries in Europe (with mayonnaise, obvi), something sweet like Belgian waffles or their world-class chocolate, or if even if you prefer to stick to a liquid "diet" by drinking their famous beer this is one region where your tastebuds won't be disappointed in the slightest. 

While Belgium may be a tiny country, there are countless towns worth seeing. So on my most recent trip, my friend Sarah and I did some research and decided to visit 3 different towns in 3 different days (perks of everything being close together!) Our top picks?:

 

BRUSSELS

Brussels has way more to offer than most people realize. Apart from its famous chocolates and beers, it's home to roughly 90 museums, stunning architecture, lovely parks, and wonderful people. 

Though (like the rest of Belgium) Brussels is officially bilingual, most people here speak French first (so pulling some French phrases out of your brain is a polite courtesy if you can manage). 

Serving as the unofficial capital of Europe, this cosmopolitan city hosts businessmen from around the world (making it a fantastic place to Bumble for all my singles out there- trust me on this one). It's the political nerve center of united Europe (which also means that when Europeans want to protest, this tends to be where they demonstrate).

If you only see one attraction in Brussels, head to the central square of the city known as Grand-Place. Not only is it considered one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first time I visited Brussels was during the Christmas season and this is where the city's massive tree was displayed (along with an impressive light show at night). On my most recent trip (which was in May), a jazz festival was held here. No matter when you visit, you can guarantee to find entertainment (not to mention some of the most gorgeous art nouevau facades in all of Europe). 

grand place brussels

 

As previously mentioned, beer here is a must. To be perfectly honest, this isn't my drink of choice but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it (especially when I'm someplace like Belgium!) While it's in a touristy area and probably not a hot spot for the locals, we loved going to Little Delirium to sit outside and drink flights of beer (they had a great selection of local beer and a fun sidewalk atmosphere).  

If you only go to one restaurant in Brussels, make it this one. This chic brasserie is housed in a former bank with gorgeous stained-glass ceilings, creating one of the most beautiful dinner atmospheres I've ever been in. But aside from a stunning environment, this is a wonderful place to partake in Belgian cuisine. The ingredients are carefully selected from Belgian artisans, while the wines come exclusively from Belgian producers. Everything we tried was fantastic (although my personal favorites were the meatballs and the speculoos dessert!) 

maison dandoy brussel belgium

Repeat after me: Maison Dandoy is where you want to get your waffles in Brussels. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of great waffles out there- but this is by far the best one that I had. While they technically are the oldest and most famous biscuit shop in Brussels known for their speculoos (a traditional Belgian cookie), everything they make is fantastic and will certainly satisfy your sweet tooth. There is a location conveniently located off the Grand-Place so you can even order it for take away and sit there to enjoy it if you prefer. 

maison dandoy belgian waffles

 

 

I’d highly recommend staying in Brussels the entire time you’re in Belgium, even though I absolutely recommend taking day trips to other towns! Since Belgium is such a small country, no town is more than 2 hours away by train so it’s totally doable to leave in the morning and head back to Brussels in the evening. Chance are you’ll be coming and going from Belgium via the airport or Eurostar in Brussels, so you may as well stay there the entire time so you’re not lugging your suitcases here there and everywhere. Regardless of what you’re looking for in a hotel, here are a few options I highly recommend based on my past stays: 

 

SOFITEL LE LOUISE HOTEL BRUSSELS

We spent the majority of our hotel time at Sofitel Le Louise: a 5 star luxury hotel in Brussels prestigious Avenue Louise district nestled amid quiet streets lined with chestnut trees designer boutiques and art deco mansions.

With its stunning plays on color and light this stylish hotel blends Brussels historic beauty with French art de vivre. From the moment you walk in and see the ruby pink crystal chandeliers and translucent wall carved with lace patterns, you'll fall in love with this beautiful hotel. 

SOFITEL LE LOUISE

We truly loved everything about our stay (especially the incredible room service breakfast that we ordered every morning- these pastries were insane!) 

Le Louise is about a 15 minute walk away from the touristy center of the city, which is still convenient to reach but also a tranquil oasis away from the chaos. If you're looking for a luxury (yet attainable) option with contemporary finishes, Sofitel Le Louise is an amazing place to stay in Brussels that I highly recommend. 

sofitel le louise brussels belgium

Should you prefer to stay in the heart of the city, we stayed at Hilton Brussels Grand Place, which was an incredible experience. This hotel is only a 3 minute walk from Grand-Place and offers first-class accommodations (including free wi-fi and a delicious breakfast). It was so easy to get anywhere in the city from here (especially the train station for our day trips to Bruges and Gent!) I'd recommend this property to anyone who prioritizes location, but still wants a quality experience. 

HILTON BRUSSELS GRAND PLACE
WILTCHERS HOTEL BRUSSELS

I actually stayed here on my last trip to Brussels on a cold December night at Christmas-time and it was absolutely magical. This five-star luxury hotel is also located on Avenue Le Louise and has hosted guests like Bill Clinton and Mick Jagger. This is definitely the most luxurious hotel that I stayed at during my time in Brussels (which sounds about right because it also has the highest price tag.) Every tiny detail is absolutely lovely: Nespresso machines in every room, the most impressive breakfast spread you can imagine, marble countertops in the bathrooms, spacious rooms, luxurious bedding-- all of it was heavenly. If you're willing to splurge a little for the ultimate experience, I definitley recommend Steigenberger Wiltcher's.

WILTCHER'S BRUSSELS BELGIUM

 

Regardless of where you go in Belgium, the capital city of Brussels is an absolute must. I love every experience I've had here, although if you have flexibility (and don't mind the cold!) I would definitely recommend Christmas time so you can experience the Christmas markets, mulled wine and amazing light show in Grand Place. But no matter when you visit- just make sure you get here!

 

 

BRUGES

So, first: a disclaimer. We took a lot of photos in Brugge (as the Flemish people who live in this part of Belgium call their town, or Bruges as the French speaking half of the country say). 

This little town is bursting with idyllic architecture, Renoir canals,  serene Flemish masterpieces, and, according to locals, the best beer in the world. The word Brugge/Bruges comes from the Viking word for "wharf" because it's been a trading center for a long time.

We spent most of our time simply wandering around the town, taking photos, admiring the architecture, eating chocolate and drinking beer (sounds like a pretty magical day, huh?)

brugge belgium
bruges belgium
brugge belgium
bruges belgium
bruges belgium

One of my favorite parts about Brugge is the architecture. It's so easy to see the influence from its Dutch neighbor! Literally every corner looks like it's out of a storybook. It was truly a dream!

bruges belgium
bruges belgium
brugges belgium
brugge belgiu
belgium bruges
bruges belgium
bruges belgium
brugge belgium
bruges belgiu
brugge belgium
brugge belgium
brugge belgium
brugges belgiu
bruges belgium
bruges belgium
bruge belgium
brugge belgium
brugge belgium

You don't need a grand agenda in Bruges- just go! Let yourself get lost and admire this quaint little town. Trains from Brussels run roughly every hour (check the station times to be certain) but it's super simple to purchase. I had no idea what I was doing but people at the station (both in Brussels and Bruge) were very helpful and got us exactly where we needed to be. 

 

 

GHENT

For our last day in Belgium we went to Gent (or Ghent): a port city in the northwestern part of the country. During the Middle Ages it was a prominent city-state. Today, it serves as a university town and hub of many cultures. It's known for medieval architecture (such as 12th-century Gravensteen castle and the Graslei, a row of guildhalls beside the Leie river harbor) but to be honest, it was definitely the least touristy place we went in Belgium. I felt like we experienced a day in the life of Belgium as we wandered through Gent. People passed by on their bikes, sat outside at cafes, and carried on with everyday life. 

Again, no real agenda here! Just wandered around, admired the architecture, drank some more beer and ate some more fries (noticing my trend here?) Gent was a unique little town that felt much different than many destinations I've been in Europe, but I really loved seeing someplace off the beaten path from tourism and observing everyday life in another culture. If you enjoy the same, I definitely recommend coming here!

 

 

Belgium is an amazing country where you could truly spend all your time wandering the streets of each town and only eat waffles or stop for a beer. I loved every second we spent here and will definitley be back in the future. 

 

Have questions about planning your trip? Let me know in the comments below! 

Thanks for stopping by friends!

xx

Whitney

BA_button+copy.png