The intimate, charming medieval town of Bruges in the north west of Belgium is a journey back in time. Gorgeous architecture, canals filled with wooden boats and numerous white swans, and old cobblestone streets twisting and turning through small cafes and shops. On one particularly memorable summer night, we sat in the town square and watched a dance floor full of locals dance the tango.

When I asked my kids many months after our trip which city in Europe they remembered most, both answered “Bruges”. Not because of a particular thing we did, but because of how quiet, intimate, and independent they felt staying here. I believe it was a city they could easily wrap their head around and feel comfortable navigating, unlike other far larger cities in Europe. From that point forward, I’ve always tried to find similar places to visit.