Often Bruges and Amsterdam and Bamberg and Colmar are referred to as the Venice of the North. In fact I think that any city in Europe that has canals can and tries to make this claim. Bruges I think is the cleanest and the nicest of them all. There are a lot of shops and private houses and business along the 6 km of canals within the old town. This morning did not look like a great day to go on a canal tour, perhaps when the sun comes out we will reconsider.