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Windmills of Europe- Travel Inspiration - Kiss From The World

Windmills of Europe

For nearly 1000 years, mankind has harnessed the wind to mill grains and to pump water. To this day, most of the rest of the world that’s not resistant to renewable energy is full of modern versions of this power source. But there are still a handful of old windmills from bygone eras, and they add a quaint and picturesque element to their landscapes. Here are a few that we’ve encountered: Belgium is famous for its windmills, but we’ve also explored a few in Ireland, England, and even Italy.

Canal-Rampart Windmills (Bruges, Belgium)

Four windmills from the 18th and 19th centuries sit atop the city ramparts above the canal on the eastern side of the medieval city of Bruges. One of them still operates today; another never worked at all, but was built just as a decoration.

Other Belgian Windmills

The countryside in Flanders (northern Belgium) is dotted with dozens if not hundreds of old windmills, as they were vital in draining the lowlands of the country. The Michelin cartographers were kind enough to mark many of these with tiny dots on our road map, so we chased down a few of them. Several sit on private property; in one instance, neither the owner nor his dog seem to take kindly to visitors trespassing just to get a photo. (We learned this the hard way!)

English Windmills (Norfolk, England)

When we think of windmills, we don’t typically think of England. But the county of Norfolk in East Anglia is a mostly low-lying region on the North Sea with lots of waterways and lakes. As in northern Belgium, these waterways gave rise to the development of water-pumping devices, and consequently many windmills were built in Norfolk over the centuries.

Blennerville Windmill (County Kerry, Ireland)

This windmill was built in 1800 and still operates today. It sits on the edge of the Lee River as it flows into Tralee Bay on Ireland’s west coast – a critical juncture of 19th-century commerce byways.

Tucumshane Windmill (County Wexford, Ireland)

This thatch-roofed windmill was built in the 1840s. Its inner workings were originally built from wood salvaged from nearby shipwrecks. It’s also a mere stone’s throw from a great local seafood pub specializing in lobster.

Antico Mulino Spagnolo – “Spanish Mill” (Orbetello, Tuscany)

In a sheltered lagoon on the Tyrrhenian Sea, the squat round tower of this ancient windmill pokes out of the water. It’s the only remaining of nearly a dozen windmills built in the 1500s when the region was controlled by the kingdom of Spain. Its position in the water enabled food production and transport even in times of war – the grain could arrive by boat when the city was besieged from the land.

    Belgium2 Belgium3 Belgium4 Blennerville Bruges1 Bruges2 Bruges3 EastAnglia1 Orbetello

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We – Matt Walker and Zeneba Bowers – are the creators of, a travel consulting business. We craft personalized itineraries for travelers who want to avoid the typical tourist "checklist" locations in favor of more authentic and immersive experiences. Our Little Roads Europe Travel Guides are award-winning, small-town foodie guidebooks to Italy and Ireland. In these books we explore the breadbasket of Emilia-Romagna and the iconic cuisine of Tuscany; our guide to Ireland visits all of our “Little Roads” secrets of the Emerald Isle. We have just completed our fourth guidebook, available in Fall 2018: "Italy's Alpine Lakes: Small-town Itineraries for the Foodie Traveler". Our guides are about where we love to travel, but more importantly they illustrate how we travel. They are available in handy and beautiful color print versions, and also in Kindle format from Amazon. We have also written articles for various media outlets including Budget Travel and Gannett publications. We are classical musicians who perform in a symphony orchestra and in the Grammy-nominated ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, and we can be found on many recordings, both classical and popular. Off the stage, we travel as much as possible. We visit Europe 5-6 times a year, focusing most of our time on Italy and Ireland, with some excursions into England, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Austria.We find places to visit based on intense scrutiny of detailed maps, exhaustive research, and experience of stumbling on these places ourselves, which itself is made possible by our style of travel. We wish to share with fellow travelers (and would-be travelers) the immense knowledge we have of very small towns that can’t be found in other literature or websites. We also share travel and packing and driving tips, and trip-planning ideas based on our many years of trial and error. We offer tips on how to get in and out of some of the major tourist sites (e.g. Cliffs of Moher, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Florence) with a minimum of stress and tourist hordes; and we also suggest alternatives that are equally gorgeous but less crowded. Come travel with us, and see how rewarding it is to visit Europe in Little Roads style...

One thought on “Windmills of Europe

  1. Euro Travel Coach

    Nice article on some of the nicest windmills in Europe! We absolutely love everything about Bruges and the windmills are the cherry on top. Thanks for sharing your insights!


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