During my 2 days in Belgium i spent the most time in Bruges and i absolutely loved it. For me it had more going on that Ghent but it in no way resembled the big city life of Brussels.
Although i was in Bruges for just a short time i have came up with 10 things to do there, some of which i did, others i would intend to do when i next visit so here goes:
Before going to Belgium i saw on a few blog posts that they had recommend just walking around Bruges until you get lost and i can totally see why. Bruges is the perfect sized city to walk around without the need of public transport and as the old part of the city sits in a egg shape made out of its surroundings canals you really can’t get lost so i would suggest to just walk aimlessly, if you see a pretty and quiet side street (and you will, theres so many) then walk down it. Venture out of the tourist centre and into the residential area and i promise you will be wanting to move in straight away!
2. Take a Walking Tour.
I would always recommend doing a walking tour in a new city, its such a good way to see the area with a guide and get your bearings, hear some interesting facts and meet fellow travellers. Most cities offer free walking tours (and you just give a tip at the end) and Bruges was no exception. I took the Legends of Bruges free tour who meet in the main square twice a day everyday. Our guide was Yan who was born in Bruges, he had so much knowledge of the city and its history and he took us to parts i hadn’t visited the day before whilst wandering on my own and parts which i probably wouldn’t of found on my own so it was an enjoyable 2 hours.
3. Take a boat tour.
I read that Bruges is often referred to as the Venice of the North and after visiting i can totally see why. The canal runs right through the centre of the city as well as a long its outer edge and the best way to see the canal and see the city from a different perspective is to jump onto a boat tour. The price for an adult is €8.00 and it lasted about 20-30minutes. The guides do a commentary as you go along in both French and English, my guide in particular was very humorous and provided some great facts about the city!
4. Head up the Belfry Tower.
Standing at 83 metres high there’s no way you can miss the Belfry Tower which sits in the main square and for €10.00 you can climb the 366 steps to the top and be rewarded with an incredible view over Bruges.
I didn’t climb it as when i was there it was Easter and the main square was filled with tacky rides and foodstalls which would of totally ruined the view so i decided to save my money (and my legs), however if the square is clear which it usually is then it would be well worth it!
5. Bike to Holland.
Due to Bruge’s close proximity to Holland you can in fact hire a bike in Bruges and bike 12km up the canal to Holland. Here you will see a completely different side of Belgium, sneak a view of Holland and if the weather is good there are some beaches to relax on.
I hadn’t heard of this before arriving in Bruges however my guide on the walking tour told us so if you do a tour with them and want to know more just ask them as they had a bike company that they recommended and this is something i would love to do on my next visit!
6. Visit the nearby Cities of Gent, Brussels & Antwerp.
Belgium is a pretty small Country with great train infrastructure so its super easy to get between the main cities. I took the train to Bruges from Gent which took 30 minutes and cost €6.00, i then took the train from Bruges to Brussels which took an hour and also cost €6.00.
Although i loved Bruges the most out of the 3 cities i visited, a trip to Gent and to Brussels is a must, and if you have time i heard Antwerp is equally as beautiful so why not use Bruges as your base and visit these cities for the day or just for a few hours to see more of the Country!
Belgium is renowned for its chocolate and has pretty much made itself into a brand. The streets of Bruges literally smell of Chocolate thanks to the never ending amount of Chocolate shops and in between this you’ll get a whiff of some Waffles cooking and also a more Savoury smell of Belgium Frites aka double/triple fried fries which are also very popular (and yummy) and make sure you enjoy them with mayonnaise rather than ketchup as this is what the locals do!
And of course you can’t eat without washing it down with something. Belgium is known for its Beer probably just as much as its chocolate so hunt down a pub a long the canal and enjoy the high percentage beers on offer and if its too early for a beer then try out the Hot Chocolate. The Old Chocolate House claims to be the best place to be to drink the best Hot Chocolate so i got a take out cup for €2.00 and was not disappointed!!
9. Visit a Museum.
There are a few museums in Bruges but the one that sounded most appealing to me was The Choco Story Museum where for €8.00 you can learn the story of how cocoa is transformed into the beautiful Belgium chocolate that we know and also receive lots of samples while you’re there!
10. Appreciate the Architecture.
I had seen so many photos online of Cities in Belgium and Bruges in particular with its beautiful grand buildings and unique style houses and i really couldn’t get over how pretty and stunning its buildings are.
There aren’t many cities that are the size of Bruges where the majority of it has remained so historical with no ugly modern buildings in-between.
I hope this gives you some ideas of what to do in Bruges and gets you excited to visit or motivates you to book a ticket.
You could easily fly into Brussels and get the train to Bruges if you are coming from afar, alternatively Bruges does have an international airport and train station.
I only stayed 1 night and 1 day as my trip was only short however you could easily spend 2-3 days and nights here with a day trip out to the surroundings cities and still find plenty to do.