Belgium is a country packed full of beautiful cities that are steeped in history – places such as Ypres, Brussels, and Antwerp draw huge amounts of tourist on an annual basis. One smaller city that is just as impressive is the charming and gorgeous Bruges. With a population of 118,000, Bruges is the largest city in the region of West Flanders and lies 20km to the east of Ostend, and 50km to the west of Ghent.
This historic city is renowned as one of the most beautiful in the whole of Belgium and offers a fantastic combination of old architecture, sleepy waterways and some delicious food and drink. A long weekend in Bruges will prove to be memorable and the following tips will help you make the most of your time here.
- Regular trains travel between Brussels and Bruges.
- Buses travel from the main train station to the Market Square.
- The historic town center is easy to explore on foot.
- The local currency is the Euro.
- Beer, Fries with Mayonnaise and Chocolate – Try them all!
- Bruges has a series of canals that are perfect to take a boat ride on.
- The Market Square is the main area for tourism.
- Consider eating in restaurants located away from the market square.
When exploring Bruges, you can expect to find a fantastic range of culture and history mixed with some fun and unusual activities. The following are some of the must-see attractions that I personally recommend when traveling to this amazing city:
Standing in the market square, this immense bell tower is by far the tallest building in the city and can be seen for miles around. Aside from its beautiful architecture, it is also possible to climb to the top of the tower for fantastic panoramic views of Bruges. Be warned, this is not a climb for the faint-hearted – you will traverse over 300 spiral stairs to reach the top!
The main market square is undoubtedly the main attraction of the town and it is within walking distance of most of the popular hotels. This square contains the impressive belfry, the beautiful town hall, and some gorgeous colored buildings with charming step-gable roofs. Be sure to make the market square one of the first places you visit to get a real feel for the history of Bruges.
De Halve Maan Brewery
Bruges is famed for its beer, and you can sample some of this (strong!) beer at the Half Moon Brewery. This family run brewery creates the famous Bruges-Zot brand of beer that weighs in at a staggering 8-11%! A guided tour of the brewery will give you insight into the brewing process, and you can, of course, sample a glass or three of their beer in the bar afterward.
Hidden gem of Bruges
This small secluded square is tucked away and is a fantastic place that I stumbled upon by chance. Surrounded by gorgeous white buildings with step-gable roofs, the Begijnhof is a great place to relax. What makes this hidden gem so beautiful is the hundreds of daffodils that sit on the central lawn of the square. During the spring and summer, these daffodils burst into flower and provide a truly photogenic scene – the yellows and whites of the flowers are simply delightful.
Don’t Miss out on
Any trip to Bruges is not complete without sampling some of the mouth-watering chocolate available in one of the many shops surrounding the Market Square. As you walk past these shops, your eyes will light up at the vast array of chocolates, truffles, and pralines on display. Step inside and try some of the free samples, or simply make a purchase and enjoy the rich chocolate whilst walking through the streets of Bruges.
Aside from the attractions listed above, the Choco-Story Museum is also worth a visit (full of free chocolate samples!), as is a boat trip on the gorgeous canals.
Whatever you decide to do, Bruges will leave a lasting impression and highlight what a fantastic country Belgium can be.