Wander through cobblestone pathways flanked by vibrant gingerbread houses, horse-drawn carriages, and meandering canals. Embark on a day trip from Amsterdam to Bruges, hailed as one of Europe’s most enchanting cities.
The enchanting town, which you’ve likely encountered all over your social media feeds, is situated in the northern part of Belgium. As a native Belgian, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Bruges numerous times, and I can confidently affirm it is every bit as bewitching as it looks.
A robust network of trains and busses connects Belgium and the Netherlands meaning an Amsterdam to Bruges day trip is very straightforward. Make sure to wake up bright and early to optimize your time visiting the prettiest city in Belgium!
This guide is a curated compilation of Bruges’ standout attractions, vegetarian-friendly dining and drinking spots, top-notch chocolate and waffle establishments, along with a handful of practical tips to enhance your visit. Continue scrolling to discover a map that can be particularly handy as you explore the charming city streets.
Caroline Muller is an award-winning travel blogger. She writes and photographs full-time while oscillating between Sicily and Brussels as a home base. She has documented over 60 countries across six continents and does not plan to stop any time soon. A staunch vegetarian for over 25 years, she loves exploring local cuisine in search of that perfect (plant-based) mouthful.
With this blog, she hopes to help you travel slower, more sustainably and a hella lot more meaningfully. Pack your bags!
Amsterdam to Bruges Day Trip: Planning Guide
BRUGES AT A GLANCE
- Tourism Office: Visit Bruges Website or Tourist Office 1 (Markt 1 – Historium); Tourist Office 2 (Stationsplein 5); Tourist Office 3 (‘t Zand 34 – Concert Hall). Opening Hours 10.00 am – 05.00 pm.
- Bruges Card: If you are planning on visiting multiple museums it might be worth looking into getting the Bruges Musea Card, which includes 11 museums.
- In case you want to spend the night: ($) Hotel Central; ($$) B&B Canal Delux; ($$$) Exclusive Guesthouse Bonifacius or 15 Sustainable Boutique Hotels in Bruges
Can You Do a Day Trip From Amsterdam to Bruges?
READ | Is Bruges worth visiting?
There is but one right answer to this question and it is a resounding “HECK YESS!”. The UNESCO World Heritage site that is Bruge is a veritable treasure trove of medieval charm waiting to be explored. One day in Bruges will give you a taste of what the city has to offer and be just enough to convince you a second, third and, most likely, fourth visit is required.
As a Belgian, I have visited the city on many occasions and it simply never gets less impressive. It honestly feels like time has stood still here, with the ever-present clip-clop of horse-drawn carriages running through cobblestoned streets lined with colorful gabled houses.
Getting from Amsterdam to Bruges will require a fair amount of travel time as both cities are roughly 258 km (160 mi) from each other. Count on 2h45 (each way) by public transportation and about 3 hours (each way) if you are taking the car.
MONEY SAVING TIP| There are actually a lot of very good value/money tours from Amsterdam to Bruges starting at a mere €55 (US$60). If you opt to travel without a tour the fastest way is by train (€85/US$92), while the bus is the cheapest (€46 (US$50) but takes 4h30 to get there.
10 Things to Do in Bruges on a Day Trip
For those considering a day trip from Amsterdam to Bruges and aiming to make the most of their adventure, a bit of pre-planning can go a long way in ensuring you experience the city’s key highlights.
While there’s no denying the charm of losing yourself in Bruges’ labyrinthine cobblestone streets, it took me three visits to discover the optimal viewpoint and the possibility of touring the City Hall (well worth it!).
I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 favorite activities in Bruges beyond leisurely strolls through its streets. Tackling all 10 in a single day might be a tad ambitious, so I suggest choosing five and leaving the rest for a return visit. This way, you’ll have a compelling reason to come back!
COMPLETE BRUGES GUIDE | One day in Bruges itinerary
ACCOMMODATION GUIDE | 15 Sustainable Boutique Hotels in Bruges
BRUGES AT CHRISTMAS | Christmas markets in Bruges
MORE DAY TRIPS FROM AMSTERDAM | 17 Places to visit near Amsterdam; One day in Haarlem
PLACES TO SEE AROUND AMSTERDAM | 6 Biking trips around Amsterdam, Castles near Amsterdam
DAY TRIPS AMSTERDAM TO BELGIUM | Day trip from Amsterdam to Brussels
1. Marvel at the Grote Markt of Bruges
If there’s ever a moment to marvel unabashedly, it’s upon setting foot on Bruges’ Grote Markt. Comparable in grandeur only to Brussels’ Grand Place, this square stands unrivaled in the entire country.
The square itself has witnessed centuries of history, dating back to the 10th century when it functioned as the central market for vendors peddling their wares. Even today, the tradition endures with a weekly market held every Wednesday morning.
In the heart of the square, a life-sized statue commemorates Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, pivotal figures in the Brugse Metten revolution during the 14th century when Flanders rose against its French monarch.
Encircling the Grote Markt are vibrant houses boasting gabled roofs. A glance upward may reveal statues adorning these rooftops, each depicting the lineage and origins of these charming abodes. For instance, the basket-adorned structure served as the guildhouse for weavers, while the mermaid-crowned dwelling was dedicated to the guild of fishermen.
What to do on the Grote Markt: Climb the Belfry, visit the Historium, grab a drink at Craenburg – the spot where the heir to the Habsburg Dynasty was imprisoned in the 15th century. At the time of writing the Provinciehuis (the large white building next to the Historium) was closed for renovation.
Best views over the Grote Markt: Belfry or the tower of the Historium
FOR THE HISTORY BUFFS | On my third visit to Bruges I finally bit the bullet and took a guided walking tour to gain more insight into the city & the Grote Markt. It was worth every penny and I learned a lot. We opted for a private tour but you can also take a group tour at a fraction of the price.
2. Walk up the Belfry of Bruges
Opening Hours: 09.00 am to 08.00 PM || Tickets Price: €15 (US$16)// Reservations obligatory as spaces are limited. Get tickets online.
Once a repository for municipal charters and archives during the 13th century, the Medieval Belfry has evolved into both a symbolic icon of the city and an exceptional vantage point. While it no longer serves its archival function, the latter two aspects remain notably relevant today.
Ascending to the summit entails conquering 366 steps on a tightly spiraled, circular staircase. If you happen to grapple with vertigo or claustrophobia, I strongly discourage attempting this climb. The viewing platform itself, nestled just beneath the resounding bells, can be deafening when they chime, particularly on the hour.
The panoramic 360° views of Bruges, though impressive, come with the added feature of a thick layer of protective chicken wire which impedes the views. While the climb is undoubtedly worthwhile, it is not my favorite viewpoint. In my humble opinion, the Historium (mentioned below) offers a more enjoyable and accessible ascent (with the possibility of a beer afterward!).
3. Cruise the canals of Bruges
Coming from Amsterdam, you might have had your fair share of canals and be tempted to skip a boat ride. I have cruised on the waterways of both and personally prefer the small intricate network of canals in Bruges. They are cozier and have a very different vibe from Amsterdam.
These waterways have a rich history, dating back to the 12th century, originally constructed for commercial purposes, supporting trade and the transportation of goods. Nowadays it is no longer goods but tourists that are transported on a 45-minute journey.
Typically priced at €12 (US$13), tickets for boat tours can be purchased from any of the five vendors scattered around the historical center. I usually start from the Rozenhoedkaai, we hopped onto the boat there. For optimal views, position yourself at the rear of the boat. Tours are in English.
TIP | Combine a boat tour with a guided walking tour. The top-rated 2.5-hour tour is great value for money as it takes you through the various highlights of the city + includes a boat tour for only €18 extra versus the single ticket for a boat ride.
4. Explore the Historium & grab a drink with an incredible view
The Historium in Bruges beckons visitors to embark on a historical voyage within a meticulously reconstructed environment. The moment you step inside, you are instantly transported to the vibrant Bruges of the 15th century, courtesy of a captivating audio-visual journey.
Utilizing virtual reality and special effects, the immersive exhibition skillfully recreates the medieval ambiance, complete with a bustling market square, lively guilds, and the iconic Belfry of Bruges. This pioneering experience is a first of its kind for Belgium! Don’t miss the panoramic platform offering stunning views over the Grote Markt—consider splurging a bit for the VR experience; it’s truly worth it.
Venture to the first floor of the museum, where you’ll discover the Duvelorium. bar. Accessible to all, even without a museum ticket, this watering hole proved to be a delightful spot to warm up and enjoy an incredible view when we visited during Christmas.
GOOD TO KNOW | The Historium has toilets available. These are free if you purchased a ticket to the museum, if not a payment of €1 is requested.
INSIDER TIP | It is well worth climbing up to the tower of the Historium to see the best view in Bruges, even better than the Belfry. Costs €5 (US$6) if you purchase a ticket for the Historium. If you just wish the climb up the tower entrance fee is €12.
5. Visit the historical center
If you are taking a day trip to Bruges from Amsterdam, you will most likely stick to the historical center when exploring. On my first trip, I simply followed the flow of tourists and they naturally brought me to the various highlights of Bruges. I admit, not the most structured approach but boy was it fun!
In addition to the Grote Markt and Burg Square, several other must-visit spots should find a place on your Bruges itinerary. The renowned Rozenhoedkaai, offers the city’s most famous viewpoint and serves as an excellent starting point for your canal cruise. Just a brief 2-minute stroll away awaits the picture-perfect Fishmarket.
Don’t miss capturing the picturesque Medieval Boniface Bridge and the nearby Gruuthuse Museum—both worthy of a photo or two. The unassuming Church of our Lady surprises with an authentic Michelangelo on display. The recently restored Saint John’s Hospital is now a museum of Medieval Medicine.
Venture a bit further to discover Jan van Eyckplein and a series of beautiful, tranquil canals, including the Spiegelrei, along with the city’s oldest bar, Vlissinghe. To simplify your exploration, I’ve mapped out all these Bruges highlights, conveniently located a bit further down.
6. Go inside the Basilica of the Holy Blood & Bruges City Hall
On my first day trip from Brussels to Bruges I did not bother going inside the Basilica or the City Hall, in fact, it took me until my fourth trip to actually step foot inside and boy am I glad I did!
Basilica of the Holy Blood
Opening Hours: 10.00 am – 05.15 pm || Address: Burg 13, 8000 Brugge
A harmonious fusion of Romanesque and Gothic styles, the beautiful Basilica of the Holy Blood is one of the most important religious sites in Bruges. Legend holds that this sacred site safeguards a relic believed to be a droplet of Christ’s blood, a revered artifact brought to Bruges following the Second Crusade in the 12th century.
Upon admiring the captivating façade, venture inside to explore the lower chapel—a masterpiece of Romanesque intricacy. Ascend the stairs to the upper chapel, where Gothic architecture takes center stage. Despite its relatively modest size, the Basilica is teeming with colorful frescoes!
Bruges City Hall
Opening Hours: 09.30 am – 05.00 pm || Address: Burg 12, 8000 Brugge || Entrance Fee Museum: €/US$8
Established between 1376 and 1421, Bruges City Hall ranks as one of the oldest in the Low Countries. The ground floor is free for everyone to visit, but the true magic happens on the first floor. Here lies a beautiful Gothic Hall for which the ticket is required.
Inside the vaulted Gothic Hall, 20th-century paintings intricately portray the rich history of Bruges. An adjacent room delves into the city’s maritime heritage, featuring augmented reality models. To enhance your experience, don a pair of headphones and listen to the narrator, available in multiple languages.
7. Find locally made chocolate and waffles
The historic heart of Bruges is brimming with claims of offering the “finest Belgian chocolates” and “authentic Belgian waffles.” Regrettably, numerous places in the area do not produce their goods locally, contributing neither to the local economy nor to your authentic experience. If you are looking to bring back some goodies to Amsterdam, try one of the below stores.
BEST HOT CHOCOLATE: The Old Chocolate House has a wonderful first floor where you can grab all sorts of different hot chocolates. We took the speculoos version, which is divine!
BEST ARTISANAL BISCUITS: We picked up the most delicious artisanal gingerbread cookies at Maison La Confiance, an artisanal biscuit maker who produces their goods right here in Bruges.
BRUGES WAFFLES: You might be able to get a Brussels waffle or a Liege waffle in Brussels, but you will definitely not find a Bruges Waffle. This relatively new invention can be tried at Otto Waffle.
FOODIE TIP | We found most of the above spots when we took a Bruges Food Tour which included 10 tastings. It was a great combination of history & scrumptious food!
8. Stroll around the Beguinage & visit the Beguinage Museum
Opening Hours: 06:30 am – 06:30 pm
Nestled within the heart of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage site, lies the Beguinage—a serene haven founded in the 13th century. Once home to the Beguines, a community of devout women living a quasi-monastic life, similar beguinages are found in smaller forms in cities like Mechelen, Brussels and Antwerp across Belgium.
Today, the Beguinage features whitewashed facades enveloping a peaceful courtyard, adorned with colorful flowers, particularly enchanting in spring. Within this tranquil enclave, a modest chapel dedicated to St. Elizabeth is free to visit, alongside a small museum.
Crossing the Begijnhof Bridge takes you through the 18th-century main entrance. The first petite Beguin house on the left, just after the entrance, houses the museum—a charming space showcasing original 17th and 18th-century furniture, paintings, and lacework.
GOOD TO KNOW | The Beguinage has strict opening hours which are enforced by the closing of the two main gates.
9. Head into Minnewater Park
On one of my many day trips from Amsterdam to Bruges, I wandered into Minnewater Park quite by accident. It was during Christmas time, and I was looking for the ice skating ring, which can be found in the park during the Christmas Market.
Minnewater Park is great for a languorous stroll and to get away from the bustling historical center. According to legend the large lake, locally known as the “Lake of Love”, is named after a young woman called Minna. She fell deeply in love with a soldier from the neighboring kingdom. After running into to forest to be together, she died in his arms.
Minnewater Park is located in southern Bruges, right off the Beguinage with its iconic swan-filled lake. During the summer the park transforms into a veritable open-air concert hall hosting plenty of festivals. The most famous of which is Cactus Festival in July.
GOOD TO KNOW | If you decide to walk from the Bruges train station to the historical center (roughly 20 minutes) you can opt to take the scenic route, which takes you right through Minnewater Park.
10. Try the local brew & visit a local brewery
Beer is absolutely synonymous with Belgium. It is one of the few things we do very well. If you are visiting Bruges from Amsterdam you well and truly should try one of the local brews. Two breweries still operate within the historical center. Both have a host of excellent local beers which can be tasted by ordering a beer flight at their bar or by booking a tour of the breweries.
Bourgogne des Flandres Bruges
Opening Hours: 10.30 am – 06.30 pm (closed on Monday) || Address: Walplein 26, 8000 Brugge || Tours: Visit the brewery with an audio guide including 1 tasting for €15 (US$18).
Established in 1911, Bourgogne des Flandres weathered the storms of both WWI and WWII unscathed. However, the family brewery, nestled within Bruges’ city walls, eventually closed its doors in 1958. The closure was attributed to the prevalence of less intricate/niche beers, such as German lagers.
The beer brand made a veritable comeback in 2015 and is once again being brewed inside the heart of Bruges. The local brewery has a little terrace along one of Bruges’ main canals, offering an ideal setting for enjoying a refreshing beer during the spring or summer. We opted for a tasting of the blond and triple varieties of Bourgogne des Flandres and I honestly really liked both.
Halve Maan Brewery Bruges
Established in 1856, Brewery Halve Maan in Bruges carries a storied brewing tradition. The internationally acclaimed Brugse Zot and Straffe Hendrik gained such popularity that the brewery faced a capacity challenge for brewing and bottling within the historic center.
Determined to honor its heritage and continue crafting its renowned brews in the heart of the city, the brewery devised a clever solution. A pipeline was ingeniously installed, running from the historic brewery to a newly constructed bottling facility outside the historical center. This innovative system transported freshly brewed beer beneath the time-worn cobblestone streets. A stroke of genius!
How to Get from Amsterdam to Bruges
Getting to Bruges from Amsterdam can be done in a variety of different ways. It is noteworthy to mention that the distance to cover is 251 km (155 mi) resulting in a minimum travel time of 2h30 for the fastest means (train/car) and 4h30 for the cheapest (bus).
MONEY SAVING TIP| There are actually a lot of very good value/money tours from Amsterdam to Bruges starting at a mere €55 (US$60). This is only slightly more expensive than taking the bus (€46 (US$50).
AMSTERDAM TO BRUGES BY TRAIN (TIME SAVER)
The fastest way to get to Bruges from Amsterdam is by taking the train. This journey can be done by taking either the high-speed train (Eurostar) in which case your travel time is 2h30 or by relying on the local trains with a total travel time of 3h30.
Trains Amsterdam to Bruges
FASTEST OPTION (2h30): Amsterdam Centraal – Brussels Midi – Brugge
Hop on the Eurostar between Amsterdam Centraal to Brussels Midi (also known as Brussel Zuid). From here take a local train run by the Belgian National Railway (NMBS) to Brugge (the Flemish name for Bruges). Tickets for Eurostar need to be bought well in advance! Check schedule and book via Omio.
BUDGET OPTION (3h30): Amsterdam Centraal – Antwerpen Centraal – Brugge
Take an Intercity Train (IC) between Amsterdam Centraal and Antwerpen Centraal. This train will either be run by the Belgian National Railway (NMBS) or the NS, National Railway of the Netherlands. Change in Antwerpen Centraal to an IC train in the direction of Bruges. Tickets can be bought the day of departure. Check schedule and book via Omio.
Train cost Amsterdam to Bruges
The cost of your journey will vary depending on which option you decide to choose. Tickets for the Eurostar start at €50 (US$65) but can easily run up to €250 (US$220) if not purchased in advance. If you rely on the budget option, expect to pay around €85/US$92.
BUS FROM AMSTERDAM TO BRUGES (BUDGET OPTION)
The cheapest bus from Amsterdam to Bruges is the Flixbus, which takes around 4h35 from door to door. A roundtrip means 9 hours on the bus, which for a day trip seems a little excessive. Departs from Amsterdam Sloterdijk and gets in at the Bruges train station. Find the timetable and book your ticket via Omio. Prices start at €46 (US$50) one way.
DRIVING TO BRUGES FROM AMSTERDAM (CONVENIENCE PICK)
Driving from Amsterdam to Bruges will take between 3 and 4 hours, depending on the traffic. Park your car in the underground parking ‘t Zand or right around the Bruges train station. Daily car rental starts at €65 (US$70).
Day Tours to Bruges from Amsterdam
Getting to Bruges from Amsterdam is relatively straightforward but can be both time-consuming and expensive. Taking a guided tour might be an easier option if you are on a strict timeframe.
- VALUE FOR MONEY: The top rated-tour from Amsterdam to Bruges includes all transport as well as a 2-hour guided tour and 3 hours of free time to explore the city at your own pace.
- RECOMMENDED: Full-day tour to Bruges from Amsterdam including transport, guided tour of the Bruges highlights and free time to explore. This tour also includes a chocolate tasting!
- PRIVATE TOUR: If you are going to splurge, might as well do it on your very own customised and private day tour. Includes private transport and your personal, knowledgeable guide!
Where to Eat & Drink Vegetarian and Vegan Food in Bruges
THAT’S TOAST: The best spot for Brunch in Bruges. It’s all about toast, sweet, savory, you name it they have it! Vegan and vegetarian friendly. Ideal for breakfast/lunch.
SANSEVERIA: A super cozy bagel place that has a host of bagels with a variety of toppings. Vegan and vegetarian friendly. Ideal for breakfast/lunch.
GARLIC N GREENS: Delicious Indian food in the heart of the historical center. Vegetarian and vegan options are available. Perfect for lunch or dinner.
OTTO WAFFLE ATELIER: The one and only Bruges waffle. Gluten-free and topped off with coconut sugar and/or some delicious chocolate sauce. Great for a snack.
HOUSE OF WAFFLES: The best spot to grab traditional waffles in Bruges. Recommended to me by a local friend, and boy did it not disappoint. Great for a snack.
ODA ROOFTOP BAR: The only rooftop bar in Bruges. If the weather is great, the bar is worth stopping for a drink.
Map of Places to See in Bruges in a Day
This article contains a lot of information including the key attractions of Bruges, where to eat & drink as well as practical information. To ensure you get the best out of your travel to Bruges from Amsterdam, I marked the various points on this online Google Map.
Where to Store My Luggage in Amsterdam
You do not want to be lugging around bags on your Amsterdam Bruges day trip. The cobblestones in Bruges will make pulling a suitcase uncomfortable, really fast. Amsterdam is choc-a-bloc with luggage storage facilities. I did notice the closer you are to the Central Station, the higher the prices tend to get. Here are the facilities I have used myself.
INSIDE THE STATION: Amsterdam Centraal has a luggage storage area. It is located on the right-hand side of the Ijspassage, after the turnstile.
This is where things get tricky, to access the luggage storage in the station you need to have a valid train ticket. Practically this means you have two options: Option one is to store your luggage before you exit the station (more importantly before you exit through the turnstile); option two is to validate your train ticket and pass through the turnstile with your luggage and hand it over for storage before embarking on your day trip
Open from Monday to Sunday 05.00 AM to 00.45 AM. Small lockers start at €7.5 (US$7.5) for the first 24 hours while the large size lockers go from €11 (US$11)
NEAR THE STATION: If you have exited the station before storing your luggage, pop over to Drop&Go 500 meters from the Amsterdam
Where to Store My Luggage in Bruges
Bruges has a relatively small amount of lockers where you can store luggage of varying sizes. In fact, in you have anything larger than a backpack or a carry-on suitcase I strongly suggest you store your luggage at the station.
INSIDE THE STATION: As you get off the train, walk past the Relay store and turn left, right before you walk outside the station. Lockers are available 24/7, payment can only be done by card.
If you open the locker, it forfeits any tariff you may have paid e.g. check that you have everything you need before you store your luggage because once it is in the locker that is it. Small lockers start at €5.5 (US$6) for 24 hours, while XL lockers start at €11 (US$13).
HISTORIUM: The Historium on the Grote Markt has a limited amount of lockers available in the inner courtyard. They are easy to access and work with a QR-code that needs to be scanned to open/close the lockers. Payment by card.
Day Trip to Bruges From Amsterdam Practical Tips
Best time to take a day trip from Amsterdam to Bruges
I thoroughly enjoy visiting Bruges 365 days a year, however June, July and August are choc-a-bloc full of tourists. Christmas in Bruges is the most magical time of year (but also the coldest). April, May and October see lesser crowds with moderate temperatures.
Is there a direct train between Amsterdam and Bruges?
There is not, you will have to switch trains in either Antwerp (Antwerpen Centraal) or Brussels.
Is is possible to travel from Amsterdam to Bruges by boat?
No. Some specific cruises visit both Amsterdam and Bruges, but no type of regular boat service links the two cities together e.g. there is no public transportation in the form of a boat.
What is the fastest way to get from Amsterdam to Bruges?
The fastest way to travel between Amsterdam and Bruges is by train.
Best tours to take in Bruges
Is it cheaper to travel by bus or train to Bruges from Amsterdam?
Taking the bus from Amsterdam to Bruges is considerably cheaper than the train. Train prices start at €85 (US$92) to and back, while a bus ride will cost €46 (US$50).
Does Bruges have an airport?
No. The closest airport is Brussels Airport (BRU).
Minimize Your Impact When Visiting Bruges
Bruges is one of the most beautiful places in Belgium and well worth a visit. And I am not alone in singing its praises. After receiving UNESCO heritage status in 2000 tourism picked up, a second wave of tourists found the city after the screening of the movie In Bruges in 2009. The city is currently struggling with overtourism.
Below are a few pointers to make your visit more sustainable.
TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Ditch the car, chances are high, and you will only end up in a nerve-wracking struggle to find parking anyway.
VISIT IN OFF SEASON: Steer clear from June to September and December.
STAY A LITTLE LONGER: Consider making your visit to Bruges a weekend trip instead of a day trip.
THE HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGES CONUNDRUM: Stringent regulations govern the horse-drawn carriages in Bruges, requiring mandatory rest days and limiting their daily work hours to a maximum of 8. When temperatures exceed 30°C, these carriages are legally prohibited from operating. However, personally, I prefer to abstain from tourist attractions involving animals, choosing instead to explore on foot.
Wrapping up Your Day Trip From Amsterdam to Bruges
Embarking on a delightful trip from Amsterdam to Bruges is something I advocate to everyone visiting Amsterdam. It is well worth the slightly extended travel time, just make sure to get up bright and early! Bruges, adorned with its cobbled streets and medieval charm, undeniably stands out as one of the most picturesque destinations in all of Belgium—a place I find myself returning to repeatedly.
Commence your exploration by delving into one of Bruges’ primary attractions—the magnificent Grote Markt. The iconic Belfry of Bruges and the Historium offer the very best views over the city. After you have conquered one, or both head out to explore the labyrinthine streets of the historical center.
Compare the very diverse set of canals of Amsterdam and Bruges by hopping on a canal cruise. Personally I have a slight preference for the intimate waterways of Bruges, but do be sure to let me know in the comments which one strikes your fancy!
MORE INSPIRATION FOR VISITING NETHERLANDS & BELGIUM
Amsterdam: A first-timers guide to public transportation in Amsterdam
Amsterdam: 16 Castles around Amsterdam you do not want to miss
Amsterdam: 17 Easy day trips from Amsterdam by train
Amsterdam: Weekend trips from Amsterdam
Bruges: One day in Bruges itinerary
Brussels: A local’s guide to 2-days in Brussels
Brussels: Where to stay in Brussels: A local’s guide
Brussels: Best brunch spots in Brussels
Antwerpen: What to do in Antwerp for a weekend