Cobblestoned streets lined with colorful gingerbread houses, horsedrawn carriages and gently winding canals. Here is why you need to spend at least one day in Bruges, the undisputed starlet of Belgium.
Perfectly preserved Gothic architecture, ever-present clippedy-clop of horsedrawn carriage clattering on the cobblestoned streets and romantic canals lined with a mixture of lush greenery and exquisite mansions are but a few reasons why Bruges is the number one visited destination in Belgium.
As a Belgian, I have been lucky enough to take many trips to Bruges and I can unequivocally say it is every bit as magical as you might imagine, perhaps even more. Aside from my hometown Brussels it is probably my favorite place in the country. To this day, walking around Bruges still gives me goosebumps.
In this guide, I have bundled everything you need to know to plan your day trip to Bruges. From what to see, vegetarian-friendly places to eat and drink, the best chocolate & waffle stores, and a couple of practical tips for your visit. Scroll down to find a map, which might prove useful when strolling through the city.
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!
One Day in Bruges: Planning Guide
BRUGES TOURS 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: Should you want to visit a couple of museums it is worth looking into the Bruges Musea Card, which includes 12 museums and is great value for money.
Day Trip to Bruges Sample Itinerary
READ | Is Bruges worth visiting?
This itinerary is geared towards a first-time visit to Bruges. One day in the city will give you just enough time to see the main highlights, although I always recommend at least two days in Bruges because there is a surprising amount of things to see & do.
Right, that being said here is my action-packed Bruges itinerary for one day of exploring.
Morning in Bruges
GETTING THERE: Take the train to Bruges and get off at the stop Brugge. From the main station, it is a 15-minute walk to the Grote Markt (Main Square). If you are using Google Maps, take the route that walks through Minnewater Park. It will take just as long but is a more pleasant walk.
GROTE MARKT: The Main square of Bruges is a sight to behold! This is where you will be spending the morning snapping pictures and visiting the various museums and monuments on the square.
CLIMB THE BELFRY: The first stop of your day trip should be up to the top of the Belfry. All 366 stairs!
VIST THE HISTORIUM: This interactive museum showcases the history of Bruges like no other. On the first floor the Duvelorium bar has some great views over the Grote Markt.
BURG SQUARE: From the Historium walk 3 minutes to Brug Square where you will find the Basilica of the Holy Blood and the Gothic City Hall of Bruges. Depending on your schedule, you can visit both.
Afternoon in Bruges
TAKE A BOAT RIDE: Yes, it’s super touristy but it is really worth it. Boat rides take between 30 and 40 minutes and cost €12. Get your tickets from one of five vendors.
EXPLORE THE HISTORICAL CENTER: Give yourself a few hours to just stroll around the historical center without an agenda. Bruges is best explored by getting lost (take it from a pro who always gets lost).
CHOCOLATE & WAFFLE TIME: It would be a crime akin to blasphemy not to try a waffle and/or some Belgian chocolate. Try a Bruges waffle at Otto Waffle, they are divine!
BEGUINAGE: Walk across the Begijnhof Bridge and take a snap off the large flocks of white swans before heading inside the little courtyard filled with whitewashed houses.
VISIT A LOCAL BREWERY: I am not sure you will have time to actually squeeze in a visit to the breweries but you can at least try the local brew: Brugse Zot or Bourgogne de Flandre are brewed inside the city walls.
DINNER: If you are looking for a great plant-based meal head to Garlic n Greens.
10 Things to Do on a Bruges Day Trip
If you are planning on spending but a day in this fairytale city and want to maximize your time, I strongly advise you to plan ahead. The city tends to get very, very busy, and having an idea of the places you want to visit means you can plan around the crowds and have a more relaxed visit.
The below Bruges in one-day itinerary is choc-a-bloc full of culture & food. Starting with the most visited attractions in the early morning, leaving the afternoon free to explore the rest of Bruges at a slower pace. Where relevant I have added suggestions for locally run tours.
Visiting Bruges will entail a fair amount of walking on cobblestone streets. Leave your high heels at home and don a pair of comfortable walking shoes instead. You might want to pack a rain jacket or umbrella too, it is Belgium after all.
1. Marvel at the Grote Markt of Bruges
Start the day by heading to the Grote Markt (Main Square) of Bruges. If ever there was a time to grab your camera, this would be it. Second only to the Grand Place in Brussels and guaranteed to bring the WOW factor. It had me just as speechless as when I visited Gdansk in Poland.
Smack in the middle of the square stand the lifesize statues of Jan Breydel en Pieter de Coninck, the leaders of the Brugse Metten revolution or the revolt by Flanders against the French King in the 14th century.
The 17th-century colorful Gothic houses with their iconic gabled rooves surrounding the square were once powerful guild houses. Can you spot the various iron cast statues atop the houses? The basket was the symbol of the weavers guild while the mermaid indicates this was the guildhouse of the fishermen.
GOOD TO KNOW: A weekly market is held on Wednesday morning. This market has been ongoing since the 10th century.
TO DO GROTE MARKT: Climb the Belfry, explore the Historium, drink a beer at Craenburg – the heir to the Habsburg Dynasty was imprisoned right here 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: Belfry or the tower of the Historium
2. Conquer 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.
The symbol of Bruges is the 13th-century UNESCO-Classified Medieval Belfry. Once a repository for municipal charters and archives and a watchtower, nowadays the most visited tourist attraction in Bruges. If going up the Belfry of Bruges is on your wishlist, I would suggest you do this first thing in the morning.
As you make your way up the bell tower, you pass the treasury room (great to catch your breath) and get the chance to see the 18th-century clockwork mechanism that powers the Belfry. Your final destination is the octagonal platform right underneath the bells.
BE AWARE: Reaching the top entails walking up the 366 steps of a narrow and winding staircase. If you suffer from vertigo or claustrophobia this activity might not be a good idea. There is no lift.
THE VIEW: The 360° views over Bruges are quite something, although they are to be enjoyed from behind a thick layer of chicken wire. Let me tell you a secret, this is actually not the best view of Bruges, despite what you might have read. Read on to find a better one!
3. Learn about the history of Bruges at the Historium Museum
From the Belfry, make a beeline for The Historium. This museum is great if you want to learn more about the history of Bruges. Upon entering, you are immediately transported to the bustling Bruges of the 15th century through a captivating audio-visual experience.
WHY VISIT: What I love about this museum is how immersive it is. By using virtual reality and a few special effects it manages to recreate the feel of Medieval Bruges. If you do end up visiting, make sure to also include the VR experience. At the end of the visit you can step out onto the panoramic platform with views over the Grote Markt.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO DO: If museums are not your jam, the building is still worth visiting for the bar Duvelorium on the first floor. This watering hole is freely accessible to anyone, even without a ticket to the museum. Simply head inside, and up the stairs (follow the signs for Duvelorium).
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 (US$13).
4. Explore Burg Square
Next up on your Bruges itinerary is Burg Square, located a 3-minute walk from the Main Market. Lined with original 16th-century Gothic architecture, this is the administrative center of Bruges. The two main buildings here are the Basilica of the Holy Blood and the Bruges City Hall. Both of which can be visited.
DO NOT MISS: From Burg Square head in the direction of the Fishmarket via the Blinde Ezelstraat. As you get to the middle of the street, turn around to look at the beautiful golden arch.
Basilica of the Holy Blood
Opening Hours: 10.00 am – 05.15 pm || Address: Burg 13, 8000 Brugge || Free admission
The Basilica of the Holy Blood is the dramatic black Romanesque and Gothic building you see to your right-hand side. Legend has it the basilica safeguards a relic believed to be a droplet of Christ’s blood, a sacred artifact brought to Bruges after the Second Crusade in the 12th century.
It is well worth braving the crowds to take a peek inside. The upper chapel is filled to the rafters with intricate frescoes.
Bruges City Hall
Opening Hours: 09.30 am – 05.00 pm || Address: Burg 12, 8000 Brugge || Entrance Fee Museum: €/US$8
Dating back to 1376-1421, Bruges City Hall is one of the oldest in the Low Countries. Its Gothic architecture influenced city halls across Belgium. The ground floor is free to visit, the beautiful Gothic Hall on the first floor requires a ticket.
5. Cruise on the canals of Bruges
Bruges is often referred to as the “Venice of the North” due to the intricate network of canals that weave through its medieval streets. The city’s canals have a rich history dating back to the 12th century when they were constructed to facilitate trade and transporting goods.
WHY TAKE A CRUISE: While taking a canal cruise might seem like the ultimate tourist trap, I can assure you it is not. So far I have taken the cruise three times, and I still love it. Taking to the waterways offers a great opportunity to see the city’s well-preserved medieval buildings from a different perspective.
PRACTICAL DETAILS: Boat tours typically cost €12 (US$13) and tickets can be bought from one of five vendors dotted around the historical center. I usually take a boat from the Rozenhoedkaai. Photographers will want to sit at the very back of the boat. Tours have English-speaking guides.
HOW TO AVOID THE CROWDS: Around midday many tourists are enjoying a spot of lunch. There is usually a brief lull in the crowds then.
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.
6. Get lost in the historical center of Bruges
After lunch make the best of your day in Bruges by getting lost in the historical center. Depending on where your interest lies, there are several attractions to visit.
The Medieval Boniface Bridge and nearby Gruuthuse Museum are worthy of a picture, or two. The unassuming Church of our Lady has an authentic Michelangelo on display. Saint John’s Hospital is a museum of Medieval Medicine that has a great viewpoint from the bustling Katelijne Straat.
If you are looking for a slightly quieter part of the city head to the Jan van Eyckplein and walk along the Spiegelrei before stopping for a drink at Bruges’ oldest bar, Vlissinghe. To make things easier, I have plotted all of the above places on a map which you can find a little further down.
7. Fuel up on chocolates & waffles
Chocolate and waffles have become synonymous with Belgium and therefore no trip is complete without trying at least one. At first glance, Bruges offers an abundance of “Best Belgian Chocolates” and “Authentic Belgian Waffles”. Sadly the quality is not always worthy of that label.
Below are a few artisanal chocolate and waffle stores that still produce their products right here inside the city and that I can personally vouch for. Enjoy!
BRUGES WAFFLES: The Brussels waffle and Liege waffles can be found across the country, but the Bruges Waffle can only be enjoyed right here. This relatively new invention can be tried at Otto Waffle.
BEST WAFFLES ALL AROUND: House of Waffle is widely regarded by locals as the best place for waffles in Bruges.
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!
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. See the swans & visit the Beguinage
Opening Hours: 06:30 am – 06:30 pm
Nestled within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed heart of Bruges lies the Beguinage. Founded in the 13th century, was once home to the Beguines, a community of devout women who lived a quasi-monastic existence. Many cities in Belgium including Mechelen, Brussels and Antwerp have similar, yet much smaller, beguinages.
WHAT TO SEE: Today, the Beguinage is made up of whitewashed facades and a serene courtyard. Inside the beguinage, you will find a sober chapel dedicated to St. Elizabeth (free to visit) as well as a small museum. As you walk across the Begijnhof Bridge the first little Beguin house on the left is the museum. This tiny bolthole has original 17th and 18th-century furniture, paintings, and lacework.
WHEN TO GO: The late afternoon is the perfect time to visit the Beguinage of Bruges. At this time of day, most tourists will be bobbing on the canals or clambering up the Belfry. Keep in mind the Beguinage has strict opening hours which are enforced by the closing of the two main gates.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO SEE: The unofficial icons of Bruges are its many white swans. They seem to congregate around the Wijngaardplein right off the Begijnhof Bridge. This is a popular photo spot.
9. Stroll through Minnewater Park (optional)
Should your 1 day in Bruges coincide with a bout of nice weather, it might be worth adding Minnewater Park to your itinerary. This idyllic patch of green offers a nice break from the bustling city center. The park is home to the Lovers’ Bridge and the Lake of Love
During the summer the park hosts a lot of open-air concerts and music festivals. The most famous of which is Cactus Festival in July.
DID YOU KNOW: Local legend has it the lake & bridge were named after Minna, a young woman who fell deeply in love with a soldier from a neighboring kingdom. As their love was forbidden, she ended up running away to the forest to be with her lover. Tragically she ended up dying of exhaustion in his arms.
GOOD TO KNOW: If you decide to walk from the Bruges train station to the historical center (15 minutes) you can opt to take the scenic route, which takes you right through Minnewater Park. Minnewater Park is located in southern Bruges, next to the Beguinage and the iconic swan-filled lake.
10. Drink a local beer & visit the brewery (optional)
Bruges has two local breweries operating right in the historical center. Time permitting you can either opt for a brewery visit and a tasting (45 minutes to one hour) or skip the visit and head straight for the tasting at the brewery café.
Halve Maan Brewery Bruges
Founded in 1856, Brewery Halve Maan in Bruges is a household name amongst locals. Their most iconic brews Brugse Zot and Straffe Hendrik have risen to international fame in recent years. Both are brewed inside the historical walls and then transported to a bottling factory outside the historical center via a set of pipes running underneath the length of the historical center.
WHEN TO GO: Their on-site brasserie has a large inside space as well as a nicely tucked-away terrace. If you are tight on time, you can combine your beer tasting with a spot of lunch. The brasserie has a (limited) amount of traditional Dishes on the menu.
Bourgogne des Flandres Bruges
The Bourgogne des Flandres brews has been around since 1911. The original brewery (Den Os Brewery) disappeared after 1958 and the beer was not brewed inside the city walls again until 2015!
WHEN TO GO: The microbrewery has a lovely terrace right on one of the main canals of Bruges. It is the perfect spot for an afternoon beer in spring/summer.
WHAT TO ORDER: We opted to do a tasting of blond and triple Bourgogne des Flandres but if you are a real beer lover you might want to order the beer flight for €16 (US$18) which gives you a taste of 6 on-tap beers.
Additional Things to Do in Bruges
If you are a frequent traveler to Belgium, Bruges probably holds little to no secrets for you. In fact, you might have already done all of the above-mentioned activities. So now what? Fret not, here are a few lesser-known things to do in the city to keep you busy for a day.
SEE THE WINDMILLS: Did you know Bruges had a set of windmills on the outskirts of the historical center? The four windmills are located along the Kruisvest. Note that you can only visit the Koelewei Mill.
SINT ANNA -, SINT GILLES -, AND LANGESTRAAT-QUARTER: Bruges is made up of nine historical quarters, yet most tourists will only set foot in five of them as they explore. Head to the Lace Museum and the Folk Museum or grab a drink at the oldest bar in Bruges, Vlissinghe.
GROENINGE MUSEUM: The Groeninge Museum offers a diverse panorama of the history of Belgian visual art, showcasing top-tier paintings by the globally acclaimed Flemish primitives. Among the masterpieces on display, you’ll encounter Jan van Eyck’s “Madonna with Canon Joris Van der Paele” and Hans Memling’s “Moreel Triptych.
365 DAY CHRISTMAS STORE: I randomly stumbled upon De Witte Pelikaan when strolling around the city. This store offers the most beautiful Christmas decorations, 365 days a year. Many of the products are made in Europe.
FRIET MUSEUM: A museum dedicated to the history of the potatoes and the Belgian fries. The only museum in the world to cover this topic. It has an on-site frietkot (place that sells fries). Get your tickets online.
Where to Stay in Bruges for a Night
As I briefly touched upon in the introduction, I recommend everyone to spend at least one night in the city. As the clock strikes 5 pm many day trippers leave and the city regains its tranquil composure once again. Streets suddenly become a lot easier to navigate! Check out hotels in Bruges.
MOST AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE: B&B Bonifacius ($$$)
Located right at the iconic Boniface Bridge. This beautiful, locally-run B&B manages to combine medieval vibes with modern-day amenities. On the higher price range, but hard to beat in terms of experience.
A no-nonsense 2-star hotel with the absolute best location, right opposite the Bruges Belfry. Imagine waking up to views of this iconic monument from your bed! Really food value for money but tends to book out months in advance.
Located a mere 350 meters from the Grote Markt in a beautiful historical mansion. The on-site garden overlooks one of the many picture-perfect canals of Bruges. Has only 4 rooms and books out fast.
Best Tours in Bruges
It is perfectly doable to spend 24 hours in Bruges without a tour. The above itinerary pretty much has you covered truth be told. However, if you want to delve a little deeper into the history or the culinary scene of the city, the below tours might be worth looking into.
- VALUE FOR MONEY: The absolute best value-for-money tour you can take is the Free Walking Tour Bruges. The next best thing is the combined Boat Tour & Walking Tour, you get a knowledgeable guide for a mere €18 (US$20) on top of the usual fee you would pay to take the boat ride. Hard to beat!
- RECOMMENDED: Run by the same guys as the free walking tour, this History, Chocolate & Beer Tour not only explores the history of the city but also shows you where to get some of the best chocolate and beer in the city.
- FOODIE TOURS: If like me, food plays a pivotal role in how you travel then taking this Private Walking Tour (with 10 tastings) is an absolute no-brainer. Beer lovers on the other hand might want to check out the top-rated Beer Walk in Bruges.
Where to Eat Vegetarian Food During a Day in Bruges
Traditional Belgian cuisine is very meat-heavy, and to be honest the vegetarian offerings in many of the brasseries in Bruges were pretty disappointing. So I usually veer away from any place with a flashy sign advertising “Real Belgian Food” and opt to try a few more vegetarian-friendly restaurants.
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.
Best Time to Spend One Day in Bruges
BRUGES AT CHRISTMAS | Christmas markets in Bruges
Bruges receives 8 million tourists each year while it has a mere 118.000 inhabitants. To put things into perspective, Brussels receives 6 million tourists yearly and has 1.2 million inhabitants. You want to steer clear of the city in high season. Instead, go between January and May or September to November.
SPRING: Traditionally a very fickle season with temperatures hovering between 10°C and 20°C (50°F to 68°F). Tends to see heavy rainfall so bring a rainjacket. (April to June)
SUMMER: The busiest season in Bruges with the highest prices. Temperatures range from 21°C to 35°C (70°F to 95°F). Days are wonderfully long with sunrise as early as 05.00 am and sunset at 10.30 pm. If you do wish to take a day trip to Bruges during this season, consider either starting your day bright and early or coming in the late afternoon. (July & August)
AUTUMN: Belgium tends to have an Indian summer in September. In fact, temperatures can reach 35°C (95°F) in a good year. It is my favorite month in the country. As September comes to a close temperatures get considerably colder and fluctuate between 10°C and 20°C (50°F to 68°F). (September to November)
WINTER: Cold, rainy and generally gray. Temperatures fluctuate between -10°C and 5°C (14°F to 42°F). If you want to see Christmas in Bruges, aim to go the last week of November when the Christmas market opens and there are still fewer tourists. (December to March)
Map of Places to Visit in Bruges in a Day
To ensure you get the best out of your trip to Bruges I plotted the various points outlined in the above article on this online map. The red icons represent the different activities, yellow indicates places to eat, blue is for accommodations, and purple highlights practical places like the tourism office.
Essential Travel Tip for Day Trips to Bruges
NIGHTLIFE: One thing that surprised me in Bruges was how deserted it was at night. I mean, literally empty streets. A few local friends told me the city has no nightlife to speak of. If you are looking for a place to grab a drink after hours head to the Eiermarkt.
LANGUAGES SPOKEN: The official language spoken in Bruges is Dutch (the same language as is spoken in the Netherlands). English, French, and even Spanish are widely spoken in the historical center. Most restaurants will have an English and French menu on hand.
AVOID THE WEEKEND: Over my many years of visiting Bruges, I noticed that the sweet spot for visiting is Tuesday or Wednesday. Even in high season these two days during the week tend to be relatively calm as most tourists will come to Bruges for a day during the weekend.
WHAT TO PACK: When visiting Bruges make sure to pack a pair of really comfortable walking shoes and a raincoat. The former will be essential when traipsing across the cobblestones and the latter a true lifesaver when the fickle weather suddenly decides to throw an unexpected rainshower your way.
How to Get To Bruges
Bruges does not have an airport, the closest one is located in Brussels (Brussels International Airport). From here you have a variety of different ways to reach Bruges.
Brussels to Bruges by Train (time saver)
The easiest way to travel from Brussels to Bruges is by hopping on the direct InterCity (IC) train which takes a little over one hour. You can take the train at any one of the three train stations (Brussels North, Brussels Central, Brussels Midi). Bruges has only one train station.
Train cost Brussels to Bruges
Brussels to Bruges return costs €32 (US$35). On the weekend a return ticket will cost just under 50% less and comes out to be €18 (US$20). If you are traveling with more than 3 people, or are planning on taking more trains in Belgium look into purchasing a 10-ride ticket for €100 (US$110).
Bus from Brussels to Bruges (budget option)
The cheapest bus from Brussels to Bruges is not a local bus but a Flixbus, which takes 1h25 and runs multiple times a day. Find the timetable and book your ticket via Omio. Prices start at €10 (US$11)
Drive to Bruges from Brussels for a day trip (convenience pick)
Driving from Brussels to Bruges will take about 1h20 if there is no traffic. Park your car in the underground parking ‘t Zand or right around the Bruges train station.
Where to Store My Luggage in Bruges
If you are spending only 1 day in Bruges as part of a larger trip, you might want to store your bags as you explore the city. This can be done either at the Bruges train station or in the Historium museum.
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. The lockers are only suitable for smaller-sized bags, not full-sized suitcases. Lockers are easy to access via a QR code that needs to be scanned to open/close the lockers. Payment by card.
FAQ Day Trip Bruges
Where is Bruges?
Bruges is a city located in Flanders, northern Belgium. It is roughly 95 km (59 miles) from Brussels.
Is one day in Bruges enough?
The historical center of Bruges is small enough that you can cover a fair amount of the highlights in one day. I do always recommend people try and spend at least two days in Bruges to avoid having to rush from place to place.
Brussels or Bruges?
READ | Brussels vs Bruges
That depends on what you are looking for. If you are a fan of Medieval architecture, romantic waterways, and an all-around cozy ambiance then Bruges is the city for you. If however, you are looking for Art Nouveau, a large offering of international cuisine and a smattering of diverse museums then perhaps Brussels is more up your alley.
Is Bruges safe at night?
Very much so! I have walked the streets of Bruges both alone and with friends and have never once felt unsafe. That does not mean you should throw all common sense out of the window. Stick to well-lit places and avoid flaunting expensive items around.
Minimize Your Impact When Visiting Bruges
TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT: If you are considering traveling to Bruges, opt to take the train instead of the car. The train station is an easy 15-minute walk from the Main Square.
AVOID SINGLE USE PLASTIC: If you are coming by train, the hallway opposite the lockers has a station where you can refill your water bottle for free.
PURCHASE LOCAL: Pop over to the tourism office to pick up a guide on where to find products that have the ‘Made in Bruges‘ certification. This way you know that your souvenirs are locally made.
STAY A LITTLE LONGER: Consider making your visit to Bruges a weekend trip instead of a day trip.
THE HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGES CONUNDRUM: The horses in Bruges fare much better than let’s say Palermo (the horror!). They are subject to a set of rigorous rules including mandatory rest days, 8-hour working days, and a complete ban on riding in temperatures above 30°C. I am not a fan of any tourist attractions involving animals, rather opting to walk around instead.
Wrapping up Your One Day in Bruges
A day trip to Bruges is a great way to get a first impression of what the city has to offer. With a bit of careful planning, you can see most of the highlights, without feeling like you are rushing around like a headless chicken. It is without a doubt one of the prettiest places in all of Belgium and one I am to happy keep coming back to.
Begin your adventure by exploring one of the main highlights of Bruges, the impressive Markt Square, clamber up the iconic Belfry of Bruges, and cool off with a nice beer on the terrace of the Historium. Glide across the picture-perfect canals, and snap a picture with one of the many snow-white swans before heading into one of the two local breweries in the historical center. A day well spent!
MORE INSPIRATION FOR VISITING BRUSSELS & BELGIUM
Brussels: A local’s guide to 2-days in Brussels
Brussels: 10 Most beautiful castles around Brussels
Brussels: Where to stay in Brussels: A local’s guide
Brussels: Best brunch spots in Brussels
Bruges: 15 Sustainable Boutique Hotels in Bruges
Namur: Best things to do in Namur
Antwerpen: What to do in Antwerp for a weekend