Bruges, an hour away from the capital city of Brussels by train, is one of the major cities in Belgium and has recently gained popularity as a tourist destination because it offers rich Belgian history and culture. Bruges has managed to preserve its buildings and other structures for centuries, which contributes to the city’s quaint, old-town charm.
Guest post by Lola
Blog: La Vida Lola
What’s the best time to visit Bruges?
Since Bruges is a walkable city with many sights, the best time to visit would be spring, fall or summer, when the weather is warm. The tourist crowds are heaviest in spring and summer and significantly smaller in fall and winter.
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Generally, Bruges is at its busiest with crowds during the following public holidays: May Day (May 1), Ascension Day & annual Procession of the Holy Blood (39 days after Easter), and Whit Monday, also known as Pentecost Monday (Monday after Pentecost). Since specific dates can vary from year to year, it is best to check ahead to ensure your trip does not fall during one of these holidays.
a Few facts about Bruges
Bruges (or Brugge in Dutch) has the unique feature of having a canal that runs through the whole city and because of this it is sometimes called Little Venice of the North. Bruges is also known for its Gothic architecture – the roofs of most buildings are spiked and date back to being built in medieval times.
One day in Bruges itinerary
Top things to do in Bruges, Belgium
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Bruges.
Watch the sunrise from the Kruisvest windmills
The Kruisvest windmills are four windmills located on Kruisvest street that originated in medieval times. All four windmills sit atop their own hills, so it’s a great vantage point from which to observe the whole city. Next to the windmills is Hof de Jonghe – a park where you can feed and photograph sheep. However, this depends on the time of the year you choose for your visit. In spring and summer, you will be able to spot the sheep, but during winter the park will most likely be empty.
Eat a Belgian Waffle in the Markt
The Markt is the historic market square in the center of the city with restaurants, shops, hotels, hostels and parks. The Markt is also called the Historic Centre of Brugge and it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
Waffles are sold by street vendors and shops for 1 to 3 euros, depending on the amount of toppings. When you are done getting your waffle, you can wander around the Markt. There are many museums and shops in the Markt that you could spend hours exploring the marketplace. One important stop to make here is Choco-Story – a chocolatier and chocolate museum that displays the history of Belgian chocolate. And a bonus for visiting Choco-Story is they give out free samples! Free chocolate, anyone?
Explore the City on a Boat Canal Tour
You can’t go to Bruges without taking a boat tour on the canal that runs through the city. You will be able to view the city from a different perspective compared to just walking around the town. Boat tours run from March until November every year, since that is when the weather is optimal, and a 30-minute ride costs 8 euros per person. For more information, see the official Bruges tourism website – Visit Bruges.
Go on a Brewery Tour & Experience Nightlife at Bauhaus Bar
In medieval times, Bruges had more than 50 breweries. Currently, the city has 3 working breweries (named Bourgogne des Flandres, Fort Lapin, and De Halve Maan) where visitors can taste fresh Belgian beer and tour the brewery facilities. All breweries offer guided tours and tastings, so visitors are more than welcome to have a beer crawl and go to each one.
Speaking of Belgian beer, the Bauhaus Bar in Bruges has over 60 specially selected Belgian bottle beers, 4 beers on tap and a lively crowd every night which is perfect for travelers to meet locals and experience a fun atmosphere.
Where to stay in Bruges?
Hotel ibis Brugge Centrum is a good choice because it’s around $70 per night and features a 24-hour bar. The hotel is also an interesting find because its building was built in the Middle Ages. The ibis chain also has another hotel next to the train station.
For travelers seeking a hostel, Snuffel Hostel is a nice option that offers modern decor in private and dorm style rooms for about $55 per night. Snuffel Hostel also provides walking tours and free breakfast for its guests.
Extra Tips for Visiting Bruges
– If you can, try to get accommodations in the Markt. Since it is centrally located, you will be close to many of the city’s sights. Also, Legends of Bruges is a company that hosts free walking tours of the city’s main attractions during the day and night. Check the calendar on their website to see specific meeting times.
– Make your trip to Bruges even more exciting! Check out Tripadvisor for all the activities and organized tours in Bruges or around the area. Make sure to purchase your tickets to all the attractions right away to skip the queues.
For more information on Bruges, read Lolo’s blog post on her experience in Bruges, Belgium!