On our trip to Belgium we fell in love with the city of Brugge, with its quaint cobbled streets, unique building facades and network of canals. The city is full of chocolate and waffle shops, places to get mussels and frites, breweries, and is the place to find delicate and romantic lace. From Brugge, we zipped over to Brussels on the train. You can read about Brussels here.
Top Things to do in Brugge
Market Place (Markt)
The Market Place is Brugge’s main square and the central part of the city. The Belfry of Bruges (medieval bell tower) is located off the Market Place. To reach the top of the tower, you need to ascend 366 steps through narrow and steep passages. Two main shopping streets, Steenstraat and Geldmuntstraat, begin near the square.
Tips: Walk to the Market Place in the morning for fewer crowds and better picture opportunities. Head over to the EspressoBar for a takeaway coffee or tea to enjoy as you stroll around.
A really nice square full of restaurants and shops, and a great place to sit outside at a cafe and admire the characteristic Brugge architecture.
Canal Boat tour
When in Brugge, take the €8 boat ride for a great 30-minute tour of the canals and learn about some of the city’s history.
Tips: You can catch one of the boats from various locations around town, including Boottochten Brugge.
The Minnewaterpark is known as the ‘Lake of Love’ and is a romantic park to take a walk, just south of Brugge’s center. There is a legend that if you walk over the bridge and kiss your loved one, it will become eternal love.
Burg Square is one of the oldest parts of the city and is located right off the Market Place. It is where you will find both Stadhuis (town hall) and the Basilica of the Holy Blood. The Basilica of the Holy Blood dates back to the 12th century and contains a venerated relic of the Holy Blood, collected by Joseph of Arimathea from the Holy Land. The basilica has an intricate facade, and the interior of the chapel is full of amazing murals and colorful paintings.
Jan van Eyckplein
The Jan van Eyck Square is a great area to explore and walk along the quieter areas of Brugge’s canals. The area boasts multiple cute bridges and a variety of picturesque buildings lining the water.
Located just on the edge of Brugge, there are four old wind mills to visit, including Bonne Chieremolen and Sint-Janshuis Mill. Bonne Chieremolen was built in 1844 as a corn and oil mill and was transferred to Brugge in 1876. Original to Brugge, Sint-Janshuis Mill was built as a grain mill in 1770.
We visited two breweries on our short trip, Brewery Bourgogne des Flanders and Huisbrouwrij de Halve Maan. Do a beer tasting at one or both to taste a variety of Belgian style beers. Brewery Bourgogne des Flanders also has an outdoor terrace right on the canal, a perfect spot to soak in the sun and enjoy some lunch.
The Begijnhof is a housing complex created for religious women called beguines, and is full of white-colored house fronts, tranquil gardens and a museum dating back to 1245. Today, it is home to a convent of Benedictine nuns and blooms beautiful yellow daffodils in the spring.
Where to Eat in Brugge
We enjoyed a really amazing meal complemented with French wine at Bistro Maurice. The steak and pasta carbonara were delicious.
Make sure to get a Belgian waffle from one of the vendors (cafes and restaurants have them too). They are sweet, fluffy, and delicious. Our favorites were the plain/sugar and chocolate. Mmmm, so good!
't Brugs Beertje (beer bar), De Garre (beer), Bar Jus (wine bar), Belgian Pigeon House (dinner), Vismarkt (fish and fresh food outdoor market)
Where to Stay in Brugge
Hotel de Orangerie
This boutique hotel has a very warm and cosy feel, with nice rooms and great communal space to relax in. The hotel also offers a seated afternoon tea that looks lovely.