During my whirlwind trip around Europe that I wrote about in this post, we were able to spend two nights in Bruges, Belgium. This gave us one full day plus an evening and morning to explore. This doesn’t seem like much but if you do a little planning beforehand you can definitely make the most of your time in this small and walkable city.
Like most people, we were excited to see Bruges after watching the movie In Bruges, and it actually did live up to our expectations of being a super cute town. It is also a really popular location for a weekend getaway so you are likely to find plenty of other posts about this town if you are doing your own planning.
We arrived in the afternoon by train from London. You have to switch trains in Brussels and we got ourselves thoroughly confused about which platform we needed. It was our first time being anywhere that English is not the main language (even though it is widely spoken) so it was a pretty interesting trying to figure out where we needed to be.
The moment we stepped outside the train station in Bruges I was amazed. It really is like a little fairytale town from a kids story. We walked straight to our hotel which was the Lokkedize self-catered apartments, which is attached to a little bar/restaurant. Our host Eric was very friendly and showed us where everything was and we then went for a stroll around town.
There are two main buildings in the city being the Belfry and the Church and you can see these above all the other buildings. Most of the other buildings are quaint little shops and houses. Almost every street has a chocolate shop and a lace shop which becomes almost comical. The central part of Bruges is little cobblestone pathways, and I actually think that cars might not be allowed or are restricted to certain areas.
We walked to the central Markt to try and find some dinner. This was probably a rookie move as obviously every restaurant in the centre of the the Markt is going to be attracting tourists and is quite expensive. I did think it was good that they have menus in all different languages to help everyone out. We ended up just ordering a pizza which was nothing too special. I would recommend asking for suggestions before you go of where to eat if you are wanting a really nice meal.
On the way back to our accomodation we tried to find some sort of supermarket or deli but there really aren’t any chain stores in central Bruges, we finally found a little supermarket where I brought a few snacks.
After walking around a little more we got an early night so that we would be ready to go for our only full day in Bruges.
One Full Day
Our room had a kitchenette included so we took advantage of having a quick breakfast in our room before heading out to Minnewaterpark. It was a brisk morning and it was nice to be out and about walking around with not many other people there.
After the waterpark went to the Belfort. My husband wanted to climb to the top and I decided to look through the art gallery instead. He then came back and said the line was way too long so he would skip it.
We then went to Dumon Chocolatier which is meant to be the best chocolate shop in all of Belgium. The lady at the counter was really friendly and explained how her brother made the chocolates. When we said we were from Australia she showed us newspaper clippings from when they were featured the Sydney Morning Herald. We might have brought a few too many sweets but who can resist real Belgian chocolate!
We then walked to the ‘Oldest pub in Bruges’ Cafe Vlissinghe that our host Eric had recommended. We made it there just as it was opening and got a seat in the outside garden. I ordered a quiche and it was amazing, one of my favourite meals of all time. You can tell they cook everything from scratch and put a lot of passion into what they do.
After enjoying our lunch we went for a walk around the outskirts of town, along the canal. We could see the freeway over the other side and there were four different windmills that we walked past. This was the closest we got to any ‘real’ windmills during the whole trip even though we went to Amsterdam next so it was pretty cool.
Then we walked back along Langestraat and took a bit of a detour to go to Astrid Park. I seem to recall there being a lot of residential streets in this area so it was fairly quiet. We then went back to the hotel after walking around all day and I ended up having a 1 hour nap. Sometimes travel can be a bit much and you have to have a little rest before you can keep going.
At 3pm we went back to the Markt and tried to buy tickets to do a river cruise. The salesman was a bit rude and said they had no more tickets, which was dissapointing but we walked to the other side of the river and a different company happily sold us tickets to their next tour. The tour guide was pretty funny and it was nice to see more of the city from a slow moving boat down the canal. We saw so many places that we had already seen as we had been walking around so much!
After our cruise we walked around the Markt again, and also looked around Burg. We then went up to the Historium. We didn’t go into the museum part but there is a beer garden up the top which has a nice balcony you can look out over the Markt.
We struggled again to find something for dinner we walked past so many places and finally just settled on Chez Vincent. We got burgers that were again nothing special but it hit the spot. It had been threatening to rain all day but had luckily held off until just after dinner so we decided that was time to go back to our room.
Time to leave
The rain had let up by morning and we went looking for a place to get Belgian waffles before we left. We finally found Cafe au Lait who had delicious crispy waffles.
We were then on our way to Amsterdam!
Overall I found Bruges to be really cute and is definitely somewhere that I would recommend you add to your trip if possible. I think one or two days is certainly enough to see everything that you need to, and now I have been I don’t feel like it is somewhere I need to go back to as theres is nothing more I need to see or do. I would suggest that you look up some restaurants in advance as some can be a bit hit or miss.
Have you been to Bruges?