Bruges, Belgium: 5 Must-Do Things In Bruges
Updated: Sep 17
Known as 'Venice of the North, Bruges is a city that you have to visit when you're in Belgium. It has a rich history as it once was the leading trading center of northwestern Europe. There are many things to do in Bruges, which we'll explain in this article. However, just walking around the city is enjoyable. You'll feel like you're thrown back to medieval times! In fact, the town centre is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site, which helps explain why the character and architecture of the city is in such tremendous shape. Bruges is one of the most romantic cities in all of Europe, and you'll soon see why when you step onto its cobbled streets.
Check out our video about Bruges to get a sense of what it's like there!
Where is Bruges and how to get there?
Bruges is located in the Northern part of Belgium called Flanders. It's 50 kilometers from Ghent, 98 kilometers from Brussels, and 15 kilometers from Blankenberge, which is one of the closest beaches to Bruges. If you want to fly to Bruges you'll have to fly to Brussels Airport or Ostend-Bruges International Airport. From Brussels Airport you can take a train that will bring you directly to Bruges in only 1h30. You can take a bus to Ostend if you land at the Ostend-Bruges International Airport and then take a train from Ostend to Bruges. Use the map below to find your way to Bruges and also to navigate to specific activities that we mention throughout this article.
Important things to know before you go to Bruges
The best time to visit Bruges is between June and September. In these months the temperature should be nice and there shouldn't be too much rain. Keep in mind that summer in Belgium can still be quite rainy in comparison to southern Europe.
In Bruges, the local people speak Flemish. Flemish is almost the same as Dutch, however it's mostly the accent that is different. Because Bruges is so popular among tourists, almost everyone in the touristic center speaks English too.
Bruges is a safe city. Just watch out for pickpocketers and be aware at night around clubs and bars. Like any city, there can be trouble in the evenings if alcohol or drugs are involved.
Where To Stay In Bruges
There are a few places we recommend staying in around Bruges. Click the links below to check them out for yourself.
Must-do things to do in Bruges
We recommend staying in Bruges for 1 or 2 days to see this beautiful city. This will allow you enough time to see the main attractions and not feel rushed. Now, let's dive into the 5 must- do things in Bruges!
5. Try the local delicacies
The fifth best thing to do in Bruges is to try the local delicacies. Belgium in general is known for its delicious cuisine, such as vol-au-vent, fries, waffles, high-quality beers, and chocolate. It is sometimes said that Belgian food is served in the quantity of German cuisine but with the quality of French food. In Bruges, you can find cozy bars and restaurants on almost every street. We suggest trying Bruges’ local beers: Straffe Hendrik and Brugse Zot. Other than that you have to taste the delicious “Liège” waffle and fries with one of the many Belgian sauces.
4. Visit local delicacies’ museums
In addition to trying the local cuisine, it is also important to learn about it! Bruges has various museums that tell the story behind the Belgian delicacies, such as the Bruges Beer Museum, the Frietmuseum, and the Choco-story or chocolate museum. The Bruges Beer Museum takes you through the history of beer, the brewing process, and the various different types of Belgian beers, while the Chocolate Museum teaches you about the history of Belgian chocolate and cocoa production. But as we adore Belgian fries, we decided to visit the Frietmuseum. Here, you follow the history of the potato to the Belgian fryer. All museums cost between 7-16€ to enter and are the best thing to do in Bruges on a rainy day!
3. Go on a boat tour
At number 3 we have a boat tour on the canals. The best way to see medieval Bruges is by cruising its waterways by boat. The canals weave their way through the historic center of Bruges and thus it’s the perfect way to see the beautiful architecture. Besides, it’s also a great way to learn about the city as the captains are all full of information and fun stories. Boats depart from docks all around the city throughout the day and evening. We recommend leaving from the dock below the famous Little Venice viewpoint, as it’s the best place to grab a drink afterwards.
2. Visit the Historium Bruges
The second best thing to do in Bruges is to visit the Historium. The Historium takes you back in time so you experience the liveliness of Bruges during the Golden Age. You can choose between two different experiences: the Virtual Reality tour or the Historium Story. We decided to take the virtual flight to medieval Bruges, where we got to see and experience the city from a VR-booth. But if you prefer a more interactive tour, you can also visit the Historium Story, where you walk with an audio guide through 7 historical-themed rooms with medieval backdrops, film, music, and special effects. Find the Historium tour details here. After the tours, you can have a drink at the Duvelorium on the second floor while enjoying a panoramic view of the Market Square. It is the ideal place for taking some great photos.
1. Walk around the city
The best thing to do in Bruges is to just walk around the city! This fairy-tale medieval town is one of Europe’s best-preserved cities and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the 12th to the 16th century Bruges was a flourishing city of international trade. Large parts of this heritage remained practically intact. When walking around you will find picturesque cobbled roads, dreamy canals, and beautiful market squares. There are also many historical churches, towers, and medieval houses. Some of the most impressive sights include the Belfry tower, the Church of our Lady, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, the Sint-Jans hospital, the City Hall, and the Beguinage. If you want to learn more about the historical importance and architecture of Bruges, join a free walking tour. The tour leaves at 10:30 AM and 2 PM every day from the Market Square.
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Other Top Bruges resources:
If you're looking for some other information on Bruges and the best things to do there, here are some great articles that will help you:
The Best Things to do in Bruges, Belgium by The Discoveries Of
A Guide To The Best Things To Do In Bruges, Belgium by Solo Sophie
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