During Eurostar’s Christmas sale, we spontaneously booked a weekend in Bruges. You’ll find this medieval city, the capital of West Flanders in Belgium, on most must-visit lists—and for good reason, it’s utterly beautiful and actually surpassed our expectations. Make yourself a cuppa and settle down for a photo-heavy post, folks.
It may be fairly compact but, as you’ll see, there are plenty of things to do during a weekend in Bruges (in fact, this comprehensive post has taken a month to put together!). As is my way, I drew up a military-precise plan so we didn’t miss a thing during our short stay. You can find our highlights and top tips below and I’ve also put together a free 3-day itinerary. Hope you find plenty to try out…
Know before you go
- 2-3 days is just enough time to see the main sights the city has to offer.
- We spent about €130 per day, not including accommodation.
- The Belgians speak excellent English, but of course it’s fun to learn some essential phrases (“thank you”, etc.). Language is tricky however, as the Belgians speak Flemish or French depending on where you are!
- Since 2000, the historic centre of Bruges has been a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Besides beer and chocolate, Bruges is also famous for producing lace.
- There are actually 2 types of Belgian waffle, the Brussels and the Liege.
Where to stay
We booked 2 nights at the Abiente Rooms, based on their excellent reviews. This guesthouse is in a quiet part of town and the location was perfect for us—5 minutes’ walk from the main square but not too far from the train station either.
Also check out Airbnb (get £30 off here), there are some beautifully characterful options and the prices are very reasonable.
Things to do
- See Markt and Burg Squares, including Stadhuis (city hall)
- Take the obligatory photos at Rozenhoedkaai
- Explore Minnewaterpark and walk around the Lake of Love
- Climb the Belfort (10€) for panoramic city views
- Go on a brewery tour at Brouwerij De Halve Maan, Walplein 26 (9€)
- Learn about chocolate at Choco-Story, Wijnzakstraat 2 (8€) and visit a potato and fries museum! Frietmuseum, Vlamingstraat 33 (7€) (a combined ticket costs 13€)
- See how people used to live and work at the Museum of Folk Life, Balstraat 43 (4€)
- Explore ‘secret Brugge’—a warren of beautifully-preserved, old streets in the city’s north-east
- Walk the Bruges Vesten (Ramparts) and/or canals, taking in the old city gates and mills (Sint-Janshuismolen, Koeleweimolen, etc.)
- Visit one of Europe’s oldest hospitals, Old St. John’s Hospital, Mariastraat 38
- See a relic of Christ’s Holy Blood, allegedly collected by Joseph of Arimathea, at the Basilica of the Holy Blood, Burg 13
- Peek at the remains of St. Donatian’s Church underneath the Crowne Plaza Hotel (just ask at reception)
- Buy traditional handmade lace from Kantcentrum, Peperstraat 3 or ‘t Apostelientje, Balstraat 11
If you visit in summer you can also:
- Hunt for treasure at Zandfeesten antiques fair on the first Sundays of July, August and September
- Watch the Tango Club of Bruges dancing in the Vismarkt (fish market) on Sunday evenings
Places to eat and drink
Things you simply have to eat in Belgium include: chocolate, waffles with whipped cream (“wafel met slagroom”), fries and beer (of course). Our favourite places were:
- Chez Albert, Breidelstraat 16 | The best waffles in town!
- Gran Kaffee de Passage, Dweerstraat 26 | An excellent value lunch deal and friendly staff.
- Bones, Sint-Jacobsstraat 7 | Utterly delicious all-you-can-eat ribs.
- One-Minnewater, Arsenaalstraat 55 | Traditional Belgian dishes, such as stew cooked with beer.
- ‘t Brugs Beertje, Kemelstraat 5 | Cosy pub serving over 300 types of Belgian beer.
- The Chocolate House, Mariastraat 1 | Delicious hot chocolate to-go (and a cute shop to buy gifts and souvenirs to enjoy later).
Told you it was comprehensive! Prior to our trip, finding posts about things to do was tricky so I hope this helps if you’re spending a weekend in Bruges soon.
We just booked a weekend in Budapest (FINALLY) in May—back soon with more from Hungary, or Paris if I ever finishing editing the 1,000s of photos from our visit in February…