Nov 1, 2013

Posted by in Destinations, Our Opinion, Top 10s, Trip Advice | 13 Comments

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10 things to do on a city break in Bruges

Bruges is a pretty, medieval town, which sits just an hour away from the UK by plane. Often nicknamed ‘Little Venice’, Bruges is beautiful at all times of the year. There’s not a great deal to do, but that’s the beauty of it. There’s no rushing around to see the hundreds of sights on offer, which can happen on a lot of other city breaks. Here you can relax, walk around and take in the sights of this fairy-tale town.

Bruges deals

Bruges is easy to get around by foot. There are few cars in transit and most locals choose to get around by bicycle.

Here are my tried and tested top 10 recommendations of things to do on your break:


Take a boat ride

Taking a boat around the canals is a must-do in Bruges. You see sights you wouldn’t otherwise have got to by foot or bicycle. For just seven euros, a tour guide explains the history and culture of the town, while you sit back and take in the scenery. I’d highly recommend doing this – it’s well worth the small fee. Remember to tip the guide, though, as this goes down well.


Visit the Historic Centre of Bruges

The Historic Centre of Bruges is a testimony to the wonderful architecture the town has. As soon as you are in this square, you are consumed by the gothic buildings and how impressive they are. It represents, in one place, the culture and identity of Bruges.


Marvel at the Markt

The Markt is the heart of Bruges and home to the Belfry which stands out across the square and is magnificent when lit up. You can climb the 366 steps to the top and enjoy a panoramic view of Bruges. Surrounded by restaurants and cafes, it is a great place to dine and enjoy a strong, local beer and, of course, take in the scenery.   

Bruges 4

The Belfry of Bruges

Eat a waffle from a vendor

You can’t visit Belgium without munching on a Belgian waffle. Try a ‘wafel met slagroom,’ which, in Flemish, means a waffle with whipped cream. Act like a local by buying one from a street vendor – they’re normally better value and just as delicious as a restaurant-made one. There’s no end to the variety of toppings you can choose from!

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Make sure you treat yourself to a Belgian waffle!

Hire a bike

There’s no metro or fast-paced public transport in Bruges and it’s easy to get around by foot. However, the locals get around by bicycle and there are plenty of places where you can pick one up. Consider cycling out of Bruges on one of the many routes in the area and get out exploring. Head to the visitor centre and pick up a map of cycle routes.


Relax in a horse-drawn carriage

If you prefer to sit back and let someone else do the driving, then consider taking a romantic ride in a horse-drawn carriage. This can be fairly costly, at around 39 euros per carriage, but it is an authentic way to see the town.


Visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood

The Basilica, located in the Markt, is stunning on the inside; you can enter for just two euros. The Relic of the Holy Blood claims to be Christ’s blood preserved and is paraded around Bruges in a grand procession with thousands of spectators, on Ascension Day. There’s only around 10 minutes of things to see here, but it is well worth a visit.


Take a photograph from the ‘Rozenhoedkaai’

This is the image you see on postcards and what your mind conjures up when you think of Bruges. Take a photo of it in the morning, in the afternoon, at night, with swans in the background, with boats sailing by, with you in the photo, you eating a waffle in the photo. You get the idea.

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Picture perfect view from the Rozenhoedkaai

Admire the scenery and architecture

Explore and admire this elegant cobbled town via the quaint narrow streets. The architecture looks like it’s landed straight out of a fairy-tale and is decorated beautifully with climbing plants and trees. There are old stone bridges for you to appreciate and overlook the canals.

Laura 1

Sitting on the oldest bridge in Bruges

Sunbathe on the beach

Bruges is only around an hour away from the coast. If you fancy a break from sightseeing and want to relax in the sunshine, hop on the train to Oostende or Knokke Heist in the summer and sunbathe in Belgium!


The facts you need

How to get there:

Fly to Brussels International (BRU) with British Airways or Brussels Airlines from around the UK. The flight time is around one hour. From the airport take a train to Bruges which costs around five euros per passenger.

Alternatively, take a flight to Brussels Charleroi with Ryanair, hop on the connecting shuttle bus and then board the train which takes approximately two hours to Bruges and will cost around 25 euros.

Flights to Brussels airports start from around £14.99 one-way with Ryanair, but prices can rise well above £200 return for last-minute bookings.

Alternatively, you can take the Eurostar from London St Pancras or Ashford to Brussels and connect to Bruges. This takes around 3 hours and 30 minutes, with prices from around £29 one way.

Hotel Prices:

There is a huge range of hotels on offer in Bruges and weekend rates tend to be higher than mid-week, with it being a predominately tourist destination. Typical prices are as follows for a weekend stay.

  • Two-star      hotels cost from £45 per room, per night
  • Three-star      hotels cost from £50 per room, per night
  • Four-star      hotels cost from £70 per room, per night
  • Five-star      hotels cost from £75  per room, per night.

Prices taken from TravelSupermarket for stays in April 2017 and are based on a two-night stay for two people on a room only. Prices are approximate.

Getting around:

Bruges is easy to get to via train, and you can walk from the station to the centre of Bruges, although there are buses that go to and from the station. Most people get around by foot or bicycle as Bruges is fairly small. There are also sightseeing buses and canal trips to make more of the city.

Eating and drinking:

You are not short of places for food and drink with refreshments available all over the city. Be sure to try a waffle and buys some chocolates while you are there. Typical prices for eating out are:

Coffee –2.50 euros

Bottle of beer/lager – 3.50 euros

Three-course meal for two – 60 euros


The Belgians use the Euro – approximately €1.14 for £1 as of January 2017.

Prices take from on 17/01/2017.

NB: this is an updated version of an earlier article.

  1. Jeska says:

    Gorgeous photos!

  2. Angela Cave says:

    Great – but I am going this week, the beach option might be a bit chilly. ips for winter city breaks would be good

  3. Really helpful! I go next week & I’ll be sure to check out most of these things.

  4. Hi laura, very helpful and really appreciated. We are heading there in a few weeks. Where do you catch the boat from?

    Rgds jon

  5. Really helpful information, thanks. Planning on visiting on Easter Monday. Does anyone know if shops, museums, cafes are open this day?

  6. Stephen says:

    Hey Guys,

    One thing you’re forgetting. The balloon ride.
    We did it because it was my girl friends’ birthday and it was amazing. Not cheap but worth every penny. The views of Bruges are stunning and make you dream away. The balloon guys pick you up and drive you back as well, they take care of an unforgettable evening !! Just make sure to go to the bathroom before going, there are no toilets on the launch field. A must if you have never done this.

  7. i’ve been Bruges a few times, you can go Antwerp for the day, its an hour from Bruges. Cant wait to go again in September

  8. Thanks for the tips. I’m going in four weeks time and was looking for some ideas. Super.

  9. OanaCalatoreste says:

    Don’t miss the Ice Sculpture Festival in the winter time. It’s awesome!!!

  10. SophieAdventures says:

    I grew up 1 hour away from Bruges, in the north of France, but only discovered it few months ago and loved it! That’s such a beautiful city! I loved the Grand place and discovering the historic city walking along the canals!
    Nice post!
    See u

  11. Andrew Lishak says:

    I hear there is a chance of In Bruges 2 follow up I have been three times and Gruuthuse Restaurant superb and Sivalai Thai very good

  12. Karen says:

    Or get the ferry from Hull, and party there and back!

  13. Good advice. No addresses given. You can wander helplessly and not find anything.

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