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Things To Do And See In Bruges

Things To Do In Bruges

Bruges, often referred to as the "Venice of the North," is an enchanting Belgian city that captivates visitors with its timeless beauty. The city's historical center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is remarkably well-preserved, showcasing medieval architecture, charming cobblestone streets, and serene canals lined with old whitewashed houses. This compact, walkable city is perfect for those who love history and architecture, with must-visit sites such as the 13th-century belfry, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and the Church of Our Lady, which houses Michelangelo's "Madonna and Child."

Bruges is also a haven for foodies. Belgian cuisine is underappreciated, but between decadent Belgian waffles, fries, an assortment of world-famous chocolates, and mussels, visitors are in for a treat. Moreover, Belgium is renowned for its beer, and Bruges does not disappoint with its variety of pubs and breweries offering tours and tastings, including the historic De Halve Maan Brewery. The city also boasts excellent fine dining restaurants, including several Michelin-starred options.

Cultural enthusiasts will appreciate the city's rich offering of museums, covering topics from the Flemish Primitives to lace and chocolate making. Meanwhile, boat tours along the city's canals provide an idyllic perspective on this picturesque city, and leisurely strolls around Minnewater Park offer a peaceful retreat.

Bruges truly comes alive during the Christmas season, when a magical Christmas market fills the main squares, and the city is adorned with twinkling lights and decorations, making it a particularly charming winter destination. Despite its popularity, Bruges has managed to retain its quiet, small-town vibe, offering a tranquil getaway that blends history, culture, and gastronomy into one unforgettable package.


Christmas in Bruges
Photo: Christmas in Bruges

Bruges, located in the Flanders region of Belgium, is a charming city known for its picturesque canals, cobbled streets, and medieval buildings. Here are some of the best things to do and see in Bruges:

  • Markt Square: This vibrant square is the heart of the city and is surrounded by colorful houses and historic buildings, including the 12th century Belfry tower which you can climb for panoramic views of the city.
  • The Belfry of Bruges: It's a medieval bell tower with 366 steps leading to the top. The climb is a bit steep, but you'll be rewarded with an outstanding view of Bruges.
  • Canal Boat Tours: Taking a boat tour is a relaxing way to see the city and learn about its history. The picturesque canals have earned Bruges the nickname "The Venice of the North".
  • Visit The Historic Center of Bruges: This UNESCO World Heritage site includes beautiful medieval buildings that have been preserved and maintained.
  • Basilica of the Holy Blood: This beautiful church houses a relic believed to be a vial of the blood of Jesus Christ.
  • Groeningemuseum: For the art enthusiasts, this museum houses a collection of Flemish and Belgian paintings, including works by Jan Van Eyck and Hieronymus Bosch.
  • The Church of Our Lady: This church features a high brick tower and is home to a white marble sculpture of the Madonna and Child created by Michelangelo.
  • The Beguinage: A tranquil garden and complex of historic buildings used by the beguines, a religious movement of single or widowed women during the Middle Ages.
  • Choco-Story Museum: Learn everything about chocolate: its history, the process of making it, and of course, tasting it.
  • Beer tasting: Belgium is known for its beer, and Bruges is home to several breweries. You can take a tour of De Halve Maan Brewery and try some traditional Belgian brews.
  • Minnewater Park: Also known as the 'Lake of Love', it's a peaceful and romantic place perfect for leisurely walks.
  • Local Cuisine: Don't miss out on trying Belgian waffles, fries, mussels, and other local delicacies in one of Bruges' many charming cafes or restaurants.
Bruges is a city that can be enjoyed at a slow pace. Take the time to wander the cobblestone streets, relax in the parks and plazas, and soak in the history and culture of this beautiful Belgian city.
Belgian Waffles
Photo: Belgian Waffles

Bruges Weather

The weather in Bruges, like much of Belgium, is typically maritime temperate, which means it can be fairly mild, but also rather changeable. Here's a general idea of what you can expect during different times of the year:

Spring (March - May): Spring can be quite pleasant in Bruges with temperatures ranging from 8°C (46°F) to 15°C (59°F). This is also the time when flowers start to bloom, adding to the city's charm. However, the weather can be unpredictable and rainfall is possible, so it's advisable to bring a light jacket and umbrella.

Summer (June - August): Summers are generally mild, with temperatures often ranging between 15°C (59°F) and 22°C (72°F). It's the warmest period of the year and also the most popular time for tourists. Again, rain is possible, so it's always a good idea to have a rain jacket or umbrella handy.

Autumn (September - November): Autumn can be a beautiful time to visit Bruges, with autumn colors adding to the city's charm. Temperatures can vary quite a bit, starting out in the mild 15°C (59°F) range in September and cooling down to around 5°C (41°F) by November. Rain is quite common in autumn, so packing waterproof clothing is advisable.

Winter (December - February): Winters in Bruges are generally cold and damp, with temperatures usually ranging from 1°C (34°F) to 6°C (43°F). Snow is not uncommon, but heavy snowfall is rare. If you're visiting in winter, be sure to pack warm clothing.

Overall, the weather in Bruges can be unpredictable, and rain is possible year-round. Regardless of when you visit, it's always a good idea to check the local forecast and pack layers, so you're prepared for any weather conditions. And when you are packing those layers dont forget to sort your travel Insurance, offer a variety of policies to suit every holiday including Single Trip Holiday Insurance.

Chocolate in Bruges
Photo: Chocolate in Bruges

Chocolate in Bruges

Bruges is a city synonymous with excellent chocolate, boasting over 50 chocolatiers within its city walls. In fact, when you step off the train, one of the first smells that will likely embrace you is that of rich, delicious cocoa. Belgium, in general, has an esteemed reputation for its chocolate-making prowess, and Bruges is the shining gem of this nation's proud tradition.

The city offers an experience that delights the senses and leaves an indelible impression on any chocolate enthusiast. Bruges' winding cobbled streets are dotted with artisanal shops, each offering a unique variety of Belgian pralines, truffles, and chocolate bars. You can watch master chocolatiers craft these delicacies with meticulous detail, using centuries-old techniques handed down through generations.

But the city's love affair with chocolate extends beyond its exquisite boutiques. The Choco-Story Museum, located in a historic building in the heart of the city, is dedicated to chronicling the rich history of chocolate from its Mesoamerican origins to its current worldwide popularity. Here, you can learn about the chocolate-making process, the evolution of techniques, and even witness a live chocolate-making demonstration. This museum is an absolute must for any visitor to Bruges, offering a deeper understanding and appreciation of this universally adored treat.

In Bruges, chocolate is more than just a dessert, it's a way of life, an art form to be appreciated, and a vital part of the city's heritage. Each bite of Bruges chocolate carries with it a piece of the city's history and charm, making it a memorable part of any visit to this enchanting city.

Accommodation in Bruges

Accommodation in Bruges is as diverse and charming as the city itself. Whether you're looking for a luxury hotel, a comfortable B&B, a self-catered apartment, or a budget-friendly hostel, you're sure to find something to suit your needs and tastes. Here are some options:

  • Luxury Hotels: If you're looking for high-end accommodations, the city has several luxury hotels. The "Relais & Châteaux Hotel Heritage" is a luxurious boutique hotel set in a classic 19th-century building. "Hotel Dukes' Palace" is a 15th-century palace that has been converted into a five-star hotel, complete with a spa and a beautiful garden.
  • Mid-Range Hotels: For a balance of comfort and affordability, consider hotels like the "Hotel de Orangerie", which is located in a former convent and has views of the canal, or "Martin's Brugge", a charming hotel situated behind the famous Belfry.
  • Bed & Breakfasts: Bruges has a variety of B&Bs that offer a more personal touch. Check out "The Pand Hotel", a small and charming establishment near the canals, or "Cote Canal", a beautiful B&B housed in a 17th-century building.
  • Budget Accommodation: If you're traveling on a tight budget, consider hostels or budget hotels. "St. Christopher's Inn Hostel" is a popular choice with younger travelers, while "Ibis Brugge Centrum" offers simple, comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.
  • Vacation Rentals: If you prefer self-catering options, consider renting an apartment, house, or even a canal boat. Websites like Airbnb or have plenty of options for vacation rentals in Bruges.
When choosing your accommodation, consider the location. Bruges is a compact city, but staying near the city center will give you easy access to most attractions. However, areas a little further out can offer quieter surroundings and the opportunity to explore lesser-known parts of the city. Be sure to book in advance, particularly during the peak tourist season.

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