Belgium is one of those European countries which throws surprises at you as and when you travel around the country. One such surprise is the fairy-tale city of Bruges. Located in the north-west part of Belgium, Bruges is a great city to spend one entire day exploring. It is also called as the capital of West Flanders (Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium) and is quite popular for medieval buildings, cobblestone streets and the romantic canals. Don’t believe me? Well, then keep on reading this Bruges travel guide and you shall start believing for sure.
When you are in Bruges, at every nook and corner you can feel the romance. Especially in Spring, the charm of this city is completely mesmerizing with daffodils everywhere. Bruges is quite touristy & mostly people visit during the summer months, which increases the crowd especially on the weekends. Hence, it is recommended to visit here during weekdays even if you are coming in summer.
THINGS TO DO AS PER THIS BRUGES TRAVEL GUIDE:
1) Explore the city through the museums:
Bruges has plenty of museums which gives a great insight about the city. It is definitely one of the best ways to enlighten yourself and at the same time you can choose from a variety of museums to visit depending upon your preference. This Bruges travel guide recommends visiting following museum
- Choco Story: This museum showcases the history of chocolates along with the demonstrations.
- Frietmuseum: This museum exhibits the history of Belgian fries & potatoes and shows samples.
- Diamond museum: Daily polishing shows along with the Bruges diamond industry.
- Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan / Bruges beer experience: This museum showcases the old techniques of brewing beer.
2) Taste amazing beers
Belgium is famous for their beers. They have a wide range of beers produced by wide range of companies and apart from there there are local breweries which produce their own beer. In the year 2015 the Beer experts recognized 1600 kinds of beers in this country and it is not hard to predict that the Belgians love their beers! Why not taste it when you go to Bruges from a wide range available??
3) Buy plenty of chocolates
Beers, Belgian friends and obviously how can one miss the world famous Belgian chocolates? Although chocolates are available all around Belgium, I specially recommend you to buy chocolates from the shop named “The Chocolate Line” which is an award winning chocolate shop located in the heart of Bruges. best part it is way too crowded and also they do not have any branch.
4) Walk in the city center
Most of the sightseeing points are within the city center and at a walking distance from each other. That makes it convenient to walk from one spot to another. However, if you end up visiting during the season, you will find all the crowd in the center itself! According to the Bruges travel guide, you should explore these spots in the city:
- Belfry of Bruges: A medieval bell tower from where one can see the entire city. The only downside is that you have to climb too many stairs to reach to the top.
- Museums: Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan / Bruges beer experience, Diamond museum, choco story and Frietmuseum.
- St. Salvator’s Cathedral: A cathedral built in 1300s which reflects Flemish Art.
5) Take a romantic canal tour
Canals are popular in the Netherlands, however Bruges has plenty of canals all around which adds to the romance in this city. This guided canal tour lasts for 30 minutes and takes you around stunning canal side buildings around the city!
6) Watch the city glow up at night
Bruges is one of those cities which is totally different during the night than the day. With lights all around adding to the charm of this city, plenty of people end up staying in Bruges just to walk and explore Bruges at night. It is not wrong to say that Bruges is one of those cities which is mesmerizing at night. This Bruges travel guide recommends following places to explore at night:
- Lake of Love
- Bonifacius bridge behind the Church of Our Lady
- Gruuthuse palace
- Market square
- Burg square
- St. Salvators cathedral
HOW TO REACH:
BY ROAD: Bruges is very easy to reach by roadways. It is just 1.5 hours drive from the capital city of Belgium i.e. Brussels. It is also convenient to reach here from other cities nearby like Amsterdam, Paris etc. If you are backpacking solo then you can also check out the popular Carpooling service in Europe i.e BlaBla car. It is a great way to have a road trip along with some strangers from your point to the other. Within Bruges you wont need any vehicle as it is a small city and you can easily walk from one point to another.
BY TRAIN: Most popular way to travel in Europe between cities is by the train. There are frequent trains from Brussels to Bruges. The first Brussels to Bruges train departs at 5:39 a.m. while the last leaves at 12:29 a.m. Trains from Brussels to Bruges depart every half hour throughout the day. It is one of the most convenient and comfortable way to travel. The time taken to reach from Brussels to Bruges is just one hour, from this you can make out how near this city is from its Capital.
BY AIR: Ostend–Bruges International Airport is the only airport in Bruges which connects several European countries. For other International travelers, it is mandatory to halt in Brussels before heading to Bruges as there are no direct flights to this romantic city. Brussels Airport is 1 hour 15 minutes away from Bruges, but there are various transport options to reach the city, including a regular train system that connects the airport to Bruges in just 90 minutes.
WHERE TO STAY IN BRUGES?
One great place to stay is at the St. Christopher Inn Hostel at the Bauhaus (for a solo traveler)
And if traveling in pairs, then booking a hotel would be quiet cheap as compared to the hostel. You can stay at Hotel ‘t Keizershof which is located in the city center as well.
HOW MUCH DOES EVERYTHING COST & HOW TO BUDGET:
Bruges is quite expensive in terms of accommodation charges for a normal budget traveler. Hostels start from 20-30 euros per person whereas mid-ranged hotels will start from as low as 150 euros for 2 persons. Hence, if travelling in pairs it is convenient and reasonable to book hotels whereas hostels are a safe bet for solo travelers on a budget. Also, there are plenty of luxury options for persons wishing to live a luxurious life and lot’s of hotels are located right in the city center. The cost for luxurious hotels start anywhere from 350 – 500 euros.
Food outside is mid-ranged. The cost in any restaurant for a complete meal can start anywhere from 20 – 30 euros. If cooking by yourself then this cost can be brought down to almost half. You will find supermarkets almost everywhere and that is definitely the best way to decrease the overall cost on the food.
The best way to travel within Bruges is to walk. This city quite small in size and public transport is available but is not required as all the sights are located within walking distance from each other. Also, this is the part where one can save a lot of money. All you need is good shoes to walk & you are good to go!
As per this Bruges travel guide, there are plenty of things to do here some of which I have already mentioned above. Most of the places doesn’t require you to pay any entrance charges. The entire country is more about historical monuments, cobblestones streets and romance which is free of cost. Therefore, you need to pay only to enter the museums and also if you take any other tours. Hence, you can end up saving money on the activities as well.
Bruges is a great city and definitely a place where you should go with your partner. This city is not just great to explore but also it is the best place to rekindle your love with your better half. With so much of history and activity, Bruges is surely not going to let anyone down. Although, I went here solo, I can surely say that it is one of my favorite city for sure!