Bruges is Belgium’s cutest city

Bruges brugge day trip brussels things to do

The charming town of Bruges (‘Brugge’ in Dutch) was a delightful stop. We headed here from Brussels (see our visit here) filled with anticipation after reviews from friends and family who had visited Bruges. It is filled with a multitude of picturesque canals, well preserved old houses, cute cafes & stores, plus some cool neighbourhoods to explore. We visited Bruges in the middle of October for 2 nights (1 full day) and loved our time there! This blog will cover off what we did during our short but sweet stay.

A one day itinerary for Bruges:

This itinerary is based upon our 2 days in Bruges and the things we think you should definitely check out! Bruges is a small town, with lots of the highlights located within walking distance. We based this itinerary off staying the night in Bruges, however, if you are doing a day trip, try to get into the town as early as you can to beat the tourists! If you think we have missed something you enjoyed in Bruges, please let us know in the comments.

1. tick off the popular tourist sports earlier in the day

This should be the first step of a day in Bruges. The old town is beautiful, and exploring it in the soft light of early-mid morning is something we really enjoyed. Tourists don’t roll in until around 10am onwards, so you have some time. The best places to head to are the Markt Square, Rozenhoedkaai, and the Canals. These are all easily accessible by foot within the town.



2. Get a Coffee

Depending on what time you head into town, this step might be ‘step 1’. For us, getting a good coffee early is always important. We checked out Markt Square, then grabbed a coffee at Cafune in the old town.

3. Wander the canals

Depending on how much of the canal system you visited earlier, it’s time to check out some more! These beautiful canals are lined with cute houses, trees, and little bridges. We wandered most of the main canals, however didn’t get through all of them.

4. Grab Bruch at ‘That’s Toast’

The best brunch spot in Bruges is Thats Toast! This little cafe is very popular, and often has lines down the street. However, we urge you to wait, and it is often only 15-20 minutes. We visited and tried some of the tasty brunch options and can easily say it lives up to the hype!

5. Visit Begijnhof & Minnewaterpark

Begijnhof “Ten Wijngaerde” is collection of houses together in a commune formed in the 1200s. These well preserved houses were home to women who lived together and lived a pious and celibate life. It is today inhabited by nuns, and is a unique place to explore. We found the combination of old white houses, cobbled stone streets and beautiful trees very picturesque.

Minnewaterpark is a charming park that sits adjacent to Minnewater Lake. The lake has many swans to admire, and the park is a tranquil space to escape the city. There is also an old gatehouse to admire. The surrounding streets are quite picturesque, and have some touristy cafes and restaurants.

6. Try a Belgian waffle or Pommes Frites

Okay, we didn’t try the waffles and pommes frites in Bruges, but only because we ate so many in Brussels. However, if you haven’t tried them, you should definitely take the chance in Bruges. The waffles in Belgium are iconic, and tasty! The pommes frites were ‘created’ in Belgium, so it’s a must try.

7. The afternoon is your oyster:

A. Head out of town to explore different quarters: We checked out the Ezelstraat Quarter in the afternoon, and had previously explored the Burg Quarter. There are multiple other areas around the old town that are worth exploring if you have time.

  • If you visit the Ezelstraat Quarter, consider checking out Stadspark, Lions Bridge, Ezelstraat Street, and have coffee at Koffee Kaffee.

B. A boat tour of the canals: We preferred to walk the canals, however the boat tours were popular and give you a different perspective of the canals.

C. Climb the Belfry Tower: This option gives you a stunning view of Bruges, but will cost you €14,00 per person.

D. Check out the museums: we decided against visiting the museums due to the sunny afternoon weather (a delight after the rain in the morning). However, there are a number around the city that are quite popular.

E. Cycle around the town: Hire a bike and head around the town, or out of the town to check out the windmills. If you do jump on a bike, make sure you are confident, as some of the cyclists ‘play by their own rules’.

8. Dinner at The Green

Bruges has lots of restaurants and bars around the town, however, many are quite ‘touristic’. During the week the city can also be quieter than on the weekends. We visited a charming little pub called The Green. We loved that the pub was family owned and run, the husband runs the bar, whilst the wife cooks in the kitchen. Don’t expect fine dining, but you will get food that is simple, tasty, and well priced.

How long should you stay in Bruges?

Bruges is quite a small town, and is perfect for a day trip from Brussels. We would urge you to stay 1-2 nights if you have the time to get a better feel of the town. By staying the night, it allows you to get up early and beat the crowds. It also allows you to explore a little more than just the ‘tourist hot spots’.

Want to stay in Bruges?

We stayed in a lovely hotel in the perfect location called Le Bois De Bruges. If you want to check it out, take a look here. If you want to check out other options, take a look below:

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