3 days in Bruges

A Weekend in Bruges: The Fairytale City

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A weekend in Bruges is the right amount of time to see everything the city has to offer. This Belgian city is one of the most beautiful Europe and one of the most interesting too.

There plenty of fun things to do in Bruges, such as visit the famous Belfry Tower, go on a canal tour and retrace the steps of the film, In Bruges, which was set in the city!

Bruges isn’t the biggest city which makes it an ideal place to go for a weekend away, or even a three day weekend if you can!

You won’t be short of places to visit, things to do and cafes to check out. Here’s my guide to spending 48 hours in Bruges.

How to spend a Weekend in Bruges

Quick Weekend in Bruges itinerary
Day 1 – Walk around Bruges, The Belfry of Bruges, Bruges Historium
Day 2 – Canal Boat Tour, Belgian Beer and Chocolate, The Church of Our Lady

Best things to do in Bruges

A weekend in Bruges should be enough time to see all that this beautiful city has to offer. There are plenty of things to do in Bruges, which will keep you occupied during your trip.

A lot of this revolves around the amazing architecture that is in Bruges. But, there are also a number of things you can do in the city too, such as check out the numerous chocolate shops and drink some Belgian beer.

In the making f this Bruges travel blog, I spent a lot of time in the city visiting various places and seeing as much of the city as I could.

Below are a few of my suggestions for what you should get up to during your trip to Bruges.

The Belfry of Bruges

The Belfry of Bruges

The Belfry of Bruges is arguably the city’s most iconic landmark. The Tower soars into the sky and is easily visible from afar, especially if you are walking into Bruges.

The tower stands 83 metres (272 ft) tall and houses a carillon with 47 melodious bells. It is a towering and impressive sight!

It takes 366 steps to get to the top, where you will be presented with amazing views of Bruges and beyond.

The downside is that you have to pay €10 to get access to the tower. However, if you want to get the top, see the views and learn more about the building, it’s a price worth paying.

Canal Boat Tour

Bruges Canal

One of the best ways to see Bruges is by doing a Canal Boat tour. You get to see Bruges from a different perspective and learn more about the city’s history.

I like exploring places on foot, but unless you are with a guide, you don’t learn about the history of the city. By doing the boat tour, you get to see a lot of the city and learn more about the canals and the city itself.

There are five landing stages across the city, where you can go on a 30-minute trip. The tours operate from mid-March to November from 10:00 am to 6 pm, with the last departure at 5:30 pm.

Bruges itinerary – Day 1

Free Walking Tour

Bruges on foot

One of my favourite things to do whenever I get to a new city is to go walk around to get my bearings. I often stumble upon some places that I might not otherwise have come across.

My method is haphazard, but it works for me! If this isn’t your style, I would advise joining a free walking tour.

The tour will take you through the most interesting parts of the city where you get to learn all about Bruges history and get a feel for the city.

There is also the option to do a 30-minutes tour by bike, or a longer 3-hour walking tour if you want a more in-depth experience of Bruges!

Book Your Tour Now

The Belfry of Bruges

Belfry in Bruges

The second part of your first day in Bruges should be spent checking out the city’s iconic Belfry. As I mentioned before, it’s an impressive sight and somewhere you have to check out during your trip to Bruges.

It does cost €10 to go all the way to the top, but you are rewarded with an amazing view if you do.

It may be worth going up, especially if you love viewpoints and historically interesting buildings like me!

One thing’s for sure, you won’t visit Bruges without checking out the Belfry, you literally can’t miss it while you’re in the city!

Bruges Historium

Bruges Historium

The Bruges Historium is the place to go if you want to learn more about the history of the city. 

Bruges used to be a thriving trading city in days gone by and the Historium recreates what the city would have looked like in what is referred to as the ‘Golden age of Bruges.’ You can experience this golden age via a virtual reality headset too!

You’ll learn how the city operated during that time and about the famous artist Jan Van Eyck, and see his studio where he created a number of great works such as the ‘Virgin and the Child with Canon van der Paele.’

The Historium may not be for everyone, but if you want to learn more about the history of Bruges it is somewhere you must visit!

Book Your Ticket Now

Bruges itinerary – Day 2

Canal Boat Tour

Canal in Bruges

One of the best ways to see Bruges is via a canal tour. The canals wind through the city much like veins through a body and provide unique vantage points to Bruges.

Trips last for 30 minutes, but you will see a lot in that time. Plus, you will also learn about the history of the city and the significance of its canals. 

Prices for a canal tour are around €10, which is a reasonable price to pay. The tour is nothing fancy, but exploring a city by boat always has a unique feel to it.

Bruges is no different in this regard!

Belgian Beer and Chocolate

Belgian Chocolate Shop

Belgium is famous for its beer and chocolate, so it would be a shame to visit Bruges without trying either of them!

There are numerous bars and chocolate shops dotted about the city, so you won’t be short of choice.

Another option is to book a tour instead. This way you will learn about how both products are made and get to sample a number of products along the way too!

The tour below takes you on a 3-hour trip around the city as see the sights, try the beer and chocolate, and get a 3-course meal at a brewery too!

Book Your Tour Now

The Church of Our Lady

The Church of Our Lady

This church is another prominent landmark in Bruges. It is a grand church with another huge tower, though not as big as the Belfry.

If you’re a culture vulture this is one place you want to visit! The church is home to a number of iconic art pieces. Chief amongst them is Michelangelo’s famous Madonna and Child sculpture.

The church is also home to the tombs of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold, which should intrigue the history lovers among you.

Even if you’re not a huge fan of culture, just visiting to admire the architecture is a must. It certainly is an impressive building!

Other Places to visit in Bruges

  • Bruges Christmas Market – Belgium is famous for its Christmas markets, so if you get the chance to visit during the winter, You should definitely check them out. You will be able to get a number of great goods and foods while enjoying the breathtaking sights of Bruges in winter! Click here to book your tour now!
  • Flanders Field – If you’re a history buff, or you’re visiting Bruges for longer than a weekend, a trip to Flanders Field should be high on your list of things to do in Bruges. You can visit Ypres and learn about the First World War and what happened in the area. Click here to book your tour!
  • Private Food Tour – If you didn’t get enough food and drink while visiting the bars and chocolate shops in Bruges, this is the tour for you. During this 3-hour tour, you will try 10 different Belgian delicacies across Bruges. Click here to book your tour!

Bruges Travel Tips

Where to stay in Bruges

When you visit Bruges you will not be short of places to stay. The city is full of hostels and hotels and there is accommodation to suit all types of travellers.

One of the benefits of staying in Bruges is that most places are close to the action, due to the small size of the city. No matter where you stay, you’ll be close enough to the centre to walk in.

Below are some recommendations of places to stay in Bruges.

Snuffel HostelA modern and sleek hostel close to the centre of BrugesBook Now!
HI Europa BruggeA nice hostel in its own grounds just outside the centre of BrugesBook Now!
St Christopher'sHostel with a bar onsite. Cheap and clean place to stayBook Now!

Cost of travel in Bruges

One thing to note about your trip to Bruges is that the city isn’t the cheapest. It’s not overly expensive, but there are certain things that cost a bit of money.

A lot of the main attractions in Bruges, such as a Canal Boat Tour, aren’t cheap. Add that onto accommodation, food and drinks and your costs can start to add up!

One plus point is that as Bruges is a small city, you won’t need to use transport to get around unless you want to rent a bike, which costs around €10.

Below are the average prices for the essential services you will use during your weekend in Bruges.

They take into account what you need to visit the city comfortably and don’t include take extras such as tours, nights out, souvenirs/clothing. They are deemed as ‘non-essential’ extras!

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Accommodation

Hostel: Dorm – €19-25; Private – €40-79
Hotels: €58-110
Rental Apartment: €90-165+

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Food and Drink

Breakfast: Free-€7
Dinner: €5-15
Takeaway meal: €3-7
Pint of beer: €3-5

 

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Transport

Single Bus ticket: €1.50
Bike rental: €10

 

Best time to visit Bruges

3 days in Bruges

The best time to visit Bruges is not as clear cut as it appears to be. On the surface, it would seem that summer is the best time to go. The weather will be better and you will be able to enjoy the city more than you would during the winter.

However, visiting during the summer means that you will have to share the city with a plethora of other tourists! Bruges is becoming ever popular, and summer is the prime travelling season. You may have better weather, but there will be more people in the city.

Another factor to consider is that Bruges is a charming city during the winter. The cold and dark nights add a unique character to the city making it almost otherworldly. Even more so, if you visit when there is snow on the ground! Plus, accommodation should be cheaper too!

One option is to visit during the shoulder seasons from April to May and September to October. This way you are getting the best of both worlds. It won’t be too cold or warm and it won’t be too busy either.

At the end of the day it comes down to when you can travel and when you prefer to travel, but if you can do Bruges in a weekend at any time during the year, it may be worth looking outside of the peak season during the summer.

How to get around Bruges

Bruges isn’t the biggest city, so getting around isn’t too difficult. Most places in the city centre can be reached on foot without too much trouble.

One thing you should consider is getting to the city. If you’re driving it can be difficult to find somewhere to park. There are parking spots in the centre, but you normally have to pay.

What may be a better idea is to park on the outskirts of Bruges where parking is cheaper or free and walk into the city from there.

There is a bus service you can use too, but you probably won’t need to use it. Bruges is a small city and walking around on foot is the best way to get around.

Concluding Thoughts

Bruges is one of the most beautiful and underrated cities in Europe. If I hadn’t watched the film In Bruges, I probably wouldn’t have visited! 

One of the characters in the film, Harry, describes Bruges as a fairytale city and he’s not wrong. The cobbled streets, stunning architecture and canals make it appear like something out of a Disney film!

It is one of the best cities in Europe to visit for a weekend break! Have you been to Bruges? Did you do some of the activities listed? Did you do anything differently?

Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Weekend in Bruges