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 in Europe and one of the most interesting too.
There are 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.
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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’s a reason so many Belgium quotes touch on the beauty of Bruges!
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 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 to the top, see the views and learn more about the building, it’s a price worth paying.
Canal Boat Tour
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
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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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