A weekend in Bruges is the right amount of time to see everything it has to offer. This Belgian city is one of the most beautiful in Europe and one of the most interesting too.
There is plenty of fun to do in this Bruges itinerary, such as visiting the famous Belfry Tower, going on a canal tour and retracing the steps of the film, In Bruges!
It’s not the biggest place which makes a Bruges city break an ideal place 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, medieval buildings to see, and cafes to check out. Keep scrolling to see my guide on how to spend 2 days in Bruges.
Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For more information, please see our full disclosure policy.
Table of Contents
How to Spend a Weekend in Bruges
Best Things To Do in Bruges
A weekend in Bruges should be enough time to see all that this hidden gem of a city in West Flanders has to offer.
There’s a reason so many Belgium quotes touch on the beauty of Bruges, which is why the historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are plenty of things to do in Bruges, which will keep you occupied during your trip and make it one of the best city breaks in Europe. A lot of this revolves around the amazing architecture that is in Bruges, which is why it’s one of the best places to visit in Belgium.
But, there are also a number of things you can do in Bruges too, such as check out the numerous chocolate shops and drink some beer.
In the making of this Bruges travel blog, I spent a lot of time in this lovely place visiting various places and seeing as much as I could.
Below are a few of my suggestions for what you should do for a perfect weekend in Bruges.
The Belfry of Bruges
The Belfry of Bruges is arguably the city’s most iconic landmark. The towering belfry 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’s a towering and impressive sight and dominates Market Square (Markt Square).
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 tour of the picturesque canals. 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 Bruges.
By doing the boat tour, you get to see a lot of Bruges and learn more about the many canals and the city itself during your Bruges weekend break.
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 such as Burg Square where you get to learn all about Bruges’s history and get a feel for the city.
The Belfry of Bruges
The second part of your first day in Bruges should be spent checking out the 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 historic buildings like me!
One thing’s for sure, you won’t go to Bruges without checking out the Belfry, you literally can’t miss it!
The Bruges Historium is the place to go if you want to learn more about the history of this beautiful city.
Bruges used to be a thriving trading city in days gone by and the Historium recreates what it 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 Bruges 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!
Bruges Itinerary – Day 2
Canal Boat Tour
One of the best ways to see Bruges is via a canal tour. The canals wind through the medieval 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 Bruges 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
Belgium is famous for its beer and chocolate, so it would be a shame to travel to Bruges without trying either of them!
There are numerous bars and chocolate shops dotted about Bruges, 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 to see the sights, try the beer and chocolate, and get a 3-course meal at a brewery too!
The Church of Our Lady
This church is another prominent landmark in central 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 City Hall – The city hall is one of the most impressive buildings in Bruges and can be found in Burg Square. Dating back to medieval times, the town hall is worth taking a look inside if you get the chance!
- Basilica of the Holy Blood – This small church is said to contain a relic of holy blood collected by Joseph of Arimathea that made its way to Bruges from the Holy Land. Whether you’re religious or not, it’s an interesting place to check out.
- 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 on a day trip 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 various places to buy chocolate 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 spend a long weekend in 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 its small size. No matter where you stay, you’ll be close enough to the city centre to walk in.
Below are some recommendations for places to stay in Bruges.
|Snuffel Hostel||A modern and sleek hostel close to the centre of Bruges||Book Now|
|HI Europa Brugge||A nice hostel in its own grounds just outside the centre of Bruges||Book Now|
|St Christopher’s||Hostel with a bar onsite. Cheap and clean place to stay||Book 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 to 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 comfortably and don’t include take extras such as tours, nights out, souvenirs/clothing. They are deemed as ‘non-essential’ extras!
Hostel: Dorm – €19-25; Private – €40-79
Rental Apartment: €90-165+
Food and Drink
Takeaway meal: €3-7
Pint of beer: €3-5
Single Bus ticket: €1.50
Bike rental: €10
Best Time to Visit 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.
An interesting way to get around is by using one of the many horse drawn carriages in Bruges. You have to pay, but if you’re with your partner, they’re a romantic way to see the cobblestone streets and historical buildings!
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.
If you’re thinking of spending 3 days in Brussels or going to a nearby city such as Antwerp or Ghent, this is easy thanks to the rail network in Belgium. Just head to the railway station and you’ll be able to jump on a train to wherever you please.
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’s a popular day trip destination, but you need to spend at least two days here to appreciate everything!
Have you been on a city break 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!
Need Travel Insurance?
SafetyWing offers coverage that will give you peace of mind while you’re on the road. If you want to protect yourself while you’re on the road, then click the image to take a look at the options available to you.
Pin For Later
Tom is a travel addict who first left England to spend a year Down Under. Not satisfied with this, he then went to New Zealand, about as far away from home as he could get. He is now planning his next adventures in Europe and Canada while maintaining this blog. Check out the about me page to learn more!