Bruges or Brugge in Dutch is one of Europe’s best preserved medieval cities and it is so beautiful that in my opinion, to really enjoy it, you should stay at least one or two nights. But if possible, try to avoid weekends as it is very crowded.
Located in the northwest of Belgium, Bruges is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. The town is so beautiful with its lovely squares surrounded by step-gabled buildings, brick facades and cobbled lanes running alongside pretty canals.
What to see in Bruges?
Grote Markt (Market Square): the old market square is full of coffee shops and restaurants. Also, it has a 13th-century belfry, the Belfort, where you can climb over 366 steps and have a fantastic view of the town.
Burg Square: it is in this square that the City Hall, Gotische Zaal and the Basiliek van Het Heilig Bloed (Basilica of the Holy Blood) is located. The basilica has a phial supposedly containing a few drops of Christ’s blood.
Groeningemuseum or Fine Arts Museum of Bruges: it has in display Flemish and Belgian painting from the 18th and 19th-century mainly.
Museum Sint-Janshospitaal: this museum, with eight hundred-year-old history, shows various torturous-looking medical implements, hospital sedan chairs and a gruesome 1679 painting of an anatomy class.
Gruuthusemuseum: this museum displays both the interior of a house of a wealthy family as it would have been in the late Middle Ages and a collection of everyday tools, tapestries, paintings, archive documents, lace and silverware. Currently, the museum is closed for major restoration work. The reopening is planned at the end of May 2019.
Begijnhof – Princely Beguinage of the Vineyard: it was a beguinage founded in 1245. It is one of the quietest parts of Bruges. A Beguinage was a community of women who follow the example set by the apostles: poverty, simplicity and preaching. These are third orders, who do not take binding vows like the convent.
Brugse Vrije (Liberty of Bruges): here, the city archives are stored. But the building functioned as a court of justice for almost two hundred years (1795 to 1984).
Choco-Story: a chocolate museum, telling all about the history of the chocolate. Address: Wijnzakstraat 2
There is plenty more to see and one way of doing it, it is to do the boat tour.
The town has numerous canals and bridges, making the tour lovely and you will be able to see Bruges in a whole new perspective.
There are several embarkation points. We took the boat from Huidenvettersplein, but you can catch it from Nieuwstraat, Wollestraat or Rozenhoedkaai as well.
If you plan to do this tour, I’d recommend early morning as an excellent time to avoid the queues. Usually, the boat-trips take about 30 minutes.
What to eat while you are in Bruges?
Belgium chocolates are famous, and if you would like to try some, Chocolatier Dumon and the Chocolate Line are two of the most popular shops in Bruges.
But, we can’t live only eating chocolates (I wish I could!!) and drinking beer, so the other way it is to try some traditional dishes that are famous in this city. Try fries with mayonnaise and waffles drenched in cream. Or if you are looking for something more refined, why don’t you try mussels in loads of variety or Carbonade Flamande (beef and beer stew).
If you like beer, here are some good info to you:
If you are in Brugges in February, there is the Bruges’ Beer Festival which has around 90 brewers participating. The entrance is free, but of course, you will have to pay for the tastings that cost between €2 to €4 plus the festival glass.
In 2020 the festival will be on the 1th and 2nd of February and it will take place at Zand.
I can say that the De Halve Maan Brewery is the most famous in Bruges and there you can do a very nice beer tour. The price for the tour is €12 per person and takes 45 minutes. Do not miss the famous Brugze Zot. They serve food there as well.
You can’t leave the city without visiting the 2be Beer. They have a massive selection of beers and 16 beer on tap to choose from. Also, it is in here that you will find that nice wall with bottle beers.
And don’t forget to visit the Bruges Beer Experience to learn about how beer is produced and afterwards you can have some sample of the best Belgian beers on offer. More info here.
Avoid going to the restaurants in the Main Square (Grote Markt). They can be more expensive, and you’d be missing a more local/traditional meal.
In Bruges, the official languages spoken are Flemish and French.
The currency is the Euro and their voltage is 230 V.
Also, if you have time and would like to visit another town nearby, you could see the lovely Dinant (read more here).
I hope I’ve helped you in any way! Enjoy your outing!