Belgium was country no. 4 on this 2018 Euro trip after Norway, Finland & Iceland. When it comes to romance and European cities, people always think about Paris or Venice. However, having been to both those cities before, I can assure you Bruges in Belgium has that old world charm & romance. It doesn’t have any monuments or symbols of love but just the vibe is enough. So, let’s get to some of the must do things in Bruges.
Getting to Bruges from Amsterdam
We had pre-booked a Ford Fiesta from Hertz for this part of our trip. But when we got to the Schipol Airport in Amsterdam, they did not have a Ford Fiesta in stock. So voilla – They upgraded us to a Mercedes B-Class for the same price.
We had been incredibly lucky on this trip and that luck just continued. I still remember cribbing and asking them to see if they had a BMW instead. I am an out and out Beemer fan after all.
Its around 250 km drive from the Schipol airport to Bruges. We grabbed some take-away burgers and coffee at the airport and off we went.
AirBnb in Bruges
We were staying at the house of a local farmer/baker/rancher in Bruges and it was an amazing experience. The farmers in developed countries are so well provided and rich, that I felt a tinge of sadness at the state of affairs of the famers back home.
Nevertheless, our landlord and landlady both showed us around our apartments as well as their gorgeous property. She even gave all 3 of us bicycles so that we could cycle to the old town of Bruges which is also a heritage site.
You can find my detailed review of the accommodation and the way to book here.
Bicycle tour of Bruges
We did a quick change of clothes, checked the bicycles and set out towards the old town of Bruges. Our host provided us with some directions and also gave us few ideas about where we could park the bicycles. We got the bicycles free.
There are paid guided bicycle tours as well. They roughly cost €15-30 for 2-3 hours tour.
Must do things in Bruges
Eat the world famous Belgian waffles
If you could do only 1 thing, this is the MUST DO THING IN BRUGES. Grab those waffles people. Plenty of places serving the best waffles, so you can’t really go wrong here.
Cost – €2-5 (Based on toppings)
Eat & Shop plenty of Chocolates
Yeah, I know Swiss chocolates are probably the best in the world. Well, not really if you try the Belgian chocolates. For some authentic experience, go to a local shop and eat some freshly created chocolates. Also I felt that the Belgian dark chocolates tasted better than the Swiss ones I had tried. But that could be case of personal taste.
The romance and the old world charm of Bruges can be best experienced through a 40-60 mins long canal tour. This has to be one of the must do things in Bruges.
Cost – €8-12
Drink De Garre – A local beer
So what’s special about this beer? For starters, to get here you need to go through a dark alley and then climb some stairs like in Harry Potter. Infact, when I walked through that alley I felt I was transported to the Harry Potter world.
By the way, I haven’t even come to the best part yet. This beer has an alcohol content of whooping 11%.
And how did I know about this beer in the first place? A drunk group of friends (all in their 50’s) asked me to click their photo in the Town Hall Square and then we got talking. They told me they have been coming to Bruges every year since lat 20 years as a reunion and they always meet at Garre Pub. And they urged us to join them at the pub and it was one heck of a decision and stroke of luck.
By the way, even though this is at the top of the list, it was the last thing we did and you should also keep it as the last thing. After 3-4 glasses of De Garre, I doubt you would be able to do much. So for all the beer drinkers, this is a must do thing in Bruges. No excuses.
Cost of the beer – €3-6, Memories – Priceless
Walk the cobblestone streets or get on a horse drawn buggy and feel like a royalty – Either way you won’t be disappointed. The old town is so amazingly well preserved that you would love to just stroll around it for hours.
Do keep in mind though, most places/restaurants away from the town square start shutting up by 7PM.
Visit the Markt
The Markt of Bruges is located in the heart of the city. In the center of the market stands the statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck. I was told that the parking in the square was removed and the area became traffic-free only a few decades back.
If you have the time, go inside the Belfry of Bruges
Belfry – Mean Bell Tower. The Belfry of Bruges is a medieval bell tower in the centre of Bruges, Belgium. One of the city’s most prominent symbols, the belfry formerly housed a treasury and the municipal archives, and served as an observation post for spotting fires and other dangers.
Wander around the Lake of Love
Scenic lake with a park & old castle. It was also our first stop on the bicycle route. We clicked lots of photos and parked our bicycles at the end of this lane and then explored the old town on foot.
Famous vista & tourist boat pier.
Go Around the Burg Square
Burg Square is a square and former fortress in Bruges. It is one of the main squares of the city.
Museums in Bruges
I am not a very big museum geek, so we did not venture inside any museums in the city. However for the aficionados there are a couple of them that are pretty good.
- Groeninge Museum – Municipal Museum
- Choco-story – Museum dedicated to chocolate history and chocolate processing
- Sint-Janshospitaal (Museum)
Back at the AirBnb
We came back to our AirBnb around 10-11pm in the night and just crashed. Tomorrow we had a lot of driving to do. First Luxembourg and then I had to reach Amsterdam in the night.