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Let’s be honest, Bruges is definitely one of the most romantic cities in Europe which easily gets overlooked by its popular neighbor, Paris as well as Venice. Bruges is often called the “Venice of the North” with its crisscrossing canals which encloses its historic center. Whether you take a stroll during the day or during the night, romance will certainly be found in this quaint town as you stroll hand in hand.

It is also more than just a quick day trip. It is so much more beneficial to your health to slow travel, really enjoy the sights and take in the atmosphere. While Bruges definitely caters to the hordes of tourists who come in, you can find peace and serenity in the bustling little town. It’s definitely worth to take the extra time to explore the hidden gems tourists miss when they’re busy checking off their bucket list. 

Many people also ask the questions, Bruges or Ghent? Having been to both, Bruges is incredibly romantic with a ton of charming canals, stunning architecture and horse-drawn carriages, but that beauty comes with a price: #Overtourism. However, if you’re looking for a similar feel without the crowds and more laid back city feel, then Ghent is right for you with equally impressive architecture, romantic canals and embankments to stroll along and one of the most interesting culinary scenes in the country!

Love Chocolate, Beer & Architecture? PIN IT FOR LATER!!

The BEST Things to do in Bruges, Belgium in a Weekend - California Globetrotter (49)

So, what should you do when in Bruges?

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  • Head to the Grote Markt and enjoy one of the most beautiful market squares in Europe and listen to the endless chiming of the clock tower! 

  • Climb the Belfort Tower for a view over the square

  • Enjoy a beer at the Duvelorium Grand Beer Café in the Historium Brugge

  • Take a horse drawn carriage ride 

  • Admire the old, step-gables houses from the 13th century 

  • Head over to the Burg to oogle at the Stadhuis (City Hall) 

  • Check out the Heilig Bloed Basiliek (Bascilia of the Holy Blood) which is has Europe’s most sacred relic: a phial supposedly with a few drops of the blood of Jesus. 

  • While hanging out in the Burg, grab a waffle from the waffle van. Yes, it’s WORTH waiting in line for fresh waffles!!

  • Check out the Welcome Church of Our Lady which took 200 years to build and has a sculpture of Madonna and Child by Michelangelo.

  • Walk along the Canals and admire the architecture!

  • Find the Beer Wall and check out all 400+ Belgian Beers on display before having a drink at the end of the wall. 

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  • Go shopping for Belgian Beer at the Bier Palais and then sit down to enjoy a beer in one of the most peaceful beer gardens!


  • Take a boat ride around the canals 

  • Stop for Afternoon Tea at one of the many tea houses! Preferably the Gingerbread Tea house as they have Black Tea with hints of Belgian chocolate! mmm 

  • Check out the Vismarkt which is an open air fish market, which still sells fish every morning.

  • Eat at a fritterie, preferably eating a cheeseburger or even fish’n’chips!

  • Sit along the banks of the canal along the Rozenhoedkaa

  • Go shopping for some Belgian chocolate 

  • Take a tour of the Brouwerii de Halve Maan (Half Moon Brewery) – one of the oldest breweries in Bruges since 1856.

  • Check out the Frite Museum to learn the history and secrets of Belgium’s national culinary triumph – Belgian fries!

  • Then check out the Choco-Story museum to learn how cocoa is made into chocolate, of course with a tasting!

  • Take a walk through the make-shift antique market along the canal

  • Meander your way through they allies before finding the Minnewater, a peaceful park with a lake loaded with swans that have been here since 1488. 

  • Take a tour between 2 and 5pm at the Kantecentrum to learn how lace is made 

  • Continue walking until you find the last 4 windmills in Bruges. 

  • Drink more beer 

  • Eat your fill of fresh mussels

  • Find the locations that Colin Ferrel was in the movie In Bruges

  • Stroll around the town at sunset to increase your chances of romance and admire Bruges by night

  • Enjoy a Meringue at Aux Merveilleux 

  • Get up early and enjoy the town before the tourists come in


Where to Stay:

Hotel ‘t Putje ⭐⭐⭐ – We stayed at this adorable little hotel on the edge of the Old Town during our first visit and loved it!

Hotel Loreto ⭐⭐⭐ – This is a great hotel if you’re looking for a last minute hotel in the heart of the Old Town that is comfortable and affordable and has a great breakfast!

If you’re interested in visiting Europe and are looking for more information, I highly recommend using the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Belgium! Without these guides, I would be lost! This is my travel Bible!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own and these products/services have been found useful during our travels and come highly recommended to you from yours truly!

Be sure to check out more posts related to Belgium

Eating, Drinking & Sightseeing Your Way Through Brussels

The Budget-Friendly Guide to Ghent

3 Days of Debauchery at the Aalst Carnaval

The Blissful Belgian Coast: Blankenberge Beach

Amazing Antwerp

The Delightful Town of Leuven

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Replies to A Weekend in Bruges

  1. wow – i must say those beers are making me drool they look soooo good – mmm dark German beer was the first beer I ever tried and have been searching for it again ever since! Have to say I love Texas but they have sad beer choices! 🙂 enjoy a few more for me darling!

  2. We love Bruges as well. You can’t go wrong with a place that does beer, waffles and chocolate! It’s a great place with kids too as it’s so compact. I actually made my kids go to Mass so that we could get into see the Sepulchre of the Holy Blood 🙂 It’s hard to tell what’s in there but whatever it was, they paid a LOT of money for it back in the day to buy it. #MondayEscapes

  3. Wow, you packed a lot in. I went to Bruges pre-children for New Years with Mr ATWWAH once and we had a great time. And, I’m off there in February next year with some friends, so I’ll definitely be saving this post as I think you more or less did everything #MondayEscapes

  4. Oh my… deep fried burgers and beer. I am in! That sounds so wrong and so right all at the same time. Bruges looks wonderful, it’s somewhere I have wanted to visit for a while now! The view from the Belfort Tower is stunning and you’re right – you can’t go there and not explore the canal! That’s what makes Bruges so pretty! Thanks for sharing on #MondayEscapes

  5. I went there many years ago as a daytrip from Paris and I thought that our 6-hour stay was enough for me. I’ve never really considered staying there until I read this. Maybe I should try a weekend trip there as well? :p

  6. As well as the colourful architecture and chocolate the ceiling in the bar really jumped out at me and the beer wall is also quite special! Still haven’t been, but the film In Bruges made me laugh so much and really put the city on the radar. #citytripping

  7. I have strong feelings of love for Belgium. Love your photos. We visited in winter and it had a different atmosphere to what you have shown here so I think it might be time to go back to Bruges for some more chocolate. I had no idea that there would be so much chocolate! A nice surprise for sure

  8. A fantastic list of things to do in Bruges. Great photos too! We went to Bruges with the children when they were small and they loved the chocolate museum, the architecture, the boat trip and trying mussels for the first time.

  9. Never been to Bruges, but the chocolate is definitely calling my name… And I’m pretty sure my husband would want to try the beer. One day… 🙂 #citytripping

  10. Great list. We had an amazing time exploring Bruges over four days a couple of winters ago…we did a lot of what you mentioned but still more to do. We’ll definitely be back. Thanks for linking to #citytripping

  11. I feel like crying! I have never been for Brugges. I am pleasantly surprised with all the things that can be done and seen on the city. I’ll add it to my list of “must visit ” in Europe.

  12. Ughhh I didn’t get over to Bruges on my trip to Brussels and so regretted it! Now I regret it even more! Looks so so cute and so many fun things to do! I know I’ll be back in the area some day .. So now I’ll be sure not to miss this charming little city! Keeping this saved for when I do 😀

  13. holy adorable! I have to admit, the most I know about Bruges is what I’ve seen in the Colin Farrell movie, In Bruges. (have you seen it!?)

  14. I always wanted to see Bruges, especially after watching that movie with Colin Farrell. Besides, I’ve heard it’s a great place for chocolate lovers.

  15. Your photos definitely helped me reminisce about my trip to this pretty town. I remember trying to decide whether to go into a shoe shop and try on a pair of amazing leather boots. We decided to walk around the square first and get food for the children and then return to the shop. Later on the way back to the car, the shop was shut!! Funny what you remember about places.

  16. Great travel tips! Since we just moved back to Europe, now in London, we’ll have to take some more weekend trips like heading to Bruges! 🙂

  17. Bruges is one of my favorite cities in Europe. It’s so beautiful at night. But I’ve never been a big fan of Belgium beer. I know, there must be something wrong with me, right? Still, I keep trying. #wkendtravelinspiration

  18. we tried to see Ghent and Bruge in one day and by the time we got to the latter it was late in the afternoon and raining. so we gave Bruge short shift. this a great list of things to do. I think i went back I would rent a bike. They are everywhere and it seems like a nice thing to back around town and along the outskirts — a handy way to find those windmills!.

  19. You certainly packed a lot into your trip to Bruges! Lovely photos and interesting account of your activities in this beautiful city. Have you been to Gent too?

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