Bruges, Belgium was the second city stop on our recent trip and arguably our most favorite. The quaint city is easily walkable and gives off a relaxing vibe of waffles, chocolate and beer. What more could you want?!
Although, our short visit to the city did not come without some travel logistics. There are no direct flights into Bruges. The closest main airport is Brussels from which you will either need to rent a car, hire a driver or take a bus or train into the city. We booked cheap one way tickets through Ryan Air from Budapest to Charleroi Airport (a regional airport just south of Brussels). Although the departure time was not ideal at 5:45am, the tickets were a fraction of the price of flying directly into Brussels International Airport!
From the Charleroi airport, the bus seemed like our best option to get to Bruges. (The train would have required several transfers, not to mention we would have to get to the train station from the airport in Charleroi.) Flipco had a bus stop located right outside the airport that traveled directly to Bruges in around 2 hours. We snagged the last seats on the bus and spent a cramped few hours in the last row….
Not giving much thought to where the bus dropped us off in Bruges was our mistake. Although we were technically in Bruges, we were too far to walk to our hotel especially with all of our luggage. Thankfully, after a quick call to our hotel, Hotel Dukes Palace, a taxi was sent to pick us up! We would highly recommend Hotel Dukes Palace Bruges. Centrally located, unique historic details, delicious breakfast buffet included with your stay, and friendly hotel staff are a few of the perks of booking a stay here.
Below are our top recommendations on things to do while visiting Bruges.
1) Canal Cruise
There are 4 different companies offering cruises of the canals which leave almost every 15 minutes throughout the day for around 10 euro a ticket. Each cruise lasts around 30 minutes with your guide pointing out important city landmarks along the way. A unique way to see the city!
2) Waffle Tasting
Try a famous Belgian waffle. We stopped at several different places throughout the city tasting the waffles, wishing we could take home the delicious smells! Favorite toppings: strawberries and chocolate.
3) Sample the local beers
Visit the local brewery, De Halve Maan for a beer. The brewery offers tours of their onsite brewing facility and there is a shop to take home a few bottles of you favorite brew. La Trappiste is another great spot for beer drinkers with over 120 different beers on tap. There is also the Bruges Beer Museum where a tour will dive into the history of beer and teach you about the unique ingredients, types of beer and different brewing processes.
4) Visit Markt Square
The main square of Bruges is bustling with activity: carriage rides, outdoor cafes, restaurants, and entrance to the Belfry Tower.
5) Climb to the top of Belfry Tower
Towering over the main town square, the Belfry Tower is a prominent landmark in the city. 366 steps will get you to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the city for a small entrance fee.
6) Visit the Old Chocolate House
The whole first floor of the house is lined with chocolate souvenirs: truffles, chocolate figurines, chocolate bars, chocolate covered fruit and nuts. Go upstairs to the tea room for some delicious hot chocolate.
7) Chocolate Tasting
Every few shops will be a chocolate shop with truffles, chocolate bars, chocolate covered fruits and nuts or even a chocolate fountain! A chocolate box makes for a great souvenir or gift.
8) Visit St Salvator’s Cathedral
The main church of Bruges, St Salvator’s has survived the ages and world wars without significant damage. A stunning cathedral to explore!
9) Get lost in the cobblestone streets
Lost may not be the right word as the city will only take you around 40 minutes to fully traverse so getting lost probably will not actually happen! But wandering the the streets and simply taking in the quaint town was our favorite part of our visit to Bruges.
10) Visit one of Bruges famous museums
We only had a short time in Bruges and preferred to spend our time wandering the beautiful cobblestone streets. On a return visit, we would love to visit the museums of Bruges: Gruuthusemuseum (art museum), Torture Museum Oude Steen, Groeningemuseum and the Chocolate Museum.
Follow us here