Dubbed the “Venice of Nordic”, the city of Bruges (Brugge) tops the list of the most beautiful places in Belgium. Anyone who has ever been to Belgium must definitely visit this place that ‘In Brugge’ movie was filmed. Bruges has a romantic beauty with many mossy ancient bridges across on small canals and beautiful medieval European architecture. Bruges is a dream destination not only for couples but also for many solo travelers. Here you will see the signature beauty of Bruges in many beautiful and small ancient buildings, enjoy delicious food, walk or cycle through the alleys of the old town. So, is Bruges worth visiting and what to do in Bruges? Let’s check out our Bruges travel blog (Bruges blog, Brugge blog, Brugge travel blog) with the fullest Bruges travel guide (Bruges city guide, Bruges visitor guide, Brugge travel guide, Brugge city guide) for a perfect Bruges on a budget for the first time from best places to visit, top things to do, where to stay, what to eat… to find out the answer!
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- What to buy in Belgium? — 15+ best souvenirs from Belgium & best things to buy in Belgium
- Where to go in Brussels? — Top 12 must & best places to visit in Brussels
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Bruges travel blog: Getting to and around Bruges
Means of transportation from major tourist cities in Belgium such as Brussels, Ghent to Bruges is extremely convenient. You can easily catch the train, bus or blablacar to getting here for just under EUR 10/way. Note that for young people under 26 years old when traveling by train will be discounted with GoPass only €6/way when traveling from anywhere in Belgium. If you go to Belgium from other cities, you can also take a plane, train or bus. I usually find deals on RyanAir and GoEuro, see more here.
The best way to discover Bruges is to walking around the roads and alleys and visiting many chocolate shops everywhere. You can also rent a bicycle to cycle around, go to the nearby beach in the summer or further to the Northeast to explore the windmill fields. If you prefer to be more luxurious and romantic, you can take a boat along the canals of Bruges, passing the In Brugges filming spots located next to the beautiful, luxurious restaurants. Tourists in Bruges often go to these locations to take photos and check-in which are very crowded. Riding by horse-drawn carriage around the city is also an interesting experience.
Brugge travel blog: When is the best time to visit Bruges?
Bruges is always crowded with tourists, so you should avoid going to in June, July, August and Christmas (December) when traveling here. This is also true for other extremely hot tourist destinations in Europe such as Venice, Santorini, Pisa, … The good time to travel to Belgium is in the spring (March, April) when the climate has warmed, or in autumn (September, November) when the weather in Bruges is very beautiful. I came here at the end of November and throughout the city, especially in the evening, magically decorated for Christmas. At this time, tourists in Bruges are not too crowded, so you can enjoy all the magical atmosphere characteristic of Bruges, and also do not disturb the locals.
Bruges travel blog: Best places to visit, top things to do in Bruges
Bruges is a tiny city in the small Kingdom of Belgium, but there are countless things to do and experience here. The sights and attractions not to be missed are concentrated around Burg Square (City Hall, The Golden Palace of Justice, Brugse Vrije Museum, Basilica of the Holy Blood); and Grote Markt Central Square (Historium Bruges Museum, Belfry bell tower). Some of the other impressive attractions that only Bruges has are its beer museum and mossy old bridges.
Wandering in the old town
Or you don’t need to have a specific plan to go anywhere. You can wander here all day without getting bored, walking along the canal, watching the architectural works create a scene even more beautiful than a picture.
Burg Square is one of the most beautiful architectural places in Bruges, located right next to the central square. Visit the magnificent City Hall (free admission to the museum on the first floor), the Golden Palace of Justice next door (€ 4 for people under 26), Brugge Vrjie museum, Basilica of the Holy Blood (known as the place where Jesus’ blood is kept).
Grote Markt Central Square
Belfry bell tower is one of the tourist attractions in the square, because from here you can enjoy the panoramic view of the city of Bruges. However, the entry tickets are quite expensive and the view is not beautiful on bad weather. In front of the tower are two famous shops selling fries of the city, worth a try. Grote Markt is surrounded by many restaurants, and cafes with the price quite expensive, but in return, you can watch the flow of people crossing the square and the colorful old houses.
If you want to learn more about Belgian history, culture, art, you should visit the Historium Museum, the Groeninge Museum (art museum), Frietmuseum (potato fries museum), … If you like learning about the history of Bruges, you should go to Historium museum. There are three floors of interactive electronic exhibition showcasing the city from its inception, experiencing its golden age and long history to this day. Bruges was once one of the major ports – the largest trading center in Europe before. The city is also famous for its embroidery.
Joining free walking tour
Bruges is one of the most expensive cities in Belgium because it is the best tourist city in Belgium and locals mainly earn their income based on tourism services. In order to discover Belgium quickly and save the optimal cost, I joined in Can You Handle It walking tour. Tour itinerary: Old bridges – Queen Astrid Park – Old House – Fish Market – Burg Square – Chocolaterie de Burg – Grote Markt – food street of Sint Amandsstraat. When you join this tour, you immediately receive a 15-20% discount when you visit the Beer Museum and buy chocolates in Marleen shop (read more about Marleen below). This is one of the best of the dozens of free walking tours I’ve ever experienced. This tour also departs in other major tourist cities in Germany and Belgium (Ghent, Cologne, Stuttgart). In Cologne, I also took this tour and still stay in touch with my guide who is very cute. See details here: http://cyhitours.com
Brugge travel blog: Where to stay in Bruges?
Bruges is one of the cities attract the largest number of tourists of Belgium. Therefore, even the cost of a hostel or guesthouse in this city is extremely expensive compared to the average price of the region. Couch-surfing and AirBnB are also always full during the peak tourist season (June to August – a time when it is estimated that the number of tourists is greater than the locals here). Some of the hostels I’ve used to stay at an affordable price, nice bars and very good atmosphere are St Christopher’s Inn Hostel at The Bauhaus and Charlie Rockets. From Charlie Rockets, you can also take a free walking tour around the city that departs several times a week.
Charlie Rockets Youth Hostel: Formerly the largest cinema in Bruges, Charlie Rockets is now one of the best hostels in Bruges decorated in an impressive vintage style (wallpaper newspaper, European-style chandelier, live music stage, …). In the lobby, there is a magnificent bar, a billiard room with 5 large tables, inside of all 19 rooms equivalent to 76 beds. Dorm bed price starts from € 18/night. The double room price is € 55/night, including breakfast. Choose stay here, you will be given a Bruges card to get ticket discounts at many attractions and restaurants around Bruges. (You can check rates, reviews and book on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
St Christopher’s Inn Hostel at The Bauhaus: If you are a true backpacker that love Belgian beer, you should experience 1 night at Bauhaus. The hostel bar has over 25 Belgian beers, including the region’s rarest specialties such as Trappist and Brugge Rot. The location of this hostel is convenient for traveling. Although the building and lobby are somewhat ancient, the interior room is designed in a modern style, ensuring comfort. (You can check rates, reviews and book on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Below we recommend more best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
Bruges blog: What and where to eat in Bruges?
Although not as famous as France or Italy, but it would be a big mistake if you miss the opportunity to enjoy Belgian cuisine. In this small country, you will find a harmonious combination of French, German and Dutch cuisines.
Fastfood: The famous Belgian fast food is waffle (combined with a variety of creams and fruits, just looking will make you mouthwatering !) And chips (deep-fried in Belgian style, big and crunchy fries, served with ketchup or mayo).
Big meals: Definitely salty foods to try are moules, beer stew beef served with bread or chips and mustard (Carbonade Flamande) at ‘t Vagevuur restaurant (Address: Sint-Amandsstraat 23, 8000 Brugge, Belgium / Hours: 10:30AM–10PM). I got a free glass of wine only with meal of EUR 15.
If you want to discover more about Belgian cuisine, you should avoid eating in the main square of Grote Markt because the restaurants here are extremely expensive. Another restaurant with cheap Western food is Pasta Presto (Address: Sint-Amandsstraat 17, 8000 Brugge, Belgium / Hours: 11:30AM–8:30PM; Monday, Sunday: Closed) that serving take-away fast food such as pizza, spaghetti, hamburger, …
Belgian chocolates: Belgian chocolates are plentiful, the best to buy is in chocolate shops but it is cheaper to buy in supermarkets, just buy the famous brands such as Côte d’or, Godiva or Neuhaus is OK.
In Bruges there is also a chocolate road (Chocolaterie de Burg). Here you can taste a dozens of different hand-made chocolates such as Choco Beer (chocolate filled with beer), Speculoos Cookies (chocolate biscuits), Florentine (dark chocolate or caramel-filled milk and almond specially made from Bruges), … I bought chocolate at the Marleen shop (Address: Burg 15, 8000 Brugge, Belgium) because of the affordable price, discount after take the walking tour and they even give me try it before I buy.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Bruges you can refer to
- Bruges Day Trip From Amsterdam
- Bruges Day Tour from Paris
- Ghent and Bruges Day Tour from Brussels
- Bruges Day Tour from Brussels
- Highlights of Bruges 2-Hour Rickshaw Tour
Are you looking for more top things to do in Bruges: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Bruges 1 day itinerary — How to visit Bruges in a day & What to do in bruges in one day trip? And Belgium guide here.