Last fall, during a spontaneous five day round trip through Belgium, France and Luxembourg I hopped off the train in the stunning medieval town of Bruges for the first two days. Right when you start wandering into the old city center, that was named a World Heritage Site, it isn´t hard to see, why everyone loves it. So here are the things you shouldn´t miss out on when in Bruges.
The Belfry Tower
If you have seen the movie In Bruges you´ll recognize quite a few sites when visiting, like for example the Belfry Tower at the Market, a big and really photogenic square in the city center, surrounded by typical gothic style buildings. Definitely go up there! The magnificent view you are going to have once you´ve reached the top is more than worth climbing the 366 narrow stairs.
Take a canal tour
Another great and with 8€ very affordable way of seeing the city is to take a canal tour with one of the many boats. Unfortunately the boat was very crowded during the weekend, which made it hard to take good photos, even though I think we sometimes need to just put camera or phone away and see everything through our own eyes. It´s always beautiful and different to see a city from the water and something I try to do everywhere it is possible (I loved taking the Chicago water taxi).
As Always – Get lost
Even though there are a lot of things to do and see in Bruges one of my favourites was to just stroll through the city´s small cobblestone alleys and I seriously could´ve spent days just doing so. I just wandered around, away from the main tourist attractions and took time to take photos and enjoy this place.
Friet and chocolate museum
Bruges also has some great museums and you can choose from a variety. I actually opted for the kind of museums, that are more alternative and entertaining. I do enjoy art, but a museum, where you get to eat fries (Friet Museum) or chocolate (Chocolate Museum) immediately had my attention, which leads me right to the next point.
Belgian food, I´m talking waffles, chocolate, fries
Speaking of chocolate and fries, I did not eat healthy at all during my short stay in Bruges. I basically lived of Belgian Waffles (I ate the biggest waffle I´ve ever seen), chocolate and fries. To be honest, none of the pralines I wanted to bring home ever made it there. Belgian chocolate is the best in my opinion.
Taste some Belgian beer
There are a lot of nice little bars in Bruges as well. We spent one night in one, that was under an old church, close to the market and friet museum. After walking down the steap stairs behind the door, that looked like it was made for dwarfs, we enjoyed the night in this a little dusty bar in the basement with great music and Belgian beer. The atmosphere was super relaxed and fun.
Walk around the city for some quiet time
If you´re feeling like having a quiet evening you should take a stroll along the canal, that runs around the city center. When I did so the second night in Bruges, I met barely anyone, which was a nice change after the busy day in the center. This also makes for a cool run, more on it here.
The holy blood basilica
In this church you can see, what is said to be a relic of Jesus Christ´s blood (be prepared, though, old blood does not look particularly good) and it is connected to a museum.
Bruges is very different from every other city I´ve visited so far. Make sure you also explore away from the tourist attractions to experience this quiet, beautiful atmosphere and you´ll fall in love with the city in a heartbeat.
Any other tips on Bruges? Which Belgian cities are your favourites?