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In a town as charming and romantic as Bruges, you’d have to try really hard not to have a lovely weekend. Its picturesque canals, gothic architecture and charming courtyards/squares, as well as the delicious food, make Bruges the perfect short weekend break that will not disappoint. Situated in northwest Belgium, Bruges is becoming known as the “Venice of the North” due largely in part to the famous movie: In Bruges. But because of its accessible location (less than a few hours from major cities by train), travelers can effortlessly and easily enjoy a day trip or an entire weekend in Bruges. Here’s how.
Bruges Weekend Break – Day 1
Visit Markt Square & The Belfry Tower
Markt Square was originally a market place and stage for tournaments and festivals from over a thousand years. Today, it is full of historic relics such as the majestic Belfry Tower and Church Hall. It is surrounded by banks, cute restaurants, and trendy shops. It is also one of the most iconic spots of the movie: In Bruges.
While here, consider visiting the Cranenburg House, Cloth Hall, and the Historium to learn more about the historic importance of Bruges.
Wander Through The Quaint Cobblestone Streets
As an enchanting medieval city, Bruges is a historic landmark in itself. The city has a network of fascinating medieval streets and idyllic canals that you can spend hours strolling through. Travelers can begin their weekend in Bruges, simply walking and familiarizing themselves with its architectural marvels. The presence of pubs and trendy restaurants can serve as the perfect walking breaks to sit and enjoy a craft beer or some of the finest Belgian chocolates.
Burg Square & the Basilica of the Holy Blood
Time travel through Gothic, Renaissance and Neoclassical architecture in the historic Burg Square dating back to ~100 AD. The most impressive buildings are the Gothic Town Hall from 1376 and the Basilica of the Holy Blood. In the latter, there is vile of blood that is thought to be Jesus’, brought over to Belgium from the second crusade.
Burg Square is a stone’s throw from Markt Square making it both a must-see and easy stopover on your first day walking around Bruges.
Pop into the Church of Our Lady
While on a beautiful walk, pop into the Church of Our Lady. This church dates back to the 13th century and today is also famous for its art collection. It’s hard to miss from afar since it’s the tallest building in Bruges. You have to walk through an idyllic narrow entrance to enter the out-of-sight courtyard where the church is. You can choose to enter or just admire it from the outside.
Fun fact: This church is home to the famous Madonna and Child sculpture by Michelangelo.
Bite into a World Class Waffle at Chez Albert
Right off Burg Square, get in line to grab one of the most popular waffles in town at Chez Albert. Prices on average are about 5 euros including a few delicious toppings. And yes, the line is worth it! This is the best waffle I have ever had anywhere in the world. Since it’s freshly baked, it’s crunchy on the outside but fluffy and flaky like a croissant on the inside. The melted chocolate + fresh strawberries is the perfect combination for a silky, crunchy, and vibrant explosion of flavors and textures.
Weekend in Bruges – Day 2
Canal Boat Ride
Embrace this iconic part of Bruges and hire a boat or join a tour ($10) to cruise through the canal ways. Finding these boats are quiet easy and most tours last about 30 minutes. It’s a fun way to sit back and relax while admiring the gorgeous views during your short break to Bruges.
De Halve Maan Brewery Tour
De Halve Maan Brewery is the last family-run brewery in Bruges. It has been running since 1856, producing quality brews for over a century! This brewery offers tours that end with either pint of Brugse Zot (short tour) or professional beer tasting and mini-course on beer serving and tasting (XL tour).
Regular tour cost: 12 euros / 45 minutes
XL tour cost: $21 euros / 90 minutes
Visit the Groeninge Museum
This Fine Arts Museum is internationally renowned for its collection of paintings dating back centuries. Some of the most important medieval paintings include works from Jan Van Eyck and Hans Memling. Click here for opening times and prices.
If you’re not big on art museums, consider checking out one of the other following museums:
– Folklore Museum
– Torture Museum Oude Steen
– The Chocolate Museum
– Diamond Museum
– Friet Museum
Shop at Steenstraat Street
You can find the best shopping in town on Steenstraat Street located between the old city gates and the Markt Square. Steenstraat offers a world of products including clothes, antiques, souvenirs, trendy restaurants, and treats.
Langstraat Night Stroll
The vibrant street of Langestraat in Bruges is home to one of the highest concentrations of Michelin starred restaurants on one street. Laangstraat is also a great street to stroll through at night for a nightcap and/or to grab a few bites tapa bars. Finish your stroll where the street ends: an illuminated park with ancient windmills!
Where & What to Eat in Bruges
Restaurants in Bruges
Park Restaurant: A great spot to grab lunch in a classy yet relaxed atmosphere. This restaurant offers delicious Belgian cuisine alongside beautiful views of the popular Koningin Astrid Park.
T Risico Restaurant: A wonderful dinner spot away from the tourist crowds. T Risico offer delicious local food at a relatively affordable price! Consider trying their Belgian fries, waterzooi, stoemp, and moules!
Don’t miss out on trying these uniquely Belgian tastes:
- Waffles – The waffles in Belgium are out of this world. Crispy, fresh, and vibrant in tastes when coupled with tasty toppings.
- Beer – One of the best beers in the world are in Belgium. From Stella Artois to Hoegaarden, be sure to taste a few to find the best type for you!
- Fries – Like Belgian waffles, the fries are crunchy and tasty often paired with an assortment of toppings and dips.
- Chocolate – Renown around the world as the smoothest and richest chocolate.
- Cheese – Bruges produces over 300 different varieties of cheeses. Since many of these are not exported, visiting Bruges is the only time you’ll be able to taste these delicacies!
- Mussels – A Belgian specialty and class dish. Don’t miss a mouth-watering steaming pot of Belgian mussels seasoned with wine and other local flavors.
This post for short breaks to Bruges was written in collaboration with Kyle from Via Travelers— a modern travel blog focused on inspiring and sharing the best travel tips, insights, hacks, and itineraries.
If you’re short on time, don’t forget my A Day in Bruges City Guide Itinerary.