The best way to describe the city of Bruges is like stepping into a fairytale. The quaint, cobbled streets and medieval architecture are just a few of the things that make every visitor that sets foot in the city fall entirely in love with it. It’s not all just Belgian beer, Belgian chocolate, and Belgian waffles that put Bruges on the map (although they’re reason enough to visit). Read on to find out what makes Bruges one of those special places that every budding traveler has to explore.
To Drink Some of the World’s Best Beer
If you like beer, make sure Bruges gets a spot on your bucket list. Almost every pub or bar you visit in the city will brew their own mix of delicious hoppy goodness, and nine times out of 10 you’ll be heading back to the bar for “just one more.” Even if you’re not a big beer drinker, the list of different strengths and flavors (this can go from oak to spiced or from chocolate to fruit) will suit anyone’s taste buds. You could seriously plan an entire weekend in Bruges based on hopping from beer spot to beer spot, and you won’t feel like you’re missing out! A few of our favorite places for a brew include de Garre which is hidden down a tiny alley near Markt, The Bauhaus, and the oldest pub in Bruges called Vlissinghe Cafe. For more information, check out St Christopher’s Inns article on the seven best beer spots in Bruges.
When you’re visiting any amazing part of the world such as Bruges, finding out that the people are friendly is just a bonus. However, it can really make a difference in how you view the city as a whole. Whether it’s choosing a beer off the menu, ordering a meal, or you’re lost with directions, the people of Bruges are incredibly easy to talk to and always (in our experience, anyway) happy to help you out. Before you land in Bruges, be sure to learn a few helpful phrases.
|I would like a beer.||Ik zou graag een biertje willen.|
To Taste True Belgian Chocolate
Nowhere beats chocolate of the Belgian kind, and when in Bruges you won’t be short of it. Stick to the independent and family-run shops to get the real Brugean chocolate experience – you’ll come across them all over the place. Creamy, handmade Belgian chocolate made right in the heart of its homeland … we’re drooling at the thought.
Dumon Chocolatier looks like a cottage out of a Disney film from the outside, and inside it’s full of gorgeous, freshly-made chocolates, truffles, caramels, pralines … the list goes on. We also love The Chocolate Line, Pralinette, and Chocoladehuisje. For more information, check out St Christopher’s Inns top five chocolate shops in Bruges.
To Take Advantage of all the Instagram-Worthy Spots Around Town
Bruges is just asking to be photographed! Just stroll along the canal and you won’t be able to resist taking your camera out to snap photos of the countless quaint bridges, views over the city from the Belfry Tower, or the pretty castle by Minnewater Lake. The legend goes that a beautiful sailor’s daughter Minna died in the arms of her star-crossed lover. He was a young warrior at this very lake. The city has a fairytale look that’ll be sure to make the photographer within you burst with happiness! For the full lowdown on where to take the best photos, check out St Christopher’s Inns 20 most Instagrammable spots in Bruges.
To See the Stunning Architecture
The ever-so-slightly leaning Belfry Tower, the brightly colored buildings in Markt Square, the stunning view of Rozenhoedkaai … Bruges might not be big, but you’ll barely find a house or building in the city that won’t blow you away. The pubs are quaint and full of character, and the chocolate shops look like they’re from a scene of Disney’s “Beauty And The Beast.” The architecture is, without doubt, a huge highlight of this Belgian city that you won’t be able to take your eyes off while you’re there.
To Go Cycling
Bruges is one of the many European cities that lends itself perfectly to cycling. The place is so small that getting between any of the main sites barely takes any time at all, plus there are countless day trips you can make that are about 30 minutes out of the city. If you stay in a hostel, they’ll often rent them out for a small fee. Even the parking situation is easy as there are no rules about where you can leave them! Just remember to lock them up. The Bauhaus hostel hires out bikes at €10 for the entire day or €6 for three hours.
To Indulge in Belgian Waffles
Before you’ve even spotted the hole in the wall, the smell of waffles will be right under your nose and you won’t be able to resist. Chez Albert is just off the main Markt Square and is famed by locals and tourists for whipping up some of the best waffles in the city (and that’s saying something). Grab one for just a few euro, get it topped with strawberries, Belgian chocolate, or whipped cream (or all three) and indulge.
To Wander the Amazing Christmas Markets
Europe is full of festive markets at Christmas time, but there’s something about the Bruges Christmas market that seems even more magical than anywhere else on the continent. Maybe it’s because it takes place in Market Square. Real life ‘gingerbread’ houses line one side and the constant sound of horse-drawn carriages trotting along make you feel like you’re in a movie. Christmas time in Bruges is something special!
To Try Some Famous Belgian Fries
Thought Americans invented French fries? Nope; instead, you can thank the Belgians for that. Belgian ‘frites’ can be found all over the place. Some of the best are from the two green carts in the Market square. There’s even a Frietmuseum where you can have a taste!
To Experience the Medieval Charm
Stroll along the cobbled streets, take a ride on a horse-drawn cart, or drink homemade beer in a century-old pub. People come from far and wide to get a breath of fresh air from the noisy modern world and experience the old-school charm of quaint, little Bruges. Whether you’re in the busy Market Square or wandering the quiet alleyways, every inch of the city is magic. There’s no doubt that Bruges will steal your heart the moment you land!
To Hear About its Ghostly Past
If you’re into olden-day spooky legends, Bruges is full of ghostly tales that’ll be sure to give you the heebie-jeebies. Take the free Legends of Bruges walking tour that’ll guide you around churches, bridges, and canals that lay home to where some of the creepiest real-life stories took place. One stop on the tour is the old Augustinian Monastery, where the ghost of a monk searches for the nun he murdered because she tried to run from him. Their ghosts now wander through Den Noodt Gods.
To Discover its Hidden Secrets
Take one of the free Walking Tours to really get to know the secrets of Bruges. We’re not going to spoil them for you here, but we’ll tell you about the Secret Garden. The roof of a small house in Bruges was rotting away until it was roofless. Some neighbors then decided to reclaim the space and make something beautiful out of it. The secret garden, covered in countless pots with herbs and flowers, is now one of the prettiest spots in the entire city. You never would have come across it if you didn’t already know it existed.
To Stay at St Christopher’s at the Bauhaus
When you’re in Bruges, there’s no better place to enjoy some famous Flemish hospitality than St Christopher’s at the Bauhaus. Located in the heart of the historic city, we’re just minutes walk from Market Square, the Belfry Tower, breathtaking canals, and Burg Square. Our charming building is a World Heritage listed Brugean step-gable house, the perfect place to take in city’s magic. Need a hostel in Bruges? Check out St Christopher’s Inns at the Bauhaus.
More Information About Why You Should Visit Bruges
Did you love this article about the top reasons to visit Bruges? Do you want even more information about the top things to see and do here? Then check out these articles we have rounded up to help you make the most out of your trip to Belgium!
- 11 Best Things To Do in Bruges for U.S. News Travel
- 15 Best Things to do in Bruges (Belgium) for The Crazy Tourist
- 25 Things to do in Bruges by Aubrey Bergner for That Backpacker
- Top Things to do in Bruges, Belgium for Lonely Planet