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Bruges One Day Itinerary: A Self Guided Bruges Walking Tour

One day in Bruges: A Bruges Day Trip Guide

Belgium’s hottest city is Bruges. This place has everything. Old windmills. Charming cobblestone alleys. A giant plastic whale jumping out of a canal. And with this Bruges one day itinerary, you can see the highlights on foot and still have time for an afternoon beer break.

Bruges 1 day itinerary - view of old town with canal and belfry.

This Bruges itinerary and custom map is an exact replica of our day trip to Bruges from Brussels. Had it not been a busy Saturday in August, we would have spent more time exploring the city.

However, if you only have six or seven hours for your visit, this one day in Bruges walking tour is for you.

If you’re looking for more great cities to explore in Belgium, consider adding one day in Brussels to your travel plans.

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Bruges 1 Day Itinerary Guide

— Bruges: Know Before You Go — The Best Time to Visit Bruges — What to do in Bruges in One Day — Day Trip to Bruges Walking Tour Map — Bruges Day Trip Guided Tours — Other Things to do in Bruges — Where to Go After Your Bruges Day Trip

Know Before You Go

Estimated Itinerary Budget: €35 per person (excluding transport)

Bruges uses the Euro, and you should plan to carry cash in addition to your card(s). Many places in Bruges will take card, but some smaller restaurants and shops are cash-only.

Dining out in Bruges can be surprisingly expensive, even outside the main plaza.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can skip the recommendations in the itinerary below and grab some takeaway from Bocca. It’s a fast-casual Italian spot where you can create your own pasta bowl for about 7-10 Euros.

Street view of houses and distant cathedral viewed during one day in Bruges itinerary.

This is a walking tour, so no need to fret about public transportation. Bruges station is just south of the city center, and can be reached by train from Brussels, Ghent, and Antwerp. FlixBus also runs routes to Bruges from a number of other European cities.

Belgium has three official languages: French, German, and Dutch. However, most folks in Bruges are fluent in Dutch and English. Unlike Brussels, where most people speak French, you’re better off sticking to English in Bruges (unless you know Dutch)!

Even so, if you don’t have Google Translate installed on your phone with the Dutch dictionary downloaded, do that before you leave. Personally, I like to learn a bit of the local language when I travel abroad.

If you’re keen to learn some Dutch, check out these essential travel terms and phrases for globetrotters.

Bruges is in the Flemish region of Belgium, which makes the city’s culture more Dutch than French. Here are a few quick tips to make your visit a smooth one:

  • Always greet the shopkeeper and restaurant staff when entering a building. A simple hello goes a long way.
  • Tipping is not necessary, as Belgian restaurants include service charges in the bill. However, it’s also normal to round up to the nearest whole number or leave a couple Euros for quality service.
  • Cyclists are everywhere and don’t always signal their approach with a bell. Keep your eyes peeled when crossing the street or turning corners. And don’t walk in the bike lanes!

My Favorite Belgium Travel Guidebooks

These books win my travel blogger Seal of Approval for vacation planning:

  • Lonely Planet: Pocket Bruges & Brussels
  • Rick Steves Belgium: Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp & Ghent
  • DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Belgium and Luxembourg

The Best Time to Visit Bruges

Bruges white house in green park, a must see on a Bruges day trip.

From summer festivals to winter Christmas markets, it’s hard to choose the best time to visit Bruges. Here are some tips to help you decide when to plan your Bruges day trip:

  • January – March:  Temperatues are fairly cold (about 4°C/40°F), but you won’t have to contend with any crowds and might see some pretty snowfall.
  • April – May:  Springtime brings pretty blooms and greenery in the parks, and crowds are manageable aside from the Ronde Van Vlaanderen bike race.
  • June – August:  You’ll have warm weather, but all of Europe is on holiday, making Bruges feel quite overrun in places.
  • September – November:  The autumn off-season is a beautiful time to visit, with golden leaves falling into the canals and streets.
  • December:  The Bruges Christmas market is famous for its charm, and worth braving the cold temperatures to see. In fact, Bruges is one of the best places to visit in Europe in December !

What to do in Bruges in One Day

White bridge over Bruges canal, a popular sightseeing spot for a Bruges day trip.

Minnewater Park

Lake surrounded by trees in Bruges Minnewater park.

I wish every city had a serene park directly across from its main transit station. After exiting the hustle and bustle of the train terminal, head northeast towards Minnewater Park. As you walk east, you’ll come upon the iconic Minnewater bridge that overlooks the “Lake of Love” and floating designer school.

Though it’s tempting to rush straight into the city, take a few minutes to walk deeper into the park. The leaves were just beginning to change during our visit, which made for some lovely photos.

Brunch/Lunch

Despite having an unusually large breakfast before arriving in town, we couldn’t pass up the chance to dine at a cafe lined with bookshelves.

As literature lovers who will happily eat breakfast at any hour of the day, Books and Brunch was a must-visit destination during our Bruges day trip. The menu was a good mix of Belgian and European fare, with solid, well-labeled options for vegetarians and vegans.

We were fortunate to nab the last table, so I recommend making a reservation if you’re visiting on the weekend.

K. Astridpark and Alleys

Row of canal houses in Bruges.

I love wandering residential areas during my travels, and Bruges’ neighborhoods are particularly lovely. Spend some time strolling through the local park and meandering through the streets.

Enjoy the quiet while you can, as the rest of this Bruges walking tour will take you through some highly trafficked areas.

Sint-Janshuis Windmill

Sint Janhuis Windmill against cloudy sky in Bruges.

From this part of town, you have a couple of options to get to the windmills. You could either double back north, cross back over the canal, and head southeast to the walking path.

Or, you could head southeast towards the main canal and cross the bridge at the Gentpoort. If you opt for the latter option, you’ll just need to cross back over the canal at the Kruispoort gate bridge.

Either way, it’s a long walk up the side of the canal towards the windmills. Be mindful of your surroundings, as the paths are also used for biking!

The lengthy trek is certainly worth the view of the windmill on the hill, especially on a partly cloudy day like the one pictured. There are actually two windmills in this area, though Sint-Janshuis is the more famous and impressive of the two.

In the summer months, the interior is open to the public, where you can see the 250-year-old mechanics in action.

Save me for later!

Bruges One Day Itinerary: A Fairytale Town You Must See - Grote Market and Canal View

 Cafe-Bistro Terrastje

Outside patio of Cafe-Bistro Terrastje in Bruges.

After the long windmill walk, you’ll probably need a bit of rest and relaxation. Luckily, the Café-Bistro Terrastje is only a short distance across the canal.

This eclectic, cozy spot was a highlight of our Bruges walking tour, with local Belgian beers on tap and classic oldies piping through the speakers. We only intended to stay for a quick drink, but ended up hanging out for a good 45 minutes.

Jan Van Eyck Square

Bruges walking tour view of whale leaping from canal.

Once you’ve refreshed yourself at the cafe, head south towards the canal. The Spiegelrei boasts gorgeous canal-front houses and stone bridges, making for a perfect walk towards the most Instagrammable places in Bruges: Jan Van Eyck Square.

While the famous plastic whale was taken down in 2019, this area is still utterly picturesque.

Check out the statue of renowned Northern Renaissance painter Jan van Eyck and admire the lovely architecture of the surrounding buildings before heading south towards the main square.

Grote Markt

Colorful buildings in Bruges town square market.

Emerging from the narrow alleyways to enter the city center is a bit jarring. The main square is surrounded by cafes, brightly-colored buildings, and plenty of visitors. The key sights include the iconic Belfry of Bruges, the Gothic-style Basilica of the Holy Blood, and the Provincial Court.

Like most European cities, Bruges hosts festivals here throughout the year, including the famous Meifoor just after Easter. Note that the square can get quite crowded during peak season.

Walking towards Bruges belfry bell tower.

Of all the things I wanted to include in our Bruges 1 day itinerary, climbing the Bruges belfry was at the top of my list. Paying €10 to climb 366 steps seemed a bit crazy after having been on my feet for two days, but I figured the views over the city would be worth it.

Alas, the queue was impossibly long, and we simply didn’t have enough time to wait around. If you’re hoping to climb the belfry during high season, get there as soon as it opens (9:30am) to avoid the lines. Fortunately, we’re already planning a return trip to Belgium, so we won’t make this mistake again!

Green facade of florist in Bruges shopping area.

The shops lining the old streets of Bruges are just as charming as you’d imagine. I’m not big on shopping, especially when traveling light, but I couldn’t resist popping into the adorable stores selling everything from watercolor paintings to Christmas decorations.

This part of town gets extremely packed during high season and on the weekends, so be prepared to battle the crowds as you buy and browse.

If you’re shopping for Belgian chocolate, pay close attention to the prices. My husband, a.k.a. Mr. Economics Major, noticed some interesting pricing sheets in a few shop windows that actually made it more expensive to buy in bulk!

Sint-Salvatorskathedraal and the Church of Our Lady Bruges

Bruges walking tour view of church from alley.

As you walk southwest from the city center, you’ll see the spires of the 700-year-old Sint-Salvatorskathedraal. Should you choose to enter (no admission fee required), check out the paintings and the ornate organ.

From here, head southeast down the Heilige-Geeststraat to reach the Church of Our Lady Bruges. If you’re an art lover, the €6 admission fee is worth it to see Michelangelo’s famous Madonna and Child painting, among other works.

To truly appreciate the splendid exterior, walk around back and approach it from the rear alleys on the canal side. It’s one of my favorite Instagram spots in Bruges.

Dinner and Departure

View of canal-side houses and trees in Bruges.

Pass by the Site Oud Sint-Jan on your way out of the city, which houses the Center for Modern Art and is surrounded by geometric gardens. If you’re only in Bruges for one day, you probably won’t have time to go in the museum itself.

We planned to have dinner at the eclectic De Stoepa restaurant before returning to Brussels, but my stomach wasn’t up for the task. If you’re visiting in the warmer months, try to grab a seat in the outdoor beer garden.

Day Trip to Bruges Walking Tour Map

Google Maps snapshot of one day in Bruges walking tour map.

Click here for the full interactive map!

Bruges Day Trip Guided Tours

If a self-guided day trip to Bruges feels like too much work, that’s okay! You can easily book a guided tour online. There are even round-trip options from Brussels and Amsterdam , saving you the hassle of navigating the trains and buses.

Have More Than One Day in Bruges?

If you can extend your Bruges 1 day itinerary to a full day or overnight trip, here are some extra things to try:

  • Take a boat ride through the canals: Boat Trips Brugge is a popular choice for soaking up the city’s charm on the water.
  • Visit the museums: Check out the Groeninge Museum for paintings by the old Flemish masters, or take a quirky tour through the Torture Museum.
  • Tour a brewery: The Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan offers guided tours and has a museum chronicling the history of Belgian beer brewing.

Remember to book your accommodation in advance! Apartment rentals in Bruges are in short supply, and the best hotels get snapped up fast.

Where to Go After Your Bruges Day Trip

  • Brussels:  This stunning capital city is only an hour away by train, and you can see it all with my 24 hours in Brussels guide.
  • Ghent:  A short train ride will take you to Ghent for even more beautiful Flemish architecture.
  • Rotterdam:  Nearly destroyed during WWII, Rotterdam is now known for its innovative, modern architecture.
  • Amsterdam:  Connect through Brussels via train, where you can spend 2 days in Amsterdam exploring beautiful canal streets and top-notch museums.

Bruges is a city so charming it makes you question your reality. I half-expected a fish to pop out of the canal and start singing. It was certainly a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Brussels (excluding the crowded market area).

If you’re planning a trip to Belgium or looking for a weekend break in Europe, I highly recommend spending at least one day in Bruges!

Have you taken a Bruges day trip? What places would make it on your must-see list? Let me know in the comments below!

18 thoughts on “Bruges One Day Itinerary: A Self Guided Bruges Walking Tour”

I have been to Bruges! It was a few years ago during October. We planned on staying one day but we loved it so much we ended up adding another. We totally fell in love with the city. It looked so beautiful with the fall colours. But I definitely would want to visit it in the spring or summer. Great guide and lovely photos!

When we left, I was thinking how beautiful Bruges would look in the fall! We’ll definitely do a return trip, so hopefully timing works out so that we can see those lovely autumn hues 🙂

Bruges is definitely on my radar. I love walking the streets of beautiful places. Great itinerary, thank you.

Thanks, Julie! Bruges is packed with charm and super easy to see on foot. I hope you get to visit soon 🙂

I can´t believe I´ve never been to this beautiful city although it´s just 2 hours by car from my home. But I hope to make it this autumn finally and I will definitely safe your walking tour and tips for it. And it´s good to know that most people speak English because I was surprised when visiting Brussels that most people just speak French.

Belgium has an interesting language divide for being a relatively small country. I hope you enjoy your trip!

I want to go to Bruges! I remember watching the movie, ‘In Bruges,” and it looked like a charming place. I love accessible cities where you can walk or cycle through. Plus, the Grote Market is beautiful with the colorful houses! Saving this post when I visit. Thanks!

The movie was also my first introduction to the city! Luckily our trip was bit more lighthearted 🙂

Thank you very much for mentioning Books & Brunch ! We’ve posted a link to your blogpost on our Facebookpage ( https://www.facebook.com/Booksenbrunch/ ). Regards, the Books & Brunch team…

Thanks for your support! We had a lovely time 🙂

Your blog really inspires me. I even followed you on Instagram! I will be in Europe in September and your blog is a great help. Thank you for sharing!

Thank you so much for the kind words! September is a great time to visit Europe, as the crowds should be thinning out. I hope you have a wonderful visit 🙂

Such a perfect itinerary. I went to Bruges last year for a day trip but would love to go back to see some of the things I missed last time!

Thanks, Charu! I’d also love to revisit Bruges for a longer trip, especially for the Christmas market.

Hi there. We are in Brussels now and decided to do a day trip tomorrow to Bruges. I think we will follow your map exactly, thanks so much for this!

Happy to help, Kevin! I hope you enjoyed your visit 🙂

Nice walking tracking through one of belgium finest citys

Such a detailed Itinerary. Since the time I had Belgian icecream and croissants in a stop over at the Brussels airport, I have been meaning to visit it sometime soon. Your article will be of great help. Thanks.

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solosophie

A One Day in Bruges Itinerary You’ll Want to Steal

By: Author Sophie Nadeau

Posted on Last updated: 9th March 2023

Categories Belgium , Itineraries

Last Updated on 9th March 2023 by Sophie Nadeau

Small and compact, the Flemish city of Bruges is characterised by its red brick buildings, medieval architecture, and winding canals. Easy to explore on foot, you’ll be pleased to know that you can see most of the city in under 24 hours. Here’s your ultimate guide on how to spend one day in Bruges .

Please note that Bruges is known in Brugge in Flemish. While I would highly recommend visiting the city in of itself over the course of a few days so as to truly soak up all of the attractions, Bruges can also be seen as an easy day trip from Brussels.

Bruges travel tips Belgium

Is 1 day enough for Bruges?

Things to know before visiting bruges, the best time to spend one day in bruges, snap a photo of the quay of the rosary, basilica of the holy blood, blinde ezelstraat, climb the belfry, market square (grote markt), have lunch at that’s toast, canal cruise, head to de halve maan brewery, have dinner, drinks at le trappiste, where to stay in bruges, what to wear when exploring europe.

I would say YES, one day is more than enough for Bruges. The city is small, compact, and all of the major attractions are within a few minutes walk of one another.

This, added to the fact that the Belgian city is very touristic, means that you’ll likely see everything you want to see in the space of a day before heading off to another city! You can even do both Bruges and Ghent in one day if you’re really pressed for time, and we actually suggest this in our Belgium itinerary !

This itinerary for 1 day in Bruges is quite intensive and will involve a fair amount of walking. As such, I suggest wearing comfortable shoes such as cute trainers or ankle boots. I don’t recommend wearing any sort of high heel as there are plenty of cobble stones and the two don’t mix well.

The local language spoken in Bruges is Flemish, which is a dialect of Dutch. However, don’t be too worried as Bruges is a very touristic city and so most people working in the tourist industry will have a fantastic level of English.

For even more information about the Belgian city, be sure to check out our guide to the best things to do in Bruges . And for an insider look at the city, be sure to check out our article about the best-kept secrets of Bruges .

The best time to visit the city is from April to June and in September and October when the weather is at its best but the crowds are not too great.

As with many other highly frequented destinations in Europe, you should also be wary for pickpockets. Bruges uses the Euro and, while many places accept cards, some smaller independent businesses remain cash only.

bruges canals

How to spend one day in Bruges

One of the most important things to know before visiting Bruges is that it gets very busy as the city is one of the most popular destinations in Europe.

As such, I would highly recommend heading the the Quay of the Rosary (known as the Rozenhoedkaai in Flemish) first thing in the morning so that you can snap your photos without having to wait in too many crowds!

quay of the rosary bruges

Located in the iconic Burg Square, the Basilica of the Holy Blood (known as Heilig-Bloedbasiliek in Flemish) is named for a religious relic which is alleged to contain a drop of holy blood that was collected by Joseph of Arimathea.

The ecclesiastical building itself was constructed in the 12th-century and is now considered to be one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the city. In a city where almost everything will cost you a fair bit, it’s worth noting that the Basilica itself is free to enter!

Please note that part of the church has now be transformed into a museum, which costs €6 to enter. After leaving the Basilica of the Holy Blood, you’ll want to continue your one day in Bruges by heading down the Blinde Ezelstraat.

basilica of the holy blood

Steps away from Burg Square, one of the most narrow and charming streets in Bruges can be found in the form of Blinde Ezelstraat. Literally translated into English as the ‘Blind Donkey Street,’ the cobbled lane features several impressive brick buildings and an archway of the City Hall building. It’s one of the best places to visit in the city and is well-placed to visit the next stop on our tour.

Blinde Ezelstraat Bruges

For one of the best bird’s eye views of Bruges that the city has to offer, then I would highly recommend climbing the Belfry. The tower stands at a height of 83 metres and, thanks to the fact that the Belfry (known as Belfort van Brugge in Flemish) can be seen from all over Bruges, it has since become a symbol of the Belgian city.

In order to get to the top, you’ll have to walk over 300 steps (366 steps to be precise). From the top, you can see the moated canal that rings its way around the city, as well as all of the other iconic attractions that Bruges has to offer.

Good to know: It’s best to visit the Belfry earlier in the day as this is one of the top attractions in Bruges, and so can get pretty busy later on, even though tickets are limited. As tickets are limited for the tower, then you’ll want to buy them in advance.

bruges belfry belgium

The main market and city square of Bruges is the Grote Markt, which lies in the shadow of the Bruges Belfry. If you happen to be visiting Bruges during Christmas time, then the Grote Markt is where the annual Bruges Christmas Market is held.

bruges grote markt belgium

One of the best brunch and lunch spots in town is That’s Toast (address Dweersstraat 4, 8000 Brugge, Belgium). As you can imagine from the name, the café serves up delicious dishes based around bread.

There is indoor seating, as well as a lovely little terrace out the back which is best enjoyed on a sunny day. There are vegan and vegetarian options on the menu, as well as speciality coffee.

Unfortunately the restaurant doesn’t take reservations and is instead first come first served. However, the café runs continuously during opening times and so I recommend avoiding peak lunch hours (between 12 and 2 PM) if possible.

thats toast bruges belgium

After you’ve had a bite to eat, then I recommend escaping the crowds for an hour or so and heading into Minnewater for a little down time- the rest of this 1 day itinerary is pretty packed! Literally translated into English as the ‘love of Lake park,’ this green space features giant chess boards, and even a historic castle.

Minnewater Kasteel has since been transformed into a restaurant and is located in the centre of the park. Though Minnewater is located a short walk away from the city centre, it’s ideally located for heading to the next spot on our one day in Bruges itinerary.

Minnewater Bruges Belgium

Known as Ten Wijngaerde in Flemish, the term ‘Beguinage’ comes from the French words ‘béguinage’, which is used to denote a housing complex which was constructed so as to house beguines.

These were religious women who lived together as part of a community but didn’t have to take any vows or retire from the world. The beguinage of Bruges was founded in 1245 and women voluntarily practiced a life of religious devotion, though they were free to leave at any time.

Today, the complex comprises of a central green space courtyard (though you’re not allowed on the grass) , a simple church, and 30 houses that were constructed in the 1500s. Be sure to be quiet and respectful when visiting as people still live there today.

Ten Wijngaerde

Of course, no itinerary for Bruges would be complete without heading out on a canal tour. There are five landing stages where the various visits depart from and tours last for around half an hour.

In this time, a captain will guide you through the iconic Bruges canals, which were originally constructed to serve as shipping lanes for the city and are now classed as UNESCO world heritage sites. Book your Bruges boat tour and guided walking tour here in advance.

I’ve left this tour until later in the day as this will allow you to enjoy all of the beer samples on offer without getting so tired that you can’t enjoy the rest of this Bruges itinerary. The Halve Maan Brewery is a little touristic, but offers one of the best immersive beer experiences in Bruges.

The tour itself takes visitors around the brewery and teaches you about the beer making process, as well as the history of beer in Belgium. The price of every tour ticket includes a complimentary beer. There’s also a souvenir shop where you can buy beer to take home with you.

De Halve Maan Brewery

One thing you should know is that dinner in Bruges does not come cheap, especially if you’re looking for a finer dining experience or indeed wish to go somewhere with a particular romantic ambiance. Some of the top places to eat in Bruges include ONE Restaurant (Arsenaalstraat 55), Bistro Bruut (Meestraat 9), and Je Restaurant (Langestraat 83).

End your one day in Bruges the right way by having drinks at Le Trappiste (address: Kuipersstraat 33, 8000 Brugge, Belgium). Though a little touristic, this bar is recommended on pretty much every Bruges itinerary, and for good reason!

Le Trappiste bar is set against the backdrop of an 800 year old cellar, meaning that it’s completely underground. As well as just over two dozen draught beers, there are plenty of bottled beers on the menu. It’s also possible to buy food. For more information about beer, be sure to check out our beginner’s guide to beer in Belgium .

Visiting Bierhuis De Klomp, The Oldest Bar in Delft, The Netherlands

As a very popular city (one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe), you’ll want to plan ahead and book your accommodation well in advance when it comes to visiting Bruges.

Another option if you want to save money could be to stay in Ghent or Brussels and see Bruges as a day trip. Otherwise, here are some of the best places to stay in Bruges based on location and web-reviews:

Snuffel Hostel: Just a ten minute walk away from the Belfry, this hostel offers a variety of different rooms including mixed and female only dorms. Other amenities include free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and baggage storage. Check prices and availability now.

Hotel Academie Bruges: A four-star hotel which is fairly affordable is Hotel Academie Bruges. Situated in the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw Quarter, colourful rooms are situated a stone’s throw away from all the major attractions in town. Check prices and availability now.

Hotel Dukes’ Palace: For the crème de la crème of Bruges accommodation, consider staying in the five-star Hotel Dukes’ Palace. Situated against the backdrop of a 15th-century palace, amenities include a spa and hot tub. Check prices and availability now.

In the summer, you can’t go wrong by pairing a cute midi dress with classic white tennis shoes for a laid-back smart casual look that’s just as chic for walking around a city’s cobbled lanes as it is for wandering coastal paths. I love this dress and have it in several colour ways. In terms of tennis shoes, this is my go-to shoe.

When it comes to winter in Europe, most places (with the exception of a few islands) can get pretty cold and so warm layers is a must. I find that cute ankle boots like these ones are the perfect mix of practical meets cute.

Shoulder seasons (spring and summer) in Europe tend to come with a mix of rainy and sunny days and so, again, layers are a must. Trench coats and sneakers are the best uniform to explore the continent in.

Finally, a cross-body bag like these ones is a must. I personally use a crossbody bag  by this brand  and love its shape, size, and versatility. As well as being convenient and compact, it’s one of the safest ways to transport your valuables, all the while looking chic. I also recommend bringing along a travel adapter  like this one  so you can charge all of your electronics during your stay!

Enjoyed reading about how to spend one day in Bruges? Pin this article now, read it again later:

best of bruges/ A One Day in Bruges Itinerary for bruges europe travel

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A Francophile at heart, she runs solosophie.com when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She splits her time between Paris and London and travels as much as she can! Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.

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Paula Berger

Friday 25th of August 2023

Hi! We are visiting Bruges in May from Wisconsin. Our plan is 2 days in Bruges and one in Ghent. Do you think we could do 1 and a half days in Bruges and take the train to Ghent for the other half? We are taking the train to London after our time in Belgium. Thank you!

Sophie Nadeau

Tuesday 29th of August 2023

Hello! That sounds like a great plan and I am sure you will love Belgium! You could even dedicate one day to each of the cities (i.e. one full day in Bruges and one full day in Ghent instead as Bruges can be pretty busy and is often a little less so).

JAMES CATHRO

Friday 28th of July 2023

Thank you very informative indeed. We are going shortly staying one night. We are going by car(diesel) do I need to pay for ulez zone?

Thursday 10th of August 2023

I visited by train so am unsure about the requirements. I recommend either contacting your hotel ahead of time or alternatively checking your vehicle registration plate against the official LEZ website: https://www.lez.brussels/mytax/

The Discoveries Of

A Day Trip to Bruges: How to Plan + See the Best of Bruges in a Day

Beautiful Bruges is a city unlike any other. Old-world architecture, horse-drawn carriages, handsome canals – it’s no wonder that it’s such a popular destination. Planning your day trip to Bruges? This is what you need to know. 

Bruges. 

Whatever you’ve heard about it – forget it. No matter how many pictures pop up on your feed, stories you hear or cool films with Colin Farrell you see – nothing quite prepares you for seeing it in the flesh. 

This is a city that conjures up times long-past, the heydey of Flemish architecture, strategic waterways and old-world wealth. 

No wonder it’s one of Europe’s most popular bucket list destinations . 

Thanks to the city’s central location, it’s really easy to plan a day trip to Bruges. 

Small and compact, you can set off from home early in the morning, take a whizz around the city and get home comfortably in time for bed. 

This guide will walk you through the best way to see Bruges in a day, complete with a suggested itinerary and practical tips on the best modes of transport to help you plan your trip. Enjoy! 

PS: Want to see all that Bruges has to offer? Check out my guide to the most fabulous things to do in Bruges.

Planning Your Day Trip to Bruges 

Visiting Bruges in One Day

Eurostar Day Trip to Bruges 

The easiest way to do a Bruges day trip from London is to take the Eurostar – there really isn’t much arguing with the fact that you can hop onto the Eurostar to Brussels, change onto a local train to Bruges and be in Bruges in 3 hours and 25 minutes. 

OK, so you have to add a bit of time to allow for security (Eurostar advise arriving 30 mins before departure), but all in all, it’s quick, easy and – if you time your ticket buying right – pretty good value. 

The earliest train for Brussels leaves St Pancras at around 6.20am and the last train from Brussels leaves around 8.20pm, meaning you’d need to leave Bruges around 7pm subject to train times as trains are about an hour. 

Pros: Quick and easy. Travel direct from St Pancras (as well as selected trains from Ebbsfleet & Ashford International). Can get you to Bruges by 11am. 

Cons: Last train is relatively early so you will have to skip dinner or have it very early in the evening. 

Check Times & Prices on Eurostar

Day Trips to Bruges by Coach on a Tour

Taking day trips to Bruges by coach has some serious pluses going for it. 

First of all, everything is taken care of: once you book your space on the tour, you don’t have to worry about changing trains, finding the right platform or working out the best route. Simply rock up at the meeting point at the right time (be warned: this is generally around 6am, but you can fall back into your coma once you get on the bus) and boom – everything else is taken care of. 

The coach is also generally the cheapest way to do your day trip to Bruges – significantly so – meaning you have more cash to spend on enjoying the actual destination. No bad thing right. 

That’s the good stuff. 

The only real downside is that it does take longer – around 5-6 hours each way. So even though you started at 6am, you’re unlikely to get there before 1pm… ouch. 

Plus, when you factor in the fact that the tour leaves Bruges again at 5pm, it doesn’t actually leave you with that much time there. Boo. 

Pros: Cheapest way to do a day trip to Bruges. Easy. 

Cons: Not much time in Bruges. Long journey times. 

Book a spot on this London to Bruges Day Tour 

Day Trip to Bruges by Ferry + Car

I’ve travelled to Bruges quite a few times by ferry and car and it is totally doable as a day trip, but again, it’s slower than the Eurostar meaning that you end up with less time in the city itself. 

You can either sail from Dover to Calais, or to Dunkirk with DFDs Seaways. I’d advise that you do the latter as Bruges is only a 45-50 minute drive away from Dunkirk. 

One of the big bonuses with this option is that you can decide how early you want to go and how late you want to return as ferries run throughout the night. 

If you can bear it, I’d suggest catching the 6am ferry to Dunkirk, catching some more kip on the ferry (it’s a 2 hour ferry ride) and then catching the 10pm ferry from Dunkirk to Dover back. It’s a long day and you will need lots of coffee, but you will also get loads of time in Bruges for your day trip. 

Pros: If you time it right, you can have a long time in Bruges itself. Relatively cheap if you book in advance. 

Cons: Long journey times. Need to drive yourself (and feel comfortable driving on the other side of the road).

Book your ferry to Dunkirk with DFDS Seaways.

Bruges in a Day: Suggested Itinerary

Wondering what can you do in Bruges in one day? These are the places you shouldn’t miss. 

Want more information on each attraction? Check out my guide to the Best Things to do in Bruges .

Markt, Brugge

Markt is a strong contender for my favourite spot in Bruges.

Horse-drawn carriages, amazing architecture, the towering Belfort, plus a few benches where you can sit down and soak it all in – it’s magnetic without being overwhelming. 

Many of Bruges big-hit sights lie within easy striking distance of Markt, so it makes sense to start your Bruges one day itinerary here… In fact, the next stop is only a few paces away. 

Climb to the Top of the Belfort for the Views 

Views from the Belfort

The Belfort is Bruges’ second-tallest tower (first place goes to the tower on Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk) – no matter though, because it is the best place to go for panoramic views of Bruges.

Of course, there’s no gain without a bit of pain – at least that’s what you will have to tell your legs on the way to the top of the Belfort but it is totally worth it. 

Chocolate at Olivier’s Chocolate House

Belgian Chocolate at Olivier's

Is it ever too early in the day for chocolate? Answer clearly = no.

Bruges boasts a wealth of fancy chocolate shops where you can taste and buy the kind of chocolate that has made Belgium so famous for the stuff.

I’ve tried quite a few chocolate shops during my times in Bruges and always come back to Oliviers – where the chocolate is sinfully good, and the staff are friendly and knowledgeable enough to help you pick your favourites. 

Visit Burg 

Burg Square

The other of Bruges’ magnificent large squares, you could argue all day about whether you prefer Markt or Burg. The only way to settle the issue is, of course, to go and see it for yourself.

Functioning as the administrative centre of the city, Burg is home to many important buildings including the Town Hall and the Basilica of the Holy Blood – complete with phial that’s said to contain a scrap of cloth imbued with the blood of Jesus. 

Take a Canal Cruise 

Canal Tour Brugge

Yes, it’s touristy AF but guess what – we are tourists, so we might as well embrace it. A day trip to Bruges isn’t complete without hopping onto a canal cruise to see the city from a different point of view. 

Wrap up warm in chillier months as it can be bitterly cold (I’ve learnt this from first-hand experience). Hop on and off at Rozenhoedkaai (Quay of the Rosary) to best fit it into this itinerary. 

Pick the Groeninge Museum OR Gruuthuse Museum 

Gruuthuse Museum

Look, it’s a difficult task trying to see the best of Brugge in a day, so it’s decision-making time. Bruges’ best-known museums the Groeninge Museum and the Gruuthuse Museum are close by, but you definitely do not have the time to visit both of them. 

I can’t rave about either museum – I’ve visited both and neither set my world alight.

However, if you do want to visit one, the Groeninge Museum showcases the work of Flemish, Dutch and Belgian artists (largely focusing on art before the 20th century) while the Gruuthuse takes you into the wealthy home of 16th century merchants – complete with furniture, art and accessories from that period.  

Grab Lunch at De Bottelier

If you’ve got time for a slightly more leisurely lunch, De Bottelier is my favourite place to dine in the city. It’s fancy but the dishes are decently-priced – not to mention that the restaurant itself oozes with classic Belgian charm.

The menu is European-inspired, with plenty of Belgian classics (and a very, very good wine menu to match). The lamb tagine is among the best I’ve ever tasted, though the salmon pasta is equally as delicious.

If you’re running low on time, grab a portion of Belgian fries from literally any of the frit shops around the city to snack on as you stroll – getting a pool of Samurai Sauce on the side is non-negotiable.

Admire the Art in Sint-Salvatorskathedraal

Bruges Sint Salvator

It’s no secret that I’m a huge art-lover, so popping by an impressive cathedral decked out in some pretty spectacular works is a no-brainer as part of your day trip in Bruges. 

The church’s floor is pretty special – but remember to look up and admire the intricate designs that dot the ceiling.

I’ll argue that if you’re on a shorter day trip (i.e, you’ve got 4/5 hours in the city), it’s probs best to skip this. But, otherwise, it’s one of the coolest places to visit in the city.

Admire Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk – The Church of Our Lady 

Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk

Statuesque and imposing, The Church of Our Lady is one of Bruges’ biggest sights – largely down to the fact that you can see Michaelangelo’s Madonna & Child inside (along with a host of other historical art).

Yes, it’s crowded and yes, it’s currently undergoing renovations so the experience is a little marred, but you can’t take a day trip to Bruges and skip it. 

Sip Belgian Beer at De Halve Maan

Tripel beer in Bruges

Ahhhh – I bet you thought I was going to skip one of Bruges’ real highlights – its beer. Most certainly not. I’m offended that you would even think that. 

De Halve Maan is my favourite of the breweries you can visit in Bruges. If you have time, you can do a brewery tour, but even if you don’t the taphouse is a nice place to pop in for a beer or two (not too many, you still need to get home lol). 

The range of beers is a bit mind-boggling but they’re really nice and friendly and will help you wrap your head around a dubbel and a tripel – you’ll be a Belgian beer expert in no time. 

Read More: Best Beer Bars + Breweries in Bruges

Walk Around the Beijinhof

Begijnhof Bruges

It feels a bit wrong to go from a brewery into a Benedictine Convent – but don’t worry, you’re just looking at the outside of the buildings here. 

All of Belgium’s Beijinhofs – sanctuaries built for poor women in the Middle Ages are UNESCO World-Heritage Listed – Bruges is particularly beautiful. 

The white buildings are clustered around a tree-studded green – it’s a peaceful place that’s just right for rounding off your Bruges in a day itinerary. Now time to head home… 

One Day in Bruges: Map 

Brugge Day Trip: Travel Tips and FAQ 

I’ve written this guide with people arranging a Bruges day trip from London in mind – however, most of the advice is adaptable to other nearby destinations. 

You can arrange day trips to Bruges from Brussels , Paris and Amsterdam really easily too. 

What about a Day Trip to Bruges for the Christmas Markets?

Arranging a day trip to Bruges for the Christmas Markets is easy. You can choose from travelling by Eurostar, Car + Ferry or taking a specific Christmas Market tour (check Get Your Guide to see what is available). 

Does Eurostar Go to Bruges?

No, Eurostar does not go directly to Bruges. You need to change trains onto a local train from Brussels (the local train is included in the price of your ticket). 

How Long do You Need to Visit Bruges?

Ideally you would have at least two days to visit Bruges. It is possible (as I hope this article shows you!) to see a lot of Bruges in a day, but with two days you can take things at a gentler pace and see even more. 

Read Next: How to Spend Two Days in Bruges

Parking in Bruges 

If you’ve decided to do your day trip to Bruges via car and ferry, the best parking is on the edge of town next to Centrum Station. Parking costs €3.50 for up to 24 hours and it’s a 10-15 minute walk into the centre of town. 

What to Pack for your Bruges Day Trip

Here are a few things you will want to make sure you pack on your trip. 

  • Passport 
  • Driving Licence (if you’re driving)
  • Tickets 
  • Comfortable walking shoes 
  • Portable battery charger
  • Waterproof jacket (hey, the weather in Belgium can be wildly changeable)

Where to Stay on Your Bruges Trip 

Architecture in Bruges

I have written a full guide to where to stay in Bruges but as a quick summary:

Novotel Bruges Centrum 

If you do decide to stay the night in Bruges, I’ve found the Novotel Bruges Centrum to strike the right balance between comfortable, well-located and excellent value. 

Check Rates and Availability for Novotel Bruges 

Hotel de Orangerie

If you want to push the boat out, Hotel de Orangerie is one of the best hotels in Bruges and housed in a renovated Carthusian convent. 

Check Rates and Availability for Hotel de Orangerie Bruges

Read More Belgium Travel Guides

  • Where to Stay in Bruges
  • The Best Airbnbs in Bruges
  • Bruges Attractions Map
  • Bruges 2 Day Itinerary
  • What to Pack for Europe
  • Antwerp Travel Guide: What to See + What to Skip

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A Day Trip to Bruges

I’m Julianna Barnaby - a professional travel writer and geek extraordinaire. I started The Discoveries Of to help you to discover the best of new destinations from around the world.

Discovering new places is a thrill - whether it’s close to home, a new country or continent, I write to help you explore more and explore differently.

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17 of the best experiences in Bruges

Dec 16, 2023 • 9 min read

Young woman tourist sits on a bridge in the old city in Bruges in the morning in Belgium and waves a hand passing by a tourist boat with tourists.; Shutterstock ID 1400041118; your: Claire Naylor; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online editorial; full: Bruges things to do

From touring the city by canal boat to eating the tastiest fries, here are the best things to do in Bruges © LALS STOCK / Shutterstock

Bruges is one of the most picturesque cities in Northern Europe, with photo opportunities awaiting you around every corner.

The medieval city center survived multiple invasions and wars over the last 500 years, yet miraculously kept its 15th-century architecture intact – an achievement that won it UNESCO World Heritage status in 2000. 

Beyond the picturesque Gothic facades, you can go sailing through the canals, learn about the Flemish Masters, or visit one of the many museums (perfect for a rainy day, of which there are many). Here's our pick of the very best experiences in Bruges .

1. See Bruges on a canal boat tour

Experience the sights and sounds of Bruges on a boat tour along the picturesque canals for just €12. Doing it on the day you arrive will help orient you in the city while the guide gives you a potted history of your surroundings. You'll pass under  Bonifacius Bridge , a popular 20th-century stone arch crossing usually thronged with snap-happy tourists, as well as the 18th-century Nepomucenus Bridge, watched over by a statue of John of Nepomuk – the patron saint of bridges.

Save some smartphone storage for Rosary Quay, though. Its name comes from the rosary bead sellers that used to dominate the area, but that's not what draws tourists here in their droves. It's the photogenic kink in the canal and the crooked, forward-leaning facades that make for incredible pictures. The boats, formerly all diesel engines, are being replaced by a fleet of fully electric vessels . 

2. Break for a Belgian beer at a Bruges bar 

Beer is a big part of Flemish culture, and there's no shortage of places to have a pint, so take a break from sightseeing to try a local specialty. Tucked away in a little alley near the city center, De Garre is a quirky bar with over 140 varieties of beer. Advertised as "possibly the oldest pub in Bruges," Café Vlissinghe has been pouring beers since 1515. It's still a beloved spot for tourists and residents of Bruges alike. If you're looking for a lively bar scene, head to 't Zand Square  –  Villa Gerard is popular with students and residents. 

A person holds a takeaway tray containing a waffle covered in chocolate sauce outside in a medieval square.

3. Indulge your sweet tooth with waffles, pastries, and chocolates

If you have a sweet tooth, get ready to indulge in Bruges – there are chocolate, pastry, and candy shops on every street and the sweet aroma of freshly toasted waffles follows you through the city. For a beautiful and delicious waffle, go to Otto Waffle Atelier where they're made with an intricate pattern. 

Aux Merveilleux De Fred  serves exquisite pastries in an equally stunning tea room. Order a Vergeoise waffle to go with your coffee. Round out your indulgence with chocolate truffles at one of the most popular chocolate shops, Chocolatier Dumon .

4. Go on an architectural walking tour of Bruges 

Pack your comfortable shoes because Bruges is a place for walkers. A wander through the beautiful city center is one of the best ways to admire the Gothic and Flemish architecture. Keep your eyes open for the many treasures such as the emblematic 't Zand's 21st-century  Concert Hall , which looks like a giant, half-submerged goldfish ducking beneath the pavement; the cherry-red Barge Bridge that seemingly twists like the track on a roller-coaster; and the 13th-century Church of Our Lady , with its enormous 115m (377ft) spire. Inside you'll find Michelangelo’s serene Madonna and Child statue from 1504.

Planning tip:  Bruges Tourism Office offers free maps for self-guided walking tours .

5. Visit independent shops along Langestraat 

Take a 10–15 minute walk from Markt, the heart of ancient Bruges, to Langestraat, a street with independently owned restaurants, cafes, and shops. Stop by Cherry Picker Cafe for its unique selection of vinyl records with a bar in the back of the shop before browsing for rare finds at Brocante Cafe , an antique shop and cafe. If you're looking for the perfect made-in-Bruges gift, stop by  Atelier Twee , featuring leather goods made in-house and items created by regional artisans. 

6. Tour a Belgian brewery 

Belgium produces some of the best beers in the world – even those that don't usually enjoy a pint can be converted after a sip. For Belgians, beer is more than a beverage, it's a tradition, with most brasseries serving beers in distinct glasses representing the breweries. Brewery De Halve Maan offers brewery tours and tastings in the heart of Bruges. Sip your chosen brew in the beer hall or catch the elusive Belgian sun on the cozy terrace. 

Planning tip:  Be sure to bring your camera on a sunny day. The tour guide (weather permitting) will take you to the brewery's rooftop, which offers splendid city views. 

People walk through a huge medieval square dominated by a tall Gothic tower

7. Take in the magnificent Markt, one of Europe's finest squares

A medieval masterpiece, few European plazas outdo this glorious, car-free square for sheer good looks. A poster child for Belgium, Markt has a bit of Hollywood pizzazz to it – all tall, step-gabled guild houses, glinting neo-Gothic facades, and slow, clip-clopping horse-and-carriage rides. True, some of the buildings may not be as timeless as their restored glory suggests, but little has changed since the first market here in 958 CE.

Just look to the Belfort in the northwest of the square. Finished in 1486, this 83m-high (272ft) octagonal tower was the dominating skyscraper of its day – and so it remains. Grab a coffee from one of the nearby terrace cafes and admire it all from there, or...

8. Climb Belfort for the best views of Bruges

To preserve Bruges' charm, there are no tall modern buildings in the city center. Get the best panoramas over red-tiled rooftops all the way to Zeebrugge – and a workout from climbing the 366 steps – at the top of  Belfort . This 13th-century belfry is one of the tallest points in the historic center. 

Planning tip:  Numbers are limited to 70 visitors at a time for safety reasons. The queue can get quite lengthy at peak times, so arrive early to avoid them.

9. Learn about the Flemish Masters at Groeningemuseum

Given its long history, Bruges is a city of rich culture, and nowhere showcases this like the rich collection of Flemish Primitive and Renaissance works at Groeningemuseum . The art gallery features works by Flemish Masters such as Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, Hugo van der Goes, and Gerard David, and is the perfect rainy day activity.

10. Enjoy an eclectic program of events at Concertgebouw 

Another treat for a rainy day is the eclectic programming of exhibitions and performances at the Concertgebouw , the modern concert hall of Bruges. You can also book a tour of this stunning 21st-century architectural gem.

The exterior of the Museum Sint-Janshospitaal against the canal on a calm, blue-skied winter morning in Bruges, Belgium

11. Admire the works of Hans Memling at the Museum Sint-Janshospitaal

This impeccably restored chapel , which sits at the heart of a wonderful 12th-century hospital building, is home to six masterpieces by the revered 15th-century devotional artist Hans Memling. Undoubtedly Bruges' finest painter, certainly in his lifetime, it wasn't really until the late 19th century that interest was piqued in the innovative portraitist with shows across the world.

Here, you can admire his delicate oil work on the panels of the splendid, gilded reliquary of St Ursula, which is said to hold some of her relics. But don't miss the large triptych of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist either. It was originally the church's altarpiece.

Planning tip:  Your ticket also gives you access to the restored 17th-century pharmacy through a door at the rear of the chapel.

12. Immerse yourself in history and myths at Burg

Imagine being a square this beautiful and interesting and still not being the most-talked-about square in the city. Anywhere else in the world and the Gothic turrets of the 15th-century Stadhuis (city hall) , the charcoal-colored facade and gilded statues of the Basilica of the Holy Blood – purportedly home to a cloth stained with the blood of Jesus Christ – and the light clip-clop of the horse-drawn carriages would make Burg an unmissable banquet of medieval architecture. Here? It plays second fiddle to Markt. But is still well worth a few hours of your time.

13. Grab a budget meal around 't Zand

There are several universities in Bruges, most notably the College of Europe and the Catholic University College of Bruges, which means plenty of places to find a meal on a budget. The area around 't Zand Square has several student-friendly restaurants, cafes, and bars.

HAP Takeaway Bites uses locally sourced ingredients to make delicious sandwiches, salads and freshly pressed juices. An excellent spot for breakfast or lunch, most items cost around €5–8. For lunches less than €10, try the burgers, croquettes, and fries at Frituur-Bistro 't Bootje or dine on Syrian-style falafel, shawarmas, and wraps at Taboulé .

Pastel-colored tall buildings line a square with cafes and restaurants at the base. A cyclist whizzes by.

14. Rent a bike and go beyond the historic city center

Bruges is relatively flat, making it ideal to explore on a bike. There are several good  bike rental outfits  located around the city. Start your ride at the Kruispoort Gate, one of Bruges's four preserved medieval gates, where a bike trail leads the way to photogenic windmills such as Bonne-Chière and Sint-Janshuismolen.

If you want to go on a longer ride, consider the 90-minute roundtrip to Zeebrugge, approximately 15km (9.3 miles) each way, for a view of the choppy North Sea and lunch at a seafood restaurant.

15. Find inner peace at the begijnhof

Ah! Pure silence. Or as close as you're ever going to get in a city that swells with bus-loads of tourists each day. Built in the 13th century as a place for religious women to live piously but with the freedom to go into the city itself, this gabled, white-washed begijnhof still retains a reverent calm among its trees. 

16. Take your fries seriously with frietjes at a frituur

No trip to Belgium is complete with having a cone (or three) of frietjes (fries). Belgians take their fries seriously and Bruges has plenty of frituurs –  small restaurants specializing in fries – around the city. A large portion of fries with sauce is usually around €4. Belgians love a dollop of mayo on their crispy, thick-cut fries and sometimes tuck in with unique condiments such as curry ketchup or samurai sauce (spicy mayo).

17. And then learn why fries are part of the national dish

The quirky Frietmuseum  starts with a detailed history of potatoes and their journey from Peru to Europe and helps you understand why fries became such an important part of Belgian cuisine. Bring your appetite – the museum serves crispy fries made to order with a wide selection of sauces from its own frituur . 

This article was first published March 2022 and updated December 2023

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Home » Europe » Belgium » What to Do in Bruges in One Day

What to Do in Bruges in One Day

By Author Laura Longwell

Posted on Last updated: November 30, 2023

Bruges is gorgeous. Its medieval streets radiate out from attractive squares, there are cobblestones with horses clomping by, and, everywhere, picturesque and historic buildings invite you to stop for a photo. Exploring Bruges, Belgium, from the water adds a new dimension as the canals pass through historic districts and beside 15th-century mansions.

Person bicycling row of traditional buildings in Bruges.

But Bruges (Brugge) isn’t just about seeing pretty things—there are tours to take, history to be learned, and plenty of beer to be drunk. While the city may be best seen leisurely over two days, it’s possible to see a lot of the city in less time thanks to its compact, walkable nature. If you’re wondering what to do in Bruges in one day, here’s our best list.

Visit Market Square

See the scenery at minnewater lake, learn about history at the beguinage, grab a beer at de halve maan brewery, tour the church of our lady, indulge at the old chocolate house, take a canal cruise, see town hall, visit basilica of the holy blood, see the view at quay of the rosary, browse the beers at 2be, explore the hansa quarter, visit the frietmuseum, see the local windmills, go underground at le trappiste, shop at the christmas market.

There is just something about the buildings in this city. Despite being bombed in World War II, many of its exquisite medieval buildings still stand. As with the canal houses in Lubeck and Amsterdam , we were completely smitten with the architecture.

Market Square with a bell tower on one side.

Market Square is one of the best places to see the brightly-colored step-gabled houses and merchant quarters that are now restaurants and shops. The cobblestoned, mostly pedestrian area is designed for enjoying the city.

A stop at the Market Square is definitely one of the best things to do in Bruges in one day. Grab some frites, pop into a shop for some chocolate, people watch, or climb the 366 steps to the top of the belfry —however you choose to enjoy the Market Square will be great.

Swans swimming in a canal.

Between the Old Town and the train station, Minnewater Lake (which literally means “Lake of Love”) and its accompanying park are great places to see in Bruges. The lake is really more of a wide spot along the canals that snake through the city, and it’s a lovely spot for people watching and enjoying the outdoors.

Minnewater has benches, weeping willows, and lots of swans gliding through the water. The whole atmosphere is quite romantic and makes the lake’s name seem appropriate. We enjoyed watching the painters who had assembled along the banks to capture the scene. If you want to linger, grab a coffee or lunch at one of the outdoor cafes.

To see the city highlights quickly, consider this personalized walking tour with a local .

White buildings with gabled roofs.

Near Minnewater Park, the Beguinage is a peaceful site in town. The Béguines who began living here in 1245 were lay women who dedicated their lives to God without removing themselves from the world. They formed communities–buildings built around green space–where they could meet their spiritual and material needs.

The white houses and buildings currently at the Beguinage date from the 17th century and are inhabited by the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict. The 13 Flemish beguinages have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Whether you have one day in Bruges or one week, a brewery is likely to be on the itinerary. It is Belgium, after all. At one point, the city had more than 50 breweries, but now there’s just one brewery left in the Old Town—De Halve Maan Brewery.

People at tables outside De Halve Mann brewery.

Unlike Cantillon, the brewery I visited in Brussels , De Halve Maan requires guided tours, so it’s a good idea to schedule in advance if you have your heart set on seeing behind the scenes .

On the 45-minute tour, you can see how De Halve Maan has been brewing since 1856 and sample their famous Brugse Zot. If you don’t have time for a tour, head to the outdoor beer garden or the restaurant for lunch. The carbonades flamandes made with Brugse Zot dubel was my favorite.

Underground beer pipeline visible through transparent cover.

The Church of Our Lady is a must-do for art lovers who visit Bruges even for one day. The exterior of the church is striking, featuring the tallest structure in the city and the second tallest brick tower in the world. Inside, visitors will find huge wooden carvings, gilded bronze effigies on the tombs of dukes, and other ornate works.

The real attraction at the Church of Our Lady is Michelangelo’s Madonna with Child (or Madonna of Bruges ). It’s the only one of Michelangelo’s works that left Italy during his lifetime. The statue was carved 1501-1504 and brought to Bruges by a wealthy merchant. To protect it, the statue can only be viewed from 15 feet away, but that’s still close enough to see the mastery.

Religious painting in front of stained glass windows.

Stopping for chocolate is a must on a weekend trip. Our shop of choice is The Old Chocolate House .

This family-run business has made premium chocolate for 20 years. They offer an extensive assortment of chocolate along with handmade biscuits, gingerbread, marzipan, and a selection of pralines. On the ground floor, you can peruse their delicious products.

Hot chocolate and chocolate truffles in cafe

Our favorite part of The Old Chocolate House was upstairs in the cozy tearoom. There are waffles, ice cream, and other desserts to try, but we went straight for the hot chocolate. When it comes to their signature drink, they do not mess around.

The hot chocolate selection is considerable. You can choose from milk, dark, or white chocolate, single origin chocolates from around the world, and more. Then there are add-ins running the gamut from the expected marshmallows and whipped cream to treats like honey, ginger, Grand Marnier, and salted caramel.

We opted for a selection, including the traditional, the Snickers, and the tiramisu hot chocolate. So good!

Boat in a canal with a church in the distance.

Like nearby Ghent , Bruges has fabulous canals that cut through the city. If you’re wondering what to do in Bruges in one day, a canal boat tour should certainly be at the top of your list. All the Medieval and Renaissance buildings, statues, and hidden alleys just take on a different look when you see them from the water. Not to mention that it’s hard to appreciate the picturesque bridges when you’re just standing on top of them.

The 30-minute boat tours provide information on the city’s history and take you to places that streets don’t necessarily go. They are also the perfect way to get an overview of the things to see in Bruges when you have limited time because they cover a large area. Cruising around town was definitely one of our favorite experiences.

Boat cruising in a canal in front of buildings.

A Town Hall may not sound like the most exciting site , but it’s definitely worth a quick look at the outside. The Gothic building, which dates from 1376, is one of the oldest buildings in the Low Countries and is a work of art. Plus, the location is convenient. The Town Hall is on Burg Square adjacent to the Church of the Holy Blood. It would be easy to visit both in under an hour.

Carved stone building with gold statues.

The Basilica of the Holy Blood is a Romanesque and Gothic chapel that dates from the 12th century. From the outside, its design is absolutely striking and made me want to know even more about what’s inside. It turns out that the upper chapel of this beautiful building holds an unusual relic that’s revered to be the blood of Christ.

According to tradition, Joseph of Arimathea wiped blood from the body of Christ after the crucifixion, and the cloth ultimately made its way to Bruges where it’s now located in a gold, jewel-encrusted vial in the chapel. Whether you’re a believer, a skeptic, or merely curious, the Basilica of the Holy Blood makes an interesting stop on 1 day or a weekend in Bruges.

Boat cruising a canal between two buildings.

The Quay of the Rosary (Rozenhoedkaai) is one place you definitely cannot miss . In fact, this bend in the canal is a magnet and you may find yourself there without knowing that it’s the most photographed area of the city. At least that’s what happened to us.

It’s hard not to be drawn to the postcard-perfect spot in the heart of the city. Unique buildings and the serene canals become one as happy visitors glide by in tour boats. It’s stunning. Don’t miss it.

Wall of beer bottles and glasses.

Opposite the Quay of the Rosary, just behind the trees is one of the best places to relax in the city— 2be . Visit their beer wall, which is like an encyclopedia of Belgian beer. Then grab something from the bar and head to the outdoor terrace overlooking the canal for some of the city’s best views. But go early because it closes by 7:30pm on weeknights and 8:00pm on weekends.

Statue of Jan Van Eyck beside medieval merchant houses.

From the 13th to the 15th century, Bruges was a bustling trade city thanks to its coastal location on many European trade routes. As part of the seafaring merchants of the Hanseatic League, the city’s wealth grew and many international merchants built mansions in the area that’s now known as the Hansa Quarter.

Not far from the Market Square (but much quieter), the Hansa Quarter is a great place to walk along the canal, have lunch, and admire the architecture of the former mansions and Hansa buildings, including the Old Toll House that dates from 1477.

Buildings with step-gabled roofs

Pop culture museums tend to go one of two ways—cool or goofy. Luckily, the museum honoring one of Belgium’s (and, heck, the world’s) favorite foods is the former. The quirky Frietmuseum has exhibits on the history of the fry from the cultivation of potatoes to the advent of the fried delicious snack. As a bonus, you get to eat at the end!

Windmill on a hill.

In the past, we always associated windmills with the Netherlands, but after seeing a beautiful one in Bremen, Germany , and more in Sicily and Greece, we’ve realized that they’re all over. And we love them everywhere we go. That’s why we were so happy to find that there is a series of windmills just a few minutes’ walk from the city center.

In the 16th century, as many as 23 windmills were once part of the city walls. Four stand today on Kruisvest Street, each on its own hill, and two are even still operational. Next to the windmills is a great park where you can feed and photograph sheep.

People in underground bar with a vaulted ceiling.

This unique beer bar is located in a 13th-century cellar with amazing vaulted ceilings. Even if it weren’t a great destination for beer lovers (it is), it would be worth stopping in for the aesthetics alone.

Le Trappiste has nearly 200 beers from around Europe, including many of the world’s Trappist beers, as the bar’s name suggests. You’ll find rare offerings, microbrews, and plenty of Belgian specialties. There was even a cider available for me, as the non-beer drinker in the group. At less than a 5-minute walk from Market Square, Le Trappiste should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Bruges.

People shopping at vendors at a Christmas market.

In the winter, the Bruges Christmas market is the place to be. Dozens of stalls selling food and gifts open up in Market Square and several other locations throughout the city.

You’ll find mulled wine, hot waffles, ornaments, and decorations all set against the backdrop of this fairy tale city . There’s even an ice skating rink and arcade games. We visited eight Christmas markets in Belgium , and Bruges was one of our favorites.

How to Get Here

Boat full of people cruising in a canal beside historic buildings.

Brussels and Bruges are only about an hour apart by train, so it is possible to do a day trip to Bruges from Brussels . However, we would really recommend spending the night to experience the city’s nightlife and the calm that comes after some of the day trippers depart. Trains costs about €20-30 each way, depending on class of service. The train station is a little over a mile from the historic center.

Trains between Bruges and Ghent cost about €10-20 each way, and the journey takes 22-40 minutes, depending on the specific train. Some people try to visit both cities in one day, but we really recommend taking a day for each rather than experiencing only a small part of both. If your time is short and you’re trying to choose between Bruges or Ghent, take a look at our comparison of the cities here .

Where to Eat

French fries in front of a building in Bruges market square

With hundreds of Belgian beers, Cambrinus is a perfect stop for beer pilgrims. The beer menu is massive, and all the staff are very knowledgeable and can help you find something to your liking. The food at this brasserie is also excellent, from the Belgian specialties to the Italian offerings.

Park Restaurant is one of the most romantic restaurants in the city. Set in an intimate mansion house, this fine dining establishment serves perfectly-cooked steaks and seafood and specializes in wine pairings.

Row of restaurants in former canal houses

Where to Stay

Hotel Van Cleef –A small luxury boutique hotel overlooking a canal, Hotel Van Cleef is one of the best places to stay. No detail is overlooked, the service is exemplary, and the surroundings are at once palatial and intimate. Check prices and book a room

Hotel De Castillion –Just five minutes from Market Square, Hotel De Castillion offers excellently-appointed rooms in an 16th-century bishop’s palace. In this small, family-run hotel, no two rooms are the same, but they are all gorgeous. Check prices and book a room

Hotel Botaniek –Set in an 18th-century mansion, Hotel Botaniek offers nine charming rooms in the city center. With a good breakfast and welcoming staff, it’s an affordable option close to everything. Check prices and book a room

brugge day tour

Laura Longwell is an award-winning travel blogger and photographer. Since founding Travel Addicts in 2008, she has written hundreds of articles that help over 3 million people a year get the most out of their travel. In that time, she has visited nearly 60 countries on 5 continents, often returning to favorite destinations over and over again. She has a deep love of history, uncovering unexpected attractions, and trying all the good food a place has to offer.

In addition to Travel Addicts, Laura runs a site about her hometown of Philadelphia—Guide to Philly—which chronicles unique things to do and places to see around southeastern Pennsylvania. Her travel tips and advice appear across the web.

What to Do in Bruges in One Day

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Thursday 13th of October 2022

After reading your post, I can't wait to visit this beautiful city when our cruise ship docks in Zeebrugge. Is it possible to see all the things you list in Brugge in 6-7 hours? We would not do the brewery tour, but I can't think of anything else I would want to miss! Thanks for all this great info.

Laura Longwell

Friday 14th of October 2022

I would probably skip the walk to the windmill, but, otherwise, I think you'd be good with that amount of time. The center is quite compact.

Monday 28th of March 2022

I really enjoy your travel tips and your blogs. Without a doubt, you have one of the best sites out there!

Ankita & Mohit

Thursday 6th of June 2019

Thanks for this post, Laura! We're visiting Ghent and Bruges this weekend and your post is going to be a great help. Maybe we'll do the canal trip in Bruges instead of Ghent - don't fancy doing it in both cities.

That would be our recommendation. We recently did the one in Bruges again, and it's gorgeous even if the weather isn't. Have a wonderful time :)

Friday 19th of January 2018

Bruges might be one of the most photogenic cities I've ever visited! It's so beautiful!

I think it might be the first place I've ever visited just because I thought it was pretty. Luckily, I wasn't wrong :)

Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats

I have never been to Bruges (or Belgium for that matter) and it looks like such a beautiful city. But as you say there are also other great things to see and do as well. I love historical architecture so would love to just see and visit some of the medieval buildings!

Vagrants Of The World Travel

One Day in Bruges Itinerary

By: Author Kate O'Malley

Posted on Last updated: October 8, 2022

Home >> Europe >> Belgium >> One Day in Bruges Itinerary

One of the most popular cities to visit in Belgium, many consider the medieval fairytale town of Bruges one of the prettiest cities in Europe. Even if you only have one day in Bruges, a day trip is very rewarding.

Bruges is known for the pretty canals that wind through the city, where swans and boats glide effortlessly past ancient bell towers, historic churches and storybook houses. Quaint cobbled lanes sprawl from market squares where horse-drawn carriages trot purposefully through town.

Beyond the picturesque facade, Bruges invokes thoughts of beer, waffles, chocolate and the black comedy In Bruges . These are the things Bruges is famous for.

Historic buildings, bell tower on a canal on a sunny day in Bruges.

Table of Contents

Things To Do In Bruges in One Day Quick Guide

Explore bruges old town.

  • Bruges Canal Tour

Churches and Museums

  • Market Square 

Climb the Belfry

  • Burg Square – City Hall, The Holy Blood Basilica
  • In Bruges Movie Tour
  • Beer, Fries & Chocolate
  • Belgium Beer Tour

Read on for Details

Visiting Bruges

Floods of tourists arrive each day to see the pretty city of Bruges. Especially in the peak summer months, to experience the medieval fairy tale charm of Bruges.

With so many visitors to Bruge each year, you may wonder if the quaint city has fallen victim to its own unique quality, like Venice and Cinque Terre . Its authenticity and charm lost to tourism. In some ways, it has, but like many popular cities in Europe, there is always the good and the bad. Thankfully, there are still plenty of good reasons to visit Bruges.

Quaint red brick house with red trim windows and a bicycle out the front in Bruges.

So, Is Bruges Worth Visiting?

In short, if you are in Belgium – Yes, even if you only can only spare one day in Bruges.

The big question with travel in Belgium these days is – should we visit Bruges or Ghent ? Easy – both. 

Whether it be a weekend in Bruges or just a day trip, Bruges is very beautiful and easily accessible from Belgium’s major cities, so why not.

There is a great day trip from Brussels that includes the best of both Ghent and Bruges on a day trip starting at €48 pp – see here for full tour details .

Belgium is a very small country, so it is possible to see a lot even in a short visit. Like all Belgium cities, the city of Bruges is very walkable , with most of the attractions close to each other. So one day in Bruges is perfect to see all the highlights and enjoy the city’s charm.

We’ve put together some of the best things to do in Bruges, including some additional fun ways to explore the historical centre, all possible in a day trip to Bruges.

Rows of colourful buidlings with pointed roofs decorated for Christmas in Bruges Belgium.

Things to do in Bruges in One Day

Take a stroll or go for a ride. There is a lot to see and do in central Bruges, but the central town is so scenic, it is worthwhile allowing a little time just to explore and enjoy the architecture everyone comes to see. The streets are very bike and pedestrian-friendly, so it is safe and easy to get around.

Best Ways to See Bruges Old Town

Take a bruges walking tour.

Make the most of your day and discover the best of Bruges Old Town on a quick 2 hour Bruges Highlights Walking Tour . It’s a cheap (around €15 pp) and fun way to get your bearings in Bruges. It’s also a great opportunity to use the knowledge of a local guide to make the most of the rest of your day.

Take a Horse Drawn Carriage Tour

Don’t feel like walking? Hire a horse-drawn carriage from the central Market Square for a more authentic tour of Bruges. An especially nice way to see Bruges at night.

There are fixed prices for the carriage rides as set by the City of Bruges; expect to pay €50 per carriage (max 5 persons) for a half-hour tour.

Bruges Bike Tour

You will find plenty of bike rental places around the main squares if you want to explore on your own. Otherwise, take a guided bike tour. Visit Bruges has a list of bike tour companies.

A quick spin around Bruges Old Town on a guided bike rickshaw tour is another fun way to see the city. The bikes can take groups of up to three people at a time.

Horse and carriage moving through the medieval centre of Bruges.

Market Square  (Grote Markt)

Since 958, Market Square ( The Markt ) has been used as a marketplace. A place for medieval festivals, fairs, tournaments, uprisings, and even executions. The Markt is the historical centre of Bruges.

Today, the traffic-free square is still a meeting place for locals and the millions of visitors who come to see the beauty of Bruges each year. It also makes the perfect setting for the annual Bruges Christmas markets.

The medieval market square in Bruges Belgium.

There is plenty to explore in The Market Square, from cosy Belgian Cafes to “Historium”, a historical experience attraction that takes you back to 15th century medieval Bruges.

Experience Historium

Historium offers a fun, interactive multimedia experience of medieval Bruges for all ages. 

One of the most popular experiences is the Historium Virtual Reality experience that places you back to the year 1435 – Sail virtually into the port of Bruges. See how Bruges looked in the past and fly over the Market Square to the former St. Donatian’s Cathedral for a bird’s eye view of medieval Bruges. The Historium is open every day from 10 am – 6 pm. You can pre-book your  Historium entry and VR experience here . 

Exterior of the historic Historium building in Bruges.

Bruges Market Day

Wednesday is Market Day in the Square, where you will find stalls selling an array of fresh produce, flowers, meats and cheeses. You’ll also find plenty of quick hot snack options. The perfect opportunity to try some traditional Belgian Frites or waffles.

Colourful brick buidlings with pointed roofs in the market square in Bruges.

Take a Bruges Canal Tour

Canal tours are one of the most popular things to do in Bruges. While it may come across as a bit of a tourist trap, much like the boat tours in Ghent, it allows you to see the main attractions in Bruges from a different perspective.

You will also get some insight into the history of Bruges and see some canal areas the streets don’t follow.

A half-hour guided canal tour will cost around €12 for adults . A great way to experience Bruges is on a combined 2hr boat cruise and guided walking tour .

Historic building ining the Bruges Canals on a cloudy day.

Skyscraper the Bruges Whale 

Another reason to explore the canals by foot or boat is to see the magnificent Bruges Whale – the giant blue whale breaching from the canal towards Jan van Eyck square. The magnificent four-storey sculpture called “Skyscraper” is constructed from five tons of plastic waste pulled out of the Pacific Ocean. Read more about the  Bruges Whale here . 

Large whale sculpture called the Skyscraper in the Bruges canals.

The Bruges Belfry towers majestically over the market square. At 83 metres high and with 366 steps winding to the top, a climb may not sound that appealing. But as with Ghent, it is one of the best things to do in Bruges because the view is magnificent.

The belfry tower in bruges with blue sky and clouds.

Burg Square 

Burg Square is the other iconic medieval square in Bruges. Believed to be the oldest inhabited place in Bruges, it has its fair share of attractions worth visiting. 

Exterior facade of the old City Hall in Bruges

Bruges City Hall

City Hall (Stadhuis) is the most impressive building in Burg Square. While the exterior is outstanding, the interior is worth a visit. 

The highlight is the Gothic Hall adorned with intricate murals depicting the history of Bruges and the 600 years of the City Hall administration. 

Many statues depict biblical figures and rulers of Flanders on the facade of the building. These are replicas of the originals destroyed in 1792 during the French occupation. 

There is a free exhibition on the ground floor but a small entry to visit the great hall and museum upstairs. 

Liberty of Bruges

Brugse Vrije is where the Liberty of Bruges (the countryside in a wide area around the city) was once governed. The building, which functioned as a court between 1795 and 1984, now houses the city archives preserving the city’s written memory. You can visit only the Renaissance hall, which houses the 16th century Charles V chimneypiece – a massive timber, marble and alabaster fireplace. Purchase tickets for Liberty of Bruges from the City Hall. 

Ornate closed bridge between two buildings in old town Bruges.

The Basilica of the Holy Blood Of Jesus

One of the more interesting buildings in Burg Square is The Basilica of the Holy Blood. It is a double church dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Basil – a lower Romanesque church and an upper Gothic church. 

This building’s two stand-out features are the richly decorated facade, including gilded statues – which is actually a 16th-century staircase connecting two underlying chapels. The other is The Basilica of the Holy Blood houses a venerated phial containing a small piece of cloth stained with the blood of Jesus, allegedly collected by Joseph of Arimathea.

You can visit the church and attend mass if you choose; this is free. Entry to the museum is €5. You can find details  at the official Church of the Holy Blood Site  about times the public can view the relic, mass times and information about the colourful Procession of the Holy Blood held on Ascension Day in the spring.

Tourists standing in front of the ornate Church of the Holy Blood in Bruges.

Take a Self Guided In Bruges Movie Tour

Take yourself on a tour of the In Bruges film locations. This handy In Bruges film locations map will take you to both the famous film locations and the best attractions in Bruges.

Museums, churches and galleries in Bruges are not in short supply, so it’s easy for the culture vulture to fill a day.

  • The Church of Our Lady
  • BrugesProvinciaal Hof
  • Gruuthuse Museum or the Groningen Museum.

These are just a few of the historical and cultural offerings in Bruges.

Drink Beer and Eat Fries, Waffles and Chocolate

Sure, in Bruges, you can get your fill of beer, waffles, frites and chocolate, but you can also learn about them. Some of the more interesting museums in Bruges are –

  • The Frietmuseum – Fries Museum
  • Choco-Story -Chocolate Museum
  • The  Bruges Biermuseum -Bruges Beer Museum.

Take a Belgium Beer Tour

The De Halve Maan Brewery Tour is a highlight. 45-minute tours run daily between 1.00 and 16.00. There’s also a tasting included, of course.

Or, you could do a  3-Hour Beer and Chocolate Tasting Private Tour.  This tour is an excellent value as it includes a tour of the historic centre, entry and samples at the Choco-Story museum and a 3-course lunch at the De Halve Maan brewery.

Learn how to make waffles and sample Belgian beer in the process. This Waffles and Beer Workshop includes beer tasting, waffle making and a take-home waffle recipe.

Belgian Beer with matching glasses on display on a shelf.

Getting to Bruges

  • You can travel from Brussels to Bruges in just over an hour on a local train.
  • The train from Ghent to Bruges is approx. 40 minutes.
  • Train from Antwerp to Bruges takes approx 2 hours.
  • Bruges train station is about 2 km from the historic town centre. It is easily walked.
  • Local buses leave from next to the station to Markt Square.
  • A day trip to Bruges from Paris or Amsterdam is also very possible. The trains from Paris and Amsterdam to Bruges both take around 3 hrs each way . For convenience, there are also a number of day tours from Paris and Amsterdam . See tour details for day trips to Bruges from Paris and Day Tours from Amsterdam – both include transport, guides and much more.

people in the medieval Market Square in Bruges.

Time for More Than One Day in Bruges?

A day trip is a great way to see Bruges and more than enough time to see the highlights. However, at least one night is recommended if you want to get a better sense of Bruges’ charm. The night is when Bruges reveals her true beauty – when the tour groups have left for the day, and the city is lit to highlight the medieval facade.

Bear in mind, though, that in the peak summer months, even the evenings will be busy in Bruges. Although, in summer, you could combine a day/night in Bruges with a trip to one of Belgium’s best beaches . Most people don’t know, but there are at least three beaches within 15 minutes of Bruges. 

Thinking of Staying Longer? Check the Latest Deals For Hotels in Bruges

Best Time to Visit Bruges

We believe the shoulder seasons of early spring or late autumn are the best time to visit most places in Europe . The same applies to Bruges, whether for one day or a few nights. December is also an excellent time to visit Bruges , or anywhere in Belgium for that matter, thanks to the incredible Christmas markets.

If you do only have time for one day in Bruges, aim for midweek for a less tourist-dense experience. Sure, you will still have tour groups but fewer local, European visitors.

High Season: April – October Low Season: November to March.

Discover The Most Beautiful Autumn Destinations in Europe

Red brick buildings lit up and reflecting in the canals in Bruges Belgium.

Christmas Markets in Bruges

Christmas is one of the best times to visit Bruges as there are not as many tourists about and the famous Bruges Christmas Markets fill the central Market Square. Bruges Christmas Markets usually run from around 25 November to 2 January.

Got more than one day to spend in Bruges? Find out what to see in Bruges in two days

Amazon Travel shop Bruges

Visiting Bruges from Antwerp? Here are some great tips for things to do in Antwerp .

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How to Visit Bruges and Ghent if You Only Have One Day

Julie Last updated: January 23, 2024 Belgium 70 Comments

Bruges and Ghent One Day from Brussels Belgium

Bruges and Ghent are two charming, small towns in Belgium, each just a short train ride away from Brussels. In a perfect world, Bruges and Ghent each deserve their own day for exploring. However, if you are short on time, you can visit Bruges and Ghent in one day.

We visited Bruges and Ghent in one day from Brussels. It’s a long, busy day, but we loved it. For the best experience, you need to get an early start. Bruges, the more popular of these two towns, tends to get very crowded midday. To avoid spending your valuable time in line, get to Bruges in the morning.

On this day trip, you can stroll fairytale streets, dine on waffles and chocolate, take in the view from two belfries, go on a canal cruise, and visit an ancient castle. Here is our exact itinerary through Bruges and Ghent. Enjoy!

Table of Contents

One Day in Bruges and Ghent

7:30 am: train from brussels to bruges.

I told you that we started early! But we also skipped breakfast since we had a really good breakfast spot to try in Bruges.

It takes about one hour by train to travel from Brussels to Bruges.

8:30 am: Arrive in Bruges

From the train station, we walked into Bruges. It only takes about 15 minutes to walk from the train station into town.

To get to our breakfast spot, That’s Toast , we walked up Oostmeers into town.

8:45 am: Breakfast at That’s Toast

This breakfast spot lived up to its reputation. For breakfast, we ate granola, fruit, and several different kinds of French toast. It was delicious.

Thats Toast

When we got here, which was right after opening time, the place was mostly empty. Forty-five minutes later, when we left, there was a line out the door.

10:00 am: The Belfry of Bruges (the Belfort)

From That’s Toast, we spent 30 minutes walking to the center of Bruges, taking lots of photographs, and walking around Market Place, the main square in Bruges.

Bruges Street

The Belfry of Bruges is the tallest tower that dominates the center of town. If you want a nice view over the city, it is worth climbing the 366 steps to the top.

Bruges Belfry

The Belfry opens at 9:00 am (get updated hours and pricing and purchase your ticket in advance on the official website ). We got in line at 10 am, and yes, there was already a line, but it wasn’t too bad. Only a limited number of people are allowed on the top of the Belfry at a time, so the line tends to move slowly.

It’s a nice view from the top but there is a mesh fence that makes photography difficult. I had to use my iPhone to get photos without the black mesh in the way.

Bruges Belfry View

10:45 am: Basilica of the Holy Blood

After climbing the Belfry, we walked over to Burg Square and made a quick visit to the Basilica of the Holy Blood. It is gorgeous inside and free to visit.

Basilica of the Holy Blood

11:10 am: Canal Tour of Bruges

From the Basilica of the Holy Blood, we strolled through town, towards Rozenhoedkaai , a very popular photo spot in Bruges. In early April, without the trees green and leafy, it’s not quite as pretty. The giant crane doesn’t help, either, but sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

Bruges in April

Right from this spot you can board a boat to cruise through the canals of Bruges. Apparently, 11 am is still “early” in the day because we were able to get right on without a wait. In fact, we actually had to wait for more people to arrive to fill our boat. Later in the day this was a much different story. The lines grew to over a hundred people long, and that’s not the way you want to spend a day in Bruges!

For roughly 30 minutes you cruise through the canals, getting a history lesson from your driver. It’s a gorgeous way to see the city.

In Bruges

Travel Tip: For the best photos, try to get a seat near the front of the boat.

Cost: 15€ Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Website: Get updated hours and pricing on the official website.

11:45 am: Chocolate and Waffles

We walked back through Market Place to two spots we wanted to try to satisfy our sweet tooth.

Dumon Chocolatier is one of the best places to go in Bruges for chocolate. Even if you don’t buy anything here, it’s still worth a quick visit just to see it. I think it must be the cutest building in Bruges.

Dumon Chocolatier

Nearby is Lizzie’s Waffles , one of the best spots, so we were told, for waffles in Bruges. Since we just did a huge chocolate tour of Brussels the day before (is a chocolate hangover possible?), we chose to get a plain waffle. It might look boring in the photo but it was tasty. Lizzie’s Waffles is a sit-down restaurant so plan on spending about 30 minutes here.

Belgian Waffle

Another great spot for waffles in Bruges is Chez Albert . This is a street food waffle stand that always had a line we walked by. It’s located near Market Place.

Here are more photos walking through Bruges. 

Brugge Street

1:00 pm: Lunch

We ate lunch at Brasserie Rozenhoedkaai , a decent restaurant located near that famous photo spot, Rozenhoedkaai. We picked this restaurant simply because we wanted to sit outside and have a nice view of Bruges. The food is a little overpriced, but I would expect that almost anywhere in the center of Bruges.

1:45 pm: Scenic Walk through Bruges

After lunch, we started to work our way towards the train station.

We walked along the canal towards the Church of Our Lady . What another beautiful spot in Bruges! The Bonifacius Bridge is another place to take one of those iconic photos of Bruges. Just expect to share this spot with a lot of people.

Tim Tyler Kara Bruges

We continued along the streets and canal to Minnewater Park . In early April, it is mating season for the swans, and they were all gathered in the park along the water’s edge.

Bruges Belgium Street

We took one last look of Bruges from the park and then finished the walk to the train station.

Lago Minnewater

2:30 pm: Train to Ghent

It takes 30 minutes to travel from Bruges to Ghent. The Gent-Sint-Pieters train station is a 30-minute walk from downtown Ghent, so to get into town it is quicker to take a taxi or the tram.

Trams pull up in front of the train station. You can buy a round-trip tram ticket from the automated machines at the tram stop.

To take the tram into town, take line 1 towards Eindhalte. Get off at Korenmarket, the center of Ghent. Later in the day, to get back to the train station, take line 1 towards Flanders Expo. It takes about 15 minutes by tram to travel between the train station and Korenmarket.

3:45 pm: Rain in Ghent

When we arrived in Ghent, large, dark clouds were fast approaching. We rushed to St. Michaels’ Bridge and the Lys River, one of the prettiest spots in Ghent, hoping to see it before the rain arrived. We were just a little too late. The skies opened up and we ended up waiting out the worst of the rain under the awning of a souvenir shop.

Walking through Ghent

4:15 pm: Gravensteen

Once the rain slowed down, we half walked, half rain to Gravensteen. This ancient castle has been standing here since 1180. It has been used as a prison and even as a filming location for the BBC series The White Queen .

You can tour the rooms of the castle, visit the armory, and learn about torture in medieval times. But the best part of the visit is the view from the top of the castle. Miraculously, the skies cleared up and we had awesome views over Ghent.

Gravesteen Entrance

5 pm: Graslei and Korenlei

Now that the skies were clear, we walked back towards St. Michael’s Bridge. I really wanted to get a nice photograph of Graslei and Korenlei , a photogenic spot on the River Lys. On warm, sunny days, this is a popular spot to hang out, have a drink at a café, and enjoy these beautiful views.

Graslei and Korenlei

5:10 pm: Wandering through Patershol

Before arriving in Ghent, I had read that the Patershol neighborhood is a very scenic spot to visit in town. Well, maybe we were missing something, but this was not worth the little bit of time we spent here. After the pretty streets in Bruges, this neighborhood, while pretty, was nothing spectacular.

St. Nicholas Church, on our way to the Ghent Belfry

St Nicholas Church

5:30 pm: The Ghent Belfry

For a beautiful view of Ghent, climb the Ghent Belfry. From here, you can see St. Nicholas’ Church, St. Bavo’s Cathedral, and the beautiful buildings of Ghent. Plus, there is no black mesh fencing to get in the way of photos.

Ghent Belfry View

The Belfry is open until 6 pm and the last admission is at 5:30 pm. We just made it! Get updated hours and pricing before you go and purchase your ticket in advance on the official website.

6 pm: Dinner in Ghent

We ended our day with dinner in Ghent. We picked a spot on Korenmarket called Vaudeville, a mistake, since the food was mediocre and expensive.

Better spots to try are Passion (Belgian and Dutch food, located near the Belfry) or Du Progres (French and Belgian food, located on Korenmarket).

7:00 Travel Back to Brussels

From Korenmarket we took the tram back to the Gent-Sint-Pieters train station and then took the 7:23 pm train back to Brussels, arriving at 7:53.

It’s a long day and we didn’t get to see everything, but we did get to see the highlights.

What We Would Have Done Differently

Ideally, spend one full day in Bruges and one full day in Ghent to have the best experience. You get to slow down and savor these cities. We did feel rushed while in Bruges, trying to see as much as possible while still saving time for Ghent.

You have the option to only visit Bruges, of course, skipping Ghent completely. Even though we only had a few hours in Ghent, we really enjoyed our time here. The rain made it more fun and then ending the day with sunny skies was nice. I’m so glad we got to see Ghent from the Belfry.

I would also skip walking around the Patershol neighborhood. We only spent 15 minutes doing this, but it felt like a waste of our time, and we almost missed the view from the Belfry.

The key to making this day work is the very early start in Bruges. We got to climb the Belfry in Bruges and take the canal cruise with almost no time spent in lines. Had we waited in long lines we would have had very little time in Ghent.

Traveling by Train in Belgium

The train makes it very easy to get from Brussels to Bruges and Ghent. You can purchase your tickets in advance or buy them at the train stations.

We purchased our tickets online in advance. The advantage of doing this is that you do not have to spend time in the stations buying your tickets. I know that it only adds a minute or two, but there were two instances where we just made the train. If we had to take time to purchase tickets, we would have had to wait another 10 minutes for the next train. It’s not a lot of time, but when you’re trying to visit both Bruges and Ghent in the same day, those minutes add up.

To purchase your tickets online in advance, visit belgianrail.be . When you are purchasing these tickets, you enter the date of travel but you do not enter a time. The ticket is good for one specific day for one journey, any time of day. For example, if you purchase a ticket for May 1 from Brussels-Midi to Bruges you can take any train on May 1, whether it’s at 7:30 am or 5:50 pm. This is great because if you don’t make that 7:26 am train, you can just catch the next one at 7:32 with the same ticket.

The only downside to purchasing your tickets in advance is if you change your date of travel to Bruges and Ghent.

To do this round trip from Brussels, we bought three one-way tickets: Brussels to Bruges, Bruges to Ghent, Ghent to Brussels. This costs about €33.70 (in 2024) for one standard 2nd class ticket for an adult. For people under the age of 26 years, you can choose the “Go Pass” which saves several euros per ticket.

We printed our tickets at home and brought them with us for this day trip.

Where We Stayed

We stayed at the Pullman Hotel in Brussels. This hotel is located right next to the Brussels Midi train station. The location is brilliant. We could walk to the train platform from our hotel in 5 minutes. Since we were right next to the train station, taking a 7:30 am train wasn’t so bad. Plus, this is a great place to stay if you are arriving in Brussels by train or taking a train to your next destination. To get to the city center of Brussels it is just a 10-minute metro ride.

Travel Ideas for Brussels

Are you planning to spend a day in Brussels? Taking a chocolate tour is one of the most popular things to do in the city. If you want to save some money and tour the best chocolate shops in Brussels, take a look at our self-guided chocolate tour. 

How to do a Brussels Chocolate Tour on Your Own

And if this visit is part of a bigger trip through Europe, learn how to visit Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, Paris, and Amsterdam in 10 days.

10 Day Amsterdam Brussels Paris Itinerary

Are you going to Belgium? If you have any questions about how to spend one day in Bruges and Ghent, comment below!

More Information for Your Trip to Belgium

PARIS: Start with our article Best Things to Do in Paris for ideas of what to do in Paris. Plan your time in the city with our 2 Day Paris Itinerary and 3 Day Paris Itinerary. We also have a Paris Hotel Guide , advice on visiting Paris with kids , a Paris Food Guide , and advice for visiting Paris at Easter.

NETHERLANDS: Learn how to spend 2 perfect days in Amsterdam and the best things to do in Amsterdam. We also have a guide on Where to Stay in Amsterdam and how to visit Utrecht and The Hague.

LUXEMBOURG: In our One Day in Luxembourg Itinerary , learn about the best things to do in Luxembourg City and how to plan your time.

LONDON: Start with our article Best Things to Do in London for ideas of what to do in London. Plan your time in the city with our 5 Days in London Itinerary. We also have a a guide on Where to Stay in London and the best things to do in London at Christmas.

EUROPE ITINERARIES: Check out our article 10 Days in Europe: 10 Amazing Itineraries for 10 different ways to visit the best places in Europe. And if you have less time, check out our guide to 25 Ways to Spend One Week in Europe.

Bruges and Ghent One Day from Brussels Belgium

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Comments 70

Avatar for Julie Larson

Hi – we are heading to Bruges and Ghent in March. Do we need advance tickets for Gravensteen or the Belfries in either city?

Avatar for Julie

It’s not necessary to get them in advance but you could see if there is an advance purchase options on the website because it could save you a small amount of time waiting in the ticket line. Cheers, Julie

Wonderful! Thanks so much for all of the advice!

Avatar for Sneha

I want to thank you for writing this article! I was in Brussels today and didn’t research much about Bruges or Ghent, and this article was like a blessing-in-disguise because I just followed what you listed here and my trip to both Bruges and Ghent was amazing!

I’m glad we could help! Cheers, Julie

Avatar for cata

Are the horses well taken care of or abused? In the picture there’s a horse with a visibly hurt leg (red and bloody) – and coming from latinamerica, I know horses are constantly abused for tourism purposes. I was kind of hoping this wasn’t case in Belgium.

I see what you’re talking about but I don’t think that horse has a bloody leg. I don’t know what kind of care the horses receive in Belgium. We didn’t do anything with horses while in Belgium, just took that photo. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Tracy Louie

Hi! Regarding the canal cruise in Bruges, do you recommend booking that ahead of time or can you buy your tickets on the spot? If purchasing ahead of time, do you have a recommendation on which canal cruise to go with? Thanks, Tracy

When we did this, tickets could not be purchased in advance and it looks like that policy is still the same. I found this information about the times and the various spots you can board a boat. Cheers, Julie

Thank you Julie! We went to Ghent and Bruges (one day each). Your blog really helped me in planning our days at the two locations. We did the canal cruise in Bruges and it was very easy to get tickets on the spot. We arrived around 10:45am, purchased tickets at one of the five locations, and then waited about 15-20 minutes to get on a boat. And we sat in the front (great suggestion!).

Thank you for all your great information! I also got a lot of great information when we visited Yellowstone/Grand Teton last year and Monument Valley/Grand Canyon /Antelope Canyon 2 years ago. Happy travels to you and your family!

Hello Tracy. Thank you for writing in! And thanks for the update about the boat tour…we’ve had some questions about that recently. I’m glad we could help you out on your past trips and happy travels to wherever you plan to go next! Cheers, Julie

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Parenthood and Passports

The Perfect Bruges Day Trip | Itinerary + 12 Things to Do

  • Post author By Melissa
  • Post date February 5, 2024
  • No Comments on The Perfect Bruges Day Trip | Itinerary + 12 Things to Do

brugge day tour

A Bruges day trip is a wonderful  addition to several popular western European city itineraries. This storybook town in northwest Belgium is easy to get to from Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, or London.

With its cobblestone streets and gingerbread-style houses lining picturesque canals, the town is definitely worth a visit, even if you only have one day in Bruges. 

Bruges is to Belgium what Rothenburg ob der Tauber is to Germany, what Sintra is to Portugal, or what Giethoorn or Zaanse Schans is to the Netherlands.

It’s cute; it’s charming; it’s so picturesque it looks like a real-life Disney movie setting . You get the idea.

Beautiful Bruges is one of the prettiest places in Belgium, if not all of Europe.

If you’re planning a Bruges day trip to see this enchanting fairytale town, we’ve prepared the perfect 1 day in Bruges itinerary and have laid out what to do in Bruges in a day to ensure your trip to this medieval city is as dreamy as possible. 

A picturesque canal in Bruges Belgium

Travel Tips for Visiting Bruges in a Day

Before we jump into our Bruges day trip itinerary, there are a few things to know that will enhance your visit.

Get there early or spend a night to avoid crowds

Like any tourist town, Bruges can get very crowded, particularly in the peak summer season. Bruges is also a cruise port, so when a cruise ship is docked in Bruges, be prepared for the crowds to descend!

If you can avoid weekends or days when cruise ships are there, the town is less crowded. However, even on typically busy days you can avoid the crowds by starting your Bruges day trip early or by spending a night in the city. 

Arriving by cruise? Book a shuttle service in advance from Zeebrugge cruise terminal and get ahead of the other passengers.  

Arriving by train? Read our honest review and guide to booking train travel through Rail Europe .

Businesses and attractions in the town don’t really open for the day until 10 a.m., when many daytrippers or cruises arrive. If you want to experience the streets without crowds, get there before 10 a.m. or stay at a hotel for the night. 

Explore the side streets

Another great way to avoid crowds is to spend some time exploring the side streets. You’ll find plenty of narrow alleyways and back streets that are just as beautiful as the main corridors but with far fewer people. 

Wear walking shoes 

Woman walking down a quiet side street in Bruges.

Walking is the best way to get around Bruges. The city is small and easy to explore on foot. You’ll want to wear a good pair of walking shoes to stay comfortable as you stroll through the city.

You may also want to bring a lightweight jacket, even in summer, as temperatures are rarely above 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) even at its hottest.  

Most popular Bruges Day Trips

If you prefer guided tours or having someone else plan out your day trip, here are a few of the most popular Bruges day trips you can book. 

  • Brussels to Bruges Day Trip – this is a 9.5 hour tour with round-trip bus transportation from Brussels with a guided walking tour and time to explore the town on your own.
  • Bruges and Ghent Day Trip from Brussels –  Another popular tour from Brussels that often sells out, this guided day trip includes both Bruges and Ghent. You’ll get a taste of both of these beautiful cities on a 10.5 hour tour with transportation and a walking tour of both cities.
  • Amsterdam to Bruges Day Trip – Amsterdam is a great city to base yourself if you love a good day trip. There are so many popular day trips from Amsterdam you can take, whether on your own or guided. You can easily see the highlights of Amsterdam in 3 days and then take multiple day trips to nearby locations like Bruges. This particular guided tour from Amsterdam to Bruges is 12 hours, which accounts for transportation time, a guided walking tour, and a 3 hours of free time to explore Bruges on your own.   
  • Paris to Bruges Day Trip – A day trip to Bruges is also doable from the French capital of Paris. This full day tour includes a canal tour in Bruges, a guide, and round trip transportation. Prefer to do a day trip from Bruges to Paris instead? Check out our one day in Paris itinerary !
  • London to Bruges Day Trip – While a bit more tricky because you have to go through customs to enter the European Union from the United Kingdom, a London to Bruges day trip can be done, but I wouldn’t really recommend it. If you are looking for better day trips from London, there are lots of unique and picturesque villages to visit in the Cotswolds that will also give you the storybook setting without requiring a passport or lengthy customs process.

Also read: 2-day Brussels itinerary

Bruges Belgium Day Trip Itinerary

Now that we’ve laid out our best Bruges travel tips and highlighted the top guided day trips to Bruges, let’s get into the actual Bruges one day itinerary. Here is a realistic look at what to do in Bruges for a day. 

Most day trips will get you to Bruges around 10 a.m., and as mentioned earlier, most businesses and attractions don’t even open until then. So, if you arrive in Bruges earlier, spend that time wandering the quiet streets and taking photos. 

  • 10:00 a.m. – Minnewater Lake (Lake of Love)
  • 11:00 a.m. – Stroll through the serene Beguinage
  • 11:30 p.m. – lunch and beers at De Halve Maan Brewery 
  • 1:00 p.m. – Canal Cruise
  • 2:00 p.m. – Church of Our Lady
  • 2:30 p.m. – Take in the views for Bruges most picturesque bridge
  • 2:45 p.m. – Snack time at FritBar
  • 3:00 p.m. – Walk by the Quay of the Rosary
  • 3:15 p.m. – See the holy relics at Basilica of the Holy Blood
  • 3:30 p.m. – Stop in Bruges City Hall and Burg Square
  • 4:30 p.m. – Enjoy the atmosphere at Market Square
  • 5:00 p.m. – Climb the Belfry
  • 6:00 p.m. – Time for chocolate
  • 6:30 p.m. – Dinner followed by waffles for dessert

The Best Things to Do on a Bruges Day Trip 

With the Bruges day trip itinerary laid out, let’s explore each of the main things to do in further detail to help you plan out your day and decide which of these attractions in the UNESCO World Heritage designated Historic Center you want to see most.  

Minnewater Lake

Minnewater Lake, one of the best things to see on a Bruges day trip

Located on the southern end of Bruges, Minnewater, also known as the Lake of Love is one of the most beautiful areas of Bruges, particularly in summer months when the surrounding trees are green and the swans swim gracefully across the water in the small lake. 

On and near the lake you will find dozens of swans. There are so many, in fact, swans have somewhat become a symbol of Bruges. 

If arriving by train at Brugge Train Station, Minnewater makes for a convenient starting point for your day trip to Bruges, as it is just a short walk from the train station.

Beguinage Ten Wijngaerde (Begijnhof Brugge)

The Begijnhof courtyard with white buildings and large poplar trees, one of the quietest places to visit in Bruges on a day trip.

Another serene place to visit in Bruges, the Begijnhof was founded in 1245. A beguinage was similar in many ways to a convent or monastery.

A beguinage was a community of single or widowed women who chose to live a holy life of simplicity and dedication to God. Unlike nuns, beguines could leave the beguinage and marry at will if they decided to do so. 

Nowadays, the Begijnhof is home to Benedictine nuns rather than beguines. There is a small church you can enter, and a large grassy courtyard with tall Poplar trees surrounded by groups of houses. 

De Halve Maan Brewery

the patio at de halve maan brewery

After leaving the begijnhof, head to De Halve Maan Brewery. It’s just a short 2-5 minute walk away.

While you can tour the family-run brewery which showcases the old brewing techniques, you can also just choose to have a beer and lunch at the brewery, which offers indoor seating as well as outdoor seating on its beautiful courtyard patio.

One of the most unique things about this brewery is that its beer actually travels by pipeline through the city to get to the bottling plant.

The brewery launched this unique initiative in 2016 as a way to reduce truck traffic through the historic city center.  

Canal Cruise

a small boat on a pretty canal surrounded by trees, flowers and swans - a must do on any Bruges one day itinerary.

A canal cruise is one of the most entertaining ways to see Bruges and one of the most popular activities in Bruges.

After lunch, hop on a small guided boat tour and relax as you cruise through the picturesque canals. You can easily walk up and book a cruise, although there is typically a short queue or line. 

There are also guided experiences that include both a historical walking tour and a canal cruise that you can book in advance.

Church of Our Lady

exterior of church of our lady

The most prominent landmark in Bruges, the steeple of the Church of Our Lady dominates the town’s skyline.

Entering the church is free, but you do have to purchase tickets if you want to tour the museum section.

The impressive brick cathedral took 200 years to complete and contains one of the most famous Michelangelo sculptures of all time. 

The marble statue, Madonna and Child , depicts the Virgin Mary with her toddler son, Jesus, standing in front of her. Mother Mary is gazing solemnly downward, seeming to know the fate – and the cross – that would await her young child when he reached adulthood. 

Bonifacius Bridge

the view from the prettiest bridge in bruges looking out at a quiet canal and brick and wood home with red roofs.

One of the most picturesque bridges in Bruges sits right behind the Church of Our Lady. Known as Bonifacius Bridge, this small pedestrian bridge overlooks a lovely canal and offers beautiful views in every direction. 

Cross the small bridge, pause for a photo or simply to admire the bridge before continuing on with your Bruges day trip. 

Quay of the Rosary (Rozenhoedkaai)

Quay of the Rosary is one of the most photographed places in Bruges with the Belfry tower in the background

After you cross the Bonifacius Bridge make your way toward Bruges City Hall. Along the way, you’ll pass one of the most photographed sites in town.

Known as the Quay of the Rosary, this area where two canals meet near Tanners Square is beautifully preserved, with medieval buildings that touch the water and small terraces along the water.

It’s a starting point for several canal cruises, so you’ll be sure to see boats of tourists sharing the water with swans. 

Bruges City Hall (Stadhuis) and Burg Square

exterior of Bruges City Hall in Burg Square

The next stop on your self-guided Bruges walking tour is the elaborate city hall. One of the oldest municipal buildings in the region, the ornate medieval building dates back to the early 1400s. 

Located at the heart of Burg Square, it is worth taking a peek inside the city hall.  With a double vaulted timber ceiling and muraled walls the impressive Gothic Hall is a true sight to see.

There is a cost to tour the inside of Stadhuis, as the city hall is officially called in Bruges.  You can buy your tickets on site or reserve them online .

Basilica of the Holy Blood

Outside the Basilica of the Holy Blood tucked back into a corner in Burg Square

Tucked away in a corner of Burg Square, the Basilica of the Holy Blood is a small treasure that claims to hold a true historic treasure inside.

The 12th century Roman Catholic chapel claims to have a vial containing a cloth stained with the actual blood of Jesus Christ. 

According to a gospel that was not included in the Bible, Joseph of Arimathea preserved a cloth used to clean the body of Christ after he was crucified. 

the tabernacle that holds the relic of the holy blood of Christ in Bruges

You cannot actually see the vial inside the church unless you go during certain times.

Our itinerary has you visiting the Basilica between 2-4 p.m. which is when the relic is on display most days of the week. On Fridays you can see it from 10:15-11am, only.

Be sure to check their website before your trip in case the times change. When not on display, it is securely kept behind a silver tabernacle in the side chapel of the church. The Basilica is free to enter.

Market Square

horses and carriages in Market square

Market Square is the largest and most colorful square in Bruges. The Belfry towers over the square, which serves as a gathering place for locals and tourists alike. The square’s pretty gilded houses have been transformed into restaurants and cafes.

On Wednesdays, the square still hosts a weekly market, and during December it hosts an incredible Christmas market that has earned Bruges a spot on the list of the best Christmas destinations in Europe . 

Market Square is also where you’ll find the popular Historium Museum , where you can journey back to the Middle Ages and learn about the history of Bruges through audio, video and even virtual reality.

Horse-drawn carriage rides through Bruges also start and end at this lively square. 

Climb the Belfry

Looking up at the bells inside the Belfry tower in Bruges

After seeing the sights of both Burg Square and Market Square, it’s time to work off your lunch and afternoon snack with a fun climb up the bell tower that looms over Market Square.

Also called the Belfort, this remarkable tower is 86 meters (282 feet) tall.

There is an entrance fee to climb the 366 narrow and steep steps to the top. But, if you plan it right, you can not only get a bird’s eye view of Bruges but be at the top of the tower when the 47 bells toll.

It’s important to note, like many bell towers in Europe, the stairs up to the top are very narrow and steep at points and you will at times have to squeeze to make room for other visitors coming down the same staircase that you are going up.

It’s an adventure, but not one for those with claustrophobia, health, or mobility challenges. 

Sample Belgian Chocolate on your Bruges day trip

Belgian chocolate in the window of a chocolate shop in Bruges

Bruges is the chocolate capital of Belgium. There are so many chocolate shops in Bruges that the town actually smells like chocolate.

Duck into any of the chocolate shops and purchase a variety of chocolates to sample. After climbing the Belfry, you’ve earned those calories! 

For an even better experience, book a chocolate making workshop and visit Choco-Story , Bruges’ chocolate museum.

Best Time to Visit Bruges on a Day Trip

Summer is the most popular time to visit Bruges as the weather is ideal. However, that also means more crowds in the small town. 

Winter is the second most popular time to visit, particularly around the holidays as the Bruges Christmas Market is one of the best in Europe.

Like many other beautiful Christmas towns around Europe the smell of cider, hot cocoa and mulled wine fill the air when their market is going on. 

Is One Day in Bruges Enough?

If you’re wondering if one day in Bruges, Belgium is enough or how many days in Bruges you should spend, it depends on your travel style and personal travel interests.

For example, if you prefer small, quaint villages to large cities, it might make sense for you to spend a few days in Bruges and take day trips to larger cities instead. 

While you can easily see most of the highlights of the town on a day trip to Bruges, we decided to extend our stay so we could experience the enchanting town at night when it is far less crowded. In fact, nights and early mornings in Bruges are magical!

The streets are practically empty and you’ll feel like you have the fairytale town to yourself. 

However, if convenience is your travel style and you don’t like to hotel hop, you can easily base yourself in Brussels and take day trips to Bruges, Luxembourg City , and lots of other nearby cities.

Regardless of whether you take a day trip to Bruges or spend a night or two, it is well worth including this enchanting town on any Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg itinerary .

Where to stay in Bruges for One Night

outside Hotel de Castillion a great hotel for those wondering where to stay in Bruges Belgium

There are several boutique hotels in the heart of Bruges that are perfect for those looking to spend a night or two in Bruges Belgium.

If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Bruges, any hotel near the Church of our Lady will put you in walking distance to the main things to see in Bruges as well as the Brugge Railway Station. 

We stayed at Hotel Het Gheestelic Hof which is a cozy 3-star boutique hotel in the medieval city center of Bruges. It is an 11-minute walk from the Bruges Train Station and conveniently located on a quiet yet central street.

Across from Hotel Het Gheestelic Hof, Hotel de Castillion is another great option. This elegant hotel offers a bit more luxury and is perfect for those looking for something more grand or romantic.

What to eat in Bruges, Belgium

Belgium is known for a few foods that you’ll find all over Bruges. There are a few that are so popular that you would be remiss to not try while in Bruges.

Chocolate is one of the main things you must try while in Bruges. So much so, we included it as part of our 1-day Bruges itinerary.

We recommend getting a box of a dozen or so assorted chocolates so you can try multiple types with different flavors and fillings.

Belgian Waffles

A waffle covered with blueberries coconut and dried cranberries

Another widely popular and equally delicious staple in Bruges, waffles are to Belgium what Dutch Pancakes are to the Netherlands . They are sweet, customizable, and can be eaten any time of day.

Waffles aren’t just a breakfast food in Belgium. In fact, many people eat them as a dessert or an afternoon indulgence.

If you have the time and want to really dive into this delightful food, you can book a 1.5 hour Waffle Workshop in Bruges where you learn to make them and eat as many as you’d like!

Pommes Frites

Belgian fries covered in Belgian stew paired with Belgian beer

Pommes Frites are basically French Fries. Often served in paper cones and traditionally dipped in mayonnaise instead of ketchup, when in Belgium do as the Belgians do.

Pommes Frites make for a great take-away snack when in Bruges. Or, you can order them as a side or even a full meal.

We topped ours with Belgian Stew which made for a hearty, and probably very calorie-laden lunch! Totally worth it. 🙂 

Belgian fries are such a staple in Bruges, there is a complete museum called Frietmuseum , dedicated to the history of the potato and this famous Belgian snack.

As an add-on bonus to the experience you can sample fries with various sauces and dressings.

a beer in a special glass

Beer is the alcoholic drink of choice in Bruges – and much of Belgium. You’ll find breweries and small pubs and unique beer bars like Le Trappiste around most corners.

The city even hosts an annual beer festival . Again, you’ll find a brewery on our Bruges one day itinerary because a refreshing beer in Bruges is part of the experience!

  Have a question or comment about a Bruges Day Trip or about any of the things to do in Bruges in 1 day? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Like it? Pin this Bruges Day Trip Itinerary to save it for later!

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The World Was Here First

The Perfect 2 to 3 Days in Bruges Itinerary

Last Updated on February 5, 2024

by Audrey Webster

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our privacy policy.

brugge day tour

Located in the Flanders region of Belgium , most people pay a visit to Bruges as a day trip from nearby Ghent or Brussels . While you can get a decent sense of the city in one day, planning a 2 to 3 days in Bruges itinerary is best to get the full experience.

With this amount of time, you’re going to find yourself immersed in so much local culture, cuisine, and history that it might be difficult to know exactly how to spend your days.

Table of Contents

How Many Days in Bruges?

Most visitors consider 2 days in Bruges to be the sweet spot for getting to know the city without running out of things to do. Within two days, you can catch the central landmarks, wander the quaint cobblestone streets, and devour a stack of Belgian waffles. You’ll see a good amount of the city with a pretty packed itinerary. 

However, 3 days allows you to explore the city at your leisure, try the different local cuisines, or take a day trip. It’s worth it to take on Bruges (spelled as Brugge in Flemish) at your own pace.

Bear in mind that this beautiful little city is popular with tourists, so it does tend to get busy during Belgium’s peak travel months. The crowds are usually, however, only spending one day in Bruges and the city can clear out in the evenings as day trippers go home.

If you can navigate the crowds for a couple of days, you’ll be rewarded with darling architecture, delicious chocolate, and charming alleys.

Depending on how many days to spend in Bruges you have, you might prioritize visiting historic sites or cultural landmarks. A foodie traveler might consider exploring the many options for waffles and chocolate that Bruges has to offer. Nevertheless, a visit to Bruges is easy to navigate.

View of Rosary Quay in Bruges

Getting To & Around Bruges

The simplest way to get around Bruges is by foot. This is especially true if you’re sticking to the historic city center whose charm makes Bruges famous. In fact, you can cross the entire city in about 30 minutes by foot.

There is a bus system, but it’s only useful for getting from the train station into the city. Even then, the walk from the train station is only about 20 minutes. There is no airport in Bruges–the closest airport is in Brussels.

If you’re arriving into Brussels and heading directly to Bruges, expect the train ride from the Brussels airport to take around 90 minutes. You can view train schedules here. The Bruges train station is located only about a 10-15 minute walk from the old town.

If you’re only coming to the city for one day, it is possible to go on an organised day trip such as this full-day tour from Brussels or this full-day tour from Amsterdam .

Bruges City Hall

2 to 3-Day Bruges Itinerary

Everything during your trip to Bruges can be mixed and matched whether you’re seeing Bruges in 2 days or 3. There are lots of things to do in Bruges, here are our suggestions. 

Day 1 – City Center Highlights

Take a walking tour.

One of the best ways to experience Bruges is by foot. You can set out on your own to discover all the unique corners of the city, or if you’d like to learn a little bit more about Bruges, you can take a guided walking tour. You have no shortage of options here.

There are both free and paid guided tours throughout the city. Most tours begin in the city center. If you’re opting for a private and paid guided tour, make sure to book it in advance. Some options include this guided tour or this private tour.

There are three main types of walking tours in Bruges: historic center tours such as this walking tour and boat cruise , food & drink tours such as this beer tour or this food tour with a local , and night tours with an emphasis on local legends and ghost stories such as this dark side of Bruges tour.

The Belfry Tower

Church of Jerusalem

The Church of Jerusalem, or Jerusalem Chapel, is a fascinating slice of history. From the outside, the church might not catch your eye, but that all changes once you step inside.

The chapel is the private one of the Adornes family and was built in 1429 inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. As you admire the interior, keep a close eye out for the tomb in the center of the church, the stained glass windows, and the Holy Cross relic.

Today, the chapel is still used by its original family for private events, classical concerts, and lectures. However, visitors can experience the site by paying a small fee and entering through the Adornes Estate. 

Market Square & Burg Square

Market Square and Burg Square are the two main squares of shops and restaurants in Bruges. You’ll likely want to stay in an accommodation somewhere around these areas during your weekend in Bruges. Market, or Markt, Square is the more central of the two.

The modest skyline here is dominated by the Belfry of Bruges, an 83-meter-tall tower. You can climb to the top of the tower for a great view out over Bruges. During the winter months, Market Square is adorned with holiday lights and an iconic Christmas market. You can sit on the outdoor patios of restaurants along the square to admire its charm and people-watch.

Burg Square is quieter than Market Square, but no less eye-catching. Look out for the horse-drawn carriages and small green spaces where you can relax on a sunny day.

The city’s administration still exists in the 14th-century Gothic Town Hall that you’ll notice immediately upon entering the square. The buildings here were built over a few centuries, and the diverse architectural styles reflect that. While here, pay a visit to the Basilica of the Holy Blood, the Liberty of Bruges, and the Deanery. 

Burg Square

Basilica of the Holy Blood

The Basilica of the Holy Blood is a strange little chapel, which is why it should absolutely be on your Bruges itinerary.

This 12th-century Romanesque chapel is home to a vial containing a cloth believed to be stained with the blood of Christ.

The chapel itself is a beautiful site to explore, but the lore of the stained cloth draws curious visitors from across the world. From the outside, the chapel is small, built snuggly between two neighboring buildings. If you’re walking too quickly, you might go right past it.

There are usually many visitors at this historic landmark, so try to visit early in the morning or late in the evening. 

Basilica of the Holy Blood

Day 2 – Canal Tour, Museums & More

Take a canal boat tour.

If you’re trying to see as much of Bruges as possible, you should add a canal boat tour to your itinerary. When you first step foot in the city, you’ll quickly notice how canals and waterways weave their way through.

Wandering the city by foot is great, but seeing it from the water provides a new perspective. There are a handful of companies that offer boat rides such as this 2-hour tour to visitors throughout the day, rain or shine. The boat takes riders through the main sections of the canal, between Jan van Eyck Square and the Beguinage.

Tour guides provide unique context and history for the parts of Bruges the boats pass to make it an educational as well as exciting way to spend your time. 

Canals of Bruges

Visit the Choco-Story Museum or the Frietmuseum

Chocolate lovers most likely already know Belgium is known for its chocolate. You can take that a step further by visiting the Choco-Story Museum.

Here, you’ll walk through the history of chocolate in Belgium through stories, photos, and taste tests. Walk through the museum to see artefacts from how chocolate has been made over the years and a demonstration of how this delicious chocolate is made. You can book a tour here.

Continue your food experience of Bruges with a visit to the Frietmuseum, or the only known museum dedicated to the history of potatoes.

Potato fries are popular and famous in Belgium. Did you know that fries originate in Belgium? Pay a visit to this museum to learn about the history of fries, how they have been used in other cultures, and how they’re made. You can buy tickets here.

Alternatively, beer lovers should consider heading to the Halve Maan brewery in order to learn more about the brewing process of Belgium’s famed beer and even sample a bit!

Finally, make sure to round out your visit by tasting some of the best fries in the world. 

Eat a Belgian waffle

Chances are you’ve eaten a Belgian waffle before. These thick, warm, and delicious waffles can be found in many places around the world.

As the name would suggest, they originate in Belgium, so naturally, you’ll find the best Belgian waffles here. There are many places throughout Bruges to get a tasty waffle. Some are very popular with tourists, so you can expect to wait in line.

Chez Albert is the most famous waffle shop in Bruges and you can get your waffles sweet or savory. Once you’ve secured your waffle, find somewhere comfortable to sit in Market or Burg Square to enjoy your delicious treat. 

If you want to learn more about how to make waffles, you can book a 1.5-hour workshop here.

Church of Our Lady & Michelangelo’s Madonna with Child

The Church of Our Lady is a Gothic church with a tower that rises high in the skyline. The tower itself is 115.5 meters tall and made of brick making it the second-tallest of its kind in the world.

Today, the church is known for the amount of priceless art pieces that live safely within its walls. Perhaps the most famous of these pieces is Michelangelo’s Madonna with Child. This marble statue is located front and center.

Make sure to budget some time to admire the many paintings and architecture at your leisure. There’s a lot to see inside the Church of Our Lady. 

Church of Our Lady in Bruges

Day 3 – Ghent, Ostend or Ypres

If you want to venture out of the city when seeing Bruges in 3 days, consider a day trip to somewhere nearby.

Both Bruges and Ghent are considered the fairytale cities of Belgium. Ghent is larger while Bruges has the intimate and charming feel of a small town.

The good news, if you’re staying in Bruges, is that Ghent is only a 30-minute train ride away. Like Bruges, it’s very easy to walk around Ghent but consider calling a taxi or rideshare from the train station.

While in Ghent, make sure to visit Gravensteen, a 10th-century castle with a moat, Saint Bavo’s Cathedral, and Saint Nicholas’ Church. The main square is full of Belgian shopping and restaurants to fill your day trip with delicious food and plenty to explore. 

It is also possible to book a half-day tour from Bruges to Ghent.

Old Town of Ghent

Shake things up a bit by heading to the coast.

Ostend, coupled with the Ostend Harbor and beachfront, is a great day trip if you want to get away from the tourist crowds. In Ostend, you’ll find historic landmarks from the Second World War, the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church, and a museum of fine arts.

Ostend Harbor is the main port for ferries heading to Britain, but it has also been a popular local seaside spa destination since the early 1900s. Walk along the beach or the boardwalk to enjoy the fresh ocean air before heading back to Bruges. 

History buffs will appreciate a day trip to Ypres. The city captures Belgium’s part throughout 20th century wars, especially a series of battles fought between 1914 and 1918 as part of the First World War.

The most famous landmark is the Menin Gate, which historically served as the starting point for soldiers readying themselves to march into war. For more context on the battles fought here, visit the Hooge Crater Museum.

It’s located inside an old church building that was constructed over a battlefield and showcases plenty of interactive exhibits to help explain the history. Take your time exploring the cathedrals and architecture.

This is another great option if you’re looking for a day trip from Bruges that will most likely get you away from the usual tourist crowds. You can book an organised tour here.

Menin Gate in Ypres

Where to Stay in Bruges

Hotel Fevery – Offering double rooms and rooms with balconies, this 3-star hotel in the centre of Bruges is a good option for mid-range visitors. They offer breakfast, private parking and an on-site bar.

Boutique Hotel Die Swaene – A plush and opulent hotel, this is an excellent choice for those visiting Bruges on a luxury budget. There are several ornate rooms and countless amenities to ensure an excellent stay.

Snuffel Hostel – Boasting a 120-bed capacity, this hostel has both dorms and private rooms, a bar for socialising and a perfect location for exploring all Bruges has to offer.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Bruges hotels!

Whether you’re a traveler motivated by food, history, or culture, Bruges has something for you. It’s a charming little city full of impressive architecture, historical landmarks, and tasty local food. Use this sample itinerary for Bruges to help guide your trip and enjoy your time. 

Are you planning to visit Bruges? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

brugge day tour

Related Posts:

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One Day in Ghent Itinerary: A Day Trip from Brussels

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The Perfect 5 to 7 Days in Belgium Itinerary

The Grand Place in Brussels

Brussels or Bruges: Which Belgian City to Visit?

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About Audrey Webster

Audrey Webster is a writer for The World Was Here First. She is an Oregon native who has visited countries across the globe and currently spends her weekends exploring the Pacific Northwest and surrounding states. Her approach to traveling combines exploring famous tourist sites and wandering off the beaten path to discover new destinations.

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Bruges Day Trip: A Magical Itinerary for One Day In Bruges (2024)

  • August 1, 2023

Bruges Belfry from Canal in Belgium

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Heading on a Bruges day trip is the perfect way to explore this bite-sized city.

Filled with glorious canals, beautiful buildings, and, of course, plenty of waffles, chocolate and beer, a visit to Bruges is a must on any Belgium itinerary!

In this blog post, I’ve going to share the exact Bruges itinerary I meticulously researched and used to enjoy my one day in Bruges.

I had low expectations of Bruges. I just couldn’t believe that anywhere was worth that much hype. I was totally wrong though – Bruges, also called Brugge, is SO worth the hype!

Everywhere you look, you’ll be gobsmacked by the dreamy canals, cute cobbled streets or stunning red-brick buildings.

You can easily see the highlights of Bruges in a day. I spent one day and one night in Bruges, as part of a longer 5 day trip to Belgium, but it’s also totally doable to do a day trip to Bruges and stay the night elsewhere.

Girl at the Provincial Palace in Bruges Belgium

Wondering what to see in Bruges in one day? Let’s get started. Here’s my tried-and-tested Bruges one day itinerary!

The Perfect One Day in Bruges Itinerary

Stop 1: take a boat tour of the bruges canals.

Boat tour in Bruges, Belgium - stop 1 on this one day in Bruges itinerary.

Let’s kick off your Bruges day trip with one of the best activities in the city – hopping on this guided boat tour of its world-famous canals!

Exploring Bruges via boat is the perfect introduction to the city and offers a unique way to learn about its history and see some of its famous landmarks.

After you’ve cruised along the canals your guide will lead you on a walking tour of the city’s many alleyways and most beautiful tourist attractions, meaning you’ll get to explore Bruges both from the water and from the streets!

If the weather isn’t on your side, a great (and tastier!) alternative is to join this Belgian chocolate-making class . During the class, you’ll learn how to make three different types of chocolate from scratch.

You’ll also end up with around 35 pieces of Belgian chocolate to take home with you – win!

Stop 2: Market Square & Belfort Brugge

Bruges Market Square

After your boat tour or chocolate class it’s time to head to the heart of Bruges, Market Square.

Be sure to take your time making your way to the Market Square – chances are you’ll get distracted and want to explore Bruges’ charming streets and ancient buildings.

Arriving in Market Square, you’ll immediately recognise the majestic Provincial Palace, a gothic-style building originally used for government meetings.

Nowadays, its main use is as a ceremonial building, and it’s one of Bruges’ most well-known landmarks. Join in with the other tourists snapping pictures of it before turning your attention to the Belfort.

Bruges’ Belfort tower dates back to the 13 th century and is a key part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage status. It costs €15 to enter and climb the 366 steps to the top of the tower, which offers breathtaking views over central Bruges.

To break up the climb, there are a few stops such as the Treasury, where the city treasury and city seal were kept in the Middle Ages, and the Tower Room, where you can see the keyboard from which the tower’s bells are played.

Stop 3: Sampling Traditional Belgian Frites for Lunch

Belgian fries with andalouse sauce

For lunch, stop by ‘t Brugsch Friethuys , just on the other side of the Market Square, to get some quick takeout Belgian fries.

There are so many different sauces on offer here, but since you’re in Belgium it would be a crime to not sample the mouth-watering Andalouse sauce.

This Belgian speciality is a mix of mayonnaise, tomato paste and peppers. It’s absolutely delicious when smothered over thin and crispy Belgian fries!

You should eat these back out on the Market Square for some extra time taking in the hustle and bustle.

Stop 4:  Tour De Halve Maan Brewery

Beer cellar on the De Halve Maan Bruges Brewery tour

De Halve Maan is the most iconic brewery in Bruges and creates award-winning beers that harness loyal fans. This was definitely the highlight of my 1 day in Bruges, and is a great stop for any beer-lovers!

The brewery also has an insane amount of history behind it, and it’s one of the top things to see in Bruges in one day.

The earliest mention of the brewery was way back in 1564, and the Maes family, who still run De Halve Maan, became its owners in the 19 th century.

Tours of the brewery in English, French and Dutch run hourly from 11am to 4pm. The tour costs €16 and lasts 45 minutes, ending in their lovely restaurant. Your tour ticket includes a free glass of their absolutely delicious beer, Brugse Zot Blond, which you can try here.

The tour takes you through the brewing process as well of the history of beer brewing in Bruges. You’ll also learn a lot about De Halve Maan itself, including its history and how it evolved to stay in business through two world wars.

After a steep climb, the tour emerges onto the brewery’s roof, which offers amazing views over the charming city of Bruges.

View from tour of De Halve Maan Brewery in Bruges Belgium

From here, you can see De Halve Maan’s factory in the distance.

It was fascinating to learn that to transport the beer from its brewery in the inner city to the bottling plant, De Halve Maan actually installed a 3.2km pipeline underneath Bruges for the beer to travel through.

Stop 5: Snap Some Photos of the Church of Our Lady

brugge day tour

On your short walk back to the city centre, stop by the picturesque Church of Our Lady .

You won’t get lost trying to find it – its 155.5-metre brick steeple is one of the highest points in Bruges and takes pride of place in the city’s skyline.

The church took two whole centuries to build (between the 13 th and 15 th centuries), so it’s worth seeing for yourself why they spent so long on it.

Not only is the exterior of the church gorgeous, but inside you’ll find a marble sculpture, ‘Madonna and Child’, by Michelangelo. It’s an amazing feature of the church, and worth checking out.

Once you’re inside, you’ll find lots of paintings, 13 th and 14 th century painted crypts, and the tombs of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold.

The church is free to enter, but it costs €8 to see the highlights in the church museum. In my opinion, this isn’t worth paying for – just enjoy the church for free.

Stop 6: Stop by the Iconic Burg Square & Bruges City Hall

Brugge Burg Square and Brugge City Hall in Belgium, Europe

If you’ve ever seen a photo of Bruges, you’ll recognise this postcard-perfect town square, complete with the instantly recognisable Bruges City Hall.

This is one of my favourite places to visit in Bruges in one day.

Wander the square and people watch for a while before stepping inside the City Hall. The Hall was built in 1376 – it’s hard to even imagine that far back!

At only €8 , the entry price is well worth it to gawp at its elaborate interiors. The highlight is undoubtedly the Gothic Hall, which contains intricate murals depicting the history of Bruges over the 600 years the City Hall has governed it.

There’s a really neat multimedia exhibition which documents the evolution of the Burg Square and a museum section which educates on the city’s history.

If you’re looking to really get to grips with how long Bruges has been around for, the City Hall is a great stop.

Next door to the City Hall you’ll find the Basilica of the Holy Blood, another ornate church that’s popular with visitors.

I didn’t explore the Basilica so I can’t offer much information, but if you have plenty of time left it could be worth checking out.

Stop 7: Taste the Best of Belgian Beer at Le Trappiste

Tasting Paddle of Belgian beers at Le Trappiste

Can’t decide which Belgian beer you want to try the most? At Le Trappiste, you don’t have to!

Here, you can choose a ‘paddle’ of 5 different beers for just €13 . The list of beers for you to choose from is huge! If you’re feeling peckish, they even offer combos of cheese, olives and salami to snack on in between sips of beer.

Le Trappiste is set in an 800-year-old medieval cellar, and is voted one of the best placed to drink in Bruges!

Now we’ve talked about how to spend a day in Bruges, let’s talk about what to do at night!

Tasting of Belgian beer on open cafe or bistro terrace with view on medieval houses and canals in Bruges, Belgium in sunny day

Stop 8: Dinner at De Halve Maan

Does this place look familiar? That’s right, you’ve already been here, but it’s so good I recommend coming back!

Trust me when I say it – finding Belgian food in Bruges without dropping a shedload of cash is really tricky. Luckily, De Halve Maan, in addition to having great beer, also has pretty affordable (by Bruges’ standards…) dinner options.

The restaurant is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 6pm-9pm , and, like every restaurant in Bruges, you really should make a reservation in advance.

Even in early March, the restaurant was totally packed!

A Flemish Beef Stew cooked with Brugse Zot will set you back €21.50 , and chicken vol-au-vent will cost €19.00 . This might seem pretty pricey, but it was one of the cheapest places we found in Bruges serving up traditional Belgian food!

After dinner, where the night heads is up to you! You could head straight back to your hotel to recover from such a busy day (which is what I decided to do!) or head out to sample some more beers.

Just don’t forget that Belgian beers are super strong!

Chocolate shop in Belgium

Is One Day in Bruges Enough?

A day in Bruges is the ideal amount of time to get to know the city and see its highlights. Bruges is perfect for day trips, and there are plenty of things to do in Bruges in one day.

Of course, you can extend your time in Bruges and stay another day, but I personally recommend moving on to another city in Belgium if you can. This tiny country packs a punch, and there is so much to see and do!

From Bruges, we moved on to Ypres. I highly recommend a trip to Ypres to see the world-famous Last Post Ceremony if you’re looking to extend your time in Belgium!

If you’re looking for a slightly more cosmopolitan city, head to Brussels, Ghent or Antwerp.

Skyline in Market Square

How to Get to Bruges, Belgium

Getting the train to bruges.

The best way to get to Bruges is by train – either from another Belgian city, or even another nearby country! To get to Bruges, you’ll want a ticket to Brugge-Sint-Pieters station.

If you’re travelling from another Belgian city, you can purchase tickets at the train station at any of the ticket machines, or online.

It’s not worth the hassle of buying tickets far in advance as train ticket prices in Belgium stay the same regardless of how early you book them.

If you’re under 26 , you can get some awesome savings by buying a Go Ticket. This ticket allows you to travel anywhere in Belgium, and costs just €6.60 !

Adult standard tickets vary in price according to the distance – from Brussels to Bruges you’ll pay €14.30. From Ghent to Bruges, it costs €6.70.

Flying to Bruges

Outside terminal at Brussels airport (BRU) in Belgium.

If you’re flying to Bruges, the most simple and cost-effective option is to fly into either Brussels Charleroi or Brussels Zaventem airports and then travel to Bruges. I always use Skyscanner to find cheap flights.

From Brussels Zaventem , there is a direct train to Bruges every hour. There are also options to catch connecting trains in central Brussels. The direct train costs €21.20 and takes just over 90 minutes.

The best and quickest way to get to Bruges from Brussels Charleroi airport is by taking the shuttle bus run by Flibco.com . These shuttles run 9 times per day. The journey takes around 2 hours and costs €5.

Of course, you can also travel by train to Bruges from various cities in Europe. This includes London (3 hours 20), Paris (2 hours 30), Cologne (3 hours 10) and more.

brugge day tour

Taking a Tour to Bruges

A really popular way to visit Bruges is via a tour from another European city. High competition means these trips are super affordable, and usually include all your transport and entry fees.

Taking a tour is a great idea if you’re wanting to relax and leave all the organisation to somebody else.

You can hop on this tour of Bruges from Amsterdam , this full-day tour of Bruges from Paris , or this affordable Bruges day trip from Brussels .

Public Transport in Bruges

Bruges is a very walkable city, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to use the city’s public transport unless your hotel is not in the city centre.

I recommend paying extra to stay in the city centre so that you don’t need to worry about this. If you do need to use public transport, you will need to use the bus – there is no tram or metro.

Where to Stay in Bruges

Sign saying Hotel in a Bruges street in Belgium

If you’re looking to extend your day trip to Bruges by staying overnight, I’m here to help.

Finding good quality budget accommodation within walking distance to the city centre can be tricky. Obviously, Bruges is hugely popular with tourists.

For this reason, accommodation here was quite a bit more expensive than in other cities in Belgium I visited, but obviously not as expensive as in cities like London or the very expensive Oslo . Luckily, I have a few solid recommendations up my sleeve:

As ever, the best way to keep costs down is to stay in a hostel. Bruges, fortunately, has quite a few hostels, but they do sell out quickly in summer. This fabulous hostel gets consistently great reviews and is located right in the city centre.

It even has its own Belgian beer bar stocking over 40 types of beer! A bed in a 16-bed dorm will set you back around €23 , or you can pay €85 for a private double room with your own bathroom.

Click here to book your hostel stay!

Belgian fries in front of the Brugge Belfort which can be seen on a Bruges day trip

Being the disorganised person that I am, I didn’t book my accommodation until the week before my trip. By this point, obviously, a lot of the budget accommodation was fully booked.

Fortunately, I managed to snag a room at this perfect hotel , and I was really happy with my stay. It’s super close to the city centre, and just round the corner from Herberg Vlissinghe, the oldest pub in Bruges!

The rooms were comfortable and the location was right on the canal – perfect! We paid €135.00 for one night. As I said, this was quite pricey compared to the other places we stayed in Belgium but seemed to be in line with hotel prices in Bruges.

Plus, splitting the cost with my boyfriend really helped!

Click here to book the hotel I stayed at!

When Is the Best Time to Visit Bruges?

One day in Bruges Belgium at Christmas

High season in Europe runs from mid-June until early September. I recommend spring and autumn as the best time to visit Bruges. These seasons offer fairly good weather without the huge summer crowds.

Visiting Bruges for Christmas would also be ideal, as the beautiful old town already looks like something out of a Christmas story. Bruges offers up some of the best European Christmas markets . A December visit here will definitely get you feeling festive!

I actually visited Bruges in early March and found this a great time to see the city. Bruges was already pretty busy, so I’m really glad I visited in the off-season.

The weather was a bit patchy, but overall March was a good time to visit. I could imagine the summer crowds driving me insane!

I hope this Bruges day trip itinerary has helped you to plan your upcoming trip.

Don’t forget to Pin this blog post so you have it saved for later!

How to spend one day in Bruges Belgium including the best things to do, see and eat. Whether you visit Bruges at Christmas, winter or summer there are always so many things to do. Bruges is also known as Brugge. Bruges has such great aesthetic and is perfect for instagram. Bruges is a popular place to travel and this Bruges travel itinerary includes where to stay in Bruges, and how to visit Bruges on a day trip. Bruges should be on every Europe bucket list!

Ella Moore is the founder of Many More Maps. Growing up just 45 minutes away from Liverpool, Ella has spent years exploring the city inside out. In her teenage years, she was introduced to the music of The Beatles, and the rest, they say, is history! Today, she stands as a leading authority on Beatles tourism in Liverpool, helping over 40,000 people a month to plan their dream trip to the city.

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Worldwide Walkers

24 Things to do in Beautiful Bruges in 2024

Things to do in Bruges blog post header

Bruges is not to be missed.

Known for its intertwining canals, its Medieval buildings, and its cobblestone streets, Bruges is without a doubt one of Belgium’s most beautiful cities.

But apart from its beauty, we also learned that there are so many great things to do in Bruges, and we cannot wait to show you in this city guide.

You can visit famous breweries, look for the world’s only beer pipe line, walk in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage city center, climb to the top of a Medieval tower, eat the finest Belgian chocolate, and much more!

In this city guide, we share everything that we think is worth doing on a trip to Bruges, and hopefully it will help you discover this fine city of Belgium.

AFFILIATE LINKS DISCLOSURE: Dear Reader, this blog post contains affiliate links. If you click on them, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here .

Plan your trip to Bruges in Belgium

Before you embark on your trip to Bruges, and start exploring all the wonderful things to do, we want to share a little information that might be useful to you.

We’ll go through the following: Why visit Bruges, how to get to Bruges from Brussels, and tips for visiting on a day trip. It’ll hopefully help you plan your own trip to Bruges.

Want to skip all the practical stuff? Then jump to the list of things to do .

Why visit beautiful Bruges

Here are 3 quick reasons to why you should visit Bruges in Belgium:

  • History: The historic centre of Brugge (Bruges) has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000 because it’s an outstanding example of a historic settlement from the Middle Ages. So if you’re curious about European history, you really ought to visit.
  • Beauty: It’s such a beautiful city that it’s hard to describe it. You really have to go there and see all the small alleys and hidden canal walks by yourself. So, if you want to experience a beautiful city in Europe that has a real Medieval feel to it, then it’s the perfect city to explore.
  • Accessibility: It’s easy to visit Bruges on a one day trip from brussels – you just hop on the train.
  • Related blog post: Brussels 2-day itinerary

Where to stay in Bruges

Did you realize that a day trip to Bruges wasn’t enough? Well we really can’t blame you! There are just so many things to do in Bruges that it’s hard to cram them all into one single day.

So just in case you decide to stay for a night or two, here are some of the best places to stay in Bruges. We’ve done our research (as always) on Booking.com and looked for the best hotels for you.

5 places to stay in Bruges (Ranked from low to high prices)

  • Snuffel Hostel : Want something cheap? Stay in this high rated hostel in the city center.
  • Hotel Central : Want something affordable for two? Check out this nice hotel in the city center.
  • Crowne Plaza Hotel Brugge : Want something luxurious? Then stay at this lovely 4-star hotel, which has it all – including ancient ruins in the basement.
  • Hotel Dukes’ Palace Brugge : Want to stay somewhere extraordinary? Then check out this incredible 5-star hotel, which is located in a former palace.

Top tips for visiting Bruges

  • Public Toilets : You can find several public toilets around the city. However, keep in mind that you often have to pay a fee to use them. For example, the toilet by the Belfry Tower cost €0,5 per wee.
  • Free water fountain : We found 1 free water fountain in Bruges. On the little square with the Jan Van Eyck statue, just a 2-minute walk from the Brugge Markt, you can fill your water bottle for free.
  • Musea Brugge Card : If you plan to spend several days exploring Bruges, then you should look into buying the Musea Brugge Card. The card is valid for 72 hours, cost €33, and gives you access to many museums and attractions. Buy your Musea Brugge Card here .
  • Eat street food if you’re on a budget : The restaurants in Bruges are pretty expensive. It’s a touristic city, so we found it hard to find a cheap restaurant. If you’re on a budget, you should look into getting some Belgian street food like: Frites (Fries), Broodjes (Sandwiches), and Waffles.

Me standing on a bridge at the beginning of my day trip to Bruges

The best things to do in Bruges

We’ve finally made it to the crème de la crème of this blog post. So, without further ado, here are all the top attractions and things to do in Bruges.

1. The Markt in Bruges

It’s almost inevitable not to make it past the “Markt”, also known as the “Market Square”, which is the heart of Bruges. This is the perfect place to start exploring the city.

The Market Square is surrounded by beautiful old and colorful houses, the famous belfry, and the Historium Museum – also located in a beautiful building! It’s a great place to take some pictures, and it’s a must-visit on your day trip to Bruges.

The Markt is one of the best things to see in Bruges, here it is seen from above.

2. Belfry of Bruges

One of the most popular (and most expensive) things to do in Bruges is to visit the iconic Belfry. This 83-meter tall bell tower is located on the Market Square, and it’s the pride of the city.

Luckily, you can easily visit this popular attraction in Bruges.

You can explore 4 rooms in the bell tower, go to the top for a panoramic view over Bruges, and dance to the sound of the deafening bells while you’re there. We visited the tower on our day trip to Bruges, and we really enjoyed our experience.

The entrance fee to the Belfry Tower is €15, it’s free to enter with the Musea Brugge Card , and the opening hours differ from Winter (10 AM – 6 PM) and Summer (9 AM – 8 PM). If you want to know more, then check out the blog post linked below.

  • Related blog post: The Belfry Tower of Bruges

The beautiful belfry tower of Bruges is one of the MUST things to do in the city

3. Church of Our Lady

The Church of Our Lady is a beautiful catholic church that dates back to the 13th century. It has an impressive tower, which stands 115 meters tall, and is therefore the tallest tower in all of Bruges.

Apart from being a church, it’s also a museum where you can find many art treasures such as the world-famous “Madonna and Child”, which is a rare Michelangelo sculpture that for once is located outside of Italy.

Watching the artworks in the Church of Our Lady is definitely one of the more popular things to do in Bruges.

The entrance fee to see the artworks are €8, it’s free to enter with the Musea Brugge Card , and it’s open daily from 9:30 AM – 5 PM except for Sundays when it doesn’t open until 1:30 PM.

A shot from the inside of the Church of Our Lady.

4. St. Salvator’s Cathedral

The third and last big tower that you can see in Bruges is part of the city’s cathedral Sint Salvator (Or Saint Saviour). The beautiful tower is 99 meters tall and is therefore the second largest tower in Bruges.

It was originally built as a church back in the 10th century, and remains Bruges’ oldest church to this day. However, over the years it has burned down and been rebuilt a couple of times, and it wasn’t before 1834 that it received the status of cathedral.

It’s completely free to enter the cathedral and it’s open from 10 AM – 1 PM + 2 PM – 5:30 PM during the week days. Notice that there are different opening hours in the weekends.

  • Learn more: Sint-Salvatorskathedraal on Visit Bruges

The Cathedral of Bruges seen from above

5. Holy Blood Basilica

The last of the religious things to do in Bruges is to visit the Holy Blood Basilica. The rather unusual name “Holy Blood” comes from a relic within the basilica, which is said to contain the blood of Jesus Christ himself.

Whether that’s really true or not, we can’t answer… But it’s surely a beautiful little attraction in Bruges.

The basilica has a lower and an upper chapel, which are both free to enter. It was originally made as the chapel for the Count of Flanders, and it didn’t get its basilica status until 1923.

The entrance fee to see the treasury is €5, and it’s open daily from 10 AM – 5:15 PM.

The Basilica of the Holy Blood seen from inside

6. Bruges City Hall

Another great thing to do in Bruges is to visit the city hall, also known as “Stadhuis” – yes, it’s another really old and beautiful building. The Stadhuis is gothic-styled and was built between 1376 and 1421.

This is what used to be the political centre of Bruges. And you know what? It still is.

The Bruges City Council meetings actually still take place in the Stadhuis even though it’s turned into a museum today.

While we didn’t visit the city hall from the inside, we made sure to go by and gawk at the beautiful architecture from the outside. Definitely one of the things you must do in Bruges.

The entrance fee to the Stadhuis is €8, it’s free to enter with the Musea Brugge Card , and it’s open daily from 9:30 AM – 5 PM.

The beautiful city hall in Bruges is a must see attraction on your day trip.

7. Other history and art museums

Apart from the Belfry, the Church of our Lady, and the City Hall there are 7 additional history and art museums that you can visit to learn about the heritage of Bruges – all with free entrance if you have a Musea Brugge Card .

Check out the following: Brugse Vrije, Gezellehuis, Groeningemuseum, Gruuthusemuseum, Sint-Janshospitaal, Sint-Janhuismolen, and the museum of Folk Life.

Whether you’re into art, history, windmills, or city palaces, you’ll be able to find a museum that fits just to your taste in Bruges.

  • Learn more: Official list of city museums and monuments in Bruges

8. Funny and odd museums

If you aren’t keen on art and history museums, then we still guarantee that there is a museum for you in Bruges.

You can find some really funny and strange museums around the city. These museums aren’t managed by the municipality, instead they’re private. Check out some of Bruges’ different museums in the list below:

  • Beer museum
  • Chocolate museum
  • Friet museum

As you can see a lot of museums are food/drink related. Belgium is known for beer, chocolate, and fries, so of course you can learn about these things in museums… It’s unbelievable how many things there are to do in Bruges, you could easily spent days here.

  • Related blog post: What is Belgium famous and known for?

9. Do a beer brewery tour

One of the best things to do in Bruges is to visit a brewery. You can choose one of two famous breweries in the city: De Halve Maan and Bourgogne de Flandres.

On the brewery tours, you get to see how the beer is made and of course have a taste of the golden finish product that comes out of the pipes.

  • Fun fact: De Halve Maan actually has the world’s only beer pipe! It’s running through the canals of Bruges and into their bottle plant right outside of the city center.

De Halve Maan : A brewery tour will set you back €16, it takes around 45 minutes, and there are several times lots you can book every day between 12 PM – 5:30 PM. Book your tour on their website: Halvemaan.be

Bourgogne de Flandres : A self-guided brewery tour will set you back €16, and you can visit any time between 10:30 AM – 5 PM. You can book your tour on Get Your Guide .

A sign that says, "Brewery Visit Open"

10. Go on a guided tour

Do you want to get the whole package of Bruges?

There are several tour operators that offer guided tours around town. Whether you’re looking for a guided history tour around the city, a photography tour, a bike tour, or maybe a tour that focuses on chocolate?

There are so many things to do in Bruges, so you can always find a tour that fits your interests.

We recommend using Viator or Get Your Guide for booking tours.

11. Horse carriage tour

Another thing to do in Bruges is to jump on a horse carriage tour.

Now, we’re not horse experts in any way… But we would never do this activity ourselves, so we can’t really recommend it as one of the absolute best things to do in Bruges.

Whenever Glenn and I visit a new place, we always avoid the animal activities for the sole reason that we just don’t know how the animals are treated and whether they’re abused or not. We feel like some things should remain in the past when it comes to animals, and horse carriages are one of them. This is just a personal opinion (So please don’t start a fuss about us being political correct, we’re entitled to have this opinion).

So while we don’t really recommend you to do this, we certainly still want you to have all the practical information at hand, because that’s what this travel guide is all about.

The fact is that there are so many horse carriages around Bruges, so it’s part of the cityscape. That’s why we feel that we need to mention this activity.

Prices start at €70 for a horse carriage with a maximum of 5 people in it.

A horse attached to a carriage at the Markt in Bruges

12. Free walking tour

One of the greatest things to do in any city (including Bruges) is a free walking tour.

A guide takes you and the group around the landmarks of the city and share history and funny anecdotes that you didn’t know about.

While the tour itself is “free”, a tip in the end is greatly appreciated. We think it’s obligatory to give the guide something for his/her hard work.

There are several operators that do the walking tours around Bruges. They both have day tours and night tours , which we think is pretty cool.

It cost €3 to secure your spot on a walking tour through our two above affiliate links, and the duration are between 1,5-2 hours. The tour only runs a couple of times a day, and you can check the availability through the 2 above affiliate links.

13. Picturesque canal walk

Another thing you simply must do in Bruges is to go on a canal walk.

There are so many small canals intertwining in and out of the old historic city center, and you can find some incredible scenery along these canals.

So just strap on your shoes, set your camera to the right settings, and start walking while taking some beautiful pictures. The most popular viewpoints are probably the view at Rozenhoedkaai, where you can see two of the city’s towers at once, or the view in the small walkway behind the Church of Our Lady.

There are so many attractions, museums, and things to do in Bruges, yet we think one of the best reasons to visit Bruges is to experience at the beautiful scenery along the canals.

A scenic picture from the canal and city, a canal walk is one of the best things to do in Bruges.

14. Boat tour in the canals

One of the top things to do in Bruges is a boat tour in the canals.

The boat trip takes around half an hour and during this time you will be taken by some of Bruges’ highlights.

There are 5 different locations from where you can do a canal tour in Bruges, so just follow the canals and you’ll be sure to find a place of departure.

The boat companies are normally open from 10 AM – 6 PM from early March to mid-November, although you can sometimes be lucky to find a boat tour company that operates out of season. The adult prices are €15, which we think is a bit steep for just half an hour of exploration.

However, you can easily combine the canal tour with a walking tour and get more out of your day. Check out this Small boat cruise & guided walking tour in Bruges .

A boat in the canal of Bruges, Belgium

15. Walk to the windmills

On the outskirts of the historic city center, just next to the Gent-Brugge Canal, you’ll find a super cool walkway with windmills.

In the 16th century there was more than 20 windmills in the area, but today only 4 remains.

All the windmills, except for one, have been moved from their original position. And today, the windmills serve more of a historical purpose rather than actually being used.

The Sint-Janshuismill, which was built in 1770, is the only windmill that still stands in its original position. It’s also the only windmill that has been turned into a museum, which you can visit for €5 or get free entrance with the Musea Brugge Card .

You can only visit the Sint-Janshuismill Museum during the Summer period, starting from 1st of April. You can see visiting hours and book a time slot for your visit here .

One of the best free things to do in Bruges is to see the windmills. Here is the Sint Janshuismolen

16. Bruges Triennial 2024

During our day trip to Bruges, in the Gezellehuis Garden, we stumbled upon something that we had no idea of what was… It looked like a giant red scaffolding, which surrounded a massive tree. And apparently you could climb it to the top for some great city views.

We later learned that it’s part of an art exhibition named “Bruges Triennial”.

The Bruges Triennial is a a unique type of art exhibition that only happens every 3 years. This year (2024) it’s back and runs from 13 April – 1 September.

During this time period, you can find 12 different art and architecture installations scattered around Bruges. It’s such a cool way of using the city, and we encourage you to visit some of these art installations if you’re in the city during the Bruges Triennial.

  • Learn more: Bruges Triennial art exhibitions

The red scaffolding surrounding a tree

17. Hof de Jonghe (Sheep Park)

Fancy a snuggle with a sheep?

One of the best free (and most unusual) things to do in Bruges is to visit Hof de Jonghe. It’s a small park in a residential area that has a couple of sheep living there.

We tracked down this little park during our day trip to Bruges, but sadly there was no sheep. We honestly don’t know when the sheep are here… But if you need a little break from the bustling city center, and want to potentially watch some cute sheep, then head to Hof de Jonghe and see for yourself.

Me looking dissapointed since there were no sheep in the park today

18. Minnewater Park

Not far from Brugge Station, you’ll find the Minnewater Park. Also known as the “Lake of Love”, this little green spot in Bruges is absolutely incredible.

If you’re looking for a piece of quiet from the bustling city, we’d recommend you to come here.

It’s also a great place to spot swans!

19. Ten Wijngaerde (Beguinage)

Next to Minnewater Park, you’ll find the local Beguinage. A Beguinage is a place where unmarried and widowed women live a peaceful life dedicated to god.

The beautiful garden in here was founded back in 1245, and it’s surrounded by white houses and a church. Today, nuns of the Benedict Order, and other unmarried women live here.

Visiting this place is one of the greater things to do if you’re looking for some peace and quiet in Bruges. You aren’t allowed to take any pictures and you have to be silent once you enter the area.

You can enter the Beguinage every day from 6:30 AM – 6:30 PM.

20. Enjoy a drink at a local bar

Don’t you think it’s time for a break from all the sightseeing?

When you need a break on your day of exploring, we suggest you go to a bar and try out one of the local beers in Bruges.

Just remember that the beers in Belgium are very strong, and it’s not uncommon to drink beer with an alcohol percentage of 8 or more.

We found an affordable and cozy bar by the Fish Market named “Hollandse Vismijn”. We can definitely recommend this place when you feel thirsty and need a break.

  • Beers to try from Bruges: 1) Brugse Zot 2) Straffe Hendrik 3) Brugse Tripel

Drinking a local beer is a MUST on a one day trip to Bruges! This is the Brugge Tripel and a glass of Rosé

21. Eat a Belgian snack

We always find that it’s necessary to eat a few snacks when sightseeing – Gotta keep the blood sugar level high, so we can keep on exploring as much as possible!

There are several Belgian snacks that you can try out on your one day trip to Bruges depending on whether you want something sweet or savory.

The classic savory snack is definitely the Belgian Frites. Eating fries is a must on your visit to Belgium since they allegedly originate from this country. Head to a “Frituur Shop” somewhere in Bruges for a good deal on fries.

The best sweet snack you can get in Bruges is of course… the Belgian waffle. There are several waffle houses scattered around the city, and you can often locate them by following the sweet smell of sugar, dough, and yumminess.

brugge day tour

22. Buy some Belgian chocolate

The street that connects the Markt and the City Hall is full of chocolate shops.

Belgium is famous for its world-renowned chocolate (they invented the praline), so you want to head to this street for some delicious high-quality chocolate. PS, you can also find waffles on this street.

  • Can’t get enough of chocolate? Book on Viator: Chocolate workshop in Bruges

Two chocolate stores in Bruges, Belgium

23. Visit a market

Belgium is a big country for local markets, and Brugge doesn’t let you down.

There are several markets around the city with the most popular ones being the daily Fish market and the Flower and Food market on Wednesdays.

Bruges also has an incredible Christmas market every year. So make sure to check that one out if you’re in Belgium during December.

  • Read more: Market days in Bruges

24. Go shopping

Brugge is the capital of West Flanders, which means it’s actually a pretty big city.

And like most big cities, one of the greater things to do in Bruges is to go shopping! Bruges has all the classic commercial clothes stores, but there are also some interesting quirky quality shops on the way, which we haven’t seen in other cities.

So, if you need a new pair of shoes, a summer dress, or a scarf for the cold winter winds in Belgium, then you don’t have to look far.

Our favorite things to do in Bruges

We want to end this blog post with sharing our favorite things to do in Bruges whether you visit on a day trip or stay here for several nights.

While there are so many attractions, museums, and monuments to see in Bruges, we found that it’s the more simple things that makes Bruges such a great city. Our all-time favorite thing to do was to just get lost in the city center, preferably by following the canals. The canals will take you past so many cute picturesque places!

Also, once we reached the Markt, we couldn’t help ourselves to just stand still. Standing in the middle of the Market Square is like standing in the heart of Bruges. Try to do a 360-spin and see how many beautiful and colorful buildings you can spot at once.

Another one of the things we love to do in any Belgian city is to go to a bar, and Bruges is no different. Belgium have such a great bar culture, and every city has its own delicious beer. So, unless you don’t drink alcohol, we’ll recommend you to try out the local beer. It’s really a must in our opinion.

All in all, Bruges offers so many great experiences for every kind of traveller.

A picture of 7 beautiful and colorful houses that mirror into the canal. Getting lost in Bruges is one of my favorite things to do, because you get different scenic views this way.

We hope you enjoyed this travel guide about all the best things to do in Bruges. If you have the time, then we advice you to spend a couple of nights here to really appreciate Bruges and see the city at night.

Don’t hesitate to comment if you have any questions, or other Brugge attractions that you think we should include in this blog post.

Thanks for reading and happy travels!

Check out some other amazing cities in Belgium:

  • Best things to do in Ghent
  • Best things to do in Namur
  • Best things to do in Dinant
  • Best things to do in Brussels

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Hi, I'm Cecilie! And I'm the writer behind our travel blog. I only write about places that we've personally been to and want to recommend to you. I'm passionate about creating truthful travel guides, which can help you plan your own trip. When I'm not traveling or writing, you'll find me on a hiking trail, in a coffee shop, or in a shoe store around Copenhagen.

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Book Tours, Attractions & Activities in Holland

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Bruges Full Day Tour From Amsterdam

Full day (7+ hours)

Culture Vultures, History Buffs

English, Espanol

Enjoy a magical day out on this Bruges Full Day Tour From Amsterdam. Discover the beautiful canals and medieval architecture of one of UNESCO’s most popular world heritage sights.

Hop onboard and discover the enchanting city of Bruges, one of Europe’s most magical cities! The Bruges Tour takes you on a guided tour of the charming old town, with its beautiful canals, cobbled streets, and stunning medieval architecture. They say the city centre of Bruges is like a fairy-tale! During this tour, you will also have time to explore on your own. Enjoy a stroll through the city with its boutique shops, sit down for lunch or sample the excellent beers and famous Belgian chocolates.

Your journey starts at the meeting point at Amsterdam Central Station. Enjoy the comfortabel bus ride to Bruges, where a local guide will welcome you upon arrival. During the guided walking tour, learn more about the historic centre and admire the beautiful and unique medieval town, once the commercial capital of the world!

Some highlights of this Bruges Full Day Tour From Amsterdam include the Béguinage, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, the Sint-Salvator Cathedral, the 12th-century Belfry of Bruges and the Market square. During wintertime, this square is also home to the world-famous Christmas market.

Secure your tickets today and enjoy an unforgettable experience in this extraordinary city. This exciting Belgium tour has a duration of approximately twelve hours, including travelling time.

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  • Visit the magical city of Bruges
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  • Full day tour from Amsterdam to Bruges
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  • 1h guided city walking tour
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    Julianna Barnaby March 2, 2023 Updated on November 8, 2023 4.3K Beautiful Bruges is a city unlike any other. Old-world architecture, horse-drawn carriages, handsome canals - it's no wonder that it's such a popular destination. Planning your day trip to Bruges? This is what you need to know. Bruges. Whatever you've heard about it - forget it.

  7. 17 best things to do in Bruges

    1. See Bruges on a canal boat tour Experience the sights and sounds of Bruges on a boat tour along the picturesque canals for just €12. Doing it on the day you arrive will help orient you in the city while the guide gives you a potted history of your surroundings.

  8. What to Do in Bruges in One Day

    A stop at the Market Square is definitely one of the best things to do in Bruges in one day. Grab some frites, pop into a shop for some chocolate, people watch, or climb the 366 steps to the top of the belfry —however you choose to enjoy the Market Square will be great. See the scenery at Minnewater Lake Minnewater Lake is often full of swans

  9. One Day in Bruges

    Take a Bruges Canal Tour. Canal tours are one of the most popular things to do in Bruges. While it may come across as a bit of a tourist trap, much like the boat tours in Ghent, it allows you to see the main attractions in Bruges from a different perspective. You will also get some insight into the history of Bruges and see some canal areas the ...

  10. THE TOP 10 Bruges Day Trips (w/Prices)

    The best Day Trips in Bruges according to Viator travelers are: Flanders Fields Remembrance Tour from Bruges with Lunch. Australian Battlefields Private Tour in Flanders from Bruges. Dunkirk Operation Dynamo Battlefield tour from Ypres,Arras, Bruges or Lille.

  11. 2024 Bruges Full-Day Tour from Amsterdam

    Travel in comfort on an air-conditioned coach, and enjoy both a guided tour and free time to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bruges. from. $87.21. per adult. Lowest price guarantee Reserve now & pay later Free cancellation. Ages 4-99, max of 80 per group. Duration: 11h 30m.

  12. THE TOP 10 Bruges Tours & Excursions (UPDATED 2024)

    4 hours Free Cancellation Bruges Private Culinary Tour with 8 Tastings 3 hours Free Cancellation Experience the best of Bruges on a Private Tour with Boat Ride with a local 2 hours 30 minutes Free Cancellation 2 hours 30 minutes 3 to 4 hours 1 hour 30 minutes

  13. From Brussels: Bruges Full-Day Guided Tour

    Explore the beautiful city of Bruges on a guided day trip with round-trip transfers from Brussels. Discover one of the most fascinating medieval cities in Europe with an English-speaking guide, and go to the Lake of Love and much more. About this activity Free cancellation Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund Reserve now & pay later

  14. The EPIC One Day in Bruges Itinerary for 2024 (& Map!)

    ️ Day Trip to Bruges from Ghent. 45 minutes roundtrip of traveling by train (highly suggested!) ️ Day Trip to Bruges from Brussels. 2 hours and 15 minutes roundtrip of traveling by train . ️ Day Trip to Bruges from Antwerp. 3 hours roundtrip of traveling by train. ️ Day Trip to Bruges from Rotterdam. 4 hours roundtrip of traveling by train

  15. Bruges Tours with Local Private Tour Guides

    Bruges Tours Stroll the medieval streets of enchanting Bruges with a knowledgeable local guide. Find your perfect Bruges tour Local Guides offer 77 unique and customizable tours in Bruges. When are you visiting? From To

  16. How to Visit Bruges and Ghent if You Only Have One Day

    To do this round trip from Brussels, we bought three one-way tickets: Brussels to Bruges, Bruges to Ghent, Ghent to Brussels. This costs about €33.70 (in 2024) for one standard 2nd class ticket for an adult. For people under the age of 26 years, you can choose the "Go Pass" which saves several euros per ticket.

  17. The Perfect Bruges Day Trip

    Brussels to Bruges Day Trip - this is a 9.5 hour tour with round-trip bus transportation from Brussels with a guided walking tour and time to explore the town on your own. Bruges and Ghent Day Trip from Brussels - Another popular tour from Brussels that often sells out, this guided day trip includes both Bruges and Ghent. You'll get a ...

  18. The Perfect 2 to 3 Days in Bruges Itinerary

    Within two days, you can catch the central landmarks, wander the quaint cobblestone streets, and devour a stack of Belgian waffles. You'll see a good amount of the city with a pretty packed itinerary. However, 3 days in Bruges allows you to explore the city at your leisure, try the different local cuisines, or take a day trip.

  19. Bruges Day Trip: A Magical Itinerary for One Day In Bruges (2024)

    Heading on a Bruges day trip is the perfect way to explore this bite-sized city. Filled with glorious canals, beautiful buildings, and, of course, plenty of waffles, chocolate and beer, a visit to Bruges is a must on any Belgium itinerary!

  20. 20+ Things to do on a day trip to Beautiful Bruges in 2023

    Definitely one of the things you must do on your day trip to Bruges! Price 2023: €8 (Free entrance with Musea Brugge Card) Opening hours 2023: 9:30 AM - 5 PM. The beautiful Brugge Stadhuis (actually placed right next to the Basilica of the Holy Blood) 7.

  21. Bruges Full Day Tour From Amsterdam

    Bruges Full Day Tour From Amsterdam De Ruijterkade 34a, Amsterdam, Netherlands Duration Full day (7+ hours) Location Amsterdam Experience Culture Vultures, History Buffs Languages English, Espanol Overview Enjoy a magical day out on this Bruges Full Day Tour From Amsterdam.

  22. Paris to Bruges Full-Day Trip with Transport and Walking Tour 2024

    Guided tour of Bruges with canal cruise option (Hotel Pick) Versailles Half Day Trip from Paris with Audio Guided Visit. Bruges Small-group Full-day trip by Minivan from Paris. 13 hours 30 minutes. Versailles Palace Guided Tour with Gardens Show Option from Paris. 4.

  23. Bruges: Small Group Boat Cruise and Guided Walking Tour

    Discover the medieval town of Bruges with this best of both worlds tour. Explore the historical center of this UNESCO world heritage site on foot and by boat with a local guide in a small group. Become a supplier; ... 4 Bruges Day trips. 5 Bruges Day trips. 6 Bruges Culture & history. 7 Bruges Rainy-day activities. 8 Bruges Sightseeing.