Bruges, filled historical and medieval buildings, canals, and cobblestone streets, is one of the most popular medieval cities in Europe, especially after the movie In Bruges shined a light on it. Busloads of people come here for quick trips to take photos of the canals and buildings. I found this city to be very charming, though expensive and touristy. It’s not a wild party city, there are few things to do there, and, if you’re solo, can get a bit boring if your goal isn’t to relax. That being said, if you pass through Belgium, you’re crazy for not stopping off here for at least a night. It’s too beautiful not to see.
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Bruges
1. Take a canal tour
2. Grote Markt
3. The Burg
4. Gorge on chocolate
5. Take a hot air balloon ride
Other Things to See and Do
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1. Visit the museums
Bruges has its fair share of museums. The City Museum of Fine Arts is perhaps the most popular, exhibiting works from Bruges’ own Jan van Eyck. There is also a world-famous collection of paintings by the Flemish Primitives. Overall, most of the museums are small so you can see them all in a day but they do a thorough job highlighting the city’s medieval past.
2. Belfort Belfry
Climb the Belfort tower, and enjoy some spectacular views of the city. This 83-meter tall bell tower is definitely one of Bruges’ best-known landmarks. From the top, it’s easy to get an idea of exactly how compact the city is. It costs 10 EUR.
3. Drink beer
A trip to the Brewery De Halve Maan entitles you to a guided tour through this family run brewery and a chance to sample the beer at the end. If you don’t want to do a brewery visit, head to Snuffel Hostel as they have a bar with a huge variety of Belgian beer to choose from.
4. Look for Belgian lace
Lacemaking is a big part of Belgium’s heritage. While needle lace is more common throughout Brussels, you are likely to see bobbin lace all over. There are many lace shops in the city as well as workshops and street artisans.
5. The English Theatre
This theater is open all year round, and there are several, high-end productions to check out throughout the year. It’s not that expensive and conveniently located in the city center.
6. Explore by bicycle
Owing to its smaller size, Bruges is a great city to explore on bicycle. Be sure to get out into the countryside, too, if you have the time. Rentals are around 8 EUR for half day, and 12 EUR for a full day.