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Things to do in
Bruges

Discover chocolate box houses, historical gems, and craft beer to boot in Belgium’s fairytale town.

Our most recommended things to do in Bruges

From Brussels: Ghent and Bruges Day Tour

1. From Brussels: Ghent and Bruges Day Tour

Discover 2 of Flanders’ most enchanting cities and follow your guide back in time on a day tour. Choose between a private and a shared option. Walk through both cities and see some of their most famous landmarks, including Saint-Bavo’s Cathedral of Ghent, Bruges' Old Town, and the Lake of Love. Ghent’s medieval architecture and vibrant atmosphere will impress you as you visit Saint-Bavo’s Cathedral, home to the famous Mystic Lamb painting (option), and pass by the Castle of the Counts of Flanders the picturesque medieval harbor Graslei and much more. In Bruges, you will enjoy the peaceful Lake of Love and the old beguinage. With your guide, discover the city and its cobbled streets on foot and you also have the option to enjoy a pleasant boat trip along the narrow canals.

From Brussels: Bruges and Ghent in a Day Guided Tour

2. From Brussels: Bruges and Ghent in a Day Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the center of Brussels and relax on the 100-kilometer journey to Bruges by bus. Upon arrival, discover the charms of “the Venice of the North” and see why the entire historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Marvel at highlights such as the Lake of Love (Minnewater Lake) and the 13th-century Begijnhof complex, founded in 1245 to house lay religious women. Go to Walplein Square, where the shady trees and cafes provide a perfect place to relax. Visit Stoofstraat on the site of the city's former Red Light District, and see medieval monuments such as the 11th-century Old St. John’s Hospital. Look at the world's second tallest brickwork tower at the Church of Our Lady, and see other historic monuments such as Gruuthuse Palace or the Dijver Canal. Go to one of the city's most photographed spots at Rozenhoedkaai, and admire the Belfry on Castle Square. Visit Market Square (Grote Markt) to see the Bell Tower (Belfort). Then enjoy 1-hour's free time for lunch (at your own expense) and the chance to sample some of the city's delicious chocolates.  Next, drive to Ghent, where the inhabitants have been popularly known as "noose-bearers“ since the days of Charles V. Take a guided tour of the city's historic buildings, such as the Castle of Gerald the Devil and Saint Bavo Cathedral, where you can learn about the painting of “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” by the Van Eyck brothers. Admire the Belfort (Bell Tower) and peculiar Gothic and Renaissance-style Town Hall. See one of the city's oldest monuments at St. Nicholas’ Church opposite the unusual facade of the Masons’ Guild House. Journey along the embankments of the medieval port of Graslei, and discover other highlights such as the majestic Castle of the Counts of Flanders, the Great Butchers’ Hall, the Old Fish Market, and Friday Market Square. Enjoy some free time in this magical city before returning back to Brussels. Our adventure is over! Don't wait and enjoy this day with us!

Zeebrugge to Bruges Return Cruise Shuttle Service

3. Zeebrugge to Bruges Return Cruise Shuttle Service

See the sights at your own pace and save money with a shuttle transfer service from the cruise terminal at Zeebrugge to the historic heart of Bruges. Avail of a quick transfer service that runs from the port to the city every 30 minutes in the morning and back to the port every 30 minutes in the afternoon. Take the worry out of your transportation needs during a cruise stopover in the pretty city of Bruges. Simply take the free port shuttle service to the gate, and then walk down to the bus departure point for embarkation. Get dropped off just a few minutes walk from the historic city center of Bruges.

Bruges: Guided Walking Tour and Canal Boat Trip

4. Bruges: Guided Walking Tour and Canal Boat Trip

Your guide will meet you at the meeting point. Experience the many charms of the Venice of the North and see why the historic center of Bruges was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the city tour you'll see the Lake of Love, the Begijnhof (founded in 1245), Walplein Square, the Stoofstraat, Old St. John’s Hospital, the Church of Our Lady, Gruuthuse Palace, the Djiver Canal, Rozenhoedkaai, Tanners Square (Huidenvettersplein), the Burg Square with its Gothic Town Hall, the Basilica of the Holy Blood and the Market Square (Grote Markt) with the Belfort. At the end of the visit, your guide will answer all your questions and recommend places for lunch outside the tourist area. The guide will also give you advice about Belgium’s famous beer and about additional places to visit, including museums. End your visit with a boat ride through its canals! Do not miss this opportunity to discover the city from another perspective.

Bruges: Small Group Boat Cruise and Guided Walking Tour

5. Bruges: Small Group Boat Cruise and Guided Walking Tour

Meet your guide on the Market square in the heart of the city. Explore the historic core with a local, qualified guide. Learn about local history, legends and sightseeings. Discover the narrowest street, the beautiful 12th-century basilica, and the golden statues on the impressive courthouse. Next, explore the old fish market surrounded by 126 columns. Then, embark on the second part of the tour. Board your boat at the quay for a cruise along the canals. Sail beside ivy-covered facades and under bridges as you learn about the beautiful sites from your captain. Admire quaint homes and iconic landmarks from the water. Walk the Rosary Quay and enter a chocolate shop. Taste artisanal chocolate. It's not only fresh, but also carefully crafted. This results in a variety of tasty fillings and shapes. Tune your senses! Continue discovering the highlights as the Gruuthuse palace, the romantic Bonifacius Bridge and the Church of Our Lady. Get surprised by a hidden garden of an almshouse. Just experience Bruges in all its fascinating aspects!

Bruges: Choco-Story Chocolate Museum Tour

6. Bruges: Choco-Story Chocolate Museum Tour

Cocoa has been tickling taste buds for centuries, from the spicy drink in the Maya and Aztec civilizations to the popular sweet chocolate milk in Europe. With more than three people out of four loving chocolate, it’s hardly surprising that there is an enormous fascination for this exquisite treat. This tour aims to bring to life the 4,000-year-old history of chocolate in words, pictures, and flavors. The museum submerges you in the exciting world of chocolate, taking you on a journey of the senses through time. Young or old, passionate chocoholic or simply just interested, the Chocolate Museum will stimulate your fascination. The museum is composed of three parts, telling the story of the origin and evolution of chocolate through a unique collection of almost a thousand objects. Besides the history, the museum also reveals how chocolate is made, with special attention for the variety of raw ingredients and the development of the production process. In the demonstration center you will uncover the secret of beautiful silky chocolate, getting the opportunity to taste the chocolate products made in the museum.

Bruges: Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour

7. Bruges: Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour

Get to know Bruges at your own pace on this interactive scavenger hunt walking tour played on your phone. Decipher riddles, interact with the most important attractions of the city, and unlock interesting facts and legends. This is an ideal outdoor activity for first-time visitors, couples, groups, families, and children and can be used as a great team-building activity. After downloading the scavenger hunt tour on your mobile device, use the mobile app and integrated maps to reach 10 of Bruges’ most important attractions on foot. At each stop, learn about the attraction and solve a location-based riddle that can only be solved if you reach the specific location. Use logic, imagination, observation, and team spirit to unlock the correct code and reveal the next destination of the city sightseeing game. Start your tour at Burg Square in the center of Bruges. Visit Jan van Eyckplein with its beautiful architecture and learn about the Belfry of Bruges, the ultimate symbol of the city. Photograph the Sint-Salvatorskathedraal, the oldest church in Bruges, and admire the dreamlike Boniface Bridge. Then the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk with its mesmerizing style will await you. At each stop, learn about the attraction and solve a location-based riddle that can only be solved if you reach the specific location. Use logic, imagination, observation, and team spirit to unlock the correct code and reveal the next destination of the tour. As you walk through the city, enjoy the flexibility to pause your game at any time to take a break, snap the perfect photos, stop for lunch, or visit a museum. Choose to continue the tour later or save the rest for another day.

From Amsterdam: Bruges Guided Day Trip

8. From Amsterdam: Bruges Guided Day Trip

Discover the old-fashioned charm of Bruges on this guided tour from Amsterdam. Ride in a comfortable and air-conditioned coach and See sights like the Minnewater lake, Gruuthuse Palace, and the Grote Markt on a guided tour and have free time to explore the sights on your own.  Depart Amsterdam and journey to Bruges to see the UNESCO World Heritage monuments with an English-speaking guide. Get an introduction to the history of Belgium as you visit attractions such as the "Lake of Love" (Minnewater) and 13th-century Begijnhof. Learn more about the beers of Belgium and admire the brick tower of the Church of Our Lady. Explore the charming area around the Djiver canal, and then stroll the cobbled square of Walplein.  Wander the narrow lanes of the Stoofstraat and discover the Gruuthuse Palace, Burg Square, and Basilica of the Holy Blood. End in the Grote Markt and get 3 hours of free time for lunch or to visit the chocolate and lace shops on your own.

From Amsterdam: Day Trip to Bruges

9. From Amsterdam: Day Trip to Bruges

Embark on a day out to Bruges from Amsterdam and discover the World Heritage Site. See the romantic Lake of Love, walk around the Burg Square, and enjoy some free time to taste the Belgium beers. Depart from the center of Amsterdam in a comfortable bus. Learn from your guide all about the historic center of Bruges and why it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Start your tour with an introduction to the history of Belgium and Bruges. See the Lake of Love and the Begijnhof, founded in 1245. Visit the historic city center, learn more about Belgium’s world-famous beers and see the Church of Our Lady. Admire one of the most charming areas, around the Djiver canal. Continue your walk to Walplein Square, the Stoofstraat, Gruuthuse Palace, Burg Square with its Gothic Town Hall, and the Grote Markt with the Belfort. The tour finishes in the Grote Markt, in the heart of Bruges. Get recommendations of where to eat, drink and shop during your 3 hours of free time in the city. Sit back and relax as you head back to Amsterdam, where the tour ends.

From Brussels: Bruges Full-Day Guided Tour

10. From Brussels: Bruges Full-Day Guided Tour

Depart the Belgian capital in the morning and transfer to the charming town of Bruges. Upon arrival, see why the entire historic center of Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Go to the Lake of Love to see a calm oasis in the heart of the city. Marvel at the 13th-century Begijnhof,  covered in a carpet of daffodils in the spring. Continue to the quiet, paved square of Walplein, and stroll down the narrow Stoofstraat. See sights such as the 800-year-old St. John’s Hospital, and the imposing façade of the Church of Our Lady. Learn the history of the opulent palace of Gruuthuse, and walk alongside the banks of the Dijver Canal. Other highlights include the charming canal-side houses of the Rozenhoedkaai, the tiny square of the Huidenvettersplein, and the site of the 1st count’s castle on Castle Square.  Then, enjoy 2 free hours for lunch and explore the city as you please. Taste some of the exclusive chocolates of Bruges and pop into some of the legendary lace shops. Transfer back to Brussels, with an approximate 6:00 PM arrival time.

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Frequently asked questions about Bruges

What top attractions are a must-see in Bruges?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Bruges?

The best day trips and excursions from Bruges are:

Ypres

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Bruges

Jurga Rubinovaite is an avid traveler, photographer, and chief adventure planner behind the popular family travel blog Full Suitcase. On her blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Bruges.

What should I do on my first trip to Bruges?

Bruges is a fairytale-like town with historic Old Town and picturesque canals. There are many great things to do in Bruges, but on your first visit, be sure not to miss the Market Square with the impressive Belfry Tower, Historium Bruges experience, and take a boat tour on the canals. Rozenhoedkaai - the most photographed place in Bruges - is also a must-see!

What are some hidden gems to see in Bruges?

Bruges is full of beautiful old buildings and hidden gems behind every corner! Some hidden gems include the canal Gouden-Handrei (don't miss Augustijnenbrug), medieval buildings in the Genthof and Kortewinkel streets, De Gentpoort, and Coupure. But our favorite is a visit to a nearby tiny town of Damme that you can reach either on foot, by bike, or by taking a boat called Lamme Goedzak.

How much time should I spend in Bruges?

You can see the main landmarks of Bruges in a day, but if you want to also visit a few museums and explore the city deeper, we recommend spending 2-3 days in Bruges. The city has nice hotels, good restaurants, and plenty of shopping opportunities, so it's a great destination for a weekend city trip or a romantic getaway.

What food is Bruges known for?

Just as many cities in Belgium, Bruges is a great place to taste Belgian waffles, locally-brewed beers, Belgian chocolate, and some typical Flemish dishes. Must-try is Brugse Zot, a local beer brewed by the brewery “De Halve Maan” as well as Belgian chocolates and pralines. TIP: One of the best ways to get aquanited with the regional dishes and avoid touris traps is to take a food & beer tour with a local!

What is the best way to get around Bruges?

The best way to explore Bruges is on foot. The city center is very walkable and all the main sights are located close to each other. Boat cruises on the canals and horse-drawn carriage rides are also popular and there also tours by mini-bus for those who prefer not to walk. If you want to get a bit off the beaten path, take a bike tour or rent a bike - it's the best way to cover more ground and see some attractions that are a bit further away in a short time.

What are the best months to visit Bruges?

Bruges is a year-round destination and every season has its charms. In summer, everything is green and there are many events, but it's also the busiest time to be in Bruges. Bruges is also a popular winter destination, especially in December, when the city hosts a beautiful Christmas Market. For fewer crowds and better weather (although you never know in Belgium), visit Bruges in April-May or in September-October.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

The best place for shopping in Bruges is the city center area located southwest of Market Square. Steenstraat is the main shopping street in Bruges, where you'll find all the big brands and high-street fashion. If you're looking for smaller, boutique shops, try Noordzandstraat or Geldmuntstraat and also the smaller streets nearby. For chocolates and souvenirs, check out Katelijnestraat close to Beguinage of Bruges.

Other Sightseeing Options in Bruges

Want to discover all there is to do in Bruges? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Bruges

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 9,510 reviews

It was beautiful, charming town trip. Took time to back and forth but still worth to visit. If you take the trail you need to pay a lot more. I understand why Bruges is the most visited in Belgium. I wish we can use earphone to be guided, did not happen. A bit chilly but beautiful sunny day, we had to stop and listen to the guide. However it was a wonderful trip over all. Enough time for your own as well.

Great trip with our guide stefan. His enthusiasm and explanation of history of bruges and ghent made the whole day worth spending. I’d highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to cover both the cities in a single day.

The tour was very interesting and entertaining. Nayan was very friendly with everybody. Great experience!

Our guide Stefan was amazing, such an enjoyable trip and his knowledge was endless. Highly recommended!

I recommend it without a doubt. They are two beautiful cities to visit.