Bruges is a quaint Belgian town straight out a fairytale, with its Gothic buildings, cobblestone streets, and horse and carriages. One of the best preserved cities in Europe, it is often called an open air museum. There’s tons to see throughout the small town, from its impressive Belfry to its beautiful basilica. Bruges is located an hour away from Belgium’s capital, Brussels, in West Flanders. Nicknamed the Little Venice of the North, due to its small size and tiny canal running through the city, it’s easy to get lost exploring the charming town. In this post I’ll be showing you how to have one perfect day in Bruges, through a one day long itinerary.
9AM – Rozenhoedkaai
Rozenhoedkaai is a street in Bruges offering some of the best views of its canal and Belfry. Located a two minute walk away from the main square, its a very popular spot for tourists looking for a good view. There’s tons of cafes and restaurants plotted all down the street, which all make for great spots to stop for a quick breakfast before really starting your day.
9:30AM – Boat Canal Tour
Start off the day by getting a feel for the overall town, through a shortboat canal tour! These tours take riders on a half hour long tour through the canals of Bruges, with many of the stops being some that are only accessible by boat. I didn’t get to try this while I was in Bruges, but I do really wish that I did. Apparently there are many amazing views of the city that you can get through this tour, coming from different angles than see by most tourists.
(3 min walk)
10AM – Basilica of the Holy Blood
Hidden in the Burg square is the Basilica of the Holy Blood, just a two minute walk from the Belfry. This basilica hosts a relic, a vial of blood said to come from Jesus. Both the exterior and interior of the building is breathtaking, designed in both Romanesque and Gothic styles.
(4 min walk)
11AM – Choco-Story Museum
Next head to the Choco-Story Museum, a small museum housed in the Huis de Crone building. As you could guess from its name, this museum tells the story of chocolate throughout history. Its also home to a well sized chocolate shop, though I’d suggest checking out other more authentic shops throughout Bruges instead. This spot is overall very fun to explore and walk through, especially if you’re really into chocolate (who isn’t?!).
(6 min walk)
12PM – Belfry of Bruges
The crowning jewel of the city is the Belfry of Bruges, a medieval bell tower in the city centre. This Belfry has had many uses throughout its lifespan, though its main purpose today is a tourist attraction. A symbol of Bruges, the 83 metre tall tower was first constructed beginning in 1240. Spend the next couple hours trekking the 366 steps to the top of the Belfry, of course taking rest stops on a couple of the large platforms on the way up. Once you make it to the top you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the town and its surroundings, as well as close up looks at the bellwork in the tower (that still ring every quarter hour!).
2PM – Shopping
Take a quick break from sightseeing for some shopping (and a lunch!). Head out into the streets of the city and explore, not caring if you get lost. There are tons of unique boutiques, great restaurants, and most importantly, authentically Belgian chocolate shops found throughout Bruges. You’re guaranteed to stay entertained exploring around the town, as there just so much to see throughout the many neighbourhoods.
4PM – Church of Our Lady
The Church of Our Lady is the tallest structure in Bruges, with a tower measuring at 116 metres tall. It dominates the city skyline, as seen in the photos above, taken from the top of the Belfry. Dating back to the 13th century, the Roman Catholic church is a must visit spot due to its interesting history and stunning design. Its also home to many paintings and art pieces, most importantly Michelangelo’s ‘Madonna and Child’ sculpture that was stolen from the church two separate times.
(7 min walk)
5PM – Markt
Head back to the main market square for dinner. Here you’ll find tons of different restaurants to choose from, all with differing cuisines, styles, designs, and prices. While you’re eating, make sure to admire the great views of the Belfry, the many horses talking by, and the dozens of differing people you’ll see walk by.
(3 min walk)
7PM – Oyya
End off the day with a treat from Oyya, one of Bruges’ best dessert shops. Oyya is home to probably the best waffles and ice cream in the town, for some of the cheapest prices you’ll find. I’d definitely recommend stopping by here rather than ordering dessert from a restaurant, as you’ll save tons of money and get basically the same thing (if not better!).
That’s all for my one day itinerary to Bruges – I hope you enjoyed! Make sure to stay tuned for more posts every Sunday.
Thanks for reading.