If you enjoy beer, Bruges has you covered. Currently they have three functioning breweries, unique bars, an abundance of chocolate shops, and many forms of historic architecture.
Bruges was occupied by the Germans during World War two, but fortunately enough it was spared of destruction. It is a quaint small town with just over 100,000 people living there. People chose to visit here to get out of the big cities of Brussels and Antwerp. Even though the population is low it is strongly overtaken by tourists. Due to all of the tourists that they have an abundance of to die for chocolate shops.
We had a total of three days in Bruges, but one or two days would have been sufficient also. Many chose to make it a day trip from Ghent and if we were to do it all over again we would have. There is a lot to do, but you can see it all quickly since everything is so close together.
The market is common grounds for everyone to come together. This is a common spot for the iconic Bruges photo. You can eat at one of the restaurants to sit and listen to the bell tower that chimes every fifteen minutes. They have farmers markets in the square on Wednesdays. It is a great place to get a Nutella waffle.
The Belfry of Bruges
At 83 meters tall this bell tower has been standing almost 800 years. The top or what I like to call the crown makes it stand out. Every day it opens at 9:30 am for people to climb the 366 stairs up the narrow and steep staircase. They can only allow a certain number of people up at a time so arriving early insures that you will not have to wait as long to get in. The lines were over an hour long both times we tried so hopefully you will have more luck.
De Halve Maan
This brewery has a tour with a rooftop view you can not pass up. Their is a few different tours you can take depending on the language you speak. We got into the Dutch line accidentally, but fortunately the English tour was immediately following so we did not miss anything.
This does take you through some narrow and steep stairways so make sure to hang on to the railing. Afterwards get your beer and sit on their massive patio as long as you like.
Bourgogne des Flandre
This brewery is right off the canal. As you can imagine the patio is always busy. You can still get a glimpse of the canal from the inside as long as a window seat is available.
They do tours and tastings all day. They also have a machine that can do a sketch into the foam of your beer!
This defense wall was built in the 13th century, but if you ask me it looks like a home for a fire breathing dragon. It is also known as Donkeys Gate because it is located on the old road to Ghent. It is about a one mile walk from the center of town.
This canal is one of the most photographed in Bruges, and also the most romantic spot. Our last morning we ran passed it which was perfect since there are few people out to disrupt the beauty.
Gothic architecture galore is just around the corner from the Markt. I was impressed by the detail of each and every building. The Basilica of the Holy Blood was the best in my opinion because it had gold sparkled throughout the outside.
Standing in front of these buildings is one thing, but do not hesitate to go inside the Basilica to see the clothe with the blood of Jesus Christ on it.
Church of our Lady
Our airbnb was close to this Gothic gem. From every angle this church looks a bit different, and though we did not go inside I can imagine it is gorgeous. If you are interested in art there is the original Madonna and Child by Michelangelo at the alter.
St Bonifacius Bridge
Just outside the Church of Our Lady is this romantic bridge over the canal. When we arrived it was far from romantic since it was swarming with people. A man giving a tour said, “The bridge was made from old tombstones.” I guess it is not as romantic as I originally thought.
Inside the historium you can find this amazing bar on the second floor with views of the Markt. Other than the cost of beer this is an inexpensive way to explore the historium which also has tours, and even a virtual reality ride.
As shown below this place has a 12 beer tasting platter. The glasses are massive so its best to share with another person. The meat and cheese platter also pairs nicely to soak up the alcohol.
Sit at Augusto, the authentic Italian restaurant and enjoy watching the many swans elegantly float back and forth. If you are not interested in Italian for the night B-in is right next store for another option.
Chocolate and High End Shops
Chocolate shops align all the main streets in this town. If they do not have what you want in one they will in another.
The amount of high end shopping makes for a paradise for anyone who comes with extra money in their pockets. Often their are carriage rides available up and around the streets.
Minnewater Park is a great place to take a walk. Its known for the lake and bridges, but I enjoyed the paths around it lined with beautiful trees.
This bar is known for its beer wall and many choices of Belgium beer. The menus hang from the ceiling, the patio overlooks the canal, and the beer is strong.