I am all about MAXIMISING my time in a place. Which means, if I hear where the locals are going, I want to go there too. Bruges is one such place (although locals avoid it in summer) so I booked an early morning trip to visit this quaint historical town. The main reasons to take a day trip to Bruges are: views, food and atmosphere. I will expand on each in this blog post.
Where is Bruges?
Located in Flanders in Belgium, Bruges is a well preserved medieval town which explains why it is listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
The city flourished in the Middle Ages, when it was a major trade centre in Europe. Bruges is the capital of the province of West Flanders, the westernmost province, which is located by the North Sea.
How do I get there?
You can easily take a day trip to Bruges via train from major Belgian cities like Antwerp or Brussels. I took an early morning train from Antwerp which took around 1.5 hours (one way). You can purchase your Belgian train tickets from their official website. Something interesting to note is that you make a purchase for the day and route not the time. So you can travel your route at any time on that specific date despite what your ticket may say.
I do not think it’s worth renting a car as the train is very comfortable and efficient. You can book train tickets through the official Belgian Train website.
WILL IT COST ME MONEY?
Other than your train ticket, it’s free to visit Bruges; you will only pay for what you purchase/consume there.
3 reasons to visit
- Stunning views
Now many other blog posts will give you a list of must see places in Bruges ranging from churches to parks but truthfully, the best way to enjoy this town is to just walk. Bruges is very small and very flat making it ideal to wander around by foot. I suggest making your way to the town centre (Markt Square) and then exploring from there. On your way from the train station, you’ll walk through Minnewater Park which offers some lovely photo opportunities.
Honestly, everywhere you go in Bruges is going to be picturesque so don’t worry too much about finding the ‘best spots’. This town works best if you stroll around it leisurely, taking your time to soak it all up.
- Magical ambience
You are wandering picturesque cobbled lanes, surrounded by fabulous medieval buildings. You keep crossing bridges over century-old canals. A smell of warm Belgian waffles is floating in the air. Horseshoes are clicking on the cobblestones as a small boat passes you by. Bruges is the living embodiment of those European fairy tales we used to read as children. If you wanted to feel like you were in a period drama, this is the place to be. My favourite bit are those gingerbread-style houses other known as ‘toothed’ facades. You won’t leave Bruges without spotting the reds, yellows, pinks and greens of these charming houses that resemble something from a fairytale.
- Delicious food
Now before someone weighs in and says that Bruges is too touristy to offer authentic food, I have to preface and say that it might be true. But sometimes it’s nice for me not to have to use Google Translate on a menu and to be able to communicate with servers without wondering about a language barrier. With that being said, the meals I had in Brugge were absolutely delicious. Here’s what you should try to eat:
Basically mussels and fries cooked with different seasonings and spices. This is a dish Begians have perfected so it’s well worth trying here. There’s a small restaurant on Wollestraat owned by an Arabic-speaking couple that does a fantastic one, plus they and their staff are incredibly kind. Sorry I forgot the name of the place (I am the WORST blogger sometimes) but it’s opposite House of Waffles. It had this cute animal wallpaper on the walls!
Waffles & Hot Chocolate
These are 2 things that Belgium is known for and every second store offers them. But where to go for the best? That would be The Old Chocolate House. The Old Chocolate House is a family-owned shop and cafe offering homemade hot chocolate, various desserts, tea, and coffee. You are served with a MASSIVE mug of warm milk and then the flavourings come from a chocolate “bomb” which you then mix in yourself. There’s two pages worth of different hot chocolates so go wild! I tried the hazelnut praline one and loved it. I also tried the cherry waffles which were also very tasty. Walk upstairs to their small but quaint tearoom and if there’s a wait, have patience as this place really is the best in Bruges.
WHAT ARE THE RATINGS ON PANDA’S RATING SCALE?
There’s a lot to do in Bruges from chocolate making classes to free walking tours but sometimes you just have to abandon your plans to explore on your own. I am so glad I chose to do that and I highly recommend you doing the same in this town that takes you back in time. While others may fancy spending a night or two in this small town, as a solo traveller, I opted to head back to Antwerp once the tour buses started rolling in.
If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to pin it using the pin below:
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in:
Have you considered taking a day trip to Bruges? Or have I just put it on your list? Let me know in the comments below!