Bruges is touted as one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium, even referred to as the ‘Venice of the North.’ Last September, on our way to Amsterdam for work, we spent a day in Bruges before continuing on. While it was a short visit, Bruges was top on list of places to visit in Belgium and so I was excited to take advantage of this 24-hour opportunity.
Getting into Bruges
We flew into Brussels and hopped on a train to Bruges. It’s just over an hour from Brussels to Bruges. There are trains departing Brussels about every 20 minutes all day (till about midnight). For those that live in (or are traveling from) London, you could easily take the Eurostar to Brussels. Belgium would make a great stop on any Eurotrip.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Novotel Centrum in Bruges (nothing fancy but it was adequate). However, I shared this on Instagram a while back that I mistakenly booked the hotel in Lille, France. We only found out about the mistake upon arrival at the Brussels airport. This happens!
What We Did
The weather was not in the best of moods (read: it was wet) during our 24 hours but we made the most of it and had a great time. The best way to explore this city is on foot (and on water but we’ll get to that bit later). We spent a few hours walking through town.
Belgian beer is always right up there in the running for best beer. Even if you’re not a beer drink (I’m not), a brewery visit is still a good idea. We were starving on arrival and found a brewery/restaurant (De Halve Maan) within a few minutes. This brewery is the home of the famous Brugge Zot beer. We didn’t do the tour but I gathered it lasts 45 minutes and costs 10 Euros. My friend had a beer and enjoyed it. We had a good lunch, got photobombed and went on our merry way.
Like Amsterdam, Brugge is known for its canals. As we walked the cobblestone streets on our full stomachs, I spotted a sign for a canal tour and got excited (as I do, in life!). We bought tickets and got in line. Yes, it is touristy, but its a different way to see this picturesque little town and I enjoyed it. It was so relaxing I was tempted to take a little nap but then it started raining and well, no sleep! The tour cost 8 Euros.
Moving on, I really wanted to see a windmill up-close and I’d read of a few in town. We wandered away from the centre of town on a walk. On our walk, and with every turn, a picture perfect view lay ahead. As some point, we walked through some streets with cute cafes and music booming through, the kind of music to put a pep in your step. And then we found the windmills!! It was so cool seeing them up close and then of course being photographed mimicking them!
A Meal at The Pigeon House,
After all that wandering we needed to rest our feet! We happened upon The Pigeon house for a drink and it turned out to be our favorite experience! The uber friendly bartenders sorted us out with drinks. One bartender made a great suggestion for the non beer-drinker and I was quite happy. We just enjoyed conversation and ordered another round of drinks. Next thing, a lovely lady offers us appetizers on the house. How can we refuse? So, we stayed! Then we ordered dinner, and stayed some more! Turned out the lady owns the restaurant and we ended up chatting with her for a while. At some point, she took us into the kitchen where food is made from scratch daily! By the end of it all, hugs were being shared :)! She also showed us the main restaurant, which is a converted cellar. All because we stopped by for a drink!
Waffles, and Royal Chocolate
When in Belgium, have a Belgian waffle! The window displays all over town have the most indulgent waffles to lure you in. It was only fair that I have a Belgian waffle for breakfast before we left town. Oh, and the chocolate!!! There’s chocolate everywhere, so much so theres even a store that makes chocolate for the royal family. We got some as gifts (nice packaging you know)!
Bruges is beautiful and it is as picturesque as pictures show. I can only imagine what it’ll look like under a fresh dusting of snow, or on a sunny summer day with blue skies. Our time here was short but it was definitely sweet. If you appreciate simple beautiful towns, then I’d recommend Bruges. If you’re looking for a popping scene, then just wave from the air and skip this one!