The perfect 1 day itinerary for Bruges

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What we talk about in this article

Escape with me to the charming city of Bruges, a place where every corner unravels a piece of history and every cobblestone street tells a tale. This 1 day itinerary for Bruges is your passport to experience the historic allure of this city, all in the span of 1 day. So, lace up your most comfortable shoes, gather your sense of adventure, and let’s embark on this journey together, exploring the hidden gems and ancient vibe of Bruges! Let me tell you, there’s no place quite like it – one day might not be enough to quench your thirst for discovery, but it’s a good place to start.

A relaxed morning around the market of Bruges

As dawn breaks, our adventure in Bruges begins. We’ll start our journey at a leisurely pace, immersing ourselves in the city’s awakening charm.

This isn’t a race, it’s a journey of discovery. We’ll lose ourselves in the narrow lanes, admire the elegant architecture, and soak in the serene beauty of the canals. Bruges is a city to be savored slowly. So breathe in the crisp morning air, ready your camera, and let’s unravel the secrets of this medieval city together.

Breakfast at the Markt

Welcome to the Markt, the heart of the city, a place teeming with cozy cafes and welcoming eateries. For our first stop, we’ll duck into ‘Le Pain Quotidien’, a charming bakery known for its organic and wholesome offerings. Here we can indulge in traditional Belgian pastries, a range of deliciously filled sandwiches, and their famously warm and frothy cappuccino — the perfect fuel to kickstart our adventurous day.

Or if you fancy a more quintessential Belgian breakfast, head towards ‘Carpe Diem’. Famous for its waffles drizzled with melting chocolate and dusted with powdered sugar, it’s an experience that’s simply irresistible. With our appetites satiated, we’ll be ready to continue our exploration, leaving no stone unturned in this timeless city.

Of course, most of the hotels in Bruges offer breakfast in their service. So, have a look at these beautiful boutique hotels in the historic centre of Bruges.

Markt Bruges
Markt Bruges

Explore the Vibrant Markt

You’re not truly in Bruges until you’ve experienced the buzzing Markt Square, the heart and soul of medieval Bruges. Picture a vibrant square lined with cafes and filled with the aroma of Belgian waffles in the air. Grab a coffee, inhale the fresh morning air, and marvel at the spectacular surroundings of the square.

And here’s a fun fact: did you know that the Markt has been the city’s commercial hub for over a millennium? Truly a piece of living history!

  • Address: Markt, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
Markt Bruges with the Town Hall, Basilica of the Holy Blood and the Belfry Tower in the back
Markt Bruges with the Town Hall, Basilica of the Holy Blood and the Belfry Tower in the back

Ascend the Majestic Belfry

Our adventure in Bruges isn’t complete without a climb up the iconic Belfry (if you dare to climb its 366 steps!). This soaring bell tower stands as a symbol of Bruges’ rich history, its bells chiming out across the city, creating a symphony that resonates with the city’s soul. Brace yourself for a bit of a climb, but trust me, the panoramic views from the top are worth every step!

And here’s a fun fact: The tower leans about a meter to the east, but don’t worry, it’s been standing firm for over 700 years!

  • Address: Markt 7, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
  • How to Get There: It’s right in the Markt Square, you can’t miss it!
  • Ticket Price: €12 for the adults, €10 for youngsters (under 26), and free for kids under 6.
Belfry tower and architecture in Bruges

Visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood

Tucked away in a corner of the bustling Markt Square is our next stop, the spellbinding Basilica of the Holy Blood. Step inside and be transported to another era, as the murmur of modern Bruges fades and you’re bathed in the soft glow of medieval stained glass. This ancient church, richly adorned with gold and velvet, is said to house a revered relic: a vial of the blood of Jesus Christ. Don’t miss the chance to attend the daily veneration ceremony for an added touch of sacred magic.

And here’s a quirky fact: every May, the relic leads a procession around town, in a grand spectacle known as the Procession of the Holy Blood!

  • Address: Burg 13, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
  • How to Get There: A short walk from the Belfry, on the other side of the square. Just follow the aroma of chocolate!
  • Ticket Price: Free entrance, with donations warmly welcomed.
Basilica of the Holy Blood Bruges
Basilica of the Holy Blood Bruges

An afternoon exploring

During the afternoon, experience the charm of Bruges with a boat tour along its serene canals. The city’s beauty is mirrored in these waterways, whispering tales of history and romance as you glide past medieval buildings and under dreamy stone bridges.

As the afternoon sun dips lower, we’ve got three fantastic options for you to choose from.

Do you want to indulge your taste buds or dive into a sweet adventure, the choice is yours!

So if you don’t like getting lost and wandering around aimlessly, have a quick look at these tours in Bruges.

Explore Bruges by Canal, followed by a walking tour

Unleash your spirit of adventure and embark on a captivating expedition through the charming city of Bruges with this guided walking and boat tour. This enriching experience is all about immersing yourself in the city’s rich history and culture while navigating its picturesque streets and tranquil canals.

Get ready to explore the iconic landmarks of Bruges on foot, guided by a knowledgeable local who’ll regale you with fascinating tales and trivia of the city’s past. Wander along the cobbled streets, soak in the medieval charm, and admire architectural marvels that include the Basilica of the Holy Blood, the Church of Our Lady, and the historic Markt Square.

The excitement doesn’t stop there! You’ll also embark on a scenic boat trip along the serene canals of Bruges. Feel the pulse of the city as you glide under charming bridges and past quaint houses with stepped gables reflecting in the shimmering water. Savor the city’s tranquil beauty from this unique vantage point, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • What to Bring: Comfortable walking shoes and a sense of adventure!
  • Tickets: Available here
Explore Bruges by Canal, followed by a walking tour
Explore Bruges by Canal, followed by a walking tour

Option 1: Bourgogne des Flandres Brewery Tour

Embark on a unique adventure into Flemish beer brewing heritage with a tour of Bourgogne des Flandres Brewery. Experience the blend of old and new brewing methods in Bruges as you explore this historic brewery. Taste the famous “Bourgogne des Flandres,” a beer that combines lambic tartness with traditional Flemish brown ale richness. Your knowledgeable guide will enlighten beer enthusiasts and novices alike on the brewing process and ingredients. After the tour, enjoy a refreshing beer tasting in the brewery bar with the stunning canal backdrop. Don’t miss this must-visit gem in Bruges for beer lovers and adventurers!

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • What to Bring: Your curiosity about beer brewing techniques!
  • Tickets: Available here

Option 2: Belgian Chocolate Workshop

Delve into the sweet world of Belgian chocolates at this enthralling workshop. In a fun and hands-on experience, learn the art of crafting exquisite chocolate delights from expert chocolatiers. This 2.5-hour workshop offers an intimate glimpse into the secrets of Belgium’s most famous culinary export. You’ll have the chance to create your own chocolates, taste them, and even take some home as a delicious souvenir. A must-do for chocolate lovers!

  • Location: A convenient location in the heart of Bruges.
  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Tickets: Available here


Chocolate workshop Bruges
Chocolate workshop Bruges

Option 3: The Beer Experience Museum

Start your journey through Belgium’s beer history at the Beer Experience Museum in Bruges. This immersive, self-guided tour with an audio guide offers an insight into the country’s historic brewing culture. As you wander the museum’s evocative halls, you’ll uncover the processes behind brewing, the types of beer, their ingredients, and even the correct way to taste them. The tour culminates with a beer tasting, making it a truly memorable experience. Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or simply an adventurer for taste, this museum is a hoppy heaven that’s not to be missed!

  • Location: Central Bruges
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • What to Bring: Your thirst for knowledge (and beer!)
  • Tickets: Available here

Relaxing evening Activities

As the daylight fades and the street lights of Bruges begin to twinkle, the city transforms into a peaceful haven, offering a variety of evening activities. Whether you’re looking to relax after a day of sightseeing or simply wish to enjoy the calm ambiance of the night, Bruges has something for every mood. Let’s explore some of the serene evening experiences that add a touch of magic to your stay in the city.

Dinner at a Local Brasserie

After an exhilarating day of chocolate making or beer tasting, unwind at a local brasserie for the perfect end to your day. Embrace the warm, cozy atmosphere and indulge in authentic Belgian cuisine, characterized by hearty flavors and timeless recipes. From delectable seafood stew to savory waffles, every dish you taste will be a celebration of Belgium’s rich culinary heritage. Remember to pair your meal with a local beer for the quintessential Belgian dining experience. It is more than just a meal, it’s the culinary adventure of a lifetime.

Recommended Restaurants in Bruges:

  • De Stoepa: At De Stoepa, you’ll find a delightful blend of traditional Belgian cuisine and a dash of the adventurous. This local favorite is lauded for its warm atmosphere, charming decor, and mouthwatering dishes. Don’t miss their hearty Flemish stew or indulgent chocolate mousse.
  • Bistro Zwart Huis: For a more upscale dining experience, head to Bistro Zwart Huis. Known for its unique Art Deco interior and a menu that sings praises of Belgian gastronomy, this place promises an unforgettable dining experience. The lobster soup is a must-try, and the comprehensive wine list is sure to impress the most discerning oenophiles.
  • ‘t Gezelleke: For a truly local experience, dine at ‘t Gezelleke. Nestled in the heart of Bruges, this charming eatery offers a cozy atmosphere and a menu that embodies Belgian comfort food. Their signature dish, a hearty meatball in tomato sauce served with bread, is a crowd-pleaser.

Stroll Around Minnewater Lake

End the day with a serene and leisurely walk around the enchanting ‘Lake of Love’ in Bruges. As the sun sets and casts a soft golden glow over the picturesque surroundings, you’ll find yourself immersed in a captivating atmosphere that will inspire you for more exciting adventures to come. Take your time to admire the reflections of the vibrant twilight sky on the calm waters of the lake, and let the tranquility of this idyllic setting wash over you, leaving you refreshed and ready to embrace new experiences.

Minnewater park Bruges
Minnewater park Bruges

Walk through the night-lit historic centre

As the day transitions into night, the historic centre of Bruges transforms into a magical, night-lit panorama, offering an ethereal experience that will leave you spellbound. The cobblestone streets, lit by the soft, warm glow of antique street lamps, take on a mystical sheen, adding depth and character to the centuries-old Gothic architecture. There’s an extraordinary beauty in the way the buildings’ intricate details cast long, dramatic shadows, creating an enchanting tableau that whispers tales of the city’s rich history. This nighttime stroll through the heart of Bruges offers not just a sightseeing experience, but a journey back in time. It’s a reminder of the past’s persistent presence in the city’s soul, an invigorating adventure that fills the heart with profound admiration and inspiration.

Bruges by night
Bruges by night

How to get to Bruges

Making your way to the historic city of Bruges is pretty easy and straightforward. There are numerous options available to you.

By Flight

The nearest airport to Bruges is the Brussels Airport. From there, you can take a direct train to Bruges which usually takes around an hour and a half. Experience the thrill of anticipation as the urban landscape of Brussels slowly gives way to the charming countryside of Bruges.

Check flights from your preferred airport to Bruges

By Train

Bruges is well connected to other major cities in Belgium by train. Frequent direct trains from Brussels, Antwerp, and Ghent make it an easily accessible destination. Fast and efficient, this mode of travel gives you a chance to witness the beautiful Belgian landscape unfolding outside your window.

Buy your train tickets to Bruges online or read more about how to travel Europe by train

By Bus

Buses offer a budget-friendly alternative to reach Bruges. Regular services run from Brussels to Bruges, allowing you to soak up the picturesque route at a leisurely pace. Prepare for your adventure in Bruges by getting a glimpse of the Belgian countryside through your bus window.

Get a bus ticket to Bruges

By Car

If you prefer a bit more flexibility and control over your travel plans, driving to Bruges can be a great choice. The city is easily accessible via well-maintained highways and the journey offers a delightful road trip experience. Just follow the E40 highway from Brussels to Bruges, immersing yourself in the journey as you anticipate the adventures that await you.

Have your own car? Or do you want to rent a car?

The perfect 1 day itinerary for Bruges
Panoramic view of Market Square in the Old Town of Bruges, Belgium

How to get around in the city

Once you’ve arrived in the captivating city of Bruges, navigating its streets is a easy. There are plenty of options available to explore.

On Foot (recommended)

Most of the sights in our itinerary are easy to walk to. The historic city centre of Bruges is not that extended. So, you’ll probably enjoy the walk through the cobblestone streets, passing by the picturesque canals and enjoying the charming architecture.

By Bike

Biking is a popular mode of transport in Bruges. There are several bike rental shops scattered throughout the city, providing an eco-friendly way to explore the city whilst keeping fit.

By Boat

Lastly, don’t miss out on the chance to experience the city’s famous canals by boat. It’s a unique, and utterly romantic way to see Bruges from a different perspective.

No matter how you choose to get around, every journey within Bruges is a chance to soak up more of the city’s timeless charm.

Where to stay in Bruges

In Bruges, you’ll find an array of charming boutique hotels that make for a cozy respite after a day of exploration, and each one is a gem in its own right explore our handpicked boutique hotels in Bruges.

If you’re anchoring your stay in Brussels, not to worry, you have the option to visit Bruges in a day trip and return to your own boutique haven in Brussels check out these boutique hotels in Brussels. Bruges is approximately 1 hour away from Brussels by train.

For those who yearn for a royal retreat, Belgium also offers an exquisite selection of castle hotels that will transport you back in time, making your stay truly memorable discover the grandeur of these castle hotels in Belgium.

Conclusion : the perfect 1 day itinerary for Bruges

So, there you have it – a perfect 1 day itinerary for Bruges, filled with charm, history, and unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re wandering the quaint cobblestone streets, savoring the delectable cuisine, traversing the city by bike, or gliding along the serene canals by boat, every moment in Bruges promises a delightful surprise.

Bruges is a popular day-trip destination from Brussels, allowing you to escape the hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in its enchanting atmosphere. And don’t discount Bruges as a winter city trip destination. As winter descends, the city transforms into a magical wonderland, its historic buildings and cobblestone streets blanketed in snow, creating a uniquely captivating and romantic atmosphere that’s sure to inspire your adventurous spirit.

Adventure awaits in every corner of this timeless city, so pack your bags, brace yourself for an interesting journey, and uncover the treasures that Bruges has to offer. Until the next adventure, happy travels!

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