Things to do in
Bruges

Discover chocolate box houses, historical gems, and craft beer to boot in Belgium’s fairytale town.

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Our most recommended things to do in Bruges

From Brussels: Bruges and Ghent in a Day Guided Tour

1. From Brussels: Bruges and Ghent in a Day Guided Tour

Meet your guide at 8:30 AM in the center of Brussels and relax on the 100-kilometer journey to Bruges. Upon arrival, discover the charms of “the Venice of the North” and see why the entire historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Marvel at highlights such as the Lake of Love (Minnewater Lake) and the 13th-century Begijnhof complex, founded in 1245 to house lay religious women. Go to Walplein Square, where the shady trees and cafes provide a perfect place to relax. Visit Stoofstraat on the site of the city's former Red Light District, and see medieval monuments such as the 11th-century Old St. John’s Hospital. Look at the world's second tallest brickwork tower at the Church of Our Lady, and see other historic monuments such as Gruuthuse Palace, the Dijver Canal and the tiny piazza of Tanners Square (Huidenvettersplein). Go to one of the city's most photographed spots at Rozenhoedkaai, and admire the Belfry on Castle Square. Admire the facades of the Gothic-style Town Hall and the 12th-century Basilica of the Holy Blood. Visit Market Square (Grote Markt) to see the Bell Tower (Belfort) and Sint-Salvator’s Cathedral. Then enjoy 1-hour's free time for lunch (at your own expense) and the chance to sample some of the city's delicious chocolates.  Next, drive to Ghent, where the inhabitants have been popularly known as "noose-bearers“ since the days of Charles V. Take a guided tour of the city's historic buildings, such as the Castle of Gerald the Devil and Saint Bavo Cathedral, where you can look at the painting of “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” by the Van Eyck brothers. Admire the Belfort (Bell Tower) and peculiar Gothic and Renaissance-style Town Hall. See one of the city's oldest monuments at St. Nicholas’ Church opposite the unusual facade of the Masons’ Guild House. Journey along the embankments of the medieval port of Graslei, and discover other highlights such as the majestic Castle of the Counts of Flanders, the charming Patershol neighborhood, the Great Butchers’ Hall, the Old Fish Market and Friday Market Square.

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Bruges: Historium Bruges Story and VR Ticket

2. Bruges: Historium Bruges Story and VR Ticket

Travel back in time to the Middle Ages! The Historium – Bruges’ most visited attraction – lets you step back in time. Get a glimpse of how lively Bruges was during the Golden Age in various ways. In the Historium Story you'll follow the love story of Jacob, Jan van Eyck’s apprentice, as you wander through this spectacular attraction with film, backdrops and special effects. In the interactive Historium Exhibition you will find additional information about Mediaeval Bruges or you can get started on the wacky Family Trail. Time travel back to the year 1435 in the Historium Virtual Reality and sail virtually into the port of Bruges! You will see how the Waterhalle and Belfort tower looked in the past and can fly over the Market Square to the former St. Donatian’s Cathedral. It is a truly exhilarating experience.

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Bruges: Chocolate Making Workshop

3. Bruges: Chocolate Making Workshop

Immerse yourself in Belgium's rich chocolate making traditions with this interactive workshop.  Under the guidance of an expert chocolatier, learn how to make chocolate lollipops and mendiants, a traditional French confection. At the end of the lesson, savor the rewards of your efforts or feel free to take your chocolates home with you. Finish your workshop with a self-guided visit of the chocolate museum. Inside, admire a wide range of interactive exhibitions which will bring to life the 4000-year-old history of chocolate in words, pictures, and flavors. Admire a private collection of artifacts with over 1000 objects housed in the museum.

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Bruges: Choco-Story Chocolate Museum Tour

4. Bruges: Choco-Story Chocolate Museum Tour

Cocoa has been tickling taste buds for centuries, from the spicy drink in the Maya and Aztec civilizations to the popular sweet chocolate milk in Europe. With more than three people out of four loving chocolate, it’s hardly surprising that there is an enormous fascination for this exquisite treat. This tour aims to bring to life the 4,000-year-old history of chocolate in words, pictures, and flavors. The museum submerges you in the exciting world of chocolate, taking you on a journey of the senses through time. Young or old, passionate chocoholic or simply just interested, the Chocolate Museum will stimulate your fascination. The museum is composed of three parts, telling the story of the origin and evolution of chocolate through a unique collection of almost a thousand objects. Besides the history, the museum also reveals how chocolate is made, with special attention for the variety of raw ingredients and the development of the production process. In the demonstration center you will uncover the secret of beautiful silky chocolate, getting the opportunity to taste the chocolate products made in the museum.

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Bruges: Historium Bruges Story Ticket

5. Bruges: Historium Bruges Story Ticket

Travel back in time to the Middle Ages! The Historium – Bruges’ most visited attraction – lets you step back in time. See how lively Bruges was during the Golden Age in various ways. In the Historium Story, follow the love story of Jacob, Jan van Eyck’s apprentice, as you wander through this spectacular attraction with film, backdrops and special effects. In the interactive Historium Exhibition, find additional information about Mediaeval Bruges or you can get started on the wacky Family Trail.

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Bruges: Private Food Tour – 10 Tastings with Locals

6. Bruges: Private Food Tour – 10 Tastings with Locals

Eat your way through Bruges's culinary scene on a private food tour. Go on a delicious journey as you try 10 of the best food items beloved by the locals: from savory to sweet and local drinks; this tour leaves every foodie satisfied. Enjoy a bite of the ultimate classics Fries and Waffles and taste them in their authentic, local flavor. Each tasting is typical of the local cuisine and hand-picked by a local guide passionate about food.  Visit Simon Stevinplein, Gruuthusemuseum, and Burg Square, plus other remarkable spots in between food stops, and hear about their history and cultural relevance from your knowledgeable guide. 

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Bruges: Boat Cruise and Guided Walking Tour

7. Bruges: Boat Cruise and Guided Walking Tour

Explore Bruges on a walking tour with a local guide. Join a boat cruise along the canals to see the sites from the water. Meet your guide in the Markt for a guided tour of the city. Discover the narrowest street, the beautiful 12th-century basilica, and the golden statues on the impressive courthouse. Next, explore the fish market surrounded by 126 columns. Then, embark on the second part of the tour. Board your boat at the quay for a cruise along the canals. Sail beside ivy-covered facades and under bridges as you learn about the beautiful sites from your captain. Admire the old trading houses at the former harbor and the Beguinage. After half an hour on the water, head to the secret garden of an almshouse, where you will be surprised by the beauty of picturesque Bruges.

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Bruges: Old Town Guided Walking Tour

8. Bruges: Old Town Guided Walking Tour

Book your place on this free and informative walking tour and enjoy 2-hours of city sightseeing with a local guide. To reserve your spot, simply pay a small booking fee, then look forward to your Bruges adventure! The tour’s passionate local guides offer their services for free with the belief that everyone deserves to see very best of Bruges, regardless of travel budgets. Meet your local guide in the heart of Bruges and dive straight into a discovery of the city’s medieval history. As you wander through picturesque streets and quaint alleyways, listen to your guide share fascinating tales, anecdotes, and legends of Bruges’ colorful past. Highlights of the tour include Grote Markt, the Belfry, St. Salvator Church, St. John’s Hospital, Tanners’ Square, the fish market, and more. Throughout the tour, your guide will also share personal tips and recommendations to enhance your stay in Bruges.

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Zeebrugge to Bruges Return Cruise Shuttle Service

9. Zeebrugge to Bruges Return Cruise Shuttle Service

See the sights at your own pace and save money with a shuttle transfer service from the cruise terminal at Zeebrugge to the historic heart of Bruges. Avail of a quick transfer service that runs from the port to the city every 30 minutes in the morning and back to the port every 30 minutes in the afternoon. Take the worry out of your transportation needs during a cruise stopover in the pretty city of Bruges. Simply take the free port shuttle service to the gate, and then walk down to the bus departure point for embarkation. Get dropped off just a few minutes walk from the historic city center of Bruges.

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Bruges: Frietmuseum Entry Ticket

10. Bruges: Frietmuseum Entry Ticket

Answer all the questions that you have ever had about fries at the Frietmuseum in Bruges. Discover the origins of this globally beloved snack at the first and only museum dedicated to potato fries. Learn where the potato comes from, where fries where invented, and what the secret is to making the best fries. On the ground floor, learn about the fascinating history of the potato which originated in Peru more than 10,000 years ago. On the first floor, discover the history of fries and how they came to Belgium. Don't miss the chance to try some fries yourself in the medieval cellars of the building. This educational museum is housed in the Saaihalle, one of the most beautiful buildings in Bruges, which is an attraction in itself.

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Frequently asked questions about Bruges

What top attractions are a must-see in Bruges?

Planning Your Visit

  • How is the weather?

    Bruges is not a hot or humid city, making it a great place to sightsee comfortably all summer (expect highs of 21 degrees and take a jacket for the evening). However, it’s busy most weekends, so consider planning a trip mid-week to have more of the city to yourself. Winter can be cold, making it a good choice if you like to avoid crowds, but the Christmas markets are a pretty and popular draw during the festive season.

  • How can I get there?

    Flights to Bruges from Europe can often be relatively inexpensive if you consider a low-cost airline into Ostend airport. Direct flights from further afield also land at this international airport. It’s easily accessible by train from many major European cities, including Paris and London via the Eurostar. The ferry is another popular option.

Good to know

  • Language
    Dutch, German and French
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +32
  • Best time to visit
    From April to May, it's still a bit chilly but the city's fauna is blooming and it's possible to get some great accommodation deals! From June to August, the temperatures are warmest, the trees are green, but there are definitely more crowds, too.

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Bruges

Jurga Rubinovaite is an avid traveler, photographer, and chief adventure planner behind the popular family travel blog Full Suitcase. On her blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Bruges.

What should I do on my first trip to Bruges?

Bruges is a fairytale-like town with historic Old Town and picturesque canals. There are many great things to do in Bruges, but on your first visit, be sure not to miss the Market Square with the impressive Belfry Tower, Historium Bruges experience, and take a boat tour on the canals. Rozenhoedkaai - the most photographed place in Bruges - is also a must-see!

What are some hidden gems to see in Bruges?

Bruges is full of beautiful old buildings and hidden gems behind every corner! Some hidden gems include the canal Gouden-Handrei (don't miss Augustijnenbrug), medieval buildings in the Genthof and Kortewinkel streets, De Gentpoort, and Coupure. But our favorite is a visit to a nearby tiny town of Damme that you can reach either on foot, by bike, or by taking a boat called Lamme Goedzak.

How much time should I spend in Bruges?

You can see the main landmarks of Bruges in a day, but if you want to also visit a few museums and explore the city deeper, we recommend spending 2-3 days in Bruges. The city has nice hotels, good restaurants, and plenty of shopping opportunities, so it's a great destination for a weekend city trip or a romantic getaway.

What food is Bruges known for?

Just as many cities in Belgium, Bruges is a great place to taste Belgian waffles, locally-brewed beers, Belgian chocolate, and some typical Flemish dishes. Must-try is Brugse Zot, a local beer brewed by the brewery “De Halve Maan” as well as Belgian chocolates and pralines. TIP: One of the best ways to get aquanited with the regional dishes and avoid touris traps is to take a food & beer tour with a local!

What is the best way to get around Bruges?

The best way to explore Bruges is on foot. The city center is very walkable and all the main sights are located close to each other. Boat cruises on the canals and horse-drawn carriage rides are also popular and there also tours by mini-bus for those who prefer not to walk. If you want to get a bit off the beaten path, take a bike tour or rent a bike - it's the best way to cover more ground and see some attractions that are a bit further away in a short time.

What are the best months to visit Bruges?

Bruges is a year-round destination and every season has its charms. In summer, everything is green and there are many events, but it's also the busiest time to be in Bruges. Bruges is also a popular winter destination, especially in December, when the city hosts a beautiful Christmas Market. For fewer crowds and better weather (although you never know in Belgium), visit Bruges in April-May or in September-October.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

The best place for shopping in Bruges is the city center area located southwest of Market Square. Steenstraat is the main shopping street in Bruges, where you'll find all the big brands and high-street fashion. If you're looking for smaller, boutique shops, try Noordzandstraat or Geldmuntstraat and also the smaller streets nearby. For chocolates and souvenirs, check out Katelijnestraat close to Beguinage of Bruges.

Other Sightseeing Options in Bruges

Want to discover all there is to do in Bruges? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Bruges

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 3,868 reviews

This is a good option if you want to see this two cities and you don't have the time to stay there for one night or more. We had some had some doubts because in some comments says that is not really a tour for English speakers but we didn't had so many options and we take it. The tour had 2 guides an Spanish guide and a English speaker guide, Bruno our guide was really nice and funny and told us some really interesting information.

The trip was fabulous. Thank you Bruno (our English guide) for an amazing Brugge and Gent tour. The way he does the tour was really great. He is very accomodating. He is more of a host than guide. I am very lucky to have this tour with him and a plus that he is a local, definitely knows what to offer in Belgium. I would highly recommend this tour.

The tour overall is worth the money. You enjoy not only the sceneries and the place but also the valuable information and knowledge about the history of Bruges and Ghent shared by our guide Bruno. Also, you can know where to go for the food and souvenirs as he also give a lot of insights about it. Saving your time and also your money.

Our guide was amazing! So knowledgeable about Bruges and overall awesome experience. Highly recommend!

Nice tour - managed to see a lot just within a day!