The fame of Bruges exceeds even that of the Belgian capital; every year this small town in Flanders receives 3 million visitors and is the most visited city in the country.
The reasons: its canals, its cobbled streets, its medieval buildings, and a charm that is difficult to put in words.
Visit the best of Bruges and Ghent in one day
The perfect day trip to discover the beauty of Bruges and take advantage of the day to visit Ghent. You will be accompanied by an expert guide who speaks English and you will also have free time.From $ 52 at Hellotickets
Those who like to make the most of their time to the maximum and come back from their trip having seen as many places as possible, should know that the most popular way to combine the Bruges tour with a visit to Ghent is to combine the Bruges tour with a visit to Ghent.
In Bruges your guide will take you to the most outstanding monuments of the city (the Basilica of the Holy Blood, the Church of Our Lady, the Lake of Love, the Burg square...) giving you time to explore the historic center at your own pace before returning to Brussels.
Ghent is a city located 20 minutes from Bruges and is often overlooked by the fame of the former. However, there is a lot to see in Ghent. At first glance, the two cities may seem similar; however, Ghent is much more regal and is known for being a university city with a lively cultural life. It has nothing to envy Bruges in terms of aesthetics and discovering the two cities together on the same trip will give you a much more accurate impression of Belgium than you would get by visiting Brussels alone.
In Ghent, besides touring the historic city center, there you will see places like the Saint Bavon Cathedral, with important medieval treasures inside, the Castle of the Counts of Flanders (Gravensteen), the Church of St. Nicholas and the historic Gralei Wharf.
Why I recommend this tour: If you are going to be few days in Brussels and want to see more of Belgium without the need to tour the country, this tour is your best option.
Discover Bruges in a small group tour
If you don't like to travel in large groups, visiting Bruges with an expert guide and a very small group of travelers will make this experience much more exclusive.From $ 112 at Hellotickets
Organized tours are very popular because they have a price very similar to the cost of a round-trip train ticket and also include the services of a specialized guide.
Bruges is a city that you will fall in love with just by looking at it, but if you also have a guided tour of Bruges from Brussels, you will know its most relevant corners, its history and legends. The experience is far superior to visiting Bruges on your own.
You will meet your guide and the rest of the group in the center of Brussels early in the morning to take the train to Bruges.
Once there you will have both guided tours and free time to explore the city at your leisure. You can book your place online with the guarantee of free cancellation up to 24 hours before your departure. In addition, the tour takes place in a small group, so you will have the opportunity to connect better with the city and the guide.
On this tour, the guide will accompany you to see the central Markt Square, St. Savior's Cathedral, the Belfry of Bruges, Burg Square, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, among other key points of the city.
Why I recommend this tour: This is one of the best value for money tours you can do to Bruges from Brussels. You will return having seen the city in depth and you will be able to do it unhurriedly balancing free time with guided tours.
How much does a tour to Bruges from Brussels cost?
Prices vary depending on the duration of what is included, but you can find a day trip to Bruges from Brussels for $ 45 at Hellotickets. This tour lasts a full day and in addition to Bruges, it will also take you to see Ghent.
If we take into account what it would cost us to visit the city on our own, paying for transportation and hiring a guide to do a city tour, the price is more than convenient.
I have written an article on the price of tours to Bruges from Brussels where you can compare the costs of joining an organized tour compared to the price of visiting Brussels on your own by train, bus or rent car.
How long does it take to get to Bruges from Brussels?
It takes about one and a half hours by road. Guided tours usually use either a regular bus or a minibus, depending on the number of people on the tour, so the preferred mode of transport is usually by road.
The convenience of traveling by bus is that many of the tours include a stop in Ghent before or after visiting Bruges (Ghent is about an hour from Bruges and does not involve making a major detour from the itinerary from Brussels).
Best time to take the Bruges tour from Brussels
On weekends and holidays the city fills up with tourists. If you can go during the week you will also find an influx of visitors (after all it is the most visited city in Belgium), but less.
If you go to Bruges in winter, it will be freezing, so make sure to wear warm clothes to not let the cold ruin your trip. The advantage of traveling to Bruges in winter is that you will find many fewer travelers than in the high season.
However, if you prefer to enjoy a temperate climate to visit the charming city of Bruges, I recommend spring and autumn. In summer it can be quite hot, although it is not very common to find boiling temperatures.
How long Bruges day trips last
They usually last one day and although you could stay much longer in the city of Bruges, one day will be enough to get to know it well. The trip from Brussels is short, which will allow you to make the most of the day.
You will see the most important monuments and squares and you will have free time to stop for lunch, enjoy its restaurants and streets. Some day trips even include the pass through Ghent, which is a very good option if you do not have too much time during your trip to Brussels.
If you are still not sure how much time you want to spend in the city, you can take a look at my article about the duration of the day trips to Bruges to be able to organize yourself better.
Is Ghent worth visiting during the Brussels day trip?
Of course, it is. Both cities are less than an hour away from each other and from Brussels, making them the perfect triangle for your Belgium trip.
Ghent's city center is quite manageable and almost all of its points of interest are relatively close, making it easy to get around in a few hours.
Most tours to Bruges complete the day with a stop to discover the best of Ghent. If you want to dig deeper into this option to see if it's worth it or not, I've written a guide on Visit Ghent on your Bruges tour. Check it out!
Visiting Bruges with children
Visiting Bruges with kids on a tour from Brussels is a great idea, especially if you do it on an organized tour where you can not worry about having to hire everything on your own.
In general, the distance from Brussels is not very long, so the way is pleasant and not too heavy for the little ones. Once in Bruges, its cobblestone streets, fairytale houses, and canals will make them feel like protagonists of a Disney movie. They will love it.
Make sure they are prepared for the cold if you go in winter, although the temperatures are not much different from Brussels, you may feel the humidity more. Otherwise, get ready to enjoy Brussels with your family!
Where (and what) to eat and drink during your Bruges day trip
As a good Belgian city, Bruges is full of places offering locals and visitors all kinds of traditional delicacies: its famous craft beers, its chocolates and delicious waffles, incredible meats, fish and mussels served with fries, homemade soups...
The good thing about going to Bruges on an organized tour is that in addition to having free time to walk around the city at your leisure, you can choose what and how you want to eat there.
I have prepared a small practical guide with the places where to eat in Bruges so you don't have to worry about anything.
How to get to Bruges
If you are thinking of organizing a trip to Bruges, either on your own or on an organized tour, in this article I have detailed for you how to get to Bruges from Brussels.
From the three Brussels stations (Midi or Sud, Nord, and Central) there are trains to Bruges approximately every 15 minutes all day long. Each way costs about $ 18 and no reservation is necessary, so I recommend you see the city at your own pace and simply head to the station to return to Brussels when you are satisfied with your visit.
The bus takes longer than the train (around an hour and a half) and has fewer departures during the day, but, if you want to save money, you have tickets from $ 8 each way.
By rental car
If you prefer to have independence and move at your own pace and you have rented a car for your stay in Brussels you will have no difficulty getting to Bruges. Being the most visited city in the country is perfectly signposted by road and even more so if you go from the capital.
What to see in Bruges
All tours cover the main points of the city to make sure that the traveler does not miss anything relevant during his visit to "The Venice of the North". But if you have time to wander around at your own leisure, don't miss the following monuments and sights:
Main Square of Bruges
Known as Grote Markt, it is the heart of the city. In the center, you will find a statue dedicated to local heroes and also the famous Belfort bell tower. Take your time to stroll around it, take pictures and explore some of its restaurants, although the latter is admittedly very tourist-focused.
It is where you will find the Town Hall, the Palace of Justice and the Basilica of the Holy Blood. It is also one of the busiest places in the city.
The Holy Blood Basilica
It owes its name to the fact that in its interior are kept, so they say, some drops of the blood of Christ. You can visit it every day from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, but make sure that no ceremonies are being held before you go.
The Lake of Love
This is one of the most famous canal areas. You can access it if you take a boat ride, something that is recommended at least once to live the experience. A half-hour ride through the canals can cost you around $ 10.
St. Savior's Cathedral
It is the oldest church in Bruges, it has a tower of the 12th century of 328 feet high, and inside are kept different works of art. All visiting hours are daily, but these change depending on the time of year and the day of the week.
The Church of Our Lady
Known for housing in its interior the marble Madonna by Michelangelo. It is a Gothic-style building that is closed to the public on Mondays.
Practical tips for your visit to Bruges from Brussels in one day
You will have plenty of time
The first time I went to Bruges I only had one day to see the whole city and that made me go from one place to another in a hurry and without enjoying it with the deserved tranquility. I had plenty of time.
The historic center of Bruges is manageable to visit in one day, so do not get overwhelmed and walk calmly. If you go by train, also remember that there are continuous schedules, so you don't have to worry about ending your visit at a certain time.
Lose yourself in its narrow streets
Few cities have as much charm as Bruges. Once you have seen the main places, I recommend you to walk through its streets and canals in search of magical corners; you will surely find them. Do not leave behind the chocolate stores, they are full of wondrous details.
Contemplate the sunset at the Rosario pier
It is one of the best places in the city to do so. If you are also going to stay the night there you will discover a different city with a lot of nightlife, but in that case book in advance in restaurants or hotels.
If you are interested in taking a tour to Bruges from Brussels, you will also be interested in...
The Bruges day trip is undoubtedly the most popular tour you can take during your trip to Brussels, but it is not the only one. In this article about the best day trips from Brussels and tours of the city, you will find many more options including visits to nearby cities such as Antwerp or Amsterdam.
You will also find experiences to do without leaving Brussels such as beer tasting or chocolate tasting and walking tours around the city.