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Visiting Bruges With Kids in a Day Trip From Brussels

Visiting Bruges with the whole family is a good idea: the little ones will feel like the protagonists of a fairy tale strolling among its canals, bridges and colorful houses

Carmen Navarro

Carmen Navarro

5 min read

Visiting Bruges With Kids in a Day Trip From Brussels

Typical colorful houses in Bruges | Emran Yousof

Bruges enchants young and old from the first moment you visit it. The proximity to Brussels makes it the perfect place for a family getaway where you can enjoy its charming streets, canals, and of course, its gastronomy.

If traveling with children, there are some things you should keep in mind, which I summarize below:

1. An organized day trip is better than an excursion on your own

Discover all that Bruges has to offer ©Hardie van Zyl
Discover all that Bruges has to offer ©Hardie van Zyl

If you are thinking about a trip to Bruges from Brussels, it is best to opt for an organized tour where you will not have to worry about schedules and travel.

You will travel by private bus, which makes the trip very comfortable (the little ones can take the opportunity to take a nap) and the times are very good: you will not have to get up very early, as you have to be at the meeting point around 10 am. You will be back in Brussels before 8:00 pm after a fantastic day in Bruges.

Your guide will take you on a tour of the essentials of the city, but you will also have free time to enjoy its gastronomy, canals, or even its parks!

These organized tours will allow you to adapt to the pace of the little ones without having to worry about anything but enjoying the day to the fullest with your family.

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2. Be aware of restaurant opening times

Enjoy the wide range of restaurants in Bruges | ©Elijah G
Enjoy the wide range of restaurants in Bruges | ©Elijah G

As in any other northern European city, be aware that some bars and restaurants offer meal services from noon and do not always extend beyond 1:30 pm. The younger ones usually eat early, but keep in mind these schedules if you do not want to be disappointed and find a kitchen closed.

Among the typical menus that you will find in Bruges to eat, there will be everything: fish, soups, meat, combined dishes... You are sure to find an option that perfectly suits the tastes of the whole family.

I have written this small gastronomic guide about where to eat in Bruges. I'm sure it will help you plan your menus (it also includes the best place in Bruges to eat and to buy chocolate!)

Otherwise, don't worry because street food stalls and some bars and restaurants with non-stop food service available are assured. The same if you need to buy them drinks or refreshments during your walk around the city.

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3. Take a boat ride with its canals to the delight of the whole family

Tour the canals of Bruges | ©Den Harrson
Tour the canals of Bruges | ©Den Harrson

The canals and bridges of the city will leave you spellbound from the very first moment. Strolling through Bruges is a marvel, but even more, is to know the city aboard a small boat that allows you to know its streets from the water.

The little ones (but certainly also the older ones) will love to sail the waters of the city, discover its colored houses and pass under some of its beautiful bridges.

Plus, it's a great way to rest your legs while relaxing and still enjoying the views. Sounds good, doesn't it? Well, this service is also available in winter, so even if it's cold, put on your coats and go sailing!

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4. Don't forget to give them a taste of the best chocolate in the world

Taste the incredible Belgian chocolate | ©Nathana Rebouças
Taste the incredible Belgian chocolate | ©Nathana Rebouças

We all know that Belgium is the capital of chocolate, but until you get there and corroborate it by tasting one of its delicacies, you will not be able to say that you are in Belgian lands.

Throughout your tour of Bruges, you will find many chocolate shops, all of them have an unmistakable aroma and it will be impossible to resist. You should know that in Bruges there is a Chocolate Museum which can also be a great experience for your kids.

If you choose to go directly to taste the best, I recommend you visit The Old Chocolate House, a delight for the whole family.

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5. Check the weather forecast and go prepared for cold weather

Christmas market in Bruges | ©Matt Seymour
Christmas market in Bruges | ©Matt Seymour

It gets cold in Belgium in winter, that's obvious, but it can also get cold if you visit Brussels in early spring or autumn. Therefore, it is best to check the weather forecast a few days before packing your bags, as it will help you to really know what kind of weather you are going to encounter.

It is quite frequent that it rains or is windy, but Belgians are more than used to it and you will see that for them life does not stop in any case. Pack comfortable shoes, a raincoat, an umbrella, and let's go!

If you travel in summer, heatwaves are more common than it looks like, so check the forecast to be as well prepared as possible.

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6. Enjoy the parks and the swans that inhabit them

Swans on the banks of a canal in Bruges | ©Dennis Jarvis
Swans on the banks of a canal in Bruges | ©Dennis Jarvis

Bruges stands out for its canals and cobbled streets, but also has green areas to enjoy with the little ones if they feel like having a relaxing time.

Near the center you will find the Koningin Astridpark, a very quiet green area, with a large grassy area ideal for a picnic and beautiful flower gardens that are at their best in spring.

Another park I recommend is Minnewaterpark, closer to the water of the canals and with a lake around it where it is easy to see white swans bathing in its waters. Fairytale!

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7. If you have time, visit the Gavensteen Castle (in Ghent)

Gavensteen Castle, Ghent | ©Stephane Mignon
Gavensteen Castle, Ghent | ©Stephane Mignon

If, in addition to visiting Bruges, you have also planned to visit Ghent (there are also guided tours that visit this city after the day trip to Bruges), the Gavensteen Castle is something that will not leave your children indifferent.

In the heart of the city, this imposing castle was the home of the Counts of Fiandra. If it is imposing on the outside, its interior is breathtaking. You can read more about it here: Castle of Gavensteen.

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8. Waffles for a snack are always a good idea

You enjoy rich Belgian waffles | ©Robby McCullough
You enjoy rich Belgian waffles | ©Robby McCullough

If chocolate bars aren't the kids' forte, they're sure to enjoy a good Belgian waffle (and you will too!).

Any street stall prepares the best you can imagine, but if you are looking for something exceptional, go to Chez Albert and choose the piece of paradise you are going to taste for a snack. You won't regret it!

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