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10 Best Things to Do in Bruges in a Day Trip From Brussels

With an excursion from Brussels you will fall in love with the charms of Bruges. I tell you what you will see with your guide and what you should see in your free time.

Carmen Navarro

Carmen Navarro

6 min read

10 Best Things to Do in Bruges in a Day Trip From Brussels

Detail of the city | Dan Cristian

Ready to fall in love with one of the most beautiful cities in Europe? Even if you have little time, one day will be enough to visit its key points, if you know what they are, of course.

Here is a list of the essential things to see and do in Bruges to make the most of your trip to Bruges from Brussels.

1. Stroll through the Grote Markt

Grote Markt| ©TravelingOtter
Grote Markt| ©TravelingOtter

It is the most classic picture of Bruges, stars in thousands of postcards and as soon as you see it, you will know why: its beauty is incomparable. It is also known as Market Square, as it has been hosting a market since 958 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Once there, the first thing that will catch your attention will be its north side, with several colorful medieval houses lined up to decorate the square with the typical architecture of the area. Also note the central monument of the square, dedicated to two local heroes who fought against the French in the 14th century.

On its other sides, you will also see several palaces and classical buildings that are worth stopping to admire. Of course, you will also see its Bell Tower, but I will tell you more about it later, as it requires a separate point.

This is a good place to stop for a snack at the street food stalls when you get the itch. Find a bench or a corner with a good view and enjoy a bite to eat.

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2. Go to Burg Square

Burg Square| ©Dennis Jarvis
Burg Square| ©Dennis Jarvis

You can't miss this square: it is connected to the previous one through the Breidelstraat, so take the opportunity to visit it after enjoying the Grote Markt.

Unlike the Market Square, which stands out for its colorful, in this square the facades are gray and contrast with the golden elements of its facades.

Right on this square are two of the main attractions of the city, which I also recommend 100%: the Town Hall and the Basilica of the Holy Blood.

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3. Step inside the City Hall

Inside the Bruges City Hall| ©Michael D Beckwith
Inside the Bruges City Hall| ©Michael D Beckwith

One of the facades that stands out in the Burg Square is the magnificent City Hall. You can visit its interior for only 2 € and the truth is that it is a short visit that is well worth it.

Its Gothic hall and its historical hall are the main elements of the visit of this imposing Gothic building that presides over the center of Bruges.

Its visiting hours start at 09:30 and closes at 17:00, so if you want to know inside, do not leave the visit until late afternoon.

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4. Tour the canals by boat

Tour the canals of Bruges| ©Mario Sánchez Prada
Tour the canals of Bruges| ©Mario Sánchez Prada

Taking a boat ride will be an unforgettable experience during your stay in Bruges. There are tours in small classic wooden boats that will take you to enjoy the most beautiful and hidden corners of the city.

You will even have the opportunity to discover some of its bridges and pass under them. Undoubtedly, a good way to take a break from walking around the city while you relax and enjoy the city from a different perspective.

These cruises last about half an hour and cost less than 8€ per person, so neither time nor budget will be an excuse not to jump into the water to get to know Bruges.

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5. Enjoy its exquisite gastronomy

Taste the typical mussels with french fries| ©Creusaz
Taste the typical mussels with french fries| ©Creusaz

Eating in Belgium is always a pleasure and Bruges was not going to be less: while strolling through its beautiful streets, you will recognize the sweet aroma of chocolate that comes out of some of its stores.

During the tour, you will also see visitors and locals enjoying a good plate of mussels with fries or the typical Belgian soups in the most charming terraces of the city.

Join them and take advantage of your stay in Bruges to discover the best dishes of the city. If you are afraid of falling into a tourist trap, I have prepared this guide with the best places to eat in Bruges. Bon apetit!

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6. Contemplate the beauty of St. Boniface Bridge

St. Boniface Bridge| ©Julien Chatelain
St. Boniface Bridge| ©Julien Chatelain

St. Boniface Bridge is one of the many bridges that cross the canals of the city. So why do we highlight this one? Because the corner on which it stands is literally postcard-perfect.

The cobblestone streets around it, the medieval houses around it, the tree branches sprouting from every corner and the tranquility of this area make it a favorite of many.

If you haven't done it so far, take out your camera and enjoy capturing every angle of this wonderful corner.

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7. Visit the Cathedral of St. Savior

Aerial view of St. Savior's Cathedral| ©Julien Chatelain
Aerial view of St. Savior's Cathedral| ©Julien Chatelain

The Bruges Cathedral was built in the ninth century and as if its years of history were not enough, both the facade and its interior are totally impressive.

You will find it in the heart of the city, with incredible baroque stained glass windows starring its facade and with a height that stands out from the rest of the houses and buildings of Bruges.

Schedules

  • Weekdays: 10:00 to 13:00 h / 14:00 to 17:30 h - Monday to Friday
  • Saturdays: 10:00 to 13:00 h / 14:00 to 15:30 h - Saturday
  • Sundays: 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. / 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. - Sunday

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8. Stroll through the Minnewater Park, ideal for family visits.

Minnewater Park| ©Eduard Marmet
Minnewater Park| ©Eduard Marmet

Whether you visit Bruges with children, friends or as a couple, visiting a park is always a good idea. And even more so if the park in question is Minnewaterpark: the setting of this place is magical.

In addition to a well-kept green area, the park has a beautiful lake where several white swans will be the focus of attention of all walkers.

For a moment you will feel like the protagonist of a Disney movie, and no wonder. In addition, the park is not far from the city center and you will not have to go too far to visit it.

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9. Enter one of its museums

Groeninge Museum Hall| ©Dimitris Kamaras
Groeninge Museum Hall| ©Dimitris Kamaras

Despite its modest size, Bruges hosts some museums that may be interesting during your visit. In addition to a popular beer museum and another dedicated to chocolate (cultural essence of the country) there are also some museums of history and art.

Of these, the ones I recommend are the Groeninge Museum, a historical tour of Belgian art and the Historium Brugge, which stands out for its virtual reconstruction of the Golden Age of the city of Bruges.

In both cases I recommend booking tickets in advance to avoid queues at the ticket office to access the museums.

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10. Visit the Belfry of Belfort

Belfort Belfry| ©Fred Romero
Belfort Belfry| ©Fred Romero

The impressive medieval bell tower that presides over the Grote Markt and virtually the entire city dates from 1240 and although it has survived several fires and attacks, its 83 meters high still stand.

It has 366 steps that separate the ground from the best view of the city, so my advice is to arm yourself with patience, take a deep breath and start the vertical path that will give you the best memory and the best picture of Bruges.

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