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Bruges Day Trips from Amsterdam

Bruges is the fairytale city that will complete your trip to Amsterdam and best of all is you can get there and back in just one day!

Vicky Del Moral

Vicky Del Moral

8 min read

Bruges Day Trips from Amsterdam

View of one of Bruges' canals | ©Neil Turner

Take a hop to discover the charming city of Bruges, in the neighboring country of Belgium. This small medieval city is located just 3 hours from Amsterdam and is perfect for a day trip.

There are mainly two options to visit charming Bruges from Amsterdam. The first, one day, will allow you to discover the city to perfection and the second, two days, combines Bruges with a tour around the Dutch countryside. I'll tell you all about it below:

1. Excursions to Bruges from Amsterdam

Burg Square with the Belfort Tower | ©Eduard Marmet
Burg Square with the Belfort Tower | ©Eduard Marmet

The city of Bruges is, without a doubt, a fairytale place. If you think you can only reach it from Brussels, you are wrong. This beautiful Belgian city is just as accessible from Amsterdam and this excursion to Bruges from Amsterdam makes it easy for you, taking you there and back on the same day.

What will I see on this tour?

Incredible artisan markets at Grote Markt, the main square of Bruges with its 278-feet tower, the Belfort tower; the idyllic Burg square with the Town Hall; a mysterious lake of love, Minnewater; a tasting of the famous Belgian chocolate at a renowned chocolate shop and a quay with the surname "the flowers". These are just a few of the things you will enjoy on this day trip from Amsterdam to Bruges.

Bruges in the 21st century is a real trip to the past: although many of the structures you will see on your trip to Bruges have had to be renovated since 1900 due to the ravages of time and the floods caused by the Zwin River, this restoration was done following the neo-Gothic style prevailing at the time.

This day trip to Bruges of 12 hours of total duration, will organize the whole trip for you and take you to Bruges by bus so you don't have to worry about anything. It also includes an English-speaking guide.

Itinerary

I leave you a list of all the wonders you will see during this day trip to Bruges:

  • Minnewater Lake: the "Lake of Love". The guide will explain the history of Bruges and the love story linked to this lake.
  • Begijnhof: founded in 1245, this site tells the story of an incredible group of women.
  • Chocolalino: one of the few certified artisan chocolate stores, where you will have a delicious tasting to discover the secrets of Bruges chocolate.
  • Walplein: a square where you will learn about the history of Bruges beer.
  • Stoofstraat: here you will see original medieval houses.
  • Mariastraat 23: a charming bridge perfect for taking the best pictures.
  • Sint-Janshospitaal (Museum): where you will learn how the health system worked in medieval Bruges.
  • Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk, the Church of Our Lady: they will explain some curiosities about the white marble sculpture of the Virgin and Child created by Michelangelo.
  • Gruthusemuseum: you will learn about the history of the most famous and powerful family of Bruges between the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • St Bonifacius Bridge: one of the most charming places in Bruges.
  • Rose Quay: the most photographed place in Bruges, where you will discover the history surrounding this beautiful place.
  • Huidenvettersplein: the Tanners' Square.
  • Burg Square: one of the city's main squares and home to the Gothic Town Hall, the former Palace of Justice, and the Basilica of the Holy Blood.
  • The Markt: the main and most important square in Bruges.
  • Free time to visit the city for 2 hours.

Compare the best excursions to Bruges

2. Two day tours to Bruges and the windmills of Zaanse Schans, Marken and Volendam

Bruges canals
Bruges canals

Want to get even more out of your time near Amsterdam? Get to know the beautiful Belgian city of Bruges and add to that the more rural Holland. Everything you imagine when you think of Holland is what you are shown on this two-day bus tour to Bruges and the Dutch countryside. On this tour, you will see the typical windmills, the making of its famous cheeses, bucolic landscapes, and typical houses from the 15th century.

Bruges

But let's start at the beginning of your adventure, let's start in Bruges. There you will spend a day accompanied by a guide, visiting some of the most fascinating attractions of the Belgian city, such as the Church of the Holy Blood, one of its most important squares, the Burg square, its Kantcentrum Lace Center, which shows the history and importance of the renowned Bruges Lace School and the Groeningmuseum.

Zaanse Schans

On the next day and back to Amsterdam will be when you know your postcard fields. You will see authentic windmills in Zaanse Schans, a town nestled on the banks of the river Zaan and dotted with traditional houses of the fifteenth century. On the way to Volendam, you will pass through the polders, a term for the land that has been reclaimed from the sea and for which the official name of Holland is "The Netherlands".

Volendam

Volendam is one of the most beautiful fishing villages in the area thanks to its colorful houses, its narrow streets, and its beautiful harbor founded in the 14th century. There you will visit its cheese factory to learn about the cheese-making tradition of the country and enjoy a demonstration of its special production.

Marken

From Volendam you will take a cruise, the Volendam-Marken Express, to visit the picturesque peninsula of Marken, another small fishing village, this one surrounded by the waters of the IJsselmeer lake and connected only by a 6 miles long dike. In Marken, you will understand how the Dutch live below sea level, see a demonstration of how another Dutch icon, the clogs, is created, and walk over beautiful bridges over small canals between wooden-fronted houses.

What you should note is that this tour only includes the guided bus tour to the above locations, but does not include accommodation in Bruges or meals and drinks during the trip. Fortunately, Bruges is a very well-prepared city to accommodate the traveler, so you should have no problem finding a place that suits your needs.

Itinerary of the tour to Bruges and the windmills of Zaanse Schans, Marken, and Volendam.

  • Basilica of the Holy Blood in Bruges.
  • Groeningemuseum, the museum of Belgian art, in Bruges.
  • Kantcentrum, the Lace Museum, also in Bruges.
  • Burg Square, one of the main squares in Bruges.
  • Zaanse Schans, with the original windmills and a visit to an authentic Dutch windmill with a demonstration by a miller.
  • Cheese Factory Volendam, the entrance to the cheese factory with a demonstration of cheese making.
  • Volendam Marken Express. Boat trip on the Ijsselmeer to Marken.

What is included in the two-day tour to Bruges and the windmills of Zaanse Schans, Marken, and Volendam?

  • Professional guide
  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • Visit an authentic Dutch windmill and demonstration by a miller.
  • Boat trip from Volendam to Marken
  • Entrance to the cheese factory in Volendam

Compare the best excursions to Bruges


Why is Bruges worth a visit?

Bruges cobblestone streets
Bruges cobblestone streets

Bruges is one of those places that you have to visit at least once in your life. And is that this Belgian city is a real delight for the senses. Bruges repeats the nickname "The Venice of the North" given to Amsterdam. It could not be otherwise, and the name itself gives us a clue to what it hides.

In Dutch 'brug' means bridge and this city is called with the plural of the term: 'bridges'. Like Amsterdam, this small town of 117,000 inhabitants lives and beats between numerous canals crossed by charming and numerous bridges, as well as presenting cobbled streets, beautiful squares, and beautiful houses, some of them more than six centuries old, as if they were illustrations of a fairy tale.

A bit of history

These rich waterways were what turned Bruges, founded in the 11th century around a fortress, into a hub of northern European trade until the 15th century, making it one of the most prosperous cities on the continent.

Today, the greatest treasure of Bruges lies in its historic center, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2000, as one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the world. Welcoming more than 3 million tourists per year (it is the most visited Belgian city, even ahead of Brussels), Bruges is an unforgettable place to visit during your trip to Amsterdam.

Where to eat in Bruges?

Restaurants on the Market Square | ©Paul Lewin
Restaurants on the Market Square | ©Paul Lewin

As the tours I recommend do not include meals among their services, here are some places where you can enjoy in addition to satiate your appetite after so many hours of sightseeing. Despite what you might think, the gastronomy of Bruges goes beyond waffles, beer, mussels, or chocolate. Check out the 7 best places to eat in Bruges:

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  1. At Tattie's. The best sandwiches in town.
  2. Café de Gilde. To taste typical Belgian dishes in this restaurant of home cooking.
  3. Chez Albert. Sweeten your visit with the best waffles in Bruges.
  4. Beers Yesterday's World. The best place to taste the famous Belgian beer.
  5. Chez Vincent. Famous for its potatoes with sauce and its hamburgers.
  6. Soup, the healthiest option with delicious soups.
  7. De Karmeliet, the best restaurant in Bruges, with 3 Michelin stars. Reservations are required.

Lunch and dinner times

Bruges has a schedule typical of the northern European area in terms of meals, which are had between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm and between 8:00 pm and 9:30 pm for dinner. Keep this in mind especially when going to a restaurant, as the kitchens of many places close after 2:00 pm for lunch and 9:30 pm for dinner.

Typical dishes of Bruges

You don't want to leave the Belgian country without trying some of its most typical dishes? Then get ready for some delicious, but not exactly light, meals, and don't miss the following list of succulent and tasty delicacies:

  1. Carbonade flamande. Belgium's most iconic dish, a veal stew with beer sauce.
  2. Waterzooi. This typical Flanders stew with vegetables, fish, or chicken is ideal for cold winter days.
  3. Rabbit with cherry. Different and delicious, it is usually served with apple puree.
  4. Pork leg with mustard. This dish reflects the Germanic influence in the Dutch gastronomy.
  5. Mussels. This not-to-miss dish is prepared in a multitude of ways, although the most typical ones are with celery and white wine.
  6. Beer. In Belgium, it can be even cheaper than water. The most typical beer in Bruges is Brugse Zot, but there are dozens of great varieties.

Don't forget to leave some room to try their famous waffles!

Vicky's Traveller Tip

Bruges' climate is similar to Amsterdam's, so you won't need to pack extra clothes in your suitcase.

Other interesting activities in Amsterdam

Bicycling in Amsterdam with Magere Brug in the background | ©Evelyn Liow
Bicycling in Amsterdam with Magere Brug in the background | ©Evelyn Liow

If you feel like further discovering the surroundings of Amsterdam, I recommend you to take a look at the day trips that can be done in one day from the city. Here is my guide on the best things to do in the Netherlands: Best Day Trips from Amsterdam.

If, on the other hand, you prefer to make the most of the Dutch capital, I recommend you to rent a bike or join one of the many guided tours. I tell you all about it here: Amsterdam Tours.

And finally, the complementary activity that every beer lover should keep in mind: the Heineken Experience.

Frequently asked questions

  • How far is Bruges from Amsterdam?

    Bruges sits around 250 km (155 mi) away from Amsterdam, in Belgium. Journeys take between 2hrs 40 mins to 3 hrs 20 mins, depending on your transport. While rail is the fastest, the cheapest and most affordable option is via bus.

  • What makes Bruges so famous?

    Featuring more canals than Amsterdam, Bruges is grown famous for its canals and bridges. Belgium itself has grown famous for its fries, waffles, chocolates and beers, all of which are highly praised.

  • What things in Bruges can be done in a single day?

    Due to the nature of Bruges' old town, you can see and visit many of Bruges' top sights within a single day, as they are all quite close to each other.