However you spell it, Bruges or Brugge, there’s one thing for sure – you’re in for a treat when visiting. The capital city of the province of West Flanders, Bruges falls within the Flemish region of Belgium. With its stunning buildings, beautiful canals and a sense of charm that you can’t quite put your finger on, I’m yet to hear anyone speak poorly of it.
Unsurprisingly, I’ve fallen a little in love with this unique European city – to the point that I’d confidently say it’s now one of my absolute favourites!
Find out what I recommend you do whilst in Bruges and organise your own weekend break ASAP.
What to Do on your Bruges Weekend Break
Experience the ‘Golden Age of Bruges’ at the Historium
Take a trip back in time at the Historium, conveniently located at the Market Square. A realistic love story is woven into the fabric of old-Bruges, told through creative multimedia, music and special effects, with the addition of realistic props. Add to the mix an audio guide and you’ll be transported back to the time of Jan van Eyck, a famous Belgian artist, ready to experience every sight and sound from the exhibit.
Once your interactive experience is complete, you’ll have the opportunity to sample local beer, enjoy the view from the terrace (which is well worth braving the cold for) and should you wish, you’re also able to add a visit up the tower to your ticket and/or virtual reality experiences.
The Historium is engaging and unique, making it a must-do whilst in Bruges!
Cheers the Day at the Bruges Beer Experience
Tucked just around the corner from the Historium, the Bruges Beer Experience is an interactive and engaging way to learn about the brewing process.
Visually appealing, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to snap that perfect Insta selfie, and perhaps most importantly, have the opportunity to sample a wide range of the local beers you’ve been learning all about.
Marvel at the Market Square (Markt)
The centrepiece of Bruges, Markt is where you’ll find the city’s picture-perfect historic buildings.
During the Christmas period, it’s also where you’ll find one of two Christmas markets and an ice skating rink, whisking you away to a winter wonderland.
Ride the Canals
The perfect way to get a sense for where everything is in the city, we suggest you hop onboard one of the many canal boats before exploring too much by foot.
There are a number of stops around Bruges, each offering the same route and (what I imagine is) a similar commentary. We found there to be a large discrepancy in the wait time between different stations so would encourage you to keep your eyes peeled for the shortest queue.
Chow Down on Belgian Treats
Pommes frites, waffles, chocolate and beer.
Need I say more?
Where to Stay in Bruges
With plenty of accommodation on offer in Bruges and a relatively small town-centre, it’s hard to go too far wrong.
The following are our top recommendations…
St Christopher’s Inn Hostel at The Bauhaus – Cheap and cheerful (plus it’s super clean!)
Hotel Patritius – Sleep in a traditionally decorated mansion, close to the central Market Square.
Hotel Dukes’ Palace Brugge – You can literally sleep in a five-star Belgian palace!
B&B Ambrogio – Seriously, just check out the photos and get booking!
Getting from Brussels to Bruges
Without its own international airport, most visitors to Belgium enter through Brussels. From there, there are a number of viable options to get to Bruges with a minimum of fuss.
With fares from €5 (USD5.70/NZD8.30) and drive times starting from 1 hour, 20 minutes, buses in Belgium are quick, comfortable and affordable. To ensure you lock in a good price, be sure to book your tickets in advance, as they do get more expensive as buses start to fill up.
Though trains are more expensive than the cheapest bus tickets, if you leave your purchase until the last minute, you may find the prices comparable. Regardless of when you travel, if there’s still space on a train, you’ll pay the same set rate for your ticket when you book.
- €14.10 from Brussels-Midi (Brux.-Midi) or Central (1 hour)
- €20.90 from Brussels Airport (1 hour, 30mins +)
A pre-arranged car sharing programme, BlaBlaCar connects drivers with spare seats (that are already driving a certain route) with the everyday public. Think of it like organised, vetted hitchhiking.
We’ve used BlaBlaCar on a number of occasions in Europe, always with great success. Much like sharing an apartment on Airbnb though, you’ll want to check reviews (and ideally start to build your own, so you also appeal to drivers).
The roads in Western Europe are orderly and safe which makes renting a car a viable option. With cheap and reliable public transport though, it wasn’t one that we seriously considered.
Getting Around Bruges
As it turns out, we arrived in Bruges during one of the busiest shopping periods around – the week between Christmas and New Years Eve. Though the streets were crowded with people, the one upshot was free public transport for the weekend!
If you’re in Bruges outside of this period (which let’s face it, is likely), you’ll still find reasonably priced public transport and a range of great options to get you around the city.
Bruges is an incredibly walkable city. Most spots are close together and with beautiful buildings and canals, there’s plenty to see as you amble along.
At present, Uber is not available in Bruges.
Though we only caught one taxi (bright and early, before buses started running), our driver was incredibly friendly and, much to our appreciation, put the meter on straight away and charged us less than we were told to expect. Can you ask for more?
Free Shuttle Bus
The city of Bruges offers a complimentary shuttle bus that shows tourists around the main spots in the city. Keep your eyes peeled for the designated stops and ride to your chosen spot within the 12 minute circuit.
As Bruges is so small, it’s incredibly easy to navigate Bruges by bus. It’s a great way to get around when you need to cover a little more ground.
With its picture-perfect streets, quaint charm, scenic waterways and small-town feel, a Bruges weekend break is the perfect solution to escape the hustle and bustle of Europe’s busier cities.
Easy to get to, relatively affordable and varied, it’s place that deserves your time and attention.
Trust me, it’s an easy city to fall for!
Ready to plan your Bruges weekend break? Get pinning!