My first visit to Bruges back at the beginning of 2012 was only for a couple of hours. It was merely a brief stop en route from Amsterdam to London. Even though I didn’t get to spend much time there I loved the parts I did see and vowed to return and explore the town properly. It took me almost 5 years but I finally made it back to Bruges, this time staying for a long weekend. Here are some of the highlights from our trip and the things I’d recommend to anyone visiting Bruges.
1. Admire the view from Belfry Tower
Finding a vantage point is typically the first thing I like to do when visiting the city and Bruges was no exception. The Belfry Tower is located in The Markt square, it dominates the Bruges skyline so you can’t miss it! Getting to the top involves ascending a spiral staircase of 366 steps. It’s an arduous climb but there are a few opportunities to stop and rest on the way up. I recommend visiting first thing in the morning as there’s a limit on the number of people that can enter the tour at one time. I visited around 11am on a Saturday morning and had to queue for about 20 minutes. The price of admission to the tower is €10.
2. Take a canal cruise
Taking a boat tour along the canals allows you to see the city from a completely different angle. You’ll learn a lot too as the guide provides commentary throughout the journey and will point out any places of interest. There are a few different places where you can join a canal cruise. I went to one just off Burg Square which cost €8 for a 30 minute tour.
3. Sample the local cuisine
The abundance of chocolate shops is one of my favourite things about Bruges. I recommend heading to Katelijnestraat which conveniently has a number of chocolate shops located close together, and the prices are a little cheaper than the shops located in the city centre.
Waffles are another must when in Belgium. My favourite waffles were from a little shop called Chez Albert, just off Markt Square.
4. A beer tasting with a view
The tasting area at Bruges’ Beer Museum offers a unique view over Markt Square. If you don’t fancy a visit to the museum you can skip that part and just head straight to the upstairs bar, which is what we did. The tasting menu gets you five beers for €10.
5. A couple of foodie museums
Obviously I love chocolate, and I love fries, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit Choco-Story, the Chocolate Museum, and the Friet Museum. Both museums are owned by the same people so if you want to visit both you can buy a combination ticket to save some money.
I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t blown away by the Friet Museum, but it was fun for a laugh and you can learn a lot about the history of potatoes. The ticket also includes a discount on fries at the museum cafe. I thought the Choco-Story was a bit better, and you get a free chocolate when you enter. Both are good activities for a rainy day, or in my case, to escape from the cold.