Beautiful Bruges

Bruges, Belgium

I had Bruges figured into my August travel plans from the moment I found out that it was an optional stop on Busabout's North Loop through Europe.

I didn't really even know much about Bruges (or Belgium, for that matter), which made it difficult to answer the “Why are you stopping there?” questions that I received from a few of my Busabout companions. From pictures I had seen of this little medieval town, though, I knew I just had to visit.

And it turns out that my instincts were right — Bruges remains one of my favorite stops in Europe so far, even after a month on the road.

What to say about Bruges? Well, it's located in the Flanders region of Belgium, and Dutch, French, German, and even Flemish are spoken here (English too, of course, because Bruges is now a popular tourist town). It's known for its chocolate, its beer, its waffles, and its lace, and the town's cobbled streets are lined with shops and restaurants selling all of them — including plenty of chocolate shops who whip up some, er, naughty creations.

Bruges' beautiful and colorful buildings are incredibly well preserved due to Bruges falling into relative obscurity for quite a few centuries. In fact, for a while it was referred to as “the Dead City.” It came alive again in the mid-1900s, though, when wealthy British and French tourists decided it would make a lovely holiday destination. Once the city decided to focus on tourism (and restore and spruce up many of its historical buildings), Bruges took off once more.

Today, there's no doubt that Bruges is touristy. Wander around Markt Square near the Belfry at any time of day, and you'll realize this.

But I still LOVED it nonetheless. Bruges was small. Bruges was relaxed. And Bruges was beautiful.

If you find yourself heading to Bruges for a couple of days (it would make a perfect weekend getaway from any nearby country), here are some things you should do:

Take a walking tour. I took a FREE “In Brugge” walking tour with Can You Handle It? tours. The tour was ideal for the younger traveler — we learned about the history of Bruges, saw plenty of sites from the movie, and were entertained by our guide Caitlin. She also pointed out great places to eat and drink all around the city.

Cruise the canals. Bruges is sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the North” due to its extensive canal system. You can't ride a gondola here, but you CAN take a 35-minute boat tour for about 7 Euro.

Eat. You MUST try a Belgian waffle (try it with white chocolate and strawberries!). Also eat some fries (the stands in front of the Belfry in Markt Square sell the best ones in town). And of course you must also pick up some Belgian chocolate!

Wander around. Every single street in Bruges is interesting. With beautiful buildings, pretty chocolate shops, and cafes and pubs galore, you can simply pick a direction and walk and probably find something cool.

Bruges

Like “Lovers Lake”

Bruges windmill

Or a windmill

 

To those who may try to tell you that Bruges (and Belgium as a whole) is boring, I would urge you to ignore them.

Bruges is actually pretty awesome, and well worth at least a couple days of your time.

——

Who wants to go to Bruges now??

 

 

*Note: I visited Bruges as part of my Busabout trip around Europe. They provided me with transport on all 3 of their Europe loops, but all opinions of the destinations I visit are entirely my own!

54 Comments

  • Alouise says:

    Bruges looks like a nice city, and really sometimes it’s the smaller (why would you go there?) kind of cities that end up being my favourite. Any place known for chocolate, beer, and waffles is the place for me.
    Alouise recently posted..Win A Free Magazine Subscription from Zinio

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m so with you, Alouise! Two of my top 3 favorite stops on this trip have been little towns that a lot of people haven’t even heard of!

  • I love small, walkable cities. Plus when you throw in the gorgeous buildings, canals, chocolates, and WAFFLES.. I’m sold. It looks impossible to take a bad photo there. Great post.
    Lauren Meshkin recently posted..Photo essay: A canal tour through Copenhagen!

  • The reflection off that massive window is beautiful!
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  • Gaelyn says:

    Amazing architecture and I love the idea of cruising in a boat amongst the buildings. Plus of course the chocolate.
    Gaelyn recently posted..Elephants in Kruger National Park

  • Wow, I didn’t know much about Bruges… but it looks picture perfect!
    Beth of Besudesu Abroad recently posted..Is Japan Really That Expensive?

  • Dean says:

    Amazing architecture. I can see myself wandering around this place for quite a while!
    Dean recently posted..Top 4 Wildnerness Adventures

  • Ivona says:

    Beautiful photos! You definitely convinced me that it’s worth visiting Bruges
    Ivona recently posted..Top 3 beaches I explored so far

  • jennifer says:

    I have been to Brussels three times now, and every time I am aware of how close I am to Bruges and that I must go there. But I have yet to make this a reality. I am kind of obsessed with it and immediately click on any blog post about Bruges. Your pictures are like travel porn for me.
    jennifer recently posted..What’s It Like Living in New York City? Rant #2 AND Rant #2.5 – Canal Street Train Station

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Hahaha. I am totally okay with my photos being travel porn to you!

      In all seriousness, though, you really should get yourself to Bruges!

  • Juliann says:

    Bruges is beautiful, but I actually prefer the smaller medieval town of Ghent. I travel to Brussels every year and usually venture out by train to some of the smaller towns. Bruges was first on my list, but I’ve found that the town I return to again and again is Ghent. That is, when I’ve gotten my fill of Brussels — which is one of my favorite cities in the world.
    Juliann recently posted..Knock Knock

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’ve heard good things about so many cities/towns in Belgium – Ghent being one of them. Since I only had 2 short days in Bruges as it was, though, I didn’t venture anywhere else. Next time!

    • Have you been to Antwerp yet?
      Would definitely recommend it:-)
      Sofie @ Wonderful Wanderings recently posted..#FriFotos: a view on Quinta da Regaleira

      • DangerousBiz says:

        Not yet! Definitely want to see more of Belgium now, though.

        • Isabelle says:

          Hi there! I came across your blog (which is awesome btw) and couldn’t resist checking what you wrote about my country : Belgium. If you loved Bruges, you would go crazy as seeing the very centre of Brussels! It’s full of small streets and the architecture is kind the same. Plus there are atmospheric bars everywhere 😉 When the sun is up, it’s so gooood. I would honestly be glad to help you planning your trip if you come back around here!

  • Stephanie says:

    Flemish is the same as dutch, just a different accent. I mean, all Belgians who live in Flanders speak Flemish 🙂
    You are right about Bruges, its amazing! Did you see the movie with Colin Farrell? Oh, and did you notice this dog in one of the apartments near the water that stares out of his window every day? You can even Google his pic :d
    Stephanie recently posted..Skopje, a mixture of old and new, east and west

  • Barbara says:

    Bruges was indeed one of our favorite places to visit and for all of the reasons you have mentioned! The boat ride was lovely and so relaxing and I still remember the waffles, chocolate and fries! Happy Travels!
    Barbara recently posted..Zipline The Canyons in Ocala Florida

  • Such gorgeous photos in your blog. I loved Bruges. I loved the oldness, the medievalness, plus the Zot beer and Dumon chocolate also helped.

  • kami says:

    I’ve been to Brugges but I don’t remember it to be as pretty as it looks on your pictures! (I blame the weather for that, even if I visited it in August it was grey and gloomy). But I agree with you, Belgium is not boring at all! I’d even say it’s much more interesting than the Netherlands where all the towns look more ot less the same. In Belgium even if they are near each other they are so totally different. Take Ghent, Brugge and Oostende as an example. Belgium used to be one of my fave countries in Europe, for its diversity (but then I started travelling more East and everything has changed;))
    kami recently posted..French Riviera off season

  • noel says:

    What can I say, I love Bruges also, its small, colorful, clean and easy to maneuver by boat or just walking and if I can get a cyber taste of that waffle, it would be totally the best experience!
    noel recently posted..Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite, Sunday brunch

  • Mary says:

    My husband & I are dying to visit Bruges! We’ve been a bit obsessed after seeing the movie years ago. Hope to schedule it into our upcoming European adventure. Thanks for sharing the great photos!
    Mary recently posted..Fremont Sunday Market with a side of His & Her Burgers

    • DangerousBiz says:

      It’s such a lovely place. And I think it would be a very romantic one, too. I hope you and your husband fit it in!

  • Caroline says:

    I just stumbled across your blog as I am preparing a trip to Europe. I loved your post about Bruges! It is one of the cities I am looking forward to the most. Were the stops for the boat tours easy to find? I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Awesome to hear, Caroline! I think you will really enjoy Bruges!

      As for the canal boat tours, yes they are very easy to find. I think there are 4 or 5 places you can get on one, so the easiest would be just to ask around once you get into the main part of the city. I know the “main” spot is very close to Burg Square.

  • Aryane says:

    I’m doing a tour of Belgium last week of October. I’m planning to take only loose clothes with me to make sure I can eat as much as I want! 😀
    Bruges is definitely on my list. My best travel experiences have been in smaller cities; they’re so much more authentic and laid-back!

  • Sabine says:

    Belgium is such a small country that unfortunately many tourists pass it when travelling in Europe. Being from Belgium I am proud to see such beautiful pictures of one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
    I see that you enjoyed your visit and that you tried our local delicacies. It is difficult not to gain weight when living here 😉
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Diewertje says:

    Hi there! I stumbled across your blog in search of info on our trip to New Zealand. Great info by the way! Cruising through your destinations, I saw that you also visited Belgium and that you apparently enjoyed it, which is lovely and makes me proud since I am Belgian 🙂 It was quite funny reading your blog though, saying that “Dutch, French, German and EVEN Flemish are spoken in Bruges”. It’s funny because, Flemish ís in fact what we speak over there 🙂 Lots of people seem to get confused about that since Dutch and Flemish are actually the same and people living in the north of Belgium tend to use those terms intermittently when they explain which language they speak. It would be sort of like saying in a post about Cataluña that people in Barcelona “speak spanish and éven catalan!” 🙂 It’s no big deal ofcourse, but I laughed out loud and thought you might like to know 🙂

  • Hazel says:

    I was searching for Easter break destinations. Your article just gave me that pep talk I needed about Bruge 🙂 I love waffles, I love chocolate and I love photography and you have reassured me that this place is exactly where i should be heading to !! I am definitely booking and going to start packing 😀
    I thoroughly enjoy your blog. Keep it up and thanks for inspiring me 🙂

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  • Great post and photos. I agree that Bruges is one of the most charming cities in western Europe, and it’s a nice place to use as a jumping off point for seeing Belgium’s less-visited towns like Antwerp and Ghent if you don’t want to stay in Brussels. My only concern with Bruges is how far north it is in a country where trains are so slow for the region.
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  • Enjoyed living in Brussels immensely. Wonderful people, superb food, OMG beers, gorgeous cities, towns, villages. The weather though (Californian) took awhile to acclimate. A good practice for next abode, in/around NYC. Humidity and rain during spring, summer and autumn. Still humid when snowing in winter. Travel makes us more human.

  • I’ve just discovered you’re blog Im a fan. I went to Bruges several times to Bruges and I liked it too, but I found it like freezed, like a open-air museum. You should go to Gand/Gent just next to it, it’s the same but bigger and was more places to eat/drink and shopping !

  • Belgje says:

    I like your comments! 😉 You like one of our most beautiful towns. 😉 Very nice pictures too!

    Just 1 comment (I copy/paste) about ‘languages’. (you can’t know or be aware, that’s why I post it)
    —>”What to say about Bruges? Well, it’s located in the Flanders region of Belgium, and Dutch, French, German, and even Flemish are spoken here (English too, of course, because Bruges is now a popular tourist town).”

    “And even Flemish is spoken there…. ” 😉 The word “Flanders” is derived from “Flemish”. It IS a Flemish region.
    (“Dutch” is the official language)
    And everybody knows that we, the Flemish people, know a lot of languages.
    Most French (Belgian!) people in this country don’t want to/don’t even do any effort to speak Dutch in Flanders, so most Flemish people -again- adapt, especially in shops and restaurants…
    That’s why any tourist can be helped in Bruges. We are used to.
    Good for you, 😉 and I’m happy you liked the tour.
    (interesting information about that hop on hop off bus!)

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