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Things to do in

Bruges

Discover chocolate box houses, historical gems, and craft beer to boot in Belgium’s fairytale town.

Our most recommended things to do in Bruges

Zeebrugge to Bruges Return Cruise Shuttle Service

1. Zeebrugge to Bruges Return Cruise Shuttle Service

See the sights at your own pace and save money with a shuttle transfer service from the cruise terminal at Zeebrugge to the historic heart of Bruges. Avail of a quick transfer service that runs from the port to the city every 30 minutes in the morning and back to the port every 30 minutes in the afternoon. Take the worry out of your transportation needs during a cruise stopover in the pretty city of Bruges. Simply take the free port shuttle service to the gate, and then walk down to the bus departure point for embarkation. Get dropped off just a few minutes walk from the historic city center of Bruges.

From Brussels: Ghent and Bruges Day Tour

2. From Brussels: Ghent and Bruges Day Tour

Discover 2 of Flanders’ most enchanting cities and follow your guide back in time on a day tour. Choose between a private and a shared option. Walk through both cities and see some of their most famous landmarks, including Saint-Bavo’s Cathedral of Ghent, Bruges' Old Town, and the Lake of Love. Ghent’s medieval architecture and vibrant atmosphere will impress you as you visit Saint-Bavo’s Cathedral, home to the famous Mystic Lamb painting (option), and pass by the Castle of the Counts of Flanders the picturesque medieval harbor Graslei and much more. In Bruges, you will enjoy the peaceful Lake of Love and the old beguinage. With your guide, discover the city and its cobbled streets on foot and you also have the option to enjoy a pleasant boat trip along the narrow canals.

Bruges: Belgian Chocolate Workshop

3. Bruges: Belgian Chocolate Workshop

During this 2.5-hour workshop you’ll learn how to temper chocolate to craft 2 types of Belgian chocolates. The 2 chocolates you will craft throughout this experience will be as follows. Pralines: the most famous Belgian chocolate, consisting of a delicate chocolate shell with a creamy filing. You’ll learn how to make both the shell and the filling from scratch. Mendiants: chocolate discs studded with dried fruits, both crispy and delicious. You’ll make at least 30 chocolates, which you can either eat on the spot or take home to family and friends. With these easy techniques and chocolate theory, you will also be able to make your own chocolates once you return home.

Bruges: Guided Rickshaw Tour

4. Bruges: Guided Rickshaw Tour

Enjoy a private guided tour of Bruges with a professional guide. Sit back and relax on a specially designed rickshaw bike for a unique and easy way of traveling around the city. Start the tour at Market Square and head out past the city’s landmarks and monuments and into some of the lesser-known parts of town. See the highlights of the town as you hear about local legends and learn some fun facts. Enjoy a relaxing tour of the best parts of Bruges and the interesting commentary of your knowledgeable guide.

From Brussels: Bruges and Ghent in a Day Guided Tour

5. From Brussels: Bruges and Ghent in a Day Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the center of Brussels and relax on the 100-kilometer journey to Bruges. Upon arrival, discover the charms of “the Venice of the North” and see why the entire historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Marvel at highlights such as the Lake of Love (Minnewater Lake) and the 13th-century Begijnhof complex, founded in 1245 to house lay religious women. Go to Walplein Square, where the shady trees and cafes provide a perfect place to relax. Visit Stoofstraat on the site of the city's former Red Light District, and see medieval monuments such as the 11th-century Old St. John’s Hospital. Look at the world's second tallest brickwork tower at the Church of Our Lady, and see other historic monuments such as Gruuthuse Palace, the Dijver Canal and the tiny piazza of Tanners Square (Huidenvettersplein). Go to one of the city's most photographed spots at Rozenhoedkaai, and admire the Belfry on Castle Square. Admire the facades of the Gothic-style Town Hall and the 12th-century Basilica of the Holy Blood. Visit Market Square (Grote Markt) to see the Bell Tower (Belfort) and Sint-Salvator’s Cathedral. Then enjoy 1-hour's free time for lunch (at your own expense) and the chance to sample some of the city's delicious chocolates.  Next, drive to Ghent, where the inhabitants have been popularly known as "noose-bearers“ since the days of Charles V. Take a guided tour of the city's historic buildings, such as the Castle of Gerald the Devil and Saint Bavo Cathedral, where you can look at the painting “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” by the Van Eyck brothers. Admire the Belfort (Bell Tower) and peculiar Gothic and Renaissance-style Town Hall. See one of the city's oldest monuments at St. Nicholas’ Church opposite the unusual facade of the Masons’ Guild House. Journey along the embankments of the medieval port of Graslei, and discover other highlights such as the majestic Castle of the Counts of Flanders, the charming Patershol neighborhood, the Great Butchers’ Hall, the Old Fish Market, and Friday Market Square.

Great War Flanders Fields Minibus Tour from Bruges

6. Great War Flanders Fields Minibus Tour from Bruges

Enjoy a trip of historical discovery on this full-day minibus tour that takes you through West Flanders, from Bruges to the Belgian town of Ypres. The city, nicknamed Wipers, was rebuilt according to a medieval blueprint after being completely razed to the ground in the early 1900s. It was also here that the Germans invaded Belgium during World War I; a strategic move to attack France from the north. You will see the remaining artifacts and places of the city as you discover restored trenches, stroll among war graves in Passchendale and Polygon Wood, clamber over craters and bunkers on the preserved battlefield, and visit key war memorials.  Behold the impressive sight of the imposing Menin Gate Memorial to the missing soldiers, complete with 55,000 names, erected on the spot where the soldiers left the city for the battlefront. As your day continues you will also see the iconic poppy fields of Flanders as you ride through the countryside in an air-conditioned mini coach, perfect for relaxing and taking in the picturesque scenery. It is possible to visit an ancestor's grave if requested ahead, and it is also possible to extend the tour for the Last Post Ceremony under the Menin Gate Memorial with transport back to your hotel in Bruges.  This must be requested in advance as well and will incur a fee of €15 to be paid on the day of the tour.

Bruges: Boat Cruise and Guided Walking Tour

7. Bruges: Boat Cruise and Guided Walking Tour

Explore Bruges on a walking tour with a local guide. Join a boat cruise along the canals to see the sites from the water. Meet your guide in the Markt for a guided tour of the city. Discover the narrowest street, the beautiful 12th-century basilica, and the golden statues on the impressive courthouse. Next, explore the fish market surrounded by 126 columns. Then, embark on the second part of the tour. Board your boat at the quay for a cruise along the canals. Sail beside ivy-covered facades and under bridges as you learn about the beautiful sites from your captain. Admire the old trading houses at the former harbor and the Beguinage. After half an hour on the water, head to the secret garden of an almshouse, where you will be surprised by the beauty of picturesque Bruges.

From Paris: Bruges Full-Day Trip with Canal Cruise

8. From Paris: Bruges Full-Day Trip with Canal Cruise

Escape Paris for the day and cross the border to the capital of the West Flanders region of Flemish Belgium. The full-day tour, with round-trip transfers from central Paris, will take you to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bruges, sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the North.” Enjoy a guided walk of the historically rich center, admiring the gothic-style City Hall, the ornate Renaissance architecture of the Place du Bourg, and the 12th-century Basilique du Saint-Sang (Basilica of the Holy Blood), among other attractions. Free time will be allocated for lunch at a local restaurant, where you can enjoy Belgian specialties, such as traditional moules frites (mussels and French fries) and an extensive selection of Belgian beers. A visit to the Groeningemuseum, home to Flemish master painters, such as van Eyck and Hieronymous Bosch is a popular way to spend an afternoon in Bruges. Alternatively, shop for handmade lace and Belgian chocolates in the city’s boutique stores. During the summer season, choose the guided option to enjoy a boat cruise along some of the most famous canals of Bruges, built as far back as the 12th century.

Bruges: Choco-Story Chocolate Museum Tour

9. Bruges: Choco-Story Chocolate Museum Tour

Cocoa has been tickling taste buds for centuries, from the spicy drink in the Maya and Aztec civilizations to the popular sweet chocolate milk in Europe. With more than three people out of four loving chocolate, it’s hardly surprising that there is an enormous fascination for this exquisite treat. This tour aims to bring to life the 4,000-year-old history of chocolate in words, pictures, and flavors. The museum submerges you in the exciting world of chocolate, taking you on a journey of the senses through time. Young or old, passionate chocoholic or simply just interested, the Chocolate Museum will stimulate your fascination. The museum is composed of three parts, telling the story of the origin and evolution of chocolate through a unique collection of almost a thousand objects. Besides the history, the museum also reveals how chocolate is made, with special attention for the variety of raw ingredients and the development of the production process. In the demonstration center you will uncover the secret of beautiful silky chocolate, getting the opportunity to taste the chocolate products made in the museum.

Bruges: Full-Day Guided Tour from Brussels in English

10. Bruges: Full-Day Guided Tour from Brussels in English

Depart the Belgian capital in the morning and transfer to the charming town of Bruges. Upon arrival, see why the entire historic center of Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Go to the Lake of Love to see a calm oasis in the heart of the city. Marvel at the 13th-century Begijnhof,  covered in a carpet of daffodils in the spring. Continue to the quiet, paved square of Walplein, and stroll down the narrow Stoofstraat. See sights such as the 800-year-old St. John’s Hospital, and the imposing façade of the Church of Our Lady. Learn the history of the opulent palace of Gruuthuse, and walk alongside the banks of the Dijver Canal. Other highlights include the charming canal-side houses of the Rozenhoedkaai, the tiny square of the Huidenvettersplein, and the site of the 1st count’s castle on Castle Square.  Then, enjoy 2 free hours for lunch and explore the city as you please. Taste some of the exclusive chocolates of Bruges and pop into some of the legendary lace shops. Transfer back to Brussels, with an approximate 6:00 PM arrival time.

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Bruges

Jurga Rubinovaite is an avid traveler, photographer, and chief adventure planner behind the popular family travel blog Full Suitcase. On her blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Bruges.

What should I do on my first trip to Bruges?

Bruges is a fairytale-like town with historic Old Town and picturesque canals. There are many great things to do in Bruges, but on your first visit, be sure not to miss the Market Square with the impressive Belfry Tower, Historium Bruges experience, and take a boat tour on the canals. Rozenhoedkaai - the most photographed place in Bruges - is also a must-see!

What are some hidden gems to see in Bruges?

Bruges is full of beautiful old buildings and hidden gems behind every corner! Some hidden gems include the canal Gouden-Handrei (don't miss Augustijnenbrug), medieval buildings in the Genthof and Kortewinkel streets, De Gentpoort, and Coupure. But our favorite is a visit to a nearby tiny town of Damme that you can reach either on foot, by bike, or by taking a boat called Lamme Goedzak.

How much time should I spend in Bruges?

You can see the main landmarks of Bruges in a day, but if you want to also visit a few museums and explore the city deeper, we recommend spending 2-3 days in Bruges. The city has nice hotels, good restaurants, and plenty of shopping opportunities, so it's a great destination for a weekend city trip or a romantic getaway.

What food is Bruges known for?

Just as many cities in Belgium, Bruges is a great place to taste Belgian waffles, locally-brewed beers, Belgian chocolate, and some typical Flemish dishes. Must-try is Brugse Zot, a local beer brewed by the brewery “De Halve Maan” as well as Belgian chocolates and pralines. TIP: One of the best ways to get aquanited with the regional dishes and avoid touris traps is to take a food & beer tour with a local!

What is the best way to get around Bruges?

The best way to explore Bruges is on foot. The city center is very walkable and all the main sights are located close to each other. Boat cruises on the canals and horse-drawn carriage rides are also popular and there also tours by mini-bus for those who prefer not to walk. If you want to get a bit off the beaten path, take a bike tour or rent a bike - it's the best way to cover more ground and see some attractions that are a bit further away in a short time.

What are the best months to visit Bruges?

Bruges is a year-round destination and every season has its charms. In summer, everything is green and there are many events, but it's also the busiest time to be in Bruges. Bruges is also a popular winter destination, especially in December, when the city hosts a beautiful Christmas Market. For fewer crowds and better weather (although you never know in Belgium), visit Bruges in April-May or in September-October.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

The best place for shopping in Bruges is the city center area located southwest of Market Square. Steenstraat is the main shopping street in Bruges, where you'll find all the big brands and high-street fashion. If you're looking for smaller, boutique shops, try Noordzandstraat or Geldmuntstraat and also the smaller streets nearby. For chocolates and souvenirs, check out Katelijnestraat close to Beguinage of Bruges.

Other Sightseeing Options in Bruges

Want to discover all there is to do in Bruges? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Bruges

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 7,669 reviews

a very long day, starting in Brugge with an unexpected 2 hour walking tour of the city. visited the first war graves around 2pm with the stop including a quick sandwich lunch. Visited a number of historic sites and monuments arriving Ypres around 7pm. just enough time to grab a quick bite and get to Menin Gate for ceremony. back to Brugge around 9.30 pm. those picking up tour in Brussels had an hour before and after us to travel making it a 13 hour day! Johan was a good and informative guide and bus driver did a great job. A tip though, take plenty of water and some snacks as nowhere to purchase these other than lunch and dinner. Other than being a very long day, it was worthwhile

Pre-booked tickets prior to holiday via online website very easy to do with option to cancel if needed. Price was really good much cheaper than buying on board cruise ship Cruise Direct is a couple of minutes' walks from the cruise terminal left, left then right the 2 guys were very friendly and helpful, gave us a map and some tickets which can be used to get discount on various things Didn't wait long for the coach either way spot on with timing. Would definitely use again.

We took the free shuttle to the dock gates and walked approximately 50 yards to the the bus to Brugge.The staff were very pleasant and efficient.The journey was punctual and comfortable.On arrival in Brugge would be helpful if the driver could point out to passengers the location of the RED Bridge to the park leading to town.

our tour guide Pedro was great. He was very knowledgeable and made it fun throughout. great English and Spanish explanations from our multilingual guide.

Es war alles sehr gut organisiert und alle sehr sehr sehr nett Immer wieder gerne