I remember I was in Bruges back in 2015. I was living in Girona, Spain and took advantage of the flights and decided to go. Always alone as it is my travel style I decided to visit Belgium. Brussels was actually my first city, but I start with Bruges because it is walking in the middle of a time machine that takes you to the medieval times.
If you have never been there, Bruges is without a doubt a great place to start your belgium tour. From the moment you leave the train station and come back to it, it is like the time stopped and you breathe history. Every corner of the city has pieces of what was before, the smell, the views, the streets, will take you back so quickly you’d wish that it stays like that.
Unfortunately I spent only one full day there, but I got to know quite a lot because I walked the city. If you read my previous posts, you know by now that I like to walk and even though I like to take advantage of city cards and free public transport, I still think that when walking you will know much more than just standing still.
I came from the train station and as per my usual tradition I did not use gps, map or any sort of information. I had previously read about the city and mentally decided what I would like to see, but I decided to also let the streets guide me. After all, Bruges, is a UNESCO patrimony since 2000 and its foundations started in the first century BC. Bruges started have medieval habitation in the XIX and X century. It was a very important trading port for the area and it became a city in the XII century.
What to visit in Bruges?
- Belfort Tower – Back from the XIII century, 83 meters high and an amazing view! To not forget to mention that there are more than 300 steps to climb till you are able to see the a magnificient view. Do not get discouraged, you are able to stop on the way and appreciate what is around you. It will cost you 12 eur and it is open from 09.30 am to 06.00 pm. From the top, you can perfectly see and experience what I wrote in the beginning: the whole medieval atmosphere. I think you will need around a whole morning or afternoon to spend there.
- Canals of Bruges – I have not been in a boat in the canals, but I walk them through. Bruges is sometimes referred as Venice from the north, as so many other cities, so boat tour is something you will be finding here. I recommend to definitely reserve some time to go on a boat tour if you would like to see the city from another perspective. Walking is free, therefore, you do not need to pay to see the canals, but in case you want, you will find several companies (specially in the summer) that do the service. If you are going to do the boat tour, I would say to wait to sunset to make it even more special.
- Lovers Bridge – One of the youngest bridges in Bruges with a high sense of romance. It is free to visit and on the way you will encounter views from the Church of Our Lady. I would walk there as an after dinner walk, because the illumination makes the area exceptionally beautiful.
- Torture Museum – Located in the oldest european prison, the torture museum is not for the sensitive one. There you will find objects, instruments that were used to cause mental and physical pain to the human being. It is however interesting because it is part of the history that should not be forgotten but respected. A afternoon should be enough to visit the museum and it costs 8 eur.
- Historium – Here in this interactive museum you will be transported to Bruges of the medieval times. You will be able to feel, smell, touch and even experience virtual reality. Historium also has a tower and from there you have views towards the Belfort tower, market and Saint James Church. It is worth it to visit it with slow pace, listening, going step by step and not losing a sight. With the virtual reality it will cost you 17.50 eur and without 14 eur. With the situation we are living now, it will be open again from the 13 of June from 11 am to 6 pm. I even recommend to start your visitation in Bruges with this museum and then go to the others. It will make such a difference in your view.
- Markt – In the heart of the city, the markt square is where you will find life. From fairs to festivals, the markt is a strong point in Bruges visitation. From there you can go to Belford tower and observe how every street you lead you to a trip to the past. There I also tried my first “Friet”, famous fried potato. There you will have banks, restaurants and bars. You will not feel bored there.
Many of the things in Bruges can be seen for free. Therefore, the city is a great place if you desire to save some money and just enjoy the atmosphere. In my view, after knowing the history, what I have in mind is to walk and to travel in time as I am there. Do not lose the opportunity to feel how was the medieval times.
As many other cities have the city pass, Bruges has a Discover Card. It is called as Discover Bruges Card and it will give you discounts, entrance in many places. This card is free and it will be given to you when you stay in one of the Hotels Regio Brugge network.
From Brussels to Bruge is a trip of max 1 h. Less even. Very easy, direct train. It will cost 14.30 eur for one way. You can plan your trip on this website.
A day should suffice in Bruges when well planned. I would start with Historium, going through the Markt for some food, climbing the Belfort tower and walking through canals and lovers bridge. On the way I would go to torture museum and finish in the markt again for some food like waffles.
Next city will be Brussels!