11 Amazing Things To Do in Bruges, Belgium

Easily accessible from Brussels, Amsterdam, and Paris, Bruges is a popular day-trip destination for tourists and locals alike, with good reason. The list of things to do in Bruges, Belgium is endless.

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11 Amazing Things To Do In Bruges

In my travels, I have been lucky enough to visit Bruges twice and both were pure magic. In fact, this town has everything. Quaint cobblestone streets, enchanting old windmills, story-book canals lining the streets, and Instagram-worthy views everywhere you turn. It’s no wonder it is coined as “the Venice of the north”. If only here for a day, or a weekend, here are some of the best things to do in Bruges, Belgium.

Take a Canal Boat Tour

Things To Do in Bruges

Cost:  €10.00 adult/  €6.00 child (4-11 years)

Things to do in Bruges - canal boat tour

Bruges is famous for its beautiful Amsterdam-like canals running through the city. First, experience a different view of the city by taking a canal boat tour. Most tours are about 30 minutes and are a great introduction to the city. Additionally,  your tour will give you some history of the city and point out some must-do attractions for you. Also, the tours are narrated in Dutch, French, German, or English.

During my visit, I opted for the Boottochten Boat tour because of the raving reviews online. Additionally, you can only book this tour in person. If you are visiting Bruges during the summer, I recommend making this your first stop of the day to make your reservation. Also, the boat tours can sell out, so it is important to be there early the day of!

Note the hours of the boat tour are 9 am-5 pm.

The address of this boat tour is Bootexcursies Gruuthuse, boarding point 3, Nieuwstraat 11, 8000 Bruges, which is centrally located and walkable from the main market square.

Market Square

Cost: FREE

Things to do in Bruges - market square

Market Square in the city center of Bruges is home to popular restaurants, cafes, and historical architecture. In fact, this is the square that is most photographed in Bruges! I would recommend stopping by here for some pictures and maybe catching a horse-drawn carriage through the city.

However, I would not recommend eating in the square because it is expensive and there are better restaurants on the side streets.

Climb the UNESCO Heritage site – The Belfry

Things to do in Bruges

Cost: €14.00 adult/  €12.00 child (6-25 years)

The most famous landmark in a city filled with beautiful buildings and history is the Belfry.

Located in Market Square, The Belfry is one of my favorite activities on my day trip to Bruges.

Constructed in 1240, the Belfry has gone to flames twice in its long history. The current structure we know today was finished in 1822. Now, the Belfry is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

If you can brave the 366 stairs to get to the top overlook of the Belfry, you are in for a treat. With 360-degree views, you can easily see the whole city of Bruges and its surrounding areas. 

During the climb, there are many stopping points to read signs and look at displays. Additionally, you will pass the iconic Bell and a treasury on your way up.

Bike Ride to Windmills

Things To Do in Bruges

Cost: €10.00 per bike

Things to do in Bruges - bike ride to windmills

Next, get out of the crowds and rent a bike to go explore the surrounding areas of Bruges! The historic windmills are about a mile (1.5km) walking from Market Square, but save yourself some time and rent a bike! I rented a tandem bike during my time in Bruge and had a BLAST. So much so, we rode around all the windmills, took photos, and relaxed in parks nearby.

The Bruges Art Route is the route that will lead you to the windmills and is popular among bikers and walkers. Along this route, you will visit Sint-Janshuismolen, Bonne-Chière mill, Nieuwe Papegaai, and more depending on how far you choose to explore.

Additionally, I would recommend renting bikes from De Ketting as they are conveniently located only 5 minutes walking from Market Square.

Feast on Waffles

Things To Do in Bruges

Cost: €3-17

Things to do in Bruges - eat waffles

Belgium is famous for its waffles, and Bruges is no exception. Waffles and chocolates dominate the streets in Bruges, so it is only fitting you fill your day eating waffles.

There are two ways to enjoy waffles in Bruges, a street to-go vendor, or a sit-down restaurant. In fact, in my day in Bruges, I did both!

I recommend going to House of Waffles for your lunch in Bruges. House of Waffles is centrally located, just a short walk from Market Square, and has a cute modern atmosphere. It is a sit-down restaurant but the service was great and we were in and out quickly. Additionally, there is also both indoor and outdoor dining. I ordered the Italiano Vero, which is vegetarian, and it was a hit. 

If you would rather spend more time exploring and less time eating, stop by any of the local to-go vendors and grab a waffle! This is the cheaper option, and usually the way to go if you want a sweet dessert waffle instead of a savory one.

Basilica of the Holy Blood 

Things To Do in Bruges

Cost: FREE

Things to do in Bruges - basilica of the Holy Blood

This 12th-century chapel is a beautiful and historic church in Bruges. This church is famous because it holds the Blood of Christ from the Cruxification.

Additionally, it is just a 2-minute walk from Market Square, in Burg Square. 

From the outside, this chapel has a medieval look with gold accents, but the inside of it is truly impressive. Next, head inside the chapel to see its beautiful colors and details. I would allow around 15 minutes to take photos and take in the views here.

Fish Market

Things To Do in Bruges

Cost: FREE

If you find yourself in Bruges in the morning, head over to the historic fish market. Open Tuesday-Saturdays from 8 am-1:30 pm, this market is a great place to stop by for a local feel.

Ride a Horse-Drawn Carriage

Things To Do in Bruges

Cost: €50 for 30 minutes, up to 5 people

Things to do in Bruges - horse drawn carriage ride

While the most expensive activity on the list, a horse-drawn carriage ride through the medieval streets of Bruges is absolutely a bucket list activity.

Experience the magic of Bruges with your own tour guide. The horse-drawn carriage is an especially lovely and relaxing way to experience Bruges without all the walking.

Get Lost Exploring the Streets

Cost: FREE

Not surprisingly, you can’t go wrong with getting lost in the streets. Bruges is absolutely beautiful and every corner you turn is sure to be a great Instagram-worthy photo location.

Next, take some time to get off the main tourist streets and explore the nearby neighborhoods. Rozenhoedkaai Viewpoint and Koningstraat bridge are my favorite spots to grab pictures.

French Fry Museum

Cost: €7.00 adult/  €5.00 child (6-11 years)/ €6.00 student

Did you know, Bruges is home to the first and only museum dedicated to french fries? If you are looking for an indoor activity, maybe to beat the heat or escape from the rain, the Frietmuseum is the perfect activity! 

Open every day, this museum is a great activity for people of all ages. Next, when you are finished with your visit, stop by the cafe to grab some of your own Frites (french fries) from the museum!

Minnewater Lake

Cost: FREE

minnewater lake - Things to do in Bruges

Lastly, Minnewater Lake is the perfect spot for urban nature lovers and a favorite spot to visit year-round. 

Also, Minnewater Lake, known as the Lake of Love, is tucked away just a 15-minute walk south of Market Square. This lake is truly magical. From calm water with reflections in the water, cool shade from the trees, and majestic swans swimming through the waters, this is a must-do while in Bruges

I’m Danika! A travel obsessed, Disney adult, with a knack for budgeting.

In 2020 I was furlough from my “dream” job at Disney and have pursued my first love of travel ever since. I have traveled to 33 states and 28 countries spanning 5 continents.

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