Start the first day of your stay in style with a horse-drawn carriage tour or a boat trip, where you will find out a fair bit about what there is to know, giving you a good idea of what the city has to offer. The City Tour minibus is the better bad-weather alternative.
Give yourself a break and stop during your stroll at one of the city’s many coffee and tea shops. Looking for local color? Consider: Gulliver Tree, Café Vero and li-o-lait.
Enjoy lunch at one of the following that are open during the day only: Forestière, De belegde boterham, Books and Brunch, Merveilleux, Mariloup or Nomad.
Brugges would not be Brugges without its Flemish Primitives. Admire the works of Jan Van Eyck and Hans Memling in the city where they were created. So do not fail to visit Groeninge Museum and Hospital Museum (closed on Mondays). If you feel like visiting more museums and tourist attractions, consider buying the (cost-effective) Brugge City card.
Swans and Brugges have been linked for centuries. With a bit of luck, you will see them swimming in the canal behind the Hospital Museum. On the terrace of the B-IN along the water, you can see (and smell) De Halve Maan, the only active brewery in the city center. An ideal resting place, therefore, to catch up over a ‘Brugse Zot’, the city beer that is brewed round the corner.
Time for a musical aperitif close-by. Harpist Luc van Laere treats you to a free concert in Oud Sint-Jan (Tue-Sat).
Time for a bite to eat because at 8 p.m., there is a show at the state-of the art Concert Building, an architectural reminder of 2002, when Brugges was Cultural Capital of Europe. With Concertgebouw Servies, you are guaranteed a table at a restaurant nearby.
At the Concert Building, you can enjoy classical music or contemporary dance, both of international repute. Consult the events calendar beforehand and also check out what the city theatre and the other cultural centres of Brugges have to offer.
10 p.m. Time for a nightcap at the Concert Building café or a nearby café.
Particularly popular and therefore ideally visited early in the morning is the Belfry. Up 366 steps and 83 metres high, you are afforded beautiful panoramic views of the Brugges skyline. This is where the Brugges carillon is accommodated which, just like the other carillons in Belgium, was recognised by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage.
10:30a.m. With your feet back on terra firma, you are now on the Market Square. A tourist trap? Not at the (heated) pavement cafés where you can see the locals read their newspapers while enjoying a coffee. And on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, you can enjoy a carillon concert for free. Wednesdays, except for the Christmas season, is market day on the Market Square, which makes for a particularly homely atmosphere.
The Market Square is within striking distance from the major shopping streets with their well-known brands (Steenstraat and Geldmunstraat/Noordzandstraat). The real speciality shops and artisan shops can be found elsewhere in the city. Discover them here yourself or enquire after the ‘Handmade in Brugge’ map at the tourist information centres.
Lunchtime. The following addresses offer tasty, yet affordable, fare (under EUR 30): Refter, Rock-Fort, Lieven, De Mangerie, Huyze Die Maene, Bhavani, Kwizien Divien, Assiette Blanche, Kok au Vin, Bonte B and Bruut.
Why not venture off the beaten track in the afternoon and explore the quiet St Anna District. Here, you will find the new Lace Museum, the Folklore Museum, the Adornes site, the mills and Brugges’ oldest café, Café Vlissinghe, which just celebrated its 500th anniversary, all within spitting distance from each other. A must for anyone who wants to see something extra.
You have probably already found out by now why Brugges is called the capital of chocolate. Nowhere else are there so many artisan chocolatiers. Established values like Sweertvaegher, the Chocolate Line, Sukerbuyc, Depla and Spegelaere are recommended, but the choice is obviously wide. Why not take home a little sample to treat yourself and those left behind?
No fewer than 40 Brugges restaurants have been labelled by Michelin; GaultMillau and BibGourmand use local produce in creative way. It is best to book a table in advance at top restaurants.
You can discover the city’s romantic atmosphere, walking at dusk or when the city lights are lit. The Beguinage, Minnewater (Lake of Lovers), Hof Arents at the Bonifacius Bridge are cinematic spots that have all been backdrops in films like “In Bruges,” “The White Queen” and the Bollywood blockbuster “Peekay.” If you would like to visit the different film locations, ask for the ‘movie map’ at the tourist information center.
End you day at one of the many cozy pubs or bars in Brugges.
This itinerary is compliments of https://bezoekers.brugge.be/.