Bruges has become popular in the last years, as the film “In Bruges” took place here and people from all over the world got an insight into what an interesting historic city Bruges is. Its many historical buildings in the city center and the channels, less but similar to Amsterdam, make it one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. But not many have visited it yet. The city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site today.
We planned a trip here to arrive by car on Saturday and stay until Sunday, which was actually enough time to explore the city center.
We stayed at the Ibis Budget Brugge Centrum Station (Tripadvisor), had a good and comfortable stay with a great value here. Also parking at the main station is not too expensive, 3.50 EUR for 24 hours is really cheap in comparison with other bigger cities in Europe.
From here you can easily access the city center, either by foot, or by bus. A walk is recommendable when you arrive, as you instantly get an insight into the many historic buildings and streets that can be found in the city center of Bruges. Actually it was the vastest historic city center in such a good shape we ever visited. Walking through those streets doesn’t only let you feel like set back in time, but also think about how people lived here in the last centuries. Today all those buildings are still in use.
The city center, like most in Europe, has a central shopping street, the Steenstraat. Here you can perfectly shop at international and local stores and also get some of the world famous Belgian chocolate. We had some at D & D Leonidas (Tripadvisor) which were not overpriced and really tasty.
When walking along the Steenstraat, you will finally arrive at the Grote Markt (“Big Market”), the ancient trading hub of the city and a perfect place to linger, either on a bench, or in one of the cafés and restaurants.
Here and in the surrounding streets, you can also perfectly stop by to enjoy the Belgian beer tradition. A lot of pubs are serving a large choice of local beers made in Bruges and Belgium. Unfortunately the publicity of the city also has a strong impact on the prices in restaurants and cafés in the city. In comparison with other European countries looking at the menus here makes you feels like you are in Switzerland or Scandinavia, as the prices are really high. Nonetheless tasting some beer here is worth the money.
Not far from the Grote Markt, you can find the Rozenhoedkaai, a well-known place at the channels of the city. When you walk here from the Grote Markt, you can also pass by at the Burg (“castle”) square, home to the city hall, another of the many historical buildings in the center of Bruges.
Walking through the streets here would even be interesting without any famous sights, as the city itself is just beautiful and the historical buildings give it a really special flair. It is really comfortable that everything is in walking distance here, you can roam through the city and discover the sights automatically, or find your own ones.
If you have seen enough of the city, there is also the option to go to the sea from here, as the beach of Blankenberge is nearby. We did that several times in the Netherlands, going to the beach for a walk, after visiting a nearby city, unfortunately Blankenberge wasn’t that nice. A lot of closed shops and cafés along the promenade during good but windy weather in February, only the pedestrian zone was a little busy, with some shops open this Sunday.
We wouldn’t call the beach in Blankenberge a highlight during winter season. It might be different in summer, but it’s not as nice as Scheveningen (The Hague and Scheveningen – a getaway to the Netherlands) for example.
But anyways, we really liked our stay in Bruges, it is a beautiful city that is worth a visit in any case! A historic city center in a good shape like this is not easily found anywhere else in the world. Only minus are the horrendous prices at restaurants, that can be seen as rip-off when compared with nearby cities and countries. Luckily hotel prices are not that high.
Here are some recommendations from us:
– Original Belgian Chocolates: D & D Leonidas (Tripadvisor)
– Belgian Waffles and desserts: House of Waffles (Tripadvisor)
– Great choice of local beer: La Civiére D’Or (Tripadvisor)
How to get to Bruges?
Getting to Bruges from within Europe is quite easy, as the city is accessible by train and coach from almost anywhere in Europe. You can look up schedules and prices on the homepage of the National Railway Company of Belgium for example: https://www.b-europe.com/. Also meta-search-engines like www.fromatob.com and www.goeuro.com let you easily find connections and prices from your starting point to Bruges.
Getting here by plane is not that easy, as Bruges itself has no airport. The next one is in Ostend (OST), actually called Ostend-Bruges Airport, but there are only really limited flights going here, most of them are outgoing charter holiday flights.
The next bigger airport is in Brussels, from where you can go to Bruges by train or bus. Besides the national airline Brussels Airlines, that offers flights from many European, North American and African cities to Brussels, many other airlines fly to Brussels as well, here are some of them, connecting Brussels with worldwide airports through their hubs: Aeroflot (via Moscow), Air Canada (via Montreal), Air Europa (via Madrid), All Nippon Airways (via Tokyo), Austrian Airlines (via Vienna), British Airways (via London), Cathay Pacific (via Hong Kong), Delta Airlines (via Atlanta and New York), Egypt Air (via Cairo), Emirates (via Dubai), Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis Abeba), Finnair (via Helsinki), Hainan Airlines (via Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzen), Iberia (via Madrid), Icelandair (via Reykjavik), KLM (via Amsterdam), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt and Munich), Qatar Airways (via Doha), TAP Air Portugal (via Lisbon), Thai Airways (via Bangkok), Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul), Ukraine International Airlines (via Kiev) and United Airlines (via Chicago, Newark and Washington).
Thank you for reading, we hope we were able to give you some interesting tips and inspiration for your own trip to Bruges.
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