The city of Bruges is without a doubt, a popular day trip destination from places such as Brussels, London, Paris and Amsterdam.
There are lots you can do on a trip to Bruges, though the good news is that you can do most of the coolest things in Bruges in just one day. To give you an idea, I’ve put together a mini-list of fun stuff you can do during in Bruges without breaking the bank:
Take a boat tour of Bruges canal
Hopping on a sightseeing boat tour is definitely one thing you must do during your day trip to Bruges. If put to vote, the canal tour is easily the most enjoyable thing you can do in Bruges as a tourist even if you’re already planning to do a bus tour and horse-drawn carriage tour.
The boat trip along Bruges canal is worth it mainly because you’ll get to see Bruges on a whole different perspective. Best of all, canal boat tours are English narrated and only cost around €8 for 45 minutes.
Experience Bruges Market Day at the Markt
Shopping is sure enough something you’ll be doing a lot of during your day trip to Bruges, though make sure you visit to Bruges coincides with market day. Bruges market day is on Wednesdays (7am-1pm) at the Markt and the street market offers the best shopping experience in Bruges because you’ll be able to grab a ton of bargains and buy locally made handicrafts.
If you’re planning your day trip to Bruges sometime between the end of November and December, you’ll have an even better time there because of the Christmas markets selling the famous Belgian Christmas chocolates. The Christmas period is definitely the best time to experience the street market at the Markt because of the lovely Christmas lights displays, market stalls and cool ice rink that is set up around the square.
See a lace making demonstration
Lacemaking shops are another top draw in Bruges and while in the city you cannot miss the opportunity to see a lacemaking demonstration. The best place to see lacemaking is at the Kantcentrum (Lace Center), which offers demonstrations in their open workshop all through the week for just €3.
If you’re interested in buying lace, you won’t find a shortage of lace shops in Bruges since there are 100 or so lace shops located all across Bruges (many of them in the streets of Wollestraat and Breidelstraat).
Take a horse-drawn carriage tour
Going on a horse-drawn carriage ride along the narrow cobblestone streets of Bruges is definitely, one of the coolest things to do on a day trip to Bruges. A horse-drawn carriage tour is not only fun but it’s also a great way to see the sights from the comfort of a horse carriage.
You can catch one of these horse carriage tours from the Markt (Bruges’s Main Square) throughout the day for around €40 (~$50) per half-hour.
Visit Bruges windmills
A trip to Bruges won’t be quite complete without seeing one of Bruges beautiful windmills. There are only a handful of these windmills left in the outskirts of Bruges (along Kruisvest). These include Sint-Janshuis Mill, Coelweymolen, Papegaai Mill and Bonne Chiere Mill.
Bruges windmills not only a fantastic photo opportunity but many of these windmills are open to the public throughout the warmer months of the year (Apr thru Sep) for a small admission fee (no more than €2-3) .
Try an authentic Belgian waffle and Belgian frites
Waffles and frites are one Belgium’s many claims to fame and while in Bruges you absolutely cannot pass the opportunity to sample a waffle and frites!
You can get a great waffle and frites pretty much everywhere in Bruges, particularly in the Market Square area, which is filled with lots of eateries and frite stands selling them. While you are it, you should also pass by the De Proeverie restaurant (on Katelijnstraat, 5-6), which is famous for selling the best hot chocolate and cakes in town!
Learn about the history of chocolate at Choco-Story
Choco-Story is easily the most popular museum in Bruges, and it’s certainly a must see especially if you’re a fan of chocolate. Choco-Story boasts several floors exhibiting the history of chocolate from ancient (Mayans/Aztecs) right through to modern times.
Best thing about a visit to Choco-Story is learning the chocolate process from an actual master chocolatier and later sample the chocolates.
Climb to the top of the Belfry of Bruges
The medieval bell tower of Bruges is no doubt, another top tourist attraction in the city, and while in Bruge you definitely have to climb all 300+ steps to the top of the tower.
It only costs around €4 euros to get in. The views over Bruges from the top of the Belfry of Bruges are superb and the climb is totally worth it since you get to see up-close how the engineering of a medieval clock tower works!
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