We traveled from Brussels to Brugge, Belgium on the morning of September 5, 2015. We traveled via train, as it is only two stops and one hour.
We took the regular Belgian Rail, and since we are under 25 the tickets were only €6 each. This youth ticket, at a set €6 price, is good for any one way trip within Belgium!
The canal-based city of Brugge has much historic charm around every corner, “Literally get lost and find treasure” Jazmin said.
It can be quite a walk to reach all corners of the Brugge by walking. If you would like to get around faster, I would suggest renting a bike. Rentals are around €10 a day. Brugge is a very bike friendly city, they even have tire pumps installed at major junctions.
Note: Many tourist stops are closed on Mondays. Keep this in mind when planning your time, as we missed the Castle Luppem because of this fact.
Top Attractions in Brugge:
The Minnewater park is a collection full of small canals and romantic corners. There is also a large man made lake, known as Lake of Love in English. For us it was the entry into the “walled” city of old Brugge.
Princely Béguinage Ten Wijngaerd
The Béguiange was started as in 1200s as a community for pious women. It now serves as a small convent. There is not that much to see as a visitor, but the quiet courtyard in a bustling city is quite an experience.
However in the courtyard, there is a cool art installation in the tall trees. TREE HUTS IN BRUGES, by Tadashi Kawamata. These “lookout” treehouses left us with many more questions than answers about themselves.
The Begijnhof bridge is located along the Minnewater river, right outside of the Béguiange.
There is a large swan community living along the river. There are also little tour boats taking you through the city. This area is perfect for beautiful pictures of all things both nature and manmade.
Stoofstraat is one of the narrowest streets in Brugge. Originally the center of all things questionable within the city, it has transformed to a trail of tourist shops. If you are looking for souvenirs or gifts this is the street to spend some time.
Saint Saviour’s Cathedral
The St. Saviour’s Cathedral is one of the main churches of the city. Personally, the architecture of the building is not as grand as some of the other churches in Brugge. However, there is a sculpture outside the city that we found fascinating.
Located in front of the Saint Saviour’s Cathedral is a sculpture called Wu Wei Er Wei (Doing Nothing Doing), created from windows of demolished Chinese buildings.
The Church of the Holy Blood was built in the 12th century. Entry to the basilica is free of charge, but they also have a museum that costs €2/person.
Within the museum at the church, they hold artifacts from the crusades to Jerusalem in 12th century.
The belfry tower, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was built in the late Middle Ages as a prime example of the power cities held at that time.
The belfry tower is 83 meters tall. You can climb the 366 steps to a panoramic view from top. The tower is open daily from 9:30AM to 5:00PM. Tickets cost €8/adults and €6/youth under 26.
The market is surrounded by local shops and tourist traps. The buildings are the culmination of great architecture of what Brugge is known for. There are also many events held in the market square, including a concert when we were visiting.
We went to De Halve Maan Brewery for the tour. However, when we arrived, the ticket line was out the door. Having done so many brewery tours previously we opted to just get a six pack sampler, without the wait.
The brewery has a rich history from when it opened in 1564. The current family owners have owned the company since 1856.
Tours are run daily from 11AM to 4PM, and available in Dutch, French and English. The 45 minute tour costs €8/person and includes a sample at the end.
They have a core set of six flavors, which they offer in a pre-made sampler pack. The catch is it costs almost €5 more than if you buy one of each six beers, but it does include a reusable 6-pack carrying bag. The choice is yours!
The neighborhood surrounding the Gouden Hand canal. Just north of most of the tourism stops, this area provides a peaceful walk along beautiful old houses.
There are no tourist attractions or shops, just everyday people going about their life. You can really see what Brugge looks and feels like to its residents.
For some reason in our tourist guide, they included Hemelrijk Street. We read it was the only unpaved street in the city, as it has no houses. Ever walked halfway across the city to see an empty gravel road? We did.
The Sint Janshuis Mill is located in the northeast of Brugge. It is a mill on a hill, built in 1770 and still capable of grinding grain. Being the highest point in the city, it is perfect for a panoramic view.
You can enter the mill from June-September on Tuesday to Sunday from 12:00PM. to 4:30PM. Tickets cost €3/adults and €2/children.
There are also three more mills along this short stretch of street, so do not miss out.
Brugge has four remaining town gates, from part of the second defensive walls that were built near the end of the 13th century. The walls have been dismantled, but the gates remain intact.
Smedenpoort: Rebuilt in 1367.
Kruispoort: Rebuilt in 1400 and is the gate through which Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Napoleon and the German army all entered the city of Brugge.
Gentpoort: The Gentpoort is the only gate open to the public, in the form of a museum. The museum is only open on the weekend and costs €4/adults and €3/children.
Ezelpoort: Rebuilt in 1369. It is also known as the Donkey’s gate.
The Bruges Beer Museum is in interactive museum, which covers the history of beer making both in Belgium and in a global context. You can learn about beer from its invention to the modern brewery.
On the second floor is an interesting display of the brewing process, although you do not see a working brewery. At the end of the tour is a tasting room, with a delicious variety, and gift store.
The museum is open daily from 10AM to 5PM. Tickets cost €12 with 3 tastings, or €8 without tastings, and €6/kids.
To try different beers at a bar, go for a sampler special, always good prices and a great way to try new flavors. In general, if you do not mind drinking at your hostel or hotel, I would suggest going to any supermarket, minimart or beer store to get a handful of variety of Belgium beers to try. It much cheaper than a bar with hundreds of choices.
The Loppem Castle is located 6km south of Brugge, and is easily accessible by public transportation.
The neo-Gothic structure remains in its original state from the mid 1800s, including the interior design and furniture. Surrounding the castle are beautiful gardens, including a labyrinth maze.
The castle is open daily, except Mondays! Tickets cost €7/adults and €2/children. Entry to the labyrinth is €1.50/person.
For our time in Brugge, we stayed in the Europa Brugge, a Hostelling International certified location. The hostel was a little bit south of the city, but still within walking distance of the tourist sites.
They only have gendered dorm rooms, which is a a bit of a let down when traveling as a couple, but they have ample space to hang out in, outside of the bedroom. They also have a bar open daily and billiards table.