After all the times we have been in Bruges, Belgium, I can’t believe we have never written an article about Bruges. Over the years, I am sure we’ve been to Bruges at least 20 times. This major tourist city is spectacular. We have always called Bruges “Amsterdam without the city,” it may be the best walking city in Europe with all of its beauty and endless canals.
You can travel to Bruges from either Brussels or Amsterdam by car, bus, or train. We have always gone to Bruges from Brussels, as there is a train every half hour from the Central Station of Brussels, and it takes about an hour to arrive in Bruges. The train station before Bruges is the city of Ghent, another wonderful walking city, and just after Bruges is the beach area of Belgium called Ostend, on the North Sea (best in the summer months).
From the train station, you can enter Bruges by walking left to Zuidzandstraat, which becomes Steenstraat, and this is the main street with many tourist shops and stores that lead to the center of Bruges, Grote Market Square. This square has excellent restaurants galore, the famous Belfort Tower, and this is only the beginning. This city only gets nicer as you fan out and to the outer areas of Bruges and walk the canals. If you want, you can walk all the way to the outskirts of Bruges, where old-world windmills dot the fields.
As for museums and churches, take your pick. There are many along the way, with excellent 4-star and 5-star hotels and restaurants. Bruges is such a special city and has been referred to in the movie In Bruges as “The Dream City,” and we agree. It is also referred to as the “Venice of the North.”
Staying overnight in Bruges is also recommended, especially during the Christmas season. It’s not a large Christmas market, but the entire city has a wonderful Christmas glow, especially if snow is on the ground; this cannot be missed.
Anytime you’re near Bruges on a beautiful clear sunny day, which is uncommon in Belgium, you must go to Bruges; that’s what we do. If it is sunny in Brussels, we are on our way to Bruges for the day, the year round.
A one-hour canal cruise is also definitely recommended. You can expect significant lines for this, but it is worth the wait. Also, a restaurant that we love is called Duc De Bourgogne. This restaurant is elegant for lunch or dinner and has the best seafood, especially mussels, a specialty of Belgium.
Belgium is known for its many types of beers, and there’s no better place to have a beer in Bruges than at 2be Bar. We know it as Delirium and its legendary Beerwall, overlooking the canals and near the Hotel De Orangerie, one of Bruges’ best hotels.