Please sign in to post.

Bruges must-do’s

I’ll be ending a two week trip with 3 nights/2 full days in Bruges. Timing wise, I’ll be there on a holiday weekend in mid-May, so itwill probably be crowded, but mainly my goal is to relax and enjoy myself, after lots of more structured sightseeing in the Netherlands…beer, frites, chocolate & generally just chilling. I love to just plant myself in an outdoor cafe and read/people watch (weather willing). That being said I do plan to visit the bell tower, the Groeninge Museum and Sint-Janshospitaal.

Is there anything else you’d consider a “must-do” in Bruges? Or a “must-eat”…I welcome any restaurant recommendations, too.

Posted by
2008 posts

Besides a boat trip you can bike along the canal to Damme and even further to Sluis just across the border in the Netherlands. Ideal places for planting yourself in an outdoor cafe. From Sluis a little detour to Sint Anna ter Muiden is worthing doing too, but know be carefull with things like drinking beer.

Posted by
6743 posts

Here’s the list of places I had on my “to visit” list for Bruges. Many are walk by or stop for a photo and don’t take long to see. We did take a canal ride as well as the Quasimodo Flanders Fields WW-I tour. One evening we went on the free walking tour that starts in the main square. We generally don’t visit museums.

  1. Ezelpoort - city gate
  2. Koeleweimolen - windmill
  3. Sint-Janshuismolen windmill
  4. Bonne Chieremolen windmill
  5. Kruispoort city gate
  6. Grote Markt city center
  7. Belfort van Brugge clock tower
  8. Basilica of the holy blood
  9. St Bonifacius Bridge
  10. Jan Van Eyck Square/tolhuis
  11. Gentpoort city gate
  12. Poertoren city gate
  13. Smedenpoort city gate
  14. Vismarkt
  15. Rosenhoedkaai
  16. Boottochten
  17. Walplein square
  18. Sashuis
  19. Burg (liberty of Bruges)
  20. Huidenvettersplein
Posted by
32 posts

Thanks for the suggestions! Will definitely add a canal boat ride to my list & a bike ride along the canal sounds awesome too.

Posted by
1070 posts

Canal cruise is THE must-do of Bruges. In addition to the other things in your post and the replies, I really enjoy the Begihnhof. It is not much to see per se, but a real oasis of tranquility.

Posted by
245 posts

My family was just there in mid-March and we had a great time. It was wall-to-wall people partly because it’s Bruges and partly because it was nice weather.

We daytripped only and we got to most of the things we wanted, except for Minnewater park area. I think that’s one I wish we had done that we did not get to do.

The canal trip was nice, but I did not find it as fulfilling as ones we have done in Venice, Amsterdam or river tours we did in London, Paris or Berlin. Our tour guide was not the best, either. I can’t remember which tour we did, but it was very uninspiring.

Posted by
18 posts

I love Bruges! One of my favorite cities I've visited. We took a free evening walking tour on our first night and it was incredible. Here is the company we booked through, again it was free and tip-based: https://www.legendstours.be/bruges. Really helped us gain a better understanding of the city. Outside of that, try some Belgian chocolate, considering climbing to the top of the tower (you can see all the way to the North Sea on a clear day), take a canal tour. We also really enjoyed The Half Moon (De Halve Maan) brewery patio for beer tasting. If you enjoy art see the Madonna of Bruges by Michelangelo, the only Michelangelo outside of Italy I believe, at the Church of Our Lady.

Posted by
2008 posts

Think the bell tower of the church in Damme is already open in mid-May. Lovely panoramic view of Damme and the surrounding countryside with the unique skyline of Bruges (weather permitting) at the background. Costs only a few €€. You can do the same from the church in Lissewege, but not always open to climb and too close to the industrial harbour of Zeebrugge to real enjoy the view. However the nearby former abbey Ter Doest with it's medieval tithe barn is having enough time worth a visit too.

Posted by
325 posts

As a bonus, your canal bike ride will burn more calories for fries and chocolate. Plus it's beautiful in May!

Posted by
32 posts

This is all great advice! Seems like I made a good call in ending my trip in Bruges…the right mix of things to do & relaxing. And chocolate :) Thank you all for your tips!

Posted by
99 posts

We will be there soon. Besides the Flanders Field tour, is there anything else we have to make reservations for before we arrive? Thanks.

Posted by
245 posts

The question is “is there anything we have to make reservations for?”

I don’t know what the crowds will be like at this time but when we went a month ago there were large crowds at some of the sights. If there are certain things you absolutely want to do, I would recommend booking for them, especially if you are only there for a few days. It would be a shame if you had your heart set on something and you weren’t able to see it.

Posted by
435 posts

Just remember that biking the cobblestones isn't quite as romantic as portrayed in the movies. Sitting was uncomfortable for a few days.

Posted by
2008 posts

Wouldn’t use a bike for touring the old part of Bruges because of the cobblestones. Going to Damme from Markt / Market Square is best to follow Vlamingstraat to Jan Van Eyck Square and from there to Langerei following Genthof. This are streets paved with cobblestones too, but having a smoother surface giving a bit more comfort than the big old fashioned ones you can find in other streets.

Langerei is the street at the left bank of the canal and paved with asphalt so no worries about comfort. It’s a narrow busy street so be careful with the traffic. Crossing the main road just outside Bruges follow the dedicated bike path along the right bank of the canal straight to Damme or even further to Sluis.

Posted by
5046 posts

We were just there . A significant percentage of the weekend crowds seem to come from the cruise ship passengers , and they all started leaving around 3:30pm, like a giant vacuum was sucking them out. So perhaps bike ride 12-4:00pm, and enjoy the mornings and evenings in this magical town. Safe travels!

Posted by
451 posts

We were just there last week. It was quite crowded. And beautiful. We thoroughly enjoyed the canal cruise. De Halve Maan Brewery and strolling around that neighborhood was lovely. We happened upon the Beguinage "Ten Wijngaerde" a lovely old heritage site which cared for single women without means. We also happened upon a proposal on the St. Bonifacious Bridge. Very sweet. I could have lived without Sint-janshospitaal, but everyone is different.

Posted by
19 posts

The canal ride is a must. I also enjoyed the trail along the canal to Damme. It is great for a peaceful ride (or run) outside of the hustle and bustle. The beer tour in town was enjoyable and I would not classify myself as a beer drinker. A pint at the 500 year old pub in RS Belgium book was another great stop. There is a new Belgian tapas restaurant a short walk away from this pub. Food was outstanding. We totally enjoyed the harp concert in town. It was a very pleasant way to spend 60-75 minutes before shopping for chocolates. The Quasimodo WWI tour was a do not miss tour.