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Staying in Bruges for 10 days in early October

I am going to be staying in Bruges, Belgium. I am checking in to a B&B in town and I just want to relax and drink in all of Bruges or Brugge that I can.
Even though I am going primarily for relaxation...Please advise me on 3 must do's for my stay in Bruges...
Any helpful suggestions are appreciated.

Mark

Posted by
6741 posts

Ten days is a long time in Bruges itself, but it’s your trip and I’ll assume you’ll be taking day trips. We took the Quasimodo Flanders Field WW-I tour and enjoyed it. It was very much worth the cost. Must see is a personal choice and what you like. Below was our list of things to see when we went there.

  1. Ezelpoort - city gate
  2. Koeleweimolen - windmill
  3. Sint-Janshuismolen windmill 4. Bonne Chieremolen windmill 5. Kruispoort city gate
  4. Grote Markt city center
  5. Belfort van Brugge clock tower 8. Basilica of the holy blood
  6. St Bonifacius Bridge
  7. Jan Van Eyck Square/tolhuis 11. Gentpoort city gate
  8. Poertoren city gate
  9. Smedenpoort city gate
  10. Vismarkt
  11. Rosenhoedkaai
  12. Boottochten
  13. Walplein square
  14. Sashuis
  15. Burg (liberty of Bruges)
  16. Huidenvettersplein
Posted by
1393 posts

10 days in Bruges? It’s up to you of course, but for me that would be 8 days too many. Also if you’re there for 10 days, you don’t need a top 3 of things to do. You can see and do it all in 10 days with days to spare.
I assume you can’t change the reservation for your B&B, but I strongly suggest to at least consider going on some day trips by train to Ghent, Brussels, Antwerp etc.

Posted by
6788 posts

Respectfully, your question is so broad. Nobody knows your particular interests or tastes or travel style, where you've been before, what's right for you. Only you know that.

That's what guidebooks are for.

You might want to buy one, it'll give you all the info you need to make the right choices for yourself. Guidebooks are cheap. You'll save the cost of a good guidebook many times over on just your first day. Here's a good one you might consider: Rick Steves Belgium: Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp & Ghent

That said, if I had 10 days in October, I wouldn't spend all 10 days in Bruges, either. Bruges is great, and I loved Bruges (for a couple days) -- thanks to help from an excellent guidebook. But there are lots of other great places to see and things to do nearby. I'd go to some of those places, too. And if you really do want to just stick to Bruges alone for 10 whole days, a good guidebook will give you all the info you need to squeeze every drop out of the place.

Posted by
7504 posts

You have really good answers already. You haven't stated why you chose ten days in one city in this area. You imply that you have no plans to visit anywhere else. I personally would stay ten nights in Antwerp, but I wouldn't stay ten in Bruges. Technically, it doesn't matter which of the Wallonia cities you stay in because they have such good unreserved train service for daytrips. But you'd want a B&B with decent access to the train station or its bus.

That nice detailed list didn't seem to have the Bruges UNESCO WHS Beguinage, unless it has another name.

It is always better to give the dates, or at least the month of travel, to get the best advice. For example, there is an Open Monuments weekend in September. And some cities in the area (personal experience with Antwerp and Leuven) have special tours of places like the interior of the town hall (normally off limits as a civil office) on Sundays only. Those tickets are sold at the TI the week before. There's also an abandoned (20th Century, I think) town that was shut down for the new Port of Antwerp, which is only open on Sunday. I haven't been to that yet. Also, Bruges is very close to a beach town, Ostend. Are you flying to BRU? It's also good to give your stops before and after the place you're asking about.

(I'm partly joking, because you are probably too young to know who Marvin Gaye was. But I had hoped to see a life-size bronze statue of a him, in the Casino of Ostend. But the Casino didn't open until the evening, and I only got a glimpse through a window. I really went to Ostend for James Ensor, a dead Belgian artist.)

Bruges is not the least expensive city in the area.

Posted by
1393 posts

“ Technically, it doesn't matter which of the Wallonia cities you stay in because they have such good unreserved train service for daytrips”
??? Wallonia cities with good unreserved train cities for day trips? Really? Wallonia cities? Which ones? Or do you perhaps mean Flemish cities?

Posted by
2252 posts

My husband and I spent an absolutely wonderful 10 days in Bruges and enjoyed every second of our time there. We did a lot of the things already listed (the Begiuinage, Flanders Field day trip including Ypres, etc.) so really the only thing I have to add is loving a bike ride we took alongside one of the canals to Damme, a cute, small village not too far away. We stopped for lunch on the way back to our B&B at a cute place (great food, too!) recommended by our host. Our B&B included free bikes for the duration of our stay and we took full advantage of that perk. Contrary to what I’ve read in the replies here, we found lots to do in this lovely Belgian town. I think you will enjoy your very relaxing stay!

Posted by
24 posts

Thank you for all these replies.
My apologies for not providing more details...
I have been on 3 RS tours and traveled independently to several spots in Europe. When we stayed in Krakow, I thought I would enjoy returning in the future for a vacation where all I did was focus on one city...relax...read...experience the culture...the food...and the people. The nice thing about traveling in the internet age is the ability to book day trips on the fly. So, should I grow bored of my city-centric vacation, I will venture out. However, my only goal is relaxation and discovering the city.
Wish me luck and thank you again for your help!

Mark

Posted by
25 posts

Hey Mark,
Ten days in Bruges sounds like a great idea. I'm a huge advocate for slow travel and staying in one place. I have been researching a 10 week trip for my family in 2024, and presently plan to be in Bruges for at least 7-8 days. I realize you can see the major sites in much less time, but we are looking forward to really experiencing each location, same as you, and in our case, limiting the amount of times we pack and move. As mentioned, you have lots of options for day tripping from Bruges if you feel the need (my list of day trip destinations, things to do and see in Bruges and area, restaurants, etc. is over 80 items long...i have no intention of being able to do them all, but i like to know all the options).

Best of luck, and hope to hear an update on how it went.

Chris

Posted by
2008 posts

Agree with this approach, so first relax and after a while feel the need to discover whatever you like. From my experience most things solve by itself once you are at your destination, as you say that for instance day trips can be booked on the fly. However one thing not to miss to my opinion is seeing the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb in Ghent. I wish you luck too.

Posted by
47 posts

I will tell you that I had made NO plans for our 4 day visit this past April. Like you we just wanted to soak in the special vibe of Bruges. That said, we enjoyed walking the path along the outskirts of the old town one morning to see the 4 windmills. Then we just wandered the streets without looking at a map. It was one of our favorite days! We also did the tour of the local brewery one day, which is an actual working brewery. It was informative and you get to go outside at the top to see all the red roofs of the city. Great photo op! Plus a free glass of the beer at the end. These both don’t require a lot of time but were worth it for us. I fell in love with the town and am so happy we visited.

Posted by
359 posts

Sounds lovely! The brewery tour mentioned above was probably at Straffe Hendrick (sp?) and it was great, albeit with lots of stairs. Relax and enjoy!

Posted by
52 posts

The brewery (well located in the heart of Bruges) that makes Straffe Hendrik and Brugse Zot beers is the De Halve Maan brewery. Book the XL tour this includes three different beers to try at the end. The classic tour includes one choice. Space fills up fast.

https://www.halvemaan.be/en