How to Spend 48 Hours in the Romantic Bruges, Belgium
Known as the "Venice of the North", Bruges is a city that takes you back to the 14th century with its beautiful canals, horse drawn carriages, and medieval architecture. Bruges has long been on my list of weekend trips since our move to Germany. With it being only a short, 4.5 hour drive away, I knew we had to spend some time there.
We spent a March weekend exploring this magical town and were lucky enough to have wonderful spring weather. Which meant time to walk along the canals, drink coffee outside for too many hours, and get lost in the old, picturesque streets.
If you like to eat, then validate yourself by walking miles in the day staring at historic architecture and then go right back to eating and drinking, Bruges is the city for you.
Here's my guide to spending 48 Hours in Bruges that'll leave both your heart and belly happy.
Stay in a Charming Hotel
Where you stay can make or break your time in a new city. I always look for a space that truly embraces the culture and atmosphere of the place I am visiting. Thankfully, we found Hotel Jan Brito in the heart of Bruges and it did just that. This 16th century old manor house was the perfect mix of medieval design and modern accommodations. You can read more about our time at Hotel Jan Brito on my post here.
Try a Belgium Waffle (or half a dozen)
Y'all, this is no joke. When you arrive to Bruges (or anywhere in Belgium for that matter) immediately pick-up a fresh Belgium Waffle, just park the car and run to the nearest café. These are heavenly and delicious and better than I ever imagined. I probably shouldn't admit this, but we ate one too many a day during our time in Bruges and we still could have eaten double, but we realized it was getting a bit ridiculous.
Although every waffle we tried was delicious, we learned that there are different types : yeast vs. "un-yeasted" Belgium waffles. The one pictured above is "un-yeasted", thus more sweet and dense. While the waffle below has yeast, which makes it fluffy and airy, thus less sweet. They both were delicious and I would say "yes, please!" to either on any given day, but I prefer the one pictured above.
Some of my favorite places for these amazing waffles are:
Explore the World of Belgium Beer
Although beer wasn't invented in Belgium, it is still known as the "Beer Capital of the World" and for good reason! There are so many varieties of beer that you could spend your entire time in Bruges, simply learning about beer and trying the different types without a dull moment.
We stuck with the small, micro-breweries and took recommendations from the locals. One evening we enjoyed some time in a small pub with the locals at De Belleman Pub where we enjoyed trying Tongerlo, a copper colored beer with an aroma of honey. The atmosphere was calm and relaxed and even though we didn't try the food, it smelled delicious and if we hadn't already had reservations for Jilles Beer & Burgers, we would have stayed.
We didn't go to Bruges for the beer and food in particular, but I must say the restaurant and brewery scene was quite impressive. There were so many options to choose from and we had a hard time narrowing down where we would eat each night and what beers to try. Next time we are in Belgium I plan to pick-up a variety 6-pack of Belgium beers to taste at home!
Walk the Historic Streets
Walking through these beautiful streets makes you feel like you've stepped back a half-dozen centuries into the Middle Ages. This fairy-tale, medieval town is full of picturesque streets and hidden alley ways. We walked down the same streets over and over, but never got tired of the views and always saw something new or stumbled across a cute café. And even though we've lived in Europe for quite sometime now, I still get all the heart eyes for the cobble stone roads, old doors, and historical town squares.
One of my favorite things we did during our time in Bruges was getting lost in these streets. Granted, I ate so many waffles I needed to walk as much as possible (balance, right?). However, it was such a pleasure strolling through these streets and gushing over the architecture.
See Bruges by Boat
As I mentioned before, Bruges is known as the "Venice of the North", so what better way to experience the beautiful canals than by boat? The journey typically takes 30 minutes or so and you get to see things that you wouldn't be able to by foot. Plus, the little boats are super cute.
Although Bruges is extremely walkable, it's nice to have a different perspective when enjoying the city. There are lots of options on which boat ride to take, but I would recommend getting an early start. The boats are very crowded with tourist and only get busier as the day goes on.
Bruges captured my heart.
If you're looking for a charming and old European city to visit during your time abroad, I really think Bruges is the perfect choice. The city has done a great job of preserving their history, while keeping the city modern and entertaining for today's travelers.
Have you visited Bruges? If so, what did you think?