How Many Days in Bruges? The Best Places to Visit in Bruges

How Many Days in Bruges? The Best Places to Visit in Bruges

Less than one hundred kilometres northwest of Brussels, you’ll find Bruges. The city of pretty brick buildings and bridges galore. There’s a lot to see, so how many days in Bruges do you need? Carry on reading to find out.

Just some of the places to visit in Bruges include the Belfry of Bruges, the Church of Our Lady, the fries museum (yes, really), and many, many breweries.

Bruges in a nutshell

Bruges is a northern city in Belgian, just 10 minutes by train from the Belgian coast. The city has long been a place of significance thanks to its port. The city was a member of the Hanseatic League, a trading group dating back to the 12th century.

The history of Bruges is a long one. The city dates back to 865 when a fort was built by Margrave Baldwin II of Flanders. The impressive Belfry of Bruges sitting in prime position on the Market Place was built in approximately 1240. Quite the feat of engineering with its tower measuring 83 metres.

A view of a canal lined with historic buildings in Bruge

How many days in Bruges?

Bruges is a gem of a tourist destination. It’s the city that just keeps giving. But how many days in Bruges is enough to see the city?

Naturally the answer depends on how you like to explore. But on the whole, two to three nights is enough to see the city and take your time doing so.

To help you discover Bruges, we’ve put this guide together to help you get the most out of Bruges. 

We list all the important info including the best time to visit Bruges, as well as food to try and places to see.

If you want to plan a good itinerary for Bruges, this is a good starting point.

Getting to Bruges

The compact size of Bruges city centre makes it a perfect weekend getaway for both sides of the channel. From London, you only need to hop on the Eurostar and you’ll be in Bruges within 3.5 hours. The journey from Paris is a similar length of time. And, on a good run, Frankfurt to Bruges takes 4.5 hours.

A summer day with blue skies in Bruges city centre
What languages are spoken in Bruges?

The language spoken in Bruges is Flemish, but English is widely spoken across Bruges and Belgium. You will easily get by with English, but I’m sure any attempt at Flemish will be appreciated.

When’s the best time to visit Bruges?

The peak tourist is all the warmer months. Sounds outrageous, but don’t underestimate its popularity. Bruges as a place to visit is top of a lot of people’s lists – we’ve all heard of In Bruges, right?!

It will be a bit quieter during the cooler months but expect the top Bruges tourist attractions to still be humming with visitors. It’s a popular tourist destination. And it’s easy to understand what pulls the crowds.

Bruges Tourist Attractions – Historic Buildings

The streets of Bruges are lined with impressive architecture. The whole town feels like a tourist attraction. And the canals add to the feeling.

You could easily while away a few hours just touring the residential streets, there are photo opportunities everywhere.

That being said, most of Bruges’ tourist attractions are found within a few streets of each other in the city centre. The main ones, that is.

If you’re short on time and have only one or two days to explore Bruges, these are the Bruges tourist attractions you should not miss:

Market Square (Markt)

A great place to start. Translated as Market Square in English on the Bruges Tourist Information website, the official name is Markt. It is considered the heart of Bruges. A place where weekly markets have been held for centuries.

On the Markt you’ll find the West Flanders Provincial Court (rebuilt in neo-Gothic style in 1878), The Belfry (see below) and many beautiful steep gabled brick buildings flanking the square. The Market Square is full of cafes, restaurants and bars, perfect for people watching. Just watch out for the prices!

Markt Bruges Christmas Market

A quick note on Bruges Christmas market that I think is important to share. As a tourist visiting European Christmas Markets, this isn’t one for the list.

The reviews of the 2022 Bruges Christmas market were rather negative. So if you are making a trip here around Christmastime, don’t expect much from the Bruges Christmas market.

The Belfry (Belfort)

This 800-year-old brick tower dominates the Market Square. Added to the Markt in 1240 and given UNESCO world heritage status in 1999, it towers above the Markt and city around it.

A top Bruges attraction is ascending the Belfry tower for a spectacular view of Bruges. The viewing platform is 83 metres above the Markt. A total climb of 366 steps.

An adult ticket to climb the Belfry Tower costs €14. Open every day from 10am to 6pm with extended opening hours on Saturdays of 9am to 8pm.

Every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, the 47 bells are rung by the city carillonneur. Listen out for the bells from 11am – noon. If you time your trip right, you might even get to experience a carillon concert in the summer months.

A view of Bruges skyline including Bruges' Belfry
Burg Square (Burg)

A stone’s throw from the Markt. I’ve read that Markt is the heart of Bruges, but Burg Square is Bruges’ soul. A poetic way to view the city. The 14th century gothic city hall stands tall on this busy square.

It’s not just Bruges City Hall that’s worth a mention here. That’s just one of the many historic buildings of significance. From the Basilica of the Holy Blood and Saint Basil Chapel to the 17th century Provostry of Saint Donatian. There’s a lot of history packed into this small area.

One of the best things to do in Bruges is to buy a fresh Belgian waffle and sit in the Burg Square or the Markt and enjoy the view. We recommend Chez Albert-Gauffres on Breidelstraat. The queue can get long at busy times. Surely a good sign?!

Basilica of the Holy Blood (Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed)

Found on Burg Square alongside the city hall. This is considered one of the top Bruges attractions. And that is because it has a phial that is said to contain a piece of cloth which has the blood of Christ on it.

Every year a Procession of the Holy Blood takes place on Ascension Day (Holy Thursday). The procession takes the Holy Blood around the city walls. This procession is of such importance that it has been included in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage of humanity list.

This chapel, built for the Count of Flanders between 1134 and 1157, got promoted to a minor basilica in 1923. The upper chapel was originally built in a Romanesque style but now has an impressive Gothic interior after renovations in the 15th century and more recently in 1823 – it’s all relative when the city is so old.

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Church of our Lady / Onze Lieve Vrouw Brugge

This cathedral sits next to the famous Boniface Bridge (Bonifaciusbrug) to the south of Markt. The brick church looks like it’s straight out of a medieval film set, it is a spectacular piece of work.

At 115m tall, the tower of the Church of our Lady is the second tallest brick tower in the world. And lucky for us tourists, it is possible to ascend the tower.

Visitors from all over the world flock to this church for one particular thing, Michaelangelo’s Madonna and Child statue. This is one of many art gems found at Bruges’ Church of our Lady. It’s no wonder this is one of the top things to see in Bruges.

Entrance to the church is free but you must buy a ticket to climb the tower and the museum.

The sunlight streams through the trees onto the green gardens of the beguinage
Bruges Beguinage

Another UNESCO mention here. This world heritage site isn’t your usual tourist attraction but it is one of the top things to do in Bruges. The area was founded in 1245. It’s made up of white painted buildings, a convent and a serene central garden under a canopy of tall trees.

It was home to emancipated women who choose to devout their lives to religion and live a celibate life. The beguinage is now home to nuns of the Order of St Benedict, as well as women of Bruges who chose never to marry.

On Bruges’ Tourist Information website, this place is referred to as Princely Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde.

As a tourist you are welcome to walk through area but there are signs asking everyone to keep the place serene. There is also a museum.

You might think this is one of the more unusual places to visit in Bruges, but you’ll be amazed at how many tourists venture over to experience this peaceful slice of Bruges.

What to eat in Bruges

That sums up the top things to do in Bruges, so let’s look at the top things to eat and drink in Bruges.

On a long day of Brugge sightseeing, you’re going to need to fuel up. And you’re in the best place for it. Belgian waffles and moules frites are the order of the day if you’re on a whistlestop tour. If you’re planning of staying for the weekend or even longer, I imagine you want to know what else is on the menu.


Frites are everywhere in Belgium. Served as a side dish but also as a snack to eat on the go. There are a few food trucks selling frites in busy tourist areas including on Markt. Make sure you look out for the special sauce, a combination of tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and finely chopped onion, it’s worth trying.


Originally from Ghent but too good to leave off the list. This is one for fish soup and stew fans everywhere. The ingredient list includes fish, egg yolks and cream. Some compare it to a fish chowder, a Flemish take on it anyway. Look out for it on menus in Bruges.

Bruges’ proximity to the sea means fish fans will be spoiled for choice. Other fish dishes to look out for include baked eel, Dover sole and North Sea shrimp.

Carbonnades flamandes

A beef stew cooked in beer. This one is solid comfort food. Only order this if you’re hungry and have the appetite. The rich stew is served with a side of frites. Look out for early bird menus where you can get two or three courses for lower prices. It’s a good way to eat well for less in Belgium.

Moules Frites

Mussels with chips. This is a classic. Many people will instantly think of Moules Frites when asked to name a Belgian dish. The mussels are cooked in white wine with garlic. All served with a healthy amount of fries. Shellfish lovers can’t go wrong ordering this in a restaurant.

If you’re thinking of bringing Belgium to you one evening, Moules Frites is impressive but simple to prepare at home. Just make sure you follow the recipe, you don’t want to get mussels wrong.

Belgian Waffles

Did you know there are different types of waffles in Belgium? Now you do. The most popular type is the Liège recipe. The waffles are made of a thick brioche type dough with pearled sugar added in that caramelises while it cooks.

It’s not tricky to find a good waffle shop in Bruges. If you’re visiting on a warm day when the sun is shining, I recommend getting a waffle to takeaway and eat where there’s a bench with good view. The Burg or the Markt are good places to people watch without getting in the way.

As a general rule of thumb, the longer the queue for a waffle, the better the waffle.

What to drink in Bruges

I think we can all agree that beer is the drink of choice here, but do you know how many varieties of beer you might find?

Sadly, I’m not qualified to answer that, but you may find the answer at the fabulous café known as 2b beer wall Brugge. Or to use its official name – 2be Bar.

This top attraction of Bruges is certain to pique the interest of beer connoisseurs the world over. Many also call it the Bruges Beer Wall. Yes, that’s right, a wall of beer is considered one of Bruges’ tourist attractions.

The place to find the Beer Wall in Bruges? 2be Bar on Wollestraat, close to the Markt. Known as the 2be Beer Wall, some 1250 bottles of beer make up the beer wall in Bruges.

There are 16 beers on tap which change through the year. It’s a friendly bar with plenty of seating and a terrace with a great view of Bruges.

And good news for tourists not interested in visiting a bar at 10am, you can see the beer wall at all times of the day. The Beer Wall is open to the public all day long with windows lit by outside lamps.

Rows of beer bottles in a shop window display in Bruges

Bruges Brewery Scene

Bruges tourist attractions also include the two breweries located in the centre of Bruges. It’s hard to imagine that before WWI the total number of breweries in Bruges was a whopping 34. The Bruges breweries actively brewing today are:

De Halve Maan

The first Bruges brewery on our list is found in the heart of Bruges, it dates back to 1856.

De Halve Maan is where the official beer of Bruges is brewed. It’s called the Brugse Zot. Look out for it in the bars, restaurants and shops around the city.

This brewery offers regular tours with a chance to get up on the rooftop and see the city from above.

Bourgogne des Flandres

Another brewery in the centre of Bruges, also offering a tour of the brewery and distillery. This brewery is known for its authentic red-brown beer local to the West Flemish region, which shares the name of the brewery – Bourgogne des Flandres.

Fort Lapin (out of town)

There is another brewery close to the centre of Bruges that makes craft beer. Fort Lapin was established just over a decade ago in 2011 by a local brewer. They have a good selection of beers including a Tripel, Rouge, Dubbel and light versions of the Tripel.

Fort Lapin has a beer shop open Tuesday – Saturday and a Beer Tasting Room open on Saturdays from 10am – 6pm. It is also possible to stay on site at the brewery’s bed and breakfast. It’s a short walk to the Markt from the brewery and B&B.

Beer Museum Brugge

Another one of Bruges tourist attractions is the Bruges Beer Experience. It takes you through the history of beer and brewing in Bruges. If you are interested in learning more about the beer scene in Bruges, the Bruges Beer Experience comes highly recommended.

As expected, it is a beer museum, but the real draw is that it offers a beer tasting experience. A great activity for a wet afternoon in Bruges, or a dry one. Just a great activity in general.

The Beer Museum Brugge is open seven days a week from 10am – 6pm. The museum is nice and central, right-on the Markt.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on Bruges

Have you visited Bruges? How many days in Bruges do you think is enough to see Bruges?

If you think we’ve missed something out or would like to contribute to the article, please get in touch in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

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