Top 14 Things to Do in Bruges
Spending some time in beautiful Bruges and wondering what to do? Check out our top recommendations for things to do in Bruges!
This picture perfect destination is one you won’t want to miss. Located just over an hour away from both Antwerp and Brussels, Bruges is as exciting as it is beautiful. Indulge in some delicious sweets, scout out some famous Hollywood film locations, or take it easy along one of the many canals. Whatever you’re after, this place will certainly exceed your expectations. Ready to get into it? Read on to discover our tips for the top 14 things to do in Bruges!
1. The Diamond Museum
You’ll probably notice once you arrive in Bruges that the town is rather posh. Historical records indicate that diamond trading and polishing were established trades in Bruges as far back as the 14th century. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they have a Diamond Museum! Here you can witness an entertaining daily polishing session at midday, as well as their permanent and special exhibitions. The diamond master is Devos Jan and when he’s done scaring people by pretending to destroy their diamond rings, he’ll teach you all you could imagine about diamonds. The highlight, however is the guide’s unabashed account of how those canary cut monstrosities get on the fingers of the rich and famous.
2. Belgian Chocolates & Waffles
A trip to Bruges (or Belgium, for that matter) is a total fail unless you get to indulge in some of their world-famous chocolates or waffles! You can get the fluffy pastries literally all over Bruges, so get one when and wherever you feel like. You certainly won’t find a shortage of them!
And as for chocolates, you’ll also find tons of options around town. But our personal favourite is The Chocolate Line. Located on Simon Stevinplein, all their chocolates are made on-site with the finest, organic ingredients. We recommend the salted caramel chocolates! They also make for a great souvenir if you’re in need!
3. Saint John’s Hospital
Saint John’s Hospital is another place to see in Bruges. Built in 1188 for pilgrims and travellers in need of medical attention, it was run by monks and nuns from the 9th to the 19th century. The hospital now houses old works of art from the most recognised Flemish artists in the region.
4. Find the, ‘In Bruges’ Film Locations
Have you seen the film, ‘In Bruges’ with Colin Farrell? If you haven’t, we recommend checking it out before your trip to Bruges. The film was shot here, and features tons of famous landmarks throughout the town. A lot of tourists enjoy seeking out these locations, so you won’t be the only one on the hunt!
5. Take a Canal Boat Tour
Bruges might be small, but it can be a maze of cobbled streets, brick buildings, and canals, so it’s also easy to get lost it. To get yourself orientated with the town, we recommend hoping on a canal cruise! Tours start from the canal south of Burg Square, cost around 10€, and are available with multi-lingual guides. It also makes for a romantic activity if you’re traveling with your partner. You’ll also spot the Rozenhoedkaai, which is arguably one of the most popular Instagram spots in Bruges.
6. The Gruuthuse Museum
The Gruuthuse Museum is a beautiful mansion which belonged to the Gruuthuse family; one of the richest and most prominent families in Belgium. In Old Flemish, ‘Gruut’ means peeled barley or wheat, and the family held a large market share in the brewing trade back in the day. The museum houses paintings and artefacts dating back to the 13th century. And the audio guide is free of charge, so you can explore with all the info needed!
7. Markt & Belfry
Bruges is full of charming sights, but one of the best has to be in Markt. Also known as Grote markt, this wide open square is easily one of the busiest spots in Bruges, and certainly one of the top things to do. Markt is also home to the Belfry, which is one of the most famous landmarks in Bruges. Built in 1220, it stands 83 feet high and was used as a watch tower to protect the town. We recommend checking out one of the restaurants, bars, or cafes that line the square. They’re truly great spots for people watching, which is always a nice way to pass the time.
8. Cinema Lumiere
For something a little different, and a great way to spend a cold or rainy evening, head to the cinema! Bruges is home to a special spot: the Cinema Lumiere. It’s an independent picture house without the pretentious price tags. You can watch films in a variety of languages, and the red velvet seats are a nice plush bonus to enjoy the show. You’ll find it just up from the Markt, but it’s only open in the evening so don’t rack up expecting an afternoon show!
9. Beer & Belgian Fries
If it’s not the waffles and chocolates Belgium is known for, it’s the beer and french fries. And you can definitely indulge in tons of it in Bruges. Just like waffles, you can find tons of spots selling the crispy french fries, so you won’t have any shortage of opportunities. And as for the beer, Belgium is world-famous for their delicious brews. You can enjoy an array of styles, but the best place to indulge in Belgian’s finest export is at the Bauhaus Bar!
10. The Groeninge Museum
For the art lovers, a visit to the Groeninge Museum is a must when in Bruges! Featuring an impressive collection of pieces from Flemish and Belgian artists, it’s a great way to spend a few hours in the afternoon. Aside from the paintings, the museum is home to lots of sculptures, paintings, graphics, and drawings, many of which date back to the Middle Ages.
11. Rent a Bike
Bruges is small and flat, making it the perfect spot for some cycling. And since Bruges is rather small, you can cycle outside the city and explore the countryside. And in the summer, you can even visit the beach! You can find bike rentals all over Bruges, but guests at Bauhaus Hostel can rent one there.
12. Food Markets & Flea Markets
One of the best things to do in Europe is to visit the local food & flea markets. And Bruges doesn’t disappoint in this department! For amazing food, check out the market on ‘t Zand on Saturday mornings. And on Wednesday mornings, you can visit one in Markt Square. Both are known for their selections of fresh fish, fruit, veggies, roasted nuts, wine, and cheese. Take advantage of the free samples found at most of the stalls!
But if flea markets are more your thing, Bruges brings its A game. Check out The Dijver on Saturdays and Sundays where you’ll find an array of vintage clothes, jewellery, art, and so much more. It’s also a great spot to find a unique souvenir!
13. Saint John’s House Mill and the Koelewei Mill
Take a walk to Saint John’s House Mill and the Koelewei Mill. These are two of the four mills surrounding the town of Bruges. The best way to see these is to walk along the park and river that encircles the town. These mills were built in 1770 and 1765 and are STILL fully functioning grain mills! And if you’re a photographer, this is a great spot as it offers a panoramic view of the town.
14. Church of Our Lady
Dating back to the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries, the Church of Our Lady is a must-visit when in Bruges. It houses Michelangelo’s famous marble sculpture, ‘Madonna with Child‘, so it’s a special stop for historical art lovers. While entrance to the church is free, you must pay to enter the museum.
Where to Stay in Bruges
We’ve already mentioned them a few times in this post, so it should come as no surprise that our top pick is Bauhaus Hostel! This cosy and trendy hostel is located in the centre of Bruges, and has some great amenities. Choose from a range of dorms, private rooms, and fully equipped apartments, suiting all budgets. They’re also popular with the locals for their lively bar, serving a mind-blowing amount of Belgian and international beers!
Top 14 Things to Do in Bruges
Now that you know where to go, you’re ready to explore this charming town and see what everyone is talking about. If you need more information to help you plan your vacation, click here for a range of helpful tips, city guides, food guides, and more. For all the latest news at Famous Hostels, follow us or subscribe on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube.