When planning the Netherlands portion of our Wedding/Honeymoon Extravaganza (#PartyLikeAPuskas), I had read that Bruges was a pretty easy day trip to take from Amsterdam. In Bruges is one of Anthony’s favorite movies, so I knew we had to make that happen. As it turns out, Bruges is a not just a famous movie destination but also a gorgeous, quaint little town that you can easily do in 24 hours.
The best part of Bruges would have to be wandering the streets at night, getting a little tipsy on the incredible Belgian beer and chocolate. This is also the time in which the tourists are gone from the city, their buses leaving as the sunsets. The once busy squares, are now almost yours to enjoy at your leisure. It’s magical. So, if you decide to go to Bruges, do as we did… take the train, book a hotel and stay overnight. I’ll even throw in some hotel recommendations at the end of this article for you (or be happy to plan and book your own getaway for you. Just drop me a comment!)
What To Do
Visit The Belfort
The famous tower from the movie was an obvious first stop (after we checked into our hotel) on our list of must sees. Also known as the Belfry, located in the main square of the city, surrounded by horse drawn carriages, shops and restaurants with outdoor seating, this tower is a magnificent focal point. You can even climb the steps to the top for a stunning view.
Take A River Cruise
If you read my post on things to do in Amsterdam (if not, you can read it here), then you know I’m a sucker for a river cruise. And being in Bruges was no different. The cruise also gave you a lovely view of their adorable houses on the banks that you otherwise wouldn’t see. Furthermore, there were a number of different statues and art pieces on the riverbanks that probably would have been hard to spot if you weren’t on a boat. Overall, I always recommend a cruise when it’s available.
Wander The Streets
Honestly, you can’t go wrong just wandering the streets of Bruges. The cobble stones and old buildings transport you back in time. The squares, churches, and other buildings you will come across are wonderful. Wandering them at night adds a haunting feel, which I love, and we even came across a street concert. Getting lost down winding roads is one of my favorite parts of traveling.
Throw your diet out the window (honestly… is anyone actually dieting on a vacation? If so, they are vacationing wrong. No offense!) and eat as much as you can! The food, the drinks, the sweets were all to die for. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Belgian Waffle
Down one of the more popular streets in town is Chez Albert, home to insanely decadent, delicious belgian waffles. They offer a number of toppings including strawberries, chocolate and whipped cream. We got all three and it was the perfectly sweet Belgian breakfast of our dreams. Don’t miss out!
2. Belgian Beer
Even if you don’t like beer (like me), you have to try some Belgian Ales when in Bruges. There is no short supply of distilleries and bars for you to enjoy a pint or two. A particular favorite for us was actually the oldest brewery in Bruges, Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan, dating all the way back to the 1800’s. There you can either sit inside or outside (we sat on the patio) and enjoy a drink and even a bite to eat if you’re hungry. They also offer tours daily, which I’ve heard are great if you’re into them.
3. Belgian Chocolate
No trip to Belgium is complete without chocolate. I can only imagine how much we would have scarfed down if we had more time. However, if you’re like us, and only have a day, I definitely recommend The Old Chocolate House. Downstairs it is a chocolate shop and upstairs is a cafe selling the world’s biggest mug of hot chocolate (I don’t know if it’s actually the world’s biggest, but it was the biggest I’ve ever had). The cafe is adorable with antique tables and decor and stained glass windows that you can open to look out to the streets below.
You, of course, don’t have to get hot chocolate, Anthony got coffee, but it’s what I recommend… just be prepared for a possible sugar coma. They bring you this huge mug of hot milk and a pile of chocolate to mix in at your leisure for your desired sweetness. It was incredible. Easily the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. This place was definitely a highlight of our time in Bruges.
4. Moules Frites
Finally, a real meal suggestion would be the Moules Frites, particularly from Poules Moules. Moules Frites is just Mussles and Fries. At Poules Moules you can get a huge steaming bowl of mussles and a side of fries. It’s not an extravagant meal, but it sure does hit the spot, especially alongside a Belgian Tripel.
Where To Stay
We stayed at the Hotel Lucca and I can’t recommend it enough. We arrived very early and the owners, who were the sweetest couple, graciously held our luggage until the room was ready. The building interior is beautiful and the breakfast was wonderful. Our hosts even went through the trouble of preparing it earlier than normal for us because our train departed at 6:00.
I’m not even going to recommend any other hotels because I want you to stay here and have the same great experience that we did. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
There is so much I’m missing, I know, but I wanted to keep this post as brief as our time in Bruges.
Leave me a comment with other places that shouldn’t be missed! Bonus points if you leave me a comment with the number of times I said “in Bruges” in this article.
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