You may not believe us when we say that Bruges is the stuff of storybooks. A real life fairytale, medieval town with picturesque cobbled lanes and dreamy canals.
It’s a dream for daytrippers and, naturally, a popular stop for tourists so embrace your inner city-loving-geek and keep your camera strapped to your hand to capture the special charm to the city of Belgium.
It’s one of the most popular destinations for a mini cruise from the UK, so if you’re one of those people that have been one, two, or even nine times then once you’ve wandered the squares and done the canal boat ride, the city of masterpieces can lose a little of its magic.
If you find you’ve become a little bored of Bruges, here’s some inspiration for things to do that you can find if you tread the cobbles to gems that can only be found a little more off the beaten track…
Walk The Walk
‘In Bruges’ walking tour
Discover the history of Bruges at your own pace with either a walking tour by day or night. Let the city come to life right in front of your eyes through stories and urban legends. Exploring the town just got very exclusive as the tour will mean you’ll be let in on the local secrets and inside knowledge that not every average tourist knows…
Choose to wander at night to see a side of Bruges most don’t always get to see. And better yet, the tour ends with a free beer at the Bauhaus. You’l be getting glimpses of the Market square, Palace of Gruuthuse, Lake of Love, Half Moon brewery, Bonifacius and more favourite city spots…
All Things Holy
The Basilica of the Holy Blood
Snugly located at the back corner of Burg Square, you’ll find a Romanesque chapel with a Gothic upper chapel. Now some may find the experience a little on the creepy side but this stunning neo-gothic basilica is home to what is reported to be a vial of the blood of Jesus Christ himself. The sombre atmosphere makes this curious experience quite moving. How many other cruises give you the chance to see the blood of Christ?!
You’ll be able to dwell in Renaissance decoration, monumental features, myth and mystery, so step out of your comfort zone. Or if this is right up your street, embrace the feeling of being a local lover of an atmosphere this sacred.
Surrealism In The City
Salvador Dali Exhibition
There’s more to Bruges than meets the tourist’s eye; why not focus your appetite for art on surrealism at the Salvador Dali exhibition? Hitting the museum trail of a city can be overwhelming, especially if you only have few hours in port but the intriguing interior of this museum spins quite the fairytale through the artworks, sculptures and films of the famous artist, Dali.
A man best known for his paintings of melting clocks and for his statement: ‘Modesty is not exactly my speciality‘. A museum in his honour makes for a magical experience that’s a world away from stuffy museums and highbrow galleries. Your photo album will never have looked the same…
Windmills And Waterways
The Past On Display
The best way to try and comprehend this city’s cultural scene is to follow the Bruges Art Route: hire a bike or just set off on a walk on this peaceful pathway which will take you along the dreamiest canals and past the prettiest of windmills. Who doesn’t love an occasional journey back in time?
The path was put together so every tourist can experience and dwell in the city’s growing collection of paintings, sculptures and works-in-progress. The best of Bruges’ artists will be on this very journey and they’re displayed in all of the city’s significant museums… Groeningmuseume, where Belgium’s finest collections will be on display, Memling in Sint-Jan-Hospitaalmuseum where its dramatic refurbishment made sure the past was refreshed for the present and beyond.
Drink To The Rail Theme
What do you get when you cross a pub with a model railway? You’ll find out the answer if you head down to Rail City! This odd (and genius) combination means you can sit with a beer watching the model railway in action. Quite the peaceful, intricate backdrop for your day drink…
The themed cafe is on the site, Oud Sint-Jan, in front of the Church of our Lady with the terrace on the canals, so it is either a perfect combination with a day exploring the historical side to Bruges or a stroll along those very canals you’ll be so ideally situated next to! Get your geek side out- a beer goes hand in hand. You’re on holiday after all…
Delve Into All Things Chocolate
Fancy being dipped into a history of cocoa and chocolate? We all know that when you’re in Belgium, this is a no-brainer. Chocolates are made by hand and sampled on the premises and the museum even opened a thematic Choco-Jungle bar only a five minute walk away!
Learn the story of the transformation from cocoa to chocolate and everything about the consumption of chocolate from Aztec times to the present day. Inside this cavern of confectionary, you’ll find chocolate sculptures, demonstrations, a chocolate shop and, best of all…free chocolate samples!
Taste one of the best sides to Bruges and embrace its history- do you think choosing souvenirs has ever been this easy?
Bruges Beer Academy
Taste the best of the best
Belgian beer is something of an institution and if the sightseeing becomes thirsty work, the Café’t Burgs Beertje serves over 300 brands of it (with five on draft)! Back in 1983 the cafe could only offer you 120 different types of Belgian beer so embrace the modernized version of this pub on offer to you!
And it’s not just a pub: it is a worthy tasting house where the real beer spirit is appreciated most by the locals and visitors..
This quaint little beer house, on cobbled Kemelstraat, is the perfect place to whet your whistle (and you’ve not got far to go as it’s right in the centre). For the beer lovers and the curious ones who love to, quite literally, taste the culture surrounding them, this is your next drinking spot!
Bruges really is the perfect mini cruise destination with picturesque waterways, stunning squares, historic churches and tourist friendly attractions. But don’t forget to wander past the most popular spots and tread past the cobbles for the perfect moments to please culture geeks, beer lovers, art dwellers and seekers of true atmosphere: there’s something for everyone in the Belgian city so you’ll never be bored in Bruges.
Take a look at some more of our handy city break guides below and leave us your comments on which one’s your favourite!
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