Things to do in Bruges

Discover chocolate box houses, historical gems, and craft beer to boot in Belgium’s fairytale town.

Our most recommended things to do in Bruges

Zeebrugge to Bruges Return Cruise Shuttle Service

1. Zeebrugge to Bruges Return Cruise Shuttle Service

See the sights at your own pace and save money with a shuttle transfer service from the cruise terminal at Zeebrugge to the historic heart of Bruges. Avail of a quick transfer service that runs from the port to the city every 30 minutes in the morning and back to the port every 30 minutes in the afternoon. Take the worry out of your transportation needs during a cruise stopover in the pretty city of Bruges. Simply take the free port shuttle service to the gate, and then walk down to the bus departure point for embarkation. Get dropped off just a few minutes walk from the historic city center of Bruges.

From Brussels: Ghent and Bruges Day Tour

2. From Brussels: Ghent and Bruges Day Tour

Discover 2 of Flanders’ most enchanting cities and follow your guide back in time on a day tour. Choose between a private and a shared option. Walk through both cities and see some of their most famous landmarks, including Saint-Bavo’s Cathedral of Ghent, Bruges' Old Town, and the Lake of Love. Ghent’s medieval architecture and vibrant atmosphere will impress you as you visit Saint-Bavo’s Cathedral, home to the famous Mystic Lamb painting (option), and pass by the Castle of the Counts of Flanders the picturesque medieval harbor Graslei and much more. In Bruges, you will enjoy the peaceful Lake of Love and the old beguinage. With your guide, discover the city and its cobbled streets on foot and you also have the option to enjoy a pleasant boat trip along the narrow canals.

Bruges: Choco-Story Chocolate Museum Tour

3. Bruges: Choco-Story Chocolate Museum Tour

Cocoa has been tickling taste buds for centuries, from the spicy drink in the Maya and Aztec civilizations to the popular sweet chocolate milk in Europe. With more than three people out of four loving chocolate, it’s hardly surprising that there is an enormous fascination for this exquisite treat. This tour aims to bring to life the 4,000-year-old history of chocolate in words, pictures, and flavors. The museum submerges you in the exciting world of chocolate, taking you on a journey of the senses through time. Young or old, passionate chocoholic or simply just interested, the Chocolate Museum will stimulate your fascination. The museum is composed of three parts, telling the story of the origin and evolution of chocolate through a unique collection of almost a thousand objects. Besides the history, the museum also reveals how chocolate is made, with special attention for the variety of raw ingredients and the development of the production process. In the demonstration center you will uncover the secret of beautiful silky chocolate, getting the opportunity to taste the chocolate products made in the museum.

From Brussels: Bruges and Ghent in a Day Guided Tour

4. From Brussels: Bruges and Ghent in a Day Guided Tour

Meet your guide in the center of Brussels and relax on the 100-kilometer journey to Bruges. Upon arrival, discover the charms of “the Venice of the North” and see why the entire historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Marvel at highlights such as the Lake of Love (Minnewater Lake) and the 13th-century Begijnhof complex, founded in 1245 to house lay religious women. Go to Walplein Square, where the shady trees and cafes provide a perfect place to relax. Visit Stoofstraat on the site of the city's former Red Light District, and see medieval monuments such as the 11th-century Old St. John’s Hospital. Look at the world's second tallest brickwork tower at the Church of Our Lady, and see other historic monuments such as Gruuthuse Palace, the Dijver Canal and the tiny piazza of Tanners Square (Huidenvettersplein). Go to one of the city's most photographed spots at Rozenhoedkaai, and admire the Belfry on Castle Square. Admire the facades of the Gothic-style Town Hall and the 12th-century Basilica of the Holy Blood. Visit Market Square (Grote Markt) to see the Bell Tower (Belfort) and Sint-Salvator’s Cathedral. Then enjoy 1-hour's free time for lunch (at your own expense) and the chance to sample some of the city's delicious chocolates.  Next, drive to Ghent, where the inhabitants have been popularly known as "noose-bearers“ since the days of Charles V. Take a guided tour of the city's historic buildings, such as the Castle of Gerald the Devil and Saint Bavo Cathedral, where you can look at the painting “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” by the Van Eyck brothers. Admire the Belfort (Bell Tower) and peculiar Gothic and Renaissance-style Town Hall. See one of the city's oldest monuments at St. Nicholas’ Church opposite the unusual facade of the Masons’ Guild House. Journey along the embankments of the medieval port of Graslei, and discover other highlights such as the majestic Castle of the Counts of Flanders, the charming Patershol neighborhood, the Great Butchers’ Hall, the Old Fish Market, and Friday Market Square.

From Bruges: Great War Flanders Fields Minibus Tour w/Lunch

5. From Bruges: Great War Flanders Fields Minibus Tour w/Lunch

Enjoy a trip of historical discovery on this full-day minibus tour that takes you through West Flanders, from Bruges to the Belgian town of Ypres. The city, nicknamed Wipers, was rebuilt according to a medieval blueprint after being completely razed to the ground in the early 1900s. It was also here that the Germans invaded Belgium during World War I; a strategic move to attack France from the north. You will see the remaining artifacts and places of the city as you discover restored trenches, stroll among war graves in Passchendale and Polygon Wood, clamber over craters and bunkers on the preserved battlefield, and visit key war memorials.  Behold the impressive sight of the imposing Menin Gate Memorial to the missing soldiers, complete with 55,000 names, erected on the spot where the soldiers left the city for the battlefront. As your day continues you will also see the iconic poppy fields of Flanders as you ride through the countryside in an air-conditioned mini coach, perfect for relaxing and taking in the picturesque scenery. It is possible to visit an ancestor's grave if requested ahead, and it is also possible to extend the tour for the Last Post Ceremony under the Menin Gate Memorial with transport back to your hotel in Bruges.  This must be requested in advance as well and will incur a fee of €15 to be paid on the day of the tour.

Bruges: Boat Cruise and Guided Walking Tour

6. Bruges: Boat Cruise and Guided Walking Tour

Explore Bruges on a walking tour with a local guide. Join a boat cruise along the canals to see the sites from the water. Meet your guide in the Markt for a guided tour of the city. Discover the narrowest street, the beautiful 12th-century basilica, and the golden statues on the impressive courthouse. Next, explore the fish market surrounded by 126 columns. Then, embark on the second part of the tour. Board your boat at the quay for a cruise along the canals. Sail beside ivy-covered facades and under bridges as you learn about the beautiful sites from your captain. Admire the old trading houses at the former harbor and the Beguinage. After half an hour on the water, head to the secret garden of an almshouse, where you will be surprised by the beauty of picturesque Bruges.

Bruges: Belgian Chocolate Workshop

7. Bruges: Belgian Chocolate Workshop

During this 2.5-hour workshop you’ll learn how to temper chocolate to craft 2 types of Belgian chocolates. The 2 chocolates you will craft throughout this experience will be as follows. Pralines: the most famous Belgian chocolate, consisting of a delicate chocolate shell with a creamy filing. You’ll learn how to make both the shell and the filling from scratch. Mendiants: chocolate discs studded with dried fruits, both crispy and delicious. You’ll make at least 30 chocolates, which you can either eat on the spot or take home to family and friends. With these easy techniques and chocolate theory, you will also be able to make your own chocolates once you return home.

From Amsterdam: Day Trip to Bruges

8. From Amsterdam: Day Trip to Bruges

Embark on a day out to Bruges from Amsterdam and discover the World Heritage Site. See the romantic Lake of Love, walk around the Burg Square, and enjoy some free time to taste the Belgium beers. Depart from the center of Amsterdam in a comfortable and airconditioned bus. Learn from your guide all about the historic center of Bruges and why it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Start your tour with an introduction to the history of Belgium and Bruges. See the Lake of Love and the Begijnhof, founded in 1245. Visit the historic city center, learn more about Belgium’s world-famous beers and see the Church of Our Lady. Admire one of the most charming areas, around the Dyver canal. Continue your walk to Walplein Square, the Stoofstraat, Gruuthuse Palace, Burg Square with its Gothic Town Hall, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and the Grote Markt with the Belfort. The tour finishes in the Grote Markt, in the heart of Bruges. Get recommendations on where to eat, drink and shop during your 3 hours of free time in the city. Sit back and relax as you head back to Amsterdam, where the tour ends.

Bruges: Chocolate Making Workshop and Chocolate Museum Entry

9. Bruges: Chocolate Making Workshop and Chocolate Museum Entry

Immerse yourself in Belgium's rich chocolate-making traditions with this interactive workshop.  Under the guidance of an expert chocolatier, learn how to make chocolate lollipops and mendiants, a traditional French confection. At the end of the lesson, savor the rewards of your efforts, or feel free to take your chocolates home with you. Finish your workshop with a self-guided visit to the chocolate museum. Inside, admire a wide range of interactive exhibitions which will bring to life the 4000-year-old history of chocolate in words, pictures, and flavors. Admire a private collection of artifacts with over 1000 objects housed in the museum.

From Amsterdam. 12-Hour Guided Day Trip to Bruges

10. From Amsterdam. 12-Hour Guided Day Trip to Bruges

Discover the old-fashioned charm of Bruges on this guided tour from Amsterdam. Ride in a comfortable and air-conditioned coach and See sights like the Minnewater lake, Gruuthuse Palace, and the Grote Markt on a guided tour and have free time to explore the sights on your own.  Depart Amsterdam and journey to Bruges to see the UNESCO World Heritage monuments with an English-speaking guide. Get an introduction to the history of Belgium as you visit attractions such as the "Lake of Love" (Minnewater) and 13th-century Begijnhof. Learn more about the beers of Belgium and admire the brick tower of the Church of Our Lady. Explore the charming area around the Dyver canal, and then stroll the cobbled square of Walplein.  Wander the narrow lanes of the Stoofstraat and discover the Gruuthuse Palace, Burg Square, and Basilica of the Holy Blood. End in the Grote Markt and get 3 hours of free time for lunch or to visit the chocolate and lace shops independently.

Frequently asked questions about Bruges

What top attractions are a must-see in Bruges?

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Bruges

Jurga Rubinovaite is an avid traveler, photographer, and chief adventure planner behind the popular family travel blog Full Suitcase. On her blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Bruges.

What should I do on my first trip to Bruges?

Bruges is a fairytale-like town with historic Old Town and picturesque canals. There are many great things to do in Bruges, but on your first visit, be sure not to miss the Market Square with the impressive Belfry Tower, Historium Bruges experience, and take a boat tour on the canals. Rozenhoedkaai - the most photographed place in Bruges - is also a must-see!

What are some hidden gems to see in Bruges?

Bruges is full of beautiful old buildings and hidden gems behind every corner! Some hidden gems include the canal Gouden-Handrei (don't miss Augustijnenbrug), medieval buildings in the Genthof and Kortewinkel streets, De Gentpoort, and Coupure. But our favorite is a visit to a nearby tiny town of Damme that you can reach either on foot, by bike, or by taking a boat called Lamme Goedzak.

How much time should I spend in Bruges?

You can see the main landmarks of Bruges in a day, but if you want to also visit a few museums and explore the city deeper, we recommend spending 2-3 days in Bruges. The city has nice hotels, good restaurants, and plenty of shopping opportunities, so it's a great destination for a weekend city trip or a romantic getaway.

What food is Bruges known for?

Just as many cities in Belgium, Bruges is a great place to taste Belgian waffles, locally-brewed beers, Belgian chocolate, and some typical Flemish dishes. Must-try is Brugse Zot, a local beer brewed by the brewery “De Halve Maan” as well as Belgian chocolates and pralines. TIP: One of the best ways to get aquanited with the regional dishes and avoid touris traps is to take a food & beer tour with a local!

What is the best way to get around Bruges?

The best way to explore Bruges is on foot. The city center is very walkable and all the main sights are located close to each other. Boat cruises on the canals and horse-drawn carriage rides are also popular and there also tours by mini-bus for those who prefer not to walk. If you want to get a bit off the beaten path, take a bike tour or rent a bike - it's the best way to cover more ground and see some attractions that are a bit further away in a short time.

What are the best months to visit Bruges?

Bruges is a year-round destination and every season has its charms. In summer, everything is green and there are many events, but it's also the busiest time to be in Bruges. Bruges is also a popular winter destination, especially in December, when the city hosts a beautiful Christmas Market. For fewer crowds and better weather (although you never know in Belgium), visit Bruges in April-May or in September-October.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

The best place for shopping in Bruges is the city center area located southwest of Market Square. Steenstraat is the main shopping street in Bruges, where you'll find all the big brands and high-street fashion. If you're looking for smaller, boutique shops, try Noordzandstraat or Geldmuntstraat and also the smaller streets nearby. For chocolates and souvenirs, check out Katelijnestraat close to Beguinage of Bruges.

Other Sightseeing Options in Bruges

Want to discover all there is to do in Bruges? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Bruges

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 8,425 reviews

Fantastic well run tour would recommend to anyone staying in Bruges. Phillips incredible knowledge of the flanders fields portion of the first World War was exceptional. Ypres is beautiful as well.

Such a great day and a great value for your money! Both cities had short guided tours which was an added bonus! Loved my day with Andrea and David! A must-see from Brussels!

Our guide Helen was excellent and exceptionally knowledgeable. We went round most of important places.

Great town, not too bad of a ride - but you really need to get a better map to follow there!

The trip is well-organised and the tour guide is friendly and informative.