Belgium – Traveler’s Itch
Considering we’re only a three hour drive from where we live, it was kind of strange neither of us had ever been to Bruges before. So, one rainy weekend last spring we packed ourselves into a car and drove down south. We had 24 hours in Bruges and rain or shine, we were going to make the most of it!
Bruges, or Brugge, is the largest city in West Flanders. The historic city centre is in good shape and photographs well, especially if you’re into small little streets and bridges. It’s a pretty walkable city too, though I think renting a bicycle is always a good way to explore a city.
What to do
- Visit the Grote Markt (or ‘big market’) square in the heart of the city. For beers with a view; head on up to Duvelorium. The bar is located on the first floor and has a terrace. More importantly, they do beer tasting! Granted, I’m not a beer drinker, but it made Jochem quite happy. Pick any three beers you like, get a snack and take it easy.
- While you’re there, that tower you see is quite the climb! The Belfry Tower is 83 meters high and it will take you 366 steps to the top. The view on a clear day is worth it!
- the Rozenhoedkaai, probably the most photographed spot in Bruges. From here, you can hop on a boat to see the city from the water. We didn’t do it as it’s quite pricy, but it’s a cute area to it down for drinks or lunch.
- Take a tour at Halve Maan Brewery, a must do for beer lovers. The coolest thing? They have a 2km beer pipeline running through the city.
- The Begijnhof is the only remaining beguinage in Bruges. Currently, it’s home to a small community of nuns, as well as a small museum that will show you what life was like back in the days.
Where to eat & drink
- 2Be Beer Wall – yes, more beer! Belgium is the country of beer after all… Not only does 2Be literally have a beer wall that runs from the street into the shop, they also have a cellar and a cafe with terrace
- Not a beer drinker? We’ve got you covered. Blend wine bar is not only a bar, but a corner of their space is a little shop as well. If you like what you had, you can take more of it home. They serve over 350 wines from houses all over the world. Tried and tested; their snack platters do not disappoint either!
- Our definite favorite during our trip: the Brugse Gin Club. It’s a bit of a search to get there (Google maps is your friend) but so, so worth it. They operate as a speakeasy bar, you will have to knock on the door and be let in. Once you are, marvel at the sight of over 300 gins being presented to you. I consider myself a gin connaisseur (ahem) but it was definitely full of surprises. Tell the owner what you do and do not like and he’ll make you the perfect mix. We didn’t even look at the menu.
- We found cocktail bar Groot Vlaenderen quite randomly, but went back twice. Excellent cocktails, good prices and a cozy place to be.
- We had lunch at the Belgian Pigeon House. A tiny restaurant, so make reservations, that serves more than pigeons! It had been a while since we lunched that elaborately, but the food was amazing.
- Bistro Zwart Huis does dinner with live music. Unfortunately not the night we were there, but the food made up for it.
While you’re in Bruges, don’t forget about chocolate and fries (with mayonaise, obviously) either! There’s even a museum just for fries; the Frietmuseum.
Where to stay
We stayed at the cutest bed & breakfast; Sint Niklaas. It had just switched owners and the lady that runs it now is just super sweet. Anything you want to know about the city; she’s got it. There’s only three rooms, and the breakfast is delicious. Check out the view from our room!
24 hours in Bruges is quite a short trip, it easily lends itself for a full weekend if you know your do’s and don’ts! Take it slow!
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