The Belgian city of Bruges is a feast of fairytale delight of twisting cobbled lanes, peaceful canals and old churches – in fact, it’s one of the most classic places to visit in Western Europe. Stone bridges cross the tiny waterways, as swans float past weeping Birch trees and the clip-clop of horse-drawn carriages pervade the vehicle-free streets.
An ancient walled Medieval town, and a listed site, about an hour from the capital Brussels, Bruges is perfect weekend getaway material with great European connections by ferry, plane, train and Eurostar. Not known for its friendly status however, even a few days in this picturesque city can set you back a fair bit. When it comes to what to do in Bruges, wandering the picturesque streets there is undoubtedly one best things to do.
Cobbled winding lanes lead you around the city and each is filled with a delightful array of independent shops, cafes and chocolate boutiques. Backed by peaceful gliding canals, ancient stone churches and beautiful buildings, strolling the city is also easy given the tiny size of the city. And without any vehicles speeding past, bumbling around and soaking up the city on foot is a very leisurely-paced and stress-free affair.
In fact, you really don’t need to take any public transport in Bruges, with everything being in easy walking distance, wandering the beautiful streets will also help keep your travel costs down! But if 2 wheels is more your thing than 2 feet, not to worry, Bruges has some wonderful cycling opportunities too thanks to its flat terrain and scenic country surrounds.
Well-paved cycle routes and clearly-numbered paths make lovely canal-side rides a joy, as well as day trips to destinations further afield such as quaint towns like Damme or the seaside. There’s several bike hire shops in Bruges itself and many offer accommodation drop-off services – perfect! The Heilig-Bloedbasiliek is one of the most iconic Bruges religious buildings, not least because it contains a phial supposedly filled with some of Jesus’ blood.
Brought out on display a couple of times a day, you can even head over to see the phial up close if you want. Otherwise, you can just enjoy the spectacle from afar and wander around the very ornate interior cathedral for free. This is defintiely one of the best places to visit in Bruges… and one of the most famous too, so don’t miss it!