One of our favorite cities to visit in Europe is Bruges, or Brugge, Belgium. Bruges is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, with a historic center that is second to none. The center’s narrow, winding streets and canals bring you through a fairy tale city, with centuries old buildings and squares. The market square is one of the most picturesque in Europe, with the famous Belfort that dates back to the 12th century. Bruges is also home to Michaelangelo’s Madonna of Bruges in the Church of Our Lady as well as the Basilica of the Holy Blood, containing a relic said to contain the blood of Jesus.
Aside from the beautiful architecture and loads of history, Bruges is also one of the tastiest cities in Europe. The city boasts an excellent beer scene, wonderful food, and some of the best chocolate in the world. Here are some of our tastiest tips for visiting Bruges.
Where to Eat in Bruges
Bruges has hundreds of restaurants, including a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in and around the city. While the legendary three-star De Karmeliet has closed for normal service, remaining for special events only, chef Geert Van Hecke still runs restaurant Zet’joe and bistro Refter alongside the original location.
For a more casual dinner, check out Restaurant Cambrinus, where you can get traditional Belgian cuisine prepared with and paired with their large selection of Belgian beers.
For a fun dessert, stop by Go.fre, where you can grab a delicious Belgian waffle on a stick. You can get your waffle dipped in a variety of chocolates, and coated in a number of different toppings. Get it topped fresh, or buy some prepackaged waffles to take home as a souvenir.
And no visit will be complete without buying some chocolate to bring home to all of your friends and family. And there’s no better chocolate shop in Bruges than Chocolatier Dumon. You won’t be disappointed!
Where to Drink Beer in Bruges
Brugge has quite a lot of beer history, and there are plenty of beer-related activities in the city.
In the south of the old city, near the Minnewater, you’ll find the historic Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan, where the local Straffe Hendrik and Brugse Zot beers are brewed today. Here you can tour the old brewery, as well as enjoy traditional Belgian food and the house-brewed beers.
As you head from the Minnewater back towards the center, you’ll find the BeerWall, where you can see hundreds of Belgian beers on display, and stop in the shop to pick up some of your favorite bottles.
In the market square you can find the Bruges Beer Museum and Experience, with interactive exhibits on the history of beer in the city, as well as tastings of beers from nearby breweries like Rodenbach.
And right next to the Church of the Holy Blood, you’ll find the Struise Beershop, where you can buy the latest offerings from one of Belgium’s most creative breweries.
If you’d like to sample some of Belgium’s best beers, stop by some of the great beer cafes in the city, such as De Garre, Cafe Rose Red, and ‘t Brugs Beertje.
Where to Stay in Bruges
After a day of tasting your way through the city, you’ll need a comfortable hotel in the city to lay your head at night. One of our favorite hotels in Bruges is the Grand Hotel Casselbergh. I stayed there during the European Beer Bloggers Conference in August 2015, and truly enjoyed my stay there, especially the great breakfast!
When and How to visit Bruges
Bruges is one of those cities that is great to visit year-round. It’s many parks and canals are lovely to wander through on a beautiful summer evening, and winter brings a fairy tail charm to the city, with the Markt turned into a Christmas market and ice skating rink. Shops are open year-round, though many do close for at least a week in the late summer for their holiday.
If you are traveling to Bruges, unless you are renting a car, you will likely be arriving by train. the train station is located just south of the main walled city center, and is a nice walk, through the Minnewater and into the center.
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