Following our long weekend in Brussels, we decided to spend our last day in Belgium in Bruges. It made sense as it was on the way back to the Eurotunnel and Andrew had never been. I had visited Bruges many years before for a weekend with my parents but this time we only had about 6 hours to spare. So if you are planning a quick day trip to the Venice of the North keep reading!
First tip! You don’t have to pay to park your car, as long as you don’t mind walking a bit. Andrew found a free car park just outside the city centre along the N351 and it took us 15 minutes to walk from there to the main square, Markt.
From our car we walked along the streets and started to have our first glimpse of Bruges’ beauty on Noordzandstraat.
We passed many beautiful houses and chocolate shops and had to stop to admire the Hotel Dukes’ Palace. Andrew promised me that we will stay there next time we visit, I.can’t.even.wait! (Andrew if you are reading this, I haven’t forgotten!)
Markt place is the main square in Bruges and features on most postcards as this is where you will find some of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The Belfry of Bruges and the Provincial Court take centre stage surrounded by traditional coloured houses. Medieval and Gothic architectures are what make Bruges such a distinctive city.
We sneaked in the Basilica of the Holy Blood which was closing at 12:30pm before eating our packed lunch on Burg Square.
The afternoon was spent strolling around the many Bruges’ canals, starting at Vismarkt a covered market.
We walked along the water exploring a flea market we found along the way.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time for a boat tour as the queues were very long on that sunny Sunday. The tour is only 30 minutes or so and is worth it if you are not in a rush!
When visiting make sure to check the Bonifacius Bridge which is one of the quaintest little corners of the town. It was so pretty that we took a rare couple picture there!
We explored the back streets around the Church of Our Lady Bruges which were a lot quieter yet still very picturesque. Second tip! This is a great area to take pictures without any tourist photobombing.
Heading south toward the Beguinage, it was hard not to take a million pictures. Everywhere we looked was beautiful.
We explored the very tranquil monastic setting where women, to this day, live a quiet nun-like life.
Our last stop before a well-deserved break was at St. Salvator’s Cathedral. Third tip! It is good to note that some religious sights in Brussels close early or at lunchtime. So make sure to plan accordingly to avoid waiting for it to open like we did.
After so much walking, a Belgian beer and waffle were well deserved! And we grabbed both on Simon Stevinplein Square.
We ended our day in Bruges walking along more canals and admiring the local architecture.
Bruges is a very artistic city and throughout our visit we ran into many modern art exhibitions. The most famous being Skyscraper, the plastic whale which rises up from the canal. Made of 5 tons of plastic waste, the whale is a physical example and a powerful reminder of the tons of plastic trash which pollute our planet’s waters.
We ended our day in Bruges on this powerful note and a surreal sight. Happy to have visited the city once again and vowing to be back soon.