Growing up around Bruges, I have regularly wandered around its narrow streets and discovered new places. Here is my walking route of Bruges.

— Visited Regularly

The canal views of Bruges must be explored during a weekend in bruges

Known around the world as a fairy-tale medieval town, Bruges is a hotspot for tourists who admire cobbled lanes and picturesque canals. Growing up around Bruges, I have spent many days wandering around its narrow streets and discovering new places. Whenever international friends come over for a visit, I take them on my preferred route to guarantee they see all the highlights! I also take them to some local spots that the regular visitor won’t find easily while browsing the internet.

Read on and enjoy… My Authentic Walking Tour of Bruges.

Bruges’ History

Did you know Bruges was founded by Vikings in the 9th century? It used to be surrounded by the sea and served as a great port. Until the 14th century, it was the centre of Europe with different languages spoken on the streets and tradesmen selling the most exotic products.

Starting from the 16th century, Bruges fell into decline as Antwerp (another great Belgian city) dominated the cloth industry with its brand new harbour. In the 1800s, Bruges even turned out to be Belgium’s poorest city. With no money for investments, the city no longer grew and this is the reason it kept its medieval look throughout the years.

In the 20th century, Bruges is now a popular tourist destination for its medieval heritage and is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’. Remarkably having survived two world wars, this town has proved to withstand the test of time and is well worth a visit on your next Europe trip!

Where to Stay in Bruges

A trip to Bruges is best enjoyed overnight so that you can enjoy the quaint streets at night and observe its history by moonlight. Some recommended Bruges accommodations are provided below:

Low Budget – Charlie Rockets Youth Hostel or BE House
Medium Budget – Hotel ‘t Putje
Unique Accommodation – Hotel De Orangerie

Walking Route of Bruges

If you have little time in Bruges, I highly recommend this route as it takes up less than two hours and takes you through Bruges’ highlights with a few extra local gems. With more time on your hands, use this tour as a guideline but make sure to wander off into the backstreets and explore to the fullest!

Minnewaterpark and Begijnhof

I usually start my tour at the train station which is the meeting point for all busses, trains, and car parks anyway. From there, I make my way to the Minnewaterpark, a tranquil public green space featuring a lake and the gatehouse of a demolished castle. If you are lucky enough to visit Bruges during the Christmas period, you’ll find an ice-skating ring here built on the lake.

This park will bring you straight to the historic centre of Bruges, with a first popular spot to tick off on your left, the ‘Begijnhof’. The impressive gateway will take you to a wide-open green space with tiny white row houses and massive trees.

Het ‘Begijhof’ or the beguinage is a confined space of solitude for women who wanted to live in a pious way but outside the walls of a convent or monastery. You’ll find these in lots of Belgian and Dutch cities dating back to the 13th century. Nowadays there are no beguines, but this one in Bruges is still home to a few nuns.

Fun Fact: if you visit this place just before noon, you’ll be able to follow the midday mass with these nuns. They still ring the church bells by pulling the ropes with their bare hands. An authentic sight to see, even if the nuns check their iPhone to make sure the timing is right! (haha) Please always remember to dress appropriately, keep your silence and not take pictures.

From Wijngaardplein into the City

As you walk out of the ‘Begijnhof’, you’ll notice a lake with lots of swans flocking together as this is where they get fed. A horse fountain marks the entrance into the centre. Follow along the cobbled lanes and take in the romantic charm of the picturesque buildings. You have now entered Bruges…

You’ll notice plenty of chocolate, fries and souvenir shops as you make your way through Bruges. Make sure to try out a waffle and some ‘frietjes’ with mayonnaise as they are our local speciality. Most chocolate shops even offer free samples to taste.

Now turn left and make your way to the ‘Walplein’, a great spot to devour a beer on a sunny afternoon!

Brewery ‘De Halve Maan’

Located on the Walplein, you’ll find Bruges most popular brewery. Now get ready for my favourite thing about this city.

Fun Fact: as you walk into the brewery, you’ll notice pipelines going out under the cobbled street. This two-mile underground pipeline goes from the brewery to an out-of-town bottling plant with enough beer to fill 12,000 bottles an hour. Indeed my friends, we have a BEER pipeline!

De Halve Maan hosts lots of tours around the brewery which is a great way to learn more about the beer-making process. It’s a popular place to visit so we recommend reserving your tickets online. While you are around, don’t forget to have a taste of their ‘Brugse Zot’, a local beer famous in Bruges.


Next to the church on the Walplein, you’ll find a tiny alleyway which leads you to a cute little courtyard. Tiny streets like these used to be booming with brothels back in the day; with this one intriguingly being located right next to a church. Funny enough, priests were a regular customer back then…

Bonifacius Brug

Let me take you to one of the most pictured places in Bruges. Behind the Church of Our Lady, you’ll find a little oasis with lovely bridge and canal views. Surprisingly, this stunning bridge isn’t even a century old. But it got its medieval look being built out of rubble and tomb stones from a nearby site. The building pictured is actually a hotel, probably with the best views in Bruges.

Rozenhoedkaai, Huidenvettersplein and Vismarkt

Follow along the avenue and admire the sites even more, we’re now getting close to the centre of the city. On your left, you’ll recognise a famous view of Bruges, so take your time to get in some selfies.

Once your visit to Bruges is well documented, head to the tiny square of Huidenvettersplein. Translated as ‘Tanners Square’, this place boomed with tanners working their leather in the Middle Ages. Nowadays, it’s another great spot for a beer.

Next to Huidenvettersplein, you’ll find the original fish market (Vismarkt). Fish used to be sold on the Main Square but as the townspeople started complaining about the stench, fishmongers were moved here. Today you can still buy your fresh saltwater fish here every morning from Wednesday to Saturday.

Cityhall and the Basilica of the Holy Blood

Let’s enter the centre of Bruges through the ‘Blinde Ezel Straat’ onto the ‘burg’ square. This isn’t the main square yet, but the view of the city hall and surrounding buildings sure show the richness of Bruges in the 14th century. Bruges’ city administration still occupies the Gothic Town Hall these days.

When you face the city hall, you’ll find a quirky looking building in the right corner of the square. This small basilica claims to have the blood of Jesus Christ and holds an annual parade through the city to worship it. You can visit and see the relic for yourself in exchange for a small donation. Again, always remember to dress appropriately, keep your silence and not take pictures.

The narrow street Blinde Ezel Straat which leads to Bruges City hall
Walking the bruges street on route to the main square and bruges center

De Garre

Before we head on to the main square, it’s time for a quick rest with a beer in De Garre. This tiny traditional pub has three storeys, is filled with locals and tourists and is hidden away in one of the back alleys. Named after its beer, you have to try a Garre, one of my favourite beers in Belgium. Be careful though, it’s a strong one!

Main Square and Belfort

You have made it to the heart of Bruges, what we call the ‘Grote Markt’. The tower soaring up into the sky is called the Belfort (Belfry) which formerly housed a treasury and the municipal archives. It also served as an observation post for spotting fires and other dangers. During the Middle Ages, many cities competed with each other by building the highest tower, so you’ll find these all over Belgium.

If you are into beer tastings and want to enjoy a lovely view over the main square head to Historium Brugge. In the pub on the second floor, you’ll get to enjoy great balcony views with a mix of Belgium’s best beers in small tasting glasses (also accompanied with chocolate!). While in this building you can also register for a virtual tour, to witness Bruges in its high time during the Middle Ages.


One for those who enjoy some shopping! This street has all the main shops, but do wander off and enjoy the boutique shops in the alleyways as well! I usually make my way back to the station through this street and another large square called t’Zand.


At the end of this street, you’ll find a place called the Beer Wall. This pub features a window display with most Belgian beers. I say ‘most’ as no one knows exactly how many beers there are in total. Especially as breweries are still inventing new, local beers every day. In the pub, you’ll have the opportunity to do some more beer tasting as well.

Getting to Bruges

By Car

Getting to Bruges by car is quite easy. Bruges is about 30 minutes from Ghent and an hour from Brussels if traffic is alright. Car park nearest to the city centre is by ‘t Zand or the train station.

By Train

Belgium has excellent rail service and it takes only an hour to get to Bruges from Brussels. Tickets start at €6.60 if you’re under 26 and €12 if older.

One of the many Bruges chocolate shops which are a must visit during a short break in Bruges

Thanks For Reading

Thank you for reading our blog post, we hope it gave you that little motivation to book your next adventure!

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