A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Belgium, Bruges is amongst those places in the world that are soul soother. Located in West Flanders, it is also touted as one of the most well-preserved medieval towns in Europe.

Steeped in culture and boasting a marvelous architectural beauty, Bruges is a town that seems straight out of a fairy tale. The medieval touch adds up to its majestic beauty. So, while wandering around the beaut town of Bruges, be prepared to traverse back in time to witness an old-school charm.

In case you are still wondering, there are plenty of things to do that city offers to have the best of your time in Bruges. So, here is an ultimate 1-day Bruges itinerary that covers the best of the city to give you an indelible holiday time in Bruges.

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The Ultimate Bruges Itinerary – A Day in Bruges

  • Where to Stay in Bruges
  • Best Time to Visit Bruges
  • Is One Day in Bruges Enough?
  • Start Off the Day With Lake Minnewaterpark
  • Visit Saint John’s Hospital – Sint-Janshospitaal
  • Go For a Canal Tour to Explore Bruges From a Different Perspective
  • Visit the Church of Our Lady
  • Experience a Medieval World Charm at Markt Square
  • Visit Belfry Tower
  • Enjoy a Delectable Lunch and Some Beer at a Bruges Brewery
  • Sample Some Belgian Chocolate
  • Explore the Burg Square
  • Visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood
  • Sign Off the Tour at Le Trappiste
  • Before you leave for Bruges

Planning your trip to Bruges

Best Time to Visit Bruges

The city of Bruges is located on the northern coast of Belgium, and hence, the weather doesn’t get extreme here. This makes Bruges an all-year-round destination. However, the best time to plan a Bruges tour is the months from April to May. This is the time when the city witnesses the perfect climate conditions making it easy to explore Bruges.

The warmest months in Bruges are June – August. During this time, you might struggle with the heat as compared to the rest of the year. Winter in Bruges is extremely cold, and the temperature even drops down to 1°C, especially at night. Sunshine is very rare during this time of the year.

If you prefer warmer weather with considerable sunshine, then it’d be ideal to look for a Bruges one-day itinerary for the months between June and August. The average temperature during this time remains around 18°C, and the highest recorded is 21°C.

Is One Day in Bruges Enough?

If you are skeptical about planning a one-day trip to Bruges, well, don’t be! 1 day in Bruges is absolutely enough to explore the best of what this beautiful city offers. Bruges is a small city which makes it easy to explore.

Besides, all the main attractions are located at a distance of a few minutes from each other. Therefore, you are likely to see everything in a day itself. For a fact, some tourists even cover Bruges and Ghent in one day.

However, that doesn’t at all signify that Bruges is just a one-day destination. We would recommend you spend a few days if your travel schedule allows it. If your Belgium schedule is packed and you can only spend a day in Bruges, this itinerary will help you make the most out of your Bruges trip.

Start Off the Day With Lake Minnewaterpark

Bruges is a beautiful city dotted with green spaces and gorgeous medieval sculptures. Lake Minnewaterpark is one of those mesmerizing places which you can’t afford to miss out on a tour of spending a day in Bruges.

Also touted as the “lake of love”, Lake Minnerwaterpark is a serene green space ideal for taking a stroll and soaking in the gorgeous beauty. There is a legend associated with this place that says that there was a man, Stomberg, who loved a girl, Minna.

However, her father did not approve of their love, and hence, the girl escaped to the lakes and the forest. Tragically, the girl died here in the arms of her Stromberg. Hence, the lake is the epitome of love.

There is even a bridge at the centre of the park which also testifies to the undying love, where you can also capture the sight of beautiful swans. So, spend an hour exploring this place and go ahead to the downtown city.

Visit Saint John’s Hospital – Sint-Janshospitaal

One of the historical hospitals in Europe, Saint John’s Hospital can be explained as the perfect example of the Middle Ages. The hospital traces its history to the 11th century and now operates as a museum for visitors. Not only this, it is one of the most beautiful buildings of its kind as it is located on the riverside.

The museum displays a wide range of exhibits that talk about medical history in general. Once this hospital also served as a shelter for those in need by meeting the medical needs of locals and travellers.

On display, there are also various paintings depicting medical history. Whereas, in the main hall, you can see the various architectural elements. On the display of Saint John’s Hospital, there are also works of one of the first-period Flemish painters who gain popularity around Gent and Bruges.

Go For a Canal Tour to Explore Bruges From a Different Perspective

It is the best way to explore and experience the city of Bruges. The boat ride along the canals of Bruges is nothing short of a surreal experience. In case you are wondering about it, a boat trip along the Bruges canals neither takes too much of your time nor impacts your budget.

There are different stops around the city where you can join the boat tour. On tour, you will be accompanied by an English guide. The canals connect the city to the North Sea and play a crucial part in Bruges’ rich historical past.

This is also a must-visit place for those who want to click some amazing shots for Instagram. So, if you are a shutterbug, you can’t afford to miss this experience.

Visit the Church of Our Lady

After the boat tour, head to the iconic site of the Church of Our Lady. It is known for its stunning architecture, which also includes a 112-meter high spire. It is one of the tallest spires in the country.

Apart from the marvelous architecture, the Church of Our Lady is also known for its rich history which dates back to 1230. Not only this, the church is also known for being different treasures, including Michaelangelo’s Virgin and Child.

It is another beautiful sculpture erected at the end of the south aisle altar. Within the church’s vicinity, there are many more beautiful pieces that add up to the beauty of this sacred site

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Experience a Medieval World Charm at Markt Square

Markt Square is probably the most popular public square in Bruges. It can also be touted as the picture-perfect postcard place where you can relish a different experience altogether.

Operating since 958 AD, Markt Square is dotted with gingerbread houses that boast beautiful Flemish architecture. These houses are adorned with gold and green decorations that add up to the charm of this place.

Apart from a majestic setup, the market is also known to host different shops selling goods and delicacies. There are also plenty of shops selling flowers that are locally sourced. Along with that, you can also get good restaurant options to enjoy some delectable food. You can take some amazing pictures at different spots and relish a vintage charm.

Visit Belfry Tower

Belfry Tower is another iconic attraction in Bruges that can’t be missed. Beautifully standing at Markt Square, Belfry Tower is an 83 metres high bell tower. It has a rich historical past that goes back 800 years ago.

Belfries are basically the structure that surrounds bells as a part of the tower of city hall. In the middle ages, the Belfry Tower played a crucial role in guarding and alerting of fire and different calamities.

From the tower, you can enjoy picturesque views of the surrounding. Being an architectural marvel, the Belfry Tower is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999.

If you are planning to include this attraction on your Bruges Day trip itinerary, then make sure that Belfry Tower operates from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm, and the ticket price is somewhere around €12.

Enjoy a Delectable Lunch and Some Beer at a Bruges Brewery

It’s time to take some rest and enjoy a delectable lunch while being at your next site, the Halve Maan. It is one of the renowned breweries in the city, offering a good menu for lunch.

However, the lunch timings begin at 3:30 pm, and the menu includes options like salads, soups, and more delectable delicacies. The best way to enjoy a meal at this place is with a beer. You can also find a few good beer options.

Post lunch, you can also take a tour of the brewery which would cost you somewhere around €10, where you will be served another glass of beer.

Sample Some Belgian Chocolate

Your trip to Bruges is even completed without a Belgian chocolate tour? No, right? After all, Belgian chocolate is love. Chocolate tasting is a popular activity in Bruges. Particularly known for the creamy chocolate flavours, Belgian chocolates are arguably the best in the world.

Many tourists plan a trip to Belgium just to try their palates on delectable local chocolates. Throughout the city, there are plenty of chocolate shops where you can go for a chocolate tour in Bruges.

Explore the Burg Square

Visiting Burg Square is one of the top things to do in Bruges. Situated in the heart of the city, Burg Square is one of the oldest squares in the city, with its history dating back to the 9th century.

Not only this, it is also said to be one of the earliest inhabited places in the city, dating back to the 2nd or 3rd centuries. As a tourist, you will find it as another postcard place with good sightseeing opportunities.

In the region, there are some popular tourist sites such as the Bruges City Hall, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and the Old Civil Registry. Being the second biggest square in Bruges, it is a great place to soak in the atmosphere of this historic attraction.

Visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood

Located at Burg Square, the Basilica of the Holy Blood is a religious gem in Bruges. Besides, it is also a popular tourist site in the city that is known to house a relic of the Holy Blood. It is said that the relic was collected by Joseph of Arimathea. It was the Count of Flanders, Thierry of Alsace, who brought back the relic from the holy land.

Tracing its history from the 12th century, The basilica was built as a chapel of the Count of Flanders. However, in 1923, it was promoted from a chapel to a minor basilica.

It includes a lower and an upper chapel, where the lower chapel is dedicated to St. Basil the Great. The lower chapel houses a dark Romanesque structure that is virtually intact. On the other hand, the upper chapel has the venerated Passion relic that boasts a stunning Gothic style architecture from the 16th century.

Sign Off the Tour at Le Trappiste

It’s time to sum up the one-day Bruges tour, and there couldn’t be a better place than Le Trappiste to do so. Wondering why? Well, it is a unique bar cum cellar that dates back to the 13th century.

Many would argue on the fact that it is a must-visit place on tour, but it’s the aesthetics and the history of this place that make it a must-visit. While you are here, try their range of beers. For a fact, they serve more than 100 beers from across Europe.

It is one of those places where you will also find rare offerings. For non-beer drinkers, the place also serves ciders and plenty of Belgian specialties.

Before You Leave for Bruges

Before you set off on your way to Bruges, there are a number of things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. These include what to pack, where to stay and what is the best insurance for your trip to Belgium. All of this is discussed in detail below.

How to Get to Bruges

To get to Bruges from Brussels, you can take a train or a bus. The train is generally the fastest and most convenient option, with direct trains departing regularly from Brussels Midi Station and arriving at Bruges Station in about one hour. You can purchase your train tickets online or at the station, and it’s recommended to book in advance to secure a seat and get better rates. Another option is to take a bus, which takes around 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the traffic. The bus leaves from Brussels North Station and stops at several points in Bruges. You can purchase your bus tickets online or at the station, but keep in mind that the schedules may vary depending on the day of the week and the time of year. Overall, both options are reliable and comfortable, and it’s up to you to decide which one suits your preferences and schedule better.


What to Pack for Your Trip to Belgium

Belgium is a country with a temperate climate, so it’s best to pack clothes suitable for both warm and cool weather. Depending on the season, you may need to pack a waterproof jacket and comfortable walking shoes. For the summer months, pack lightweight clothing, sunscreen, and a hat. If you plan on visiting religious sites or formal events, bring modest clothing. Belgium is famous for its chocolate and beer, so you may want to leave some extra space in your luggage for souvenirs or gifts. Additionally, be sure to pack any necessary medication and your travel documents, including your passport and visa if required.

For our full list of items that we pack no matter where we go in the world, check out our full packing guides over here.

Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around the Edinburgh, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.

You can read what else we keep in our camera bag over here.

Photography Equipment

What is the Best Travel Insurance for Belgium

I know travel insurance is the least enjoyable thing to purchase and look at when you’re planning a trip, however, you wouldn’t want to be without it in the event that something happened. Accidents can happen anywhere and the extortionate medical bills will ruin your trip if you are not covered.

To ensure you have a stress-free trip with no worries about potential medical bills, make sure you cover yourself when you travel. We can recommend using SafetyWing, a backpacker-friendly and cheap insurance company that provides good coverage and support. It is also nomad-friendly, unlike most other insurance companies, meaning you do not need to worry about being out of your home country for too long.

Get a quote for your travel insurance right here and get covered!

So there you have it, your ultimate Bruges Itinerary to spend a day in Bruges. If you are visiting this incredible city and have any other questions on what to expect, leave us a comment down below. We love to chat about this stuff! If you have already been, let us know how it was! Let us know in the comments below!

Also, remember to share this with your friends and family that you are going to share this amazing experience with. Sharing is caring and we want to ensure that everyone is fully prepared to maximise their experience completing this stunning walk.

If you are planning a Belgium trip soon then check out our other Belgium content right here. Come and find us on social media to see where we are currently exploring. Tag us in your photos from your stay and we will share them with the rest of our community of explorers and backpackers.

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