10 Things to Do in Bruges, Belgium to Make You Love It Even More

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Bruges, Belgium the "Venice of the North," is home to less inhabitants than tourists! That's not to say that there isn't anything to do, in fact it's quite the opposite. There's a reason that travelers from all over the world flock here. Its beauty, food, and culture is worth the trip. Let's not forget the Belgium beers either!

Here's 10 places to go, foods to eat, and things to do in Bruges!

 1. Fries
The French invented fries right? Wrong. Belgium takes the prize on this one. Story also has it that a serving of their freshly cut fries are equal in fat to a serving of eggs. I'm not sure of the truth in that but I used it as my excuse to divulge anyway. In Bruges you'll want to hit up Frituur de Gentpoorte THEY ARE TO DIE FOR.

2. Romantic Walks
Bruges is known for its romance, in fact there are designated "kissing spots" along the Groenerei Canal. Steer clear of the tour guides and large groups and you're golden. If you're not into the cheesy romantic stuff, there is a new designated area on Bonifatius Bridge to flash people and photobomb any lovey-dovey pictures. Gotta love Europe!

3. Markets
Here at The Markt of Bruges (no I did not spell it wrong), you have entered a tourist trap. HOWEVER, if you go on Wednesday morning there is a large, authentic market with several vendors. You can pick up local produce, cheese, pastries, meats, anything! If you miss the market, just post up at one of these restaurants for a beer and people watch. You're right in the heart of Bruges!

4. Beer
Belgium is known for its crisp, high-alcoholic beers. You won't find a bad beer, so make sure you find a good atmosphere. The coolest pub I've ever been to is in Bruges, called 'T Poatersgat. It's an underground bar with nearly 300 Belgium beers. As you walk by you'll see (if your lucky) what looks like a door to a basement. If you squat down you'll realize it is a huge pub! We ended up here for about 6 hours...

5. Religion
If you are religious and love history, the Church of Our Lady is a necessary stop. It holds one of the most famous pieces of art of Roman Catholicism. The Madonna and Child sculpture, made by Michelangelo, lies within these 13th century walls. If you've seen the movie "The Monuments Men," you'll know that this is the sacred art that was once stolen by the Nazis.  

6. Art
I'm not a big fan of museums, but this is extremely different than most. It is very simple, quiet, and small. Inside are six centuries worth of famous Belgian and Flemish paintings. Being that it rains in Bruges a lot, you will need some things to do indoors anyway. You're able to get close to the paintings and there are enough to see for at least two hours. Although it's small it is packed with art.

7. Shopping
Hundreds of stores line Steenstraat and Zuidandstraat streets. Some are luxurious while others are for the Zara shopper like myself. You'll find that it is packed with UK shoppers snagging the euro-priced clothing. If you'd rather not fork out the cash, a little window shopping never hurt!

8. Belgian Waffles
I'm salivating thinking about it. There is no bad place to go in Bruges for a waffle. There are street vendors, shops, and restaurants, all cooking-up yummy Belgian waffles. The traditional waffle is plain, you'll find that most locals won't top it with anything. I, however, will take it to any and all levels of delicious toppings. 

9. Photo Op
You have to have that "Hey I've been to Bruges," photo. Anywhere along the canal makes for a great photo op. I experienced nothing but rain and still came out with great photos. The colorful architecture in Bruges really makes for awesome shots! Don't be shy about asking for pictures from strangers either, because they most likely want one too.

10. History
You have the opportunity to climb 366 steps to the top of the Belfry Bell Tower. It's a historical monument that has been in the town square since 1240. You won't find another view of Bruges like this one! The bells were once a use of time for schools, work, alarms, etc., but now just go off hourly. Make sure to climb it when the bells go off so you can see them move!

If you are looking for other activities to do, places to dine, or pubs to frequent make sure to use a good guide. We followed Use-It, a company known to give strictly locals' perspectives and recommendations. Find their Bruges map here.

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