Have 48 hours in Bruges to explore? A real-life vision of chocolate-box loveliness, the idyllic fairytale city of Bruges is the perfect place to retreat back in time and escape the Rat Race for a couple of days.
Think: languid days spent admiring medieval buildings and strolling pretty canals, topped off with copious amounts of super-fine chocolate and beer.
How to Spend 48 Hours in Bruges
Travel Back in Time in the Old Town
Once you’ve settled into your room at the canalside Hotel Ter Brughe, don a pair of comfy shoes and hit the old-town’s visceral cobblestone streets. The city’s stately main square, Markt, is at the heart of things, throwing more perfectly preserved 17th-century guildhalls and pretty gables at your smartphone lens than it can handle, then whacking in the odd horse and trap, just for good measure. Prep your Insta account in advance.
Channel Your Inner Colin Farrell
Aided by its key role in the pant-wettingly funny 2008 Colin Farrell film, In Bruges, the landmark 13th-century Belfort bell tower is arguably Bruges’ most recognisable building. Standing a good 270ft, it offers truly epic views across the city – and you’ll only have to tackle 366 steps to get up there and see them..
Become a Beer Connoisseur
With Belgian beer widely considered some the finest on the continent, an evening of ale tasting is definitely on the cards. Start your session of well-intentioned research off by ordering a small glass of regional favourite, Brugge Zot, in the city’s oldest pub, Herberg Vlissinghe on Blekersstraat.
Once you’ve got your tastebuds flaring, stroll over to Carmersstraat and watch the sun go down at De Windmollen, a jovial tavern flanked by lovely twee windmills. After that, Bruges is your oyster…
Enjoy a Scenic Morning Stroll
A stroll along one of the city’s many picturesque canals is a mighty fine way to clear your head the morning after the night before. Be warned – you’ll be stopping every two-hundred metres to pap dinky drawbridges, adorable almshouses, and button-cute windmills so make sure your phone is fully charged. When you’re all done, reflect wrly on why locals tend to refer to Venice as ‘The Bruges of the South’.
Visit the Groeningemuseum
Boasting the greatest collection of Flemish grand masters anywhere on the planet, the Groeningemuseum’ galleries are hallowed ground indeed. As you marvel open-mouthed at the sheer degree of genius on show, be sure to give a nod to the works of renowned Dutch painter Jan van Eyck. He was said to have invented oil painting while based in Bruges.
Go on a Chocolate Shop Crawl
With something like 60 chocolate shops in Bruges, you’ll need to be a bit tactical about where and when you take on this ‘challenge’. Bear in mind that most of the high-quality chocolatiers, i.e. those showing a “hand made” sign in the window, are in and around the old town so – as long as you’re relatively sensible – you should be able to waddle from one to another to another at a manageable pace.