Bruges is one of the most beautiful cities in northern Europe. Considered by many as a “fairy tale city”, it’s a beautiful place with amazing buildings, a nice canal, some interesting cathedrals and a few museums worth visiting.
Since it’s a small place, we personally recommend this Flemish city for a weekend trip. Our visit to Bruges lasted only two days but it was enough to visit the most important landmarks and enjoy everything the city had to show.
The Belfry is, of course, a must-see. We went up all the long stairs to the top, and we recommend to be in good shape if you are planning to do it. There are many steps, and the spiral staircase is very narrow. Every now and then we crossed people that were coming down and had to find a proper step to stop for them to pass.
We had a fun time at the fried potato museum. Though Flemish cities don’t seem to consider themselves a real part of Belgium (we didn’t find any street signs in French in Bruges, and it was easier to communicate with the locals in English), they are, nonetheless, in the part of the world were fried potatoes were born. The museum tells you the history of the consumption of potatoes in Europe, all the way to the modern era. It has a small restaurant in the basement, and we went there to have some fries. If you have time for another funny museum, there’s one about chocolate where, of course, you’ll learn the history of Praliné.
The Groeninge museum was good, though if you are used to some of the huge museums you can find in Europe (Louvre, British, Prado…) you’ll see that this one is clearly much smaller. That being said, I’d recommend saving one hour for this visit, it’s worth it.
Though there are many churches and cathedrals in Bruges, you can just mark them in your city map (we strongly recommend getting one in paper, it makes the visit much easier) and make a route through them. You can visit the most important ones in one morning.
Also, another great way to visit the top touristic attractions is jumping in one of the little boat routes around the canals, with a nice guide who will tell you everything you want to learn about the city, while you travel through its waters.
Regarding the gastronomy, we enjoyed some mussels, of course, because that’s what you are supposed to eat when you are in Bruges. During the weekend we also had some waffles (you can buy them pretty much in every corner) and bought a little bit of praliné.
Finally, either before or after your weekend trip to Bruges, don’t forget to watch the black comedy “In Bruges”. It’s a very good movie, and you’ll love recognizing all the landmarks.