I know, we couldn’t be more “American” seeing a great European city in day, but that’s what we did in Brugge. Let’s face it–we don’t get too much time away from work and when we travel across the world, we want to see as much as we can! Micah and I were in the EU for 16 days, a few of which we spent in Brussels. While in Brussels, we took the train to Brugge for a day and loved every minute of it! It is a breathtaking medieval city packed with history. We both vowed that next time, we would spend more time in Brugge to really digest it all, the European way. But, if you find yourself with just a short time like us, you can still enjoy this beautiful city. Here is our quick guide to Brugge in a day!
We had googled Brugge prior to visiting so we knew what to expect, but we went in the wrong direction when exiting the train station and felt like lost little tourists asking for directions (we didn’t even really know where we needed directions to). However, we quickly realized we needed to go to the other side of the train station and past a brick wall to get to the historic city center.
Brugge is known as “the Venice of the North” because of its canal, and you can take a great little boat tour to see it. We did this first and it was the perfect way to pick out what else we wanted to do that day. The tour guides speak both French and English. You will feel a little like you are on a ride at Disneyland, but it’s all real stuff you are seeing and you get a bit of a history lesson at the same time.
Of course, Belgium is also known for its beer. While we were on our boat tour, we could smell the hops in the air, and the tour guide mentioned that the smell was coming from one of the oldest breweries around–the Halve Maan (or Half Man) brewery–which dates back to 1564. They do tours starting every 30 minutes or so, so we decided to take one and it did not disappoint. We got a history lesson, a brewing lesson, and a great view of Brugge from the top of the building. And, of course, we had a beer in the courtyard after.
Eat some fries, waffles, and chocolate:
Yes, I know, not the healthiest of items, but Belgium is world-renowned for its fries, waffles, and chocolate. With so many chocolate shops lining the streets, believe me, I wanted to go in all of them! I felt like I was at Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. However, after going in a few, I quickly got my fill. The fries and waffles are perfect to get on-the-go to snack on while you walk around the city.
Check out the “Oude Steen” or “Old Stone” Torture Museum:
We stumbled upon this place after leaving the brewery. It’s located in one of Europe’s oldest prisons. It houses a gruesome collection of medieval torture equipment and displays about the practice, including mannequins, of course. We were both intrigued and mortified at the same time. I think it was the first time we actually read all the placards in a museum.
While there are also tons of cathedrals, museums, and even the blood of Christ to see in Brugge, we wanted to spend our day focused on soaking in the city itself. And let’s face it, eating, drinking, and looking at the stuff that inspired Game of Thrones is a little more our style.
If you have gone to Brugge and have a cool experience, please share! We would love to know for our next trip back!