Panoramic view of the historic city center of Bruges

Itineraries for Your Trip to Bruges

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1 Day in Bruges for First Timers

Curated by Margot BiggMargot Bigg is a journalist who has lived in the UK, the US, France, and India. She’s the author of Moon Living Abroad in India and Moon Taj Mahal, Delhi & Jaipur and a co-author of Fodor's Essential India and Fodor's Pacific Northwest. Her stories have appeared in Rolling Stone India, National Geographic Traveler, Sunset, and VICE.

One of Belgium's most popular tourist attractions, the medieval city of Bruges is compact enough that even travelers without a lot of time can cover a lot of ground. Here's how to make the most of one day in Bruges. 


Spend this morning familiarizing yourself with Bruges, beginning in its medieval town center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Start in the Markt, the main square that’s home to landmarks such as the Belfort belfry and the Provinciaal Hof. From here, head over to Burg Square with its Gothic City Hall (Stadhuis) and the 12th-century Basilica of the Holy Blood. Then make your way over to the Beguinage, one of the city's most popular attractions, which served as an abode for Beguines, Christian laypeople who lived semimonastically from the 13th through 16th century. Today this beautiful white complex houses a fascinating history museum and a number of traditional crafts workshops.


Head back towards the city center for lunch (if the weather is nice, there are plenty of terraces to dine on at the Markt). Just make sure to save some room for an afternoon of beer and chocolate, which, along with fries and waffles, are Belgium’s best-known culinary treats. Start with a visit to Choco-Story, the city's chocolate museum, where you can learn about the history of chocolate making and sample plenty of sweet delights; you can even sign up to learn how to make chocolate yourself. From here, head over to the Bruges Beer Experience, an interactive beer museum with its own 16-tap bar.


Though Bruges is a quieter town and not particularly known for its nightlife, there are plenty of lovely restaurants serving up hearty Flemish and international fare as well as pubs galore. Your best option is to grab dinner and then head out to one of the many brasseries and bars to sip popular Belgian brews such as tripels, lambics, and dubbels. Finish your time in Bruge with a stroll through the old city, which looks particularly enchanting when it’s softly illuminated at night.

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