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Here are the best places to visit in Bruges, Belgium – particularly to take beautiful photos. If you’re looking for the most Instagrammable locations in Bruges, keep scrolling.
I’ve been to Bruges twice now – once on a day trip from Brussels and then for a two-night stay in 2019. I think it’s a beautiful city filled with historic sites, amazing architecture and an incredible food scene. As I walked around Bruges on my most recent trip (on a gorgeously sunny autumn day no less), I realised that there were amazing photo spots everywhere I went. So I thought I’d compile them into this list of the best places to visit in Bruges. If you’ve ever wondered what to do in Bruges, you’re in the right place.
Here’s my guide to the best things to do in Brussels
Bruges travel tips
How to get to Bruges
The best way to get to Bruges from Brussels is by train, which is what I did in 2017. I just rocked up to the main train station and easily purchased a ticket from the machine. Trains to Bruges run very frequently and usually take an hour. Then last year, I got a FlixBus from London to Bruges. I didn’t realise this was a route, but it is and it’s a lot more cost-effective than getting the Eurostar to Brussels. The bus went on/in the Eurotunnel, which was an experience in itself.
Although there’s a small airport near Bruges, it would be easier and cheaper to fly into Brussels and then get the train or a shuttle bus to Bruges. Check out Skyscanner for the best flight deals. Finally, there are organised day tours available to Bruges from three big cities: Brussels, Paris and Amsterdam. Hence there are lots of ways to get to Bruges, so you have no excuse not to visit!
How to get around Bruges
Bruges does have a public transport bus network. However, it’s a very compact city, so the easiest way to get around Bruges is to walk. As a solo traveller, I also wanted to point out that Bruges is a very safe city to visit alone. With so many people everywhere, I never felt worried about my safety.
Where to stay in Bruges
I stayed in a four-bed female dorm room at Lybeer Hostel Bruges. It was in a great location just off the main shopping street, with a bar, comfortable beds and modern rooms. But let me tell you about my dorm mate, who was probably in her 60s and decided to pack her suitcase extremely noisily at 11 pm while having a conversation with another person in the room. I was like 😤. But anyway, the hostel was great, just not my dorm mates 🤣.
Find Lybeer Hostel on Hostelworld and Booking.com
Check out my hostelling tips for fellow solo travellers
Top 10 places to visit in Bruges
Ok, I have to admit that a lot of these spots are random places to visit in Bruges. But, as the photos show, they’re all very picturesque locations. I also included links so you can find them easily on Google Maps and I tried to place them in some sort of order 😆. You could easily visit all of these locations with only one day or 24 hours in Bruges as well. Let’s dive in!
First things first, start your time in Bruges at the central Markt, or The Market Square. It’s one of my favourite places to visit in Bruges as it’s where you’ll find these colourful buildings, as well as the Belfry of Bruges (which you can climb) and the Provincial Hall. However, keep in mind that it is the city’s main square so it’s a bustling place, no matter when you visit.
I discovered this place while doing some Pinterest research and I am so glad I checked it out. Rozenhoedkaai is one of the top places to visit in Bruges, thanks to this famous vista that looks towards several historical landmarks. It’s also where you can start a Bruges canal tour.
3. Gruuthuse Hof
Gruuthuse Hof is actually a restaurant – with stellar Google reviews I might add. However, I went there to take photos and not to eat, as it photogenically sits in the fork between two roads. This is one of those places to visit in Bruges as early as possible, as it’s impossible to get a photo without people in the middle of the day. I tried but honestly gave up waiting for a clear view!
4. Church of Our Lady Bruges
Next stop: Church of Our Lady Bruges, which is another one of the top Bruges attractions. It’s conveniently located close to Gruuthuse Hof and on a canal. I didn’t go inside but instead took exterior shots of the church and Bonifacius Bridge. For the second photo, I crossed the bridge and headed left. According to my old friend Google Maps, this is a 16th-century townhouse and elegant B&B.
5. Beguinage of Bruges
Officially known as the Princely Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was founded in 1245. It was once home to beguines – women who led a religious and celibate life – but today the white houses are inhabited by Benedictine nuns. It’s also one of the top things to do in Bruges, as visitors can go inside to see what day-to-day life would have looked like in the 17th century. As you can see, its garden looks particularly beautiful in autumn.
While you’re in the area, head towards the canal to take photos like the image below. If these photos haven’t yet convinced you to visit Bruges in autumn, keep scrolling 😉.
If you need to take some time to chill and get away from the manic crowds, this is one of the top places to visit in Bruges. Minnewater (also known as the Lake of Love) is a small rectangular lake next to Minnewaterpark. I personally didn’t think the park was that captivating, but there were plenty of benches for relaxing in the sunshine.
Steenstraat is one of Bruges’ main shopping streets. It’s home to big names like H&M, Zara and HEMA if you want to do a spot of shopping in Bruges. But I also find the view looking towards Markt and the Belfry of Bruges to be quite eye-catching, don’t you? Can we also take a moment to take in the number of people in this one photo? I tell you guys, Bruges is a popular place.
As you can tell from the below photos, these were captured on my second day in Bruges, when the sun didn’t come out from behind the clouds. I headed back towards Rozenhoedkaai and followed the canal east to Groenerei. I took these photos around Meestraat and they’re definitely some of my favourites – so pretty and autumnal 🍂.
9. Canal Spiegelrei
As I walked between Groenerei and the next stop on this list of cool places to visit in Bruges, I past Canal Spiegelrei. Um, hello perfect photo opportunity! I stood there for too long though as I had two different groups of people ask me to take photos for them 😂. But I get why – what a beautiful view of Bruges, right?
This is 100% a random addition to this list that I found through Pinterest research once again. But Gouden-Handrei is another picturesque spot on the Bruges canals, which looks even better in autumn.
My top picks for the best places to eat in Bruges
I thought it would be rude to not include a few foodie recommendations as well. But no visit to Bruges is complete without sampling each of the three main food groups in Belgium: chocolate, waffles and fries 😉.
1. Gelateria Da Vinci
If you happen to visit Bruges on a warm day, head to Gelateria Da Vinci. Their ice creams are inexpensive and they have a large range of flavours.
2. The Old Chocolate House
I visited The Old Chocolate House on both my visits to Bruges. At the bottom is a chocolate shop, but head upstairs to their cosy tearoom. They’re well-known for their extensive list of hot chocolates that are served in the biggest mugs/bowls you’ve ever seen. This time I went for caramel hot chocolate with a waffle for breakfast. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s a novelty Bruges experience. I also wanted to make a note that they accept cash only.
I headed to Bocca because I was only after a small dinner after eating too many treats during the day. It’s a pasta bar where you choose your pasta, sauce and topping and it’s made to order. The meals at Bocca start from a very reasonable €5.
4. The Potato Bar
This was a local recommendation and it was very busy on the weekend. Its menu includes fries with extravagant toppings, croquettes, burgers and more. The Potato Bar also has an extensive drinks menu with plenty of Belgian beer options.
5. I Love Waffles
We visited I Love Waffles in 2017 and it’s another novelty experience in Bruges. Once you choose a waffle, they have a toppings station where you can choose whatever toppings you want – chocolate chips, sprinkles, crushed nuts, etc.
For more restaurant recommendations, check out this informative guide by Mr and Mrs Romance.
As you can see, there are so many places to visit in Bruges to take pretty photos.
It’s one of the most photogenic cities in Europe (in my opinion, anyway) – I didn’t put my camera down. If you’re looking for other European city guides, check out my archive. There are posts on the cheapest cities in Europe, travelling alone in Europe and my Europe packing list.
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