The past year has been devastating for the cities tourist and travel trade, but there is a silver lining. As a local, you may have put off visiting Bruges for years for fear of crowds and queues. However, there may be no better time to visit Bruges than this summer. A reduction in tourists means that local people can explore Bruges without fighting through the crowds of people and long queues for entry to attractions and restaurants. Plan your summer staycation in the heritage city of Bruges, making sure to add some of our highlights to your to-do list.
It’s a perfect time to enjoy the tourist highlights of the city, like boat trips and carriage rides, without the urgency and long queues that are usual in the summer months. Spend some time in the main square, The Markt of Bruges admiring the perfectly preserved architecture, the 12th-century belfry and the West Flanders Provincial Court. Make the most of the quiet and avoid the usual hour-long wait to climb the 366 steps up to the top of the tower for the best view of Bruges.
The top of your list should be the newly renovated Gruuthuse Museum. One of the most beautiful buildings in Bruges, the Museum’s intricate stonework and original features are an attraction for lovers of traditional architecture. After a five-year regeneration project, the interior of the museum is now the star of the show. You’ll find a stunning multi-coloured Neolithic ceiling, impressive ornamental tiles and the most beautiful stained glass windows that will stay with you long after you’ve left.
Make time to visit The Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heilig-Bloedbasiliek) located in Burg Square. This intricately decorated church is famous for the crystal vial kept inside that reputedly contains a drop of Christ’s blood, brought back from the Holy Land in 1149.
It would be a shame to visit Bruges and miss out on choco-story. Visit the Chocolate Museum to be immersed in the history and processes of one of Belgium’s biggest exports. You can learn more about the production of chocolate and witness how it transforms from a humble cocoa bean into the delicious treat we all love. It’s perfect for families or groups of friends and best of all, you can sample some of Bruges finest on your visit.
Dining in Bruges without a reservation can often result in a long wait and tables stuffed into tight corners. This summer you’ll have your pick of the fantastic bars, cafes and restaurants dotted along our cobbled streets.
A staff favourite in the city centre is the restaurant 't Zwart Huis which not only serves delicious food but has a host of live music to keep you entertained while you dine.
If you’re a fan of gourmet fine dining, Auberge De Herborist is an excellent choice. Chef Alex Hanbuckers creates mini masterpieces in this Michelin-starred restaurant and always has a wine pairing to match each of their perfectly prepared plates.
You would not travel to France and avoid the patisserie, so while in Bruges make sure to spend some time sampling the finest Belgian beer. There are many types of bars, pubs and taverns to choose from, each offering something a little unique and all serving the best beer in the world.