Visit Brugge: 5 Magical Things to Experience in Bruges, Belgium

Is it Brugge, or is it Bruges?

As we welcome our new phase of life as empty nesters, we discovered “Emptynestcations” are a thing… and we’re enthusiastically on board! We recently traveled to Belgium and visited Brussels then took a train to Brugge. Brugge is a beautiful historic city that is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, often referred to as the “Venice of the North.”. The city is a definite gem, and it’s nestled in the Flanders region of Belgium.

When we first planned my trip to the medieval city of Brugge, I was a bit confused. Planning was a bit harder than normal – the city was referred to differently on different websites.

things to do in Bruges (Brugge) in Belgium

It turns out that “Bruges” is both the English and French spelling, and “Brugge” is the Flemish spelling (Flemish is apparently close to Dutch).

Belgium is a trilingual country with French, Flemish, and Dutch-speaking regions. It’s also sprinkled with German-speaking areas, too. When visiting, you’ll often see the spelling of the city fluctuate based on the heritage of the owner, or the area of town. For this overview, I’ve chosen to go with the Flemish spelling: Brugge.

Brugge is a relatively small city, has a medieval town center that is surrounded by picturesque canals. They were used for protection and transportation, and now they’re used almost exclusively as a calming backdrop. The city is entirely walkable and easy to get around.

Here are five reasons to visit Brugge now:

1. Brugge Canals and the Lake of Love

Brugge is famous for its network of canals that crisscross the city, and we loved exploring the unique and picturesque old cobbeled streets. Each canal is flanked by medieval buildings, churches and architecture and you can get lost in the history.

Bruges / Brugge Canals

Visitors are able to take boat tours and explore Brugge from the water, to get the perspective of this magical city from the canals.

the Lake of Love in Bruges, Belgium

2. Incredible Medieval Architecture

Some of the best-preserved medieval buildings in Europe, including Gothic-style churches, market squares, and residential houses can be found in Brugge. The city has some of the best-preserved exteriors we’ve seen anywhere. The whole city is majestic and magical because it looks like it was pulled directly from a storybook.

Enjoy the Historic Architecture at NH Brugge

As we walked miles around the city we discovered the city is filled with awe-inspiring buildings and architecture around every corner. There are two main catherdals, and each was incredible in its own way.

Medieval architecture in Brugge

3. Visit Brugge for the Food, and Beer

Brugge is well-known for its tasty cuisine, including delicious Belgian waffles, chocolate, and of course Belgian beer (of which we sampled plenty!). Traditional Belgian pubs and cafes can be found all over the city and especially surrounding the pedestrianized market square. It’s the perfect place to order a beer, grab a chair and people-watch.

Moules frites and beer
Moules frites (Mussels and French Fries) and Belgium Beer are one of the local specialties!

4. Brugge: Picturesque Streets and Squares

Brugge is filled with charming and picturesque streets and squares, such as the Markt square and the Burg square, which are surrounded by historic buildings, and are a popular gathering place. From the cobbled narrow roads to the bustling squares, Brugge is filled with charming sights and sounds.

brugge Belgium is the perfect weekend break - the Rathaus

5. The Best of Brugge: It’s Easy to Get Around!

Brugge is the perfect base to explore other cities in Belgium. Ghent is 30 minutes away from Brugge by train and is a beautiful city with a lot of history and culture. Antwerp is about 90 minutes away by train and is famous for its diamonds and art galleries.

Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and is about an hour from Brugge by train, and it’s just a short train ride to the beautiful Belgium coast. So there are plenty of options.

Other European cities are easy to get to from Bruges

Brugge offers a charming and romantic atmosphere, rich cultural heritage, and loads of historic streets to explore. We stayed at the charming NH Brugge Hotel, and I’d highly recommend it when you visit Brugge.

Best Brugge ideas for a weekend away in Europe

Visiting Brugge: Insider Secrets

Are you planning to visit Brugge (or Bruges) soon?

Let me know in the comments below and join me on Instagram and X (Twitter)!

*** This article is sponsored but all opinions are my own***

About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

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