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Irene Clunie, Short Break Specialist

"Often described as the Venice of the North this medieval city is steeped in history and is full of old cobbled streets that you can spend hours just wandering around looking at the amazing old buildings. There are plenty of shop, bars and cafés in and around the city centre. Hiring a bike or joining a walking tour are also a great ways to see the city and a tour around one of the local breweries is a must for every visitor."

Bruges at a glance

Europe's finest example of a medieval town, Bruges offers an appealing charm with meandering canals, ornate townhouses and Gothic architecture. Artistry is at its peak in this peaceful city where a postcard landscape and friendly charm are guaranteed.

Sharing Amsterdam’s title of ‘Venice of the North’, Bruges is made up of a collection of canals that once made it a prime location for trade. Today the canals create a picturesque addition to the gabled buildings and cobblestone lanes that line the waterfront. One of the best ways to take in the sites of the city is by boat where you can glide peacefully beneath enchanting bridges and encounter the city’s legendary swans.

Visiting Bruges is like stepping back in time. Its age old streets and extraordinary canals are accented by its rich heritage and warm, welcoming atmosphere, making it an appealing city break destination.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • A romantic short break
  • Picturesque setting
  • Historical attractions

Getting around

Bruges is a compact city, making it easy to explore on foot or bike. It is estimated that up to 60% of all incoming traffic to the city are cyclists and there is keen support both from city officials as well as locals to continue to embrace a bike friendly atmosphere.

Other transportation methods in the city include a local bus network, horse drawn carriages and canal boat tours.

Dining in Bruges

While there are plenty of fine dining options in the city, the real palate treasure of Bruges is its chocolatiers. Fresh talent as well as established favourites preside over chocolate creations where art form meets decadence. Whether you are seeking unique combinations or time tested favourites, the standard of chocolate is always high.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Stoverij - A hearty beef casserole made with beer and served with fries. 
  • Moules-frites - The mussels and fries combo is a very popular dish in Bruges.
  • Belgian Waffles - These famous, delicious buttery waffles topped with anything you'd like!

Shopping in Bruges

Shopping is a delightful experience in Bruges, with traffic banned from the main shopping streets on Saturdays and shopping Sundays, a name coined for the first Sunday of every month dedicated to shopping in the city. There are several authentic art and antiques shops for those special finds too. There is a food market dominating Market Square on Wednesdays, and weekends in March through to November for lovely markets selling bric-a-brac and crafts. 

Osprey Holidays top tips

For a truly romantic evening dine by candlelight in one of the city's many restaurants.

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Bruges designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Bruges hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 117,170
Languages French, English, Flemish
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for UK citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Distance from airports
Ostend-Bruges International 37 km
Railway stations
Bruges Central Station

Things to do in Bruges

  • Markt Square: The city’s main square where you can find the 13th century medieval belfry, seen by many a the symbol of Bruges.
  • Canal Tours: A great way to get a different perspective on Bruges’s beautiful medieval buildings and bridges.
  • Choco-Story: Arguably Belgium’s best chocolate museum, where you can get close to the production process and sample some delicious pralines.
  • Groeningemuseum: This small, wonderful museum houses one of Belgium’s most important collection of Flemish art.
  • Church of Our Lady: The 122 metre steeple of this magnificent church dominates the skyline. It is also home to Michelangelo’s ‘Madonna and Child’.
  • Basilica of the Holy Blood: This chapel contains a relic of the Holy Blood which is displayed to the public every Friday.
  • The Lace Centre: Keeping the tradition of making lace alive, with demonstrations of the intricate work of the lacemakers.
  • The Bequinage: To escape the bustling city centre, visit this historic convent and museum in a beautiful and tranquil setting.

Tours and Excursions

Historical Tour

Stroll through the cobbled streets of Bruges with your private guide, hearing all about the history, myths and legends of this beautiful medieval city. Highlights include Market Square, The Burg and the Minnewater, but as this is a private tour it can be tailored to your interests.

Choco-Story Chocolate Museum

Learn everything you need to know about the 4000-year history of chocolate and the creation of the famous Belgian chocolate at this fun museum housed in a 15th century building. The best is saved for last with a chocolate-making demonstration where you can sample the produce!

Flanders Fields Remembrance Tour 

This poignant full-day tour includes visits to the German Military Cemetery at Vladslo, Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, Diksmuide, Passchendaele, Essex Farm Field Hospital and Ypres, where you will attend the Last Post ceremony. 

We would be happy to arrange an excursion for you. To discuss options with a member of our knowledgeable team or to book, please contact us on 0131 243 8098.