Bruges (Dutch: Brugge) is a picturesque city in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium. Once Europe's richest city, now both cosmopolitan and bourgeois in its compact size, it is one of the best preserved pre-motorised cities in Europe and offers the kind of charms rarely available other than in Europe.
Even by Belgian standards, Bruges has a poor reputation for its weather. Compared to other western European cities like London and Paris, the weather in Bruges is colder and damper. Even in July and August, average daily maximum temperatures struggle to exceed 21°C (70°F) and rainfall averages 203 mm (8 in) a month. In autumn, temperatures drop off quite rapidly and winter months are damp and chilly.
The summer visitor should always be prepared for rain in Bruges and that warm and sunny weather is not constant during that season. The daily and monthly temperature variations are quite small - average highs and average lows don't exceed a range of 9°C (or 16°F).
Bruges shares its airport with Ostend. The Ostend-Bruges International airport has a long runway and a seaside location providing for a picturesque approach, but unfortunately it sees limited passenger traffic, pretty much limited to seasonal flights to holiday destinations. It is also a major hub for cargo airlines, so planespotters may find it of interest.
More viable as a point of entry is the Brussels National Airport, Belgium's largest, as well as Charleroi (Brussels South) and Lille, so getting to Bruges by train is by far the easiest way. Only one change at one of the three main stations is needed and the entire connection takes about 1.5h.
Travelling to Bruges on Belgium's excellent rail system is a natural choice. Trains to and from Brussels leave every 30min during the day. The journey from Brussel-Zuid (Dutch) or Bruxelles-Midi (French) to Bruges takes about an hour. You can also travel from Brussels-Central or Brussels-North on the same line, and trains travelling to Bruges are travelling in the direction of any coastal station except La Panne / De Panne (so any train to Ostend / Oostende, Knokke or Blankenberge is fine). If you're traveling on the Eurostar that same day, this cost may be included in your ticket if it shows "Any Belgian Station". Otherwise, buy a ticket when you get to the station. Luggage lockers are available 06:00-22:00. For more information on schedules, prices, and services visit the website of the NMBS/SNCB. Note that there are first and second class seats. To identify them, look for a number next to a "no smoking" sign somewhere in the wagon. For groups of travellers under 25, a 10-rides card might be the cheapest, that offers 10 pre-paid rides between any Belgian train stations.
Be aware that trains are often full to and from Bruges, especially during rush hours, so if you or your colleagues have any problems with mobility you could be standing the whole trip or at best sitting in the entry area of the carriage. There isn't really any solution to this during the tourist season when Bruges is wall to wall people.
From Lille (France)
From the train station of Lille Flanders, there are hourly trains to Bruges. Though crossing the boundary might result in non-available reductions (s.a. the 10-rides card).
With a backpack nearly all hotels are reachable on foot. However, if you have a suitcase consider taking a taxi because the cobbled streets make the use of wheeled suitcases or carry-on bags very difficult. Also be sure to wear comfortable shoes, because of the cobblestones.
If you are planning a bus-tour: be aware buses and camping vehicles are not allowed within the city centre. There is a perfect parking place for them on the south side of the city with a newly designed gangway bringing you directly into the heart of the town. It is in general a bad idea to venture inside with a car, as parking is limited and finding your way difficult. There are multi-storey car parks a five minute walk from the city centre. Nice city mini-buses cruise the town with high frequency, and in any case, the historical centre must be traversed on foot, by bicycle, by horse-drawn carriage or by boat to enjoy it.
P&O Ferries operate a daily sailing every evening from Hull to Zeebrugge taking 12.5h for the crossing. The fares do not include the bus from the ferry terminal to Bruges railway station, which is currently GBP6.75 per person (each way).
DFDS Seaways Ferries operates ferries from Dover to Dunkerque every 2h. From Dunkerque, Bruges is only 75km away. This can only be done by driving as they do not take foot passengers. A DFDS ferry to Holland from Newcastle sails daily. From its port in IJmuiden, Amsterdam you can reach Bruges is less than 3h by car.
LD Lines sail daily from Ramsgate to Ostend. The journey takes 4h.
By cruise ship
Virtually all dock at the major harbor of Zeebrugge. In addition to ship's tours, most offer shuttles to Blankenberge...a nearby town offering economical, hourly train service to Bruge just 20 minutes or so away.
The historical centre is not so big and thus quite walkable (be sure to wear comfortable shoes). The only mode of public transport inside the city is bus. They are operated by the Flemish public transport company De Lijn. They frequent nearly all major points of interest plus the train station. Taxis on the market place and station cost about €10. Bicycles are easy to rent and make getting around the city very speedy, although the cobblestoned paths can make rides a little bumpy and uncomfortable.
Bruges has been known as a "dead city" for many years. The sanding of the harbour and the difficulties to dig canals in the sand caused heavy economical burdens on the city between the Middle Ages and the 20th century. The population managed to survive, but did not grow as there was no new industrial activity during that period. As a result, once over the encircling canal and inside the city walls, Bruges closes in around you with street after street of charming historic houses and a canal always nearby. The newly cleaned houses and the small canals should however not confuse you; they are truly centuries old. And if you can get away from the chocolate-shops, you can visit some more quiet areas such as St. Anna, and imagine what life in the late Middle Ages must have been like. UNESCO has listed the historic centre of Bruges as a world heritage site.
The Brugge City Card provides free admission to most of the major attractions, and can be picked up at any of the hostels around town. The reduced rate cannot be used in conjunction with a student rate (both student and city card rates are identical) and hence is most useful for older travellers.
Several Youth Hostels (Bauhaus), and probably the train station and tourist information, offer a useful map with some very interesting, 'non-tourist' places to see during the day and some unique places to visit at night. It provides a good way of getting an authentic feel for the town whilst avoiding the tourist hotspots and allows you to find some hidden gems.
- Groeninge Museum, Dijver 12. Daily 09:30-17:00. Known as 'The city museum of Fine Arts', it houses a collection of artworks that span several centuries (14th-20th), focusing mainly on works by painters who lived and worked in Bruges. €8 / €6 (audioguide and ticket to Arents House and Forum+ included in the entrance).
- Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heilige Bloed Basiliek), Burg 10. Apr-Sep 09:30-11:50 & 14:00-17:50, Oct-Mar 10:00-11:50 & 14:00-15:50. A beautiful church on the Burg square. It houses a relic - a vial of blood that is said to be that of Jesus - and was built in the Gothic style. Try and get there early so you can view the chapel when it is quiet and not filled with tourists. And don't forget to visit the chapel underneath, in heavy Romanesque style - a contrast to the lovely light Gothic above. Free.
- Brewery De Halve Maan, Walplein 26, ☎ +32 50 332-697. Apr-Oct M-Sa 11:00-16:00, Su 11:00-17:00. This brewery is the only remaining city brewery that's actually still brewing beer inside the city walls. It's also a beer museum and offers a tour of the beer making process. A history of the brewery is provided, as well as an overview of the city from its tower. The tour lasts for 45min and is a good way to get a feel for Belgian beer making. The tours start at the exact turn of the hour, be at least fifteen minutes early as there is a maximum amount of people that can join. The entrance price includes one drink of Brugse Zot or Straffe Hendrik and is served after the tour at the outside terrace or indoor bar. €8.50 including 1 beer.
- 2-be Beer Wall and Bar, Wollestraat 53. On the court of a former major's house, "all Belgian beers" are exposed permanently. At the back of the wall, it's also possible to drink a lot of those beers.
- Onze Lieve Vrouwkerk, Mariastraat. A fascinating church with architecture from the Romanesque and Gothic periods. In the east end of the church are very fine tombs of Charles the Bold and his daughter Mary of Burgundy - in contrasting Gothic and Renaissance styles, despite their superficial similarity. The church also houses one of the few Michelangelo sculptures outside of Italy, the "Madonna with child". Free.
- Simbolik - Open Studio and Expo of Nathalie Beelprez, Katelijnestraat 139, ☎ +32 495 307056. Th-Sa 10:00-18:00, other days by appointment. A house, an open studio where thoughts and ideas are born, a place where Beelprez can mix these thoughts and feelings in a symbolic language of forms, her soul, her calligraphy, her world, her language. While she works in her studio, her expo is open for anyone who wants to let time go, read forms and see letters. An open immersion in texts and forms that excite your senses. Selection of handmade letterwork, wall objects, light objects, painted on canvas, letters in ceramics, writing on walls, also work on demand. Also, every first Sunday of the month at 15:00 is Poëziene: a place where poets, musicians or performers bring their own work to Simbolik. Free entrance.
- Jerusalem church. In a quiet area of the city, a highly unusual church with octagonal tower built by the Adornes brothers, merchants of Italian extraction. It includes a fine black Tournai marble tomb, late Gothic stained glass, and a tiny and rather spooky chapel containing an effigy of the dead Christ. The entrance fee also covers the Lace Museum in the former Adornes mansion, where you can see local women and girls learning this traditional craft.
- The Beguinage (Begijnhof). In the history, many women couldn't find a man, as men were more likely to die in accidents or in a war. Those women could "marry God" and become a beguine. The beguinage, also known as the convent, offered protection for those single ladies. It lies between the centre of the city and the station, with white painted small houses and fine plane trees, is a quiet place to walk - groups are discouraged.
- The Hospital of St John. Tu-Su 09:30-17:00. Sint-Janshospitaal contains a museum of six paintings by Hans Memling, within the early medieval hospital buildings. €8.
- Choco-Story Museum, Wijnzakstraat 2 (Sint-Jansplein), ☎ +32 50 612237. 10:00-17:00. This museum is a must see for chocolate enthusiasts as it describes chocolate's transition from cocoa into chocolate. Its low cost tasty exhibits make it well worth the time (and Belcolade's gently overt marketing). Be sure to stay for the chocolate making exhibition to get some excellent samplers. €7.
- DiamantMuseum, Katelijnestraat 43, ☎ +32 50 336326. 10:30-17:30. Diamond museum has a large range of exhibits ranging from mining all the way to polishing and all the history in between. Everyday at 12:15 there is a live polishing demonstration. Individuals €6, Groups €4.50, Students €3.
- The Friet Museum, Vlamingstraat (opposite Academiestraat). Check out the world's only frites (fries or chips) museum which tells the story of the humble potato from South America and how it has evolved into a fry. Don't forget to try the tastiest fries cooked by the guy who cooked for the Belgian Royal Family.
Bruges is visited by a huge number of tourists and it sometimes becomes quite annoying, especially around the Markt and Burg squares. The important thing to remember, however, is that very few tourists venture far away from the main shopping area, so if you want some peace and quiet you should simply explore the many small cobbled streets away from the main squares.
- Lucifernum (retsin's lucifernum), twijnstraat 6-8 (city centre). Su 18:00-21:00. An amazing (private) art gallery with a Gothic cemetery in a subtropical garden located in the old Freemasons temple (1756-1882). 1,000m² of art and mystery in Bruges' old city centre. €6.
- Grote Markt and Belfry Climb, Grote Markt (the big square). Tu-Su 09:30-17:00. Climb the 366 steps to the top of the 83m high tower. Excellent views of the city, Grote Markt and hear the bells ring up close. €6 with Bruges card / €8.
- Tour boats. It's essential to take a ride on one of the tour boats around the canals - the multilingual guides provide a potted history of the city in just a few minutes - at only a few euros, it's the best introduction to Bruges. A boat tour will show you places which are otherwise unreachable, as not every canal runs next to a street. Advisable to get there at opening time to avoid the crowds. €7.60 plus almost obligatory tip to the driver/guide.
- Horse drawn carts, Grote Markt. Carriages can be hired for a romantic 30min trip around the old city of Bruge. Carts can carry up to 5 passengers. €39.
- Cycle, Burg Square. There are many rental shops near the main square, shop around for the best prices. You can also rent right at the train station and get to the city centre quickly; remember to return them by 19:30. Cycle 5km to Damme, a picturesque village on the river with a windmill and excellent pancakes, and optionally follow on to the coast (another 15km). €8 for 4h at most places, €12 for the day.
- Snow and Ice sculpture festival, Station Bruges. Every year from the end of Nov to Jan you can visit the Snow and Ice sculpture festival on the station-square of Bruges. The festival is built by an international team of 40 professional artists from no less than 300t of crystal clear ice and 400,000kg of fresh snow in a cooled hall where the temperature remains a constant -6°C. Don't forget to wear warm clothing!
- Running. If you are a runner, try running the 7km circle around the old centre. Walk along the canal and see all of the medieval gates that used to control the traffic in and out of Bruges. Simply stunning!
- Bruges Ballooning, Markt, ☎ +32 47 597 2887. am & pm. Daily hot air balloon flights over the historic centre and its surroundings. The best way to enjoy the romance of Bruges, and its stunning views, from a few hundred metres up in a balloon basket. €170.
- Compare the real Bruges to the one depicted in the movie In Bruges.
Chocolate shops are plentiful and the standard is always high. A fairly cheap option is Stef's on Breidelstraat (between Markt and Burg). If you are willing to spend a little more, Chocolatier Van Oost on Wollestraat is a must for high-quality artisinal chocolate. Just next to that is Het Chocoladehuisje where they sell chocolate breasts (large and small, used to be patented). Word on the street is, that you can get anything covered in chocolate and moulded. There is a particular vast amount of chocolate shops at the Kathelijnestraat. Another good option is The Chocolate Line. For the true gourmet, inform if the chocolate is artisan (hand-made) or industrial. This also explains differences in price.
For those who do not wish to buy chocolate in the chocolate shops, the local supermarkets also sell a good variety of mass-produced chocolate at fairly low prices. For the frugal, you can buy 100-200g gourmet bars of chocolate for about €1 each. Good brands to buy are Côte-d'Or and Jacques, both are Belgian. If you don't want anything more than a sampling of the most famous Belgian beers, supermarkets (not night shops!) are probably your best choice. They even have gift packs with glasses. There are also many boutique-style beer shops that sell high quality gift packs of Belgian beer.
There are plenty of arts and crafts shops too, with some excellent local artists. The lacework is risky: if everything sold was produced locally, the entire town would be working in the lace industry! There is a school for lace though, where you can still get "the real thing".
Most European tourists come for the weekend, so shops are open Tuesday through Sunday, but many shops and museums are closed on Mondays. Be sure to plan ahead.
- Dumon, Simon Stevinplein 11. Excellent, very high-end chocolate creations. They also make chocolate drinks.
- Het Chocoladehuisje, Wollestraat 15, ☎ +32 50 34 02 50. Artisan chocolates. Place where you can buy the original chocolate breasts. Has a nice piece in their window on special occasions.
- The Chocolate Line, Simon Stevinplein 19, ☎ +32 50 34 10 90. Almost always has original and funny chocolate-art in their window. Run buy a (locally) famous chocolatier, Dominique Persoone
Restaurants are not always cheap or wonderful, although mussels and frites or fricadellen, frites with mayonnaise are outstanding here. Stay away from the central market place ("Grote Markt") and the Burg Square when eating. Tourists are easy victims here. One tactic used by tourist traps is to present items (e.g. bread) as if they were free with your meal, then charge you exorbitantly for them. Even water may be charged at an exorbitant €6 for a small bottle.
You will, however, find great food if you wander off the beaten track. Find a street with more locals than tourists and ask somebody. The locals will be glad to help.
- Books & Brunch, Garenmarkt 30, ☎ +32 50 70 90 79. Tu-F 8:30-18:00, Sa 09:00-18:00. An ideal combo of second hand book store and a brunch/dessert-eatery (but you can just have a cup of coffee or a tea too).
- Brasserie Forestière, Academiestraat. Nice and calm restaurant, good food, not too expensive. Good menu for vegetarians. Meal of the day (soup, main dish, dessert or coffee/tea) costs €11 although this is the cheapest menu it has little choice.
- De Drie Zintuigen, Westmeers 29, ☎ +32 50 34 09 94. Off the beaten track but not far from all the bars, this lovely restaurant does more than moules et frites. Prices are about €30 a head and the atmosphere is nice too.
- L'estaminet, at the Astrid Park. Good food, nice terrace, cool bartender. Try the renowned spaghetti for €8 or the delicious croque monsieur.
- La Romagna, Braambergstraat 8. Excellent family-run Italian restaurant and pizzeria. Inexpensive. Good menu for vegetarians.
- In't Nieuw Museum, Hooistraat 42, ☎ +32 50331280. Belgian grill restaurant, well off the tourist track. Excellent steaks, reasonable prices.
- De Bottelier, Ezelstraat (close to Sint-Jacobsstraat). A favourite restaurant of many of Bruges' residents. Very reasonable prices and excellent food. Closed Sunday and Monday nights.
- Marieke van Brugghe, Mariastraat 17, ☎ +32 50 34 33 60, e-mail: email@example.com. Small but good restaurant that attracts the locals. Fixed menu for €19
- Tom's Diner, West Gistelhof 23. Fantastic upmarket take on satisfying, home cooked food. Prices are reasonable, as well.
- Kok au Vin, Ezelstraat 19/21. Memorable Kok au Vin (both the entrée AND the restaurant); the prices are reasonable for the high quality. Family owned and run. Reservations recommended.
- Restaurant Aneth. With only 7 tables, small and cosy, with a personal touch.
- Brasserie Medard, Sint-Amandsstraat 18. Huge deal for low budget just near the centre: a mountain of (tasty) spaghetti with tomato sauce, cheese, and mushrooms for €3. Two options on the menu: vegetarian, non-vegetarian - both at the same price. Double its size for just €2 extra. Unbeatable. Very cheap beer too (kriek at €1.50). Most tables order the spaghetti. Tourists aren't welcome until they sit - be sure to sit down and impose your presence to be served. Be warned that if you wait to be seated, you are likely to be sent away for no reason. Bring your own musical instruments.
- t' Gulden Vlies, Mallebergplaats 17, ☎ +32 5033 4709. 7PM-3AM. An excellent night restaurant. Small romantic restaurant east of the Burg with excellent food and reasonable prices. Menus from €16.
- Cambrinus, Philipstockstraat 19 (near the market place), ☎ +32 5033 2328. 11:00-23:00 daily. This is a very popular place, and for a reason. They have some of the best selection of Belgian beers, more than 440 in total. Some beers have really odd names like Satan, Lucifer, Nostradamus, or the Brunette. It's primarily a restaurant though, as all their hearty food are prepared with a special kind of beer. It's really delicious. Mains go for €17-19, but they also have the €26 prix fixe "Menu van de Brouwer", which features several Trappist beers. Make a reservation in advance, as else they might not have any seats available. €25-30.
- Le Pain Quotidien, 21 Philipstockstraat. A sandwich chain founded in Brussels but now found in the US, France and a number of other countries. Most of the food is organic, and the sandwiches (in particular the Tartine Bouef Basilic) are delicious. Somewhat expensive.
- Maximiliaan van Oostenrijk, Wijngaardplein 16-17, ☎ +32 50 33 47 23. Midrange restaurant offering plenty to eat including oysters and meat cooked several ways plus, of course, frites. There is not much for vegetarians.
- Grand Cafe Passage, Dweersstraat 26, ☎ +32 5034 0232. Attached to the Passage hotel/hostel (see below) is the atmospheric Grand Café, serving traditional Belgian cuisine and beers. Prices are slightly lower than the tourist traps and well worth it. Try the beef stew (very tender) or the ribs.
- Trattoria Trium, Academiestraat 27, ☎ +32 50333060. This is a great spot to have a nice dish of pasta or pizza and is fully Italian. They also sell olive oil, pasta sauces and other authentic products. The decor has a warm home feeling. Try out their antipasto and the excellent house wine. €15-20.
- Bittersweet, St Amandstraat 27 (close to the Grote Markt and Belfry), ☎ +32 50 34 87 69. Tu-Sa 09:00-18:30. 'Cosy and Delicious' just like it says. Great for breakfast and indulgent afternoon teas. Reasonable prices, better quality and friendlier service than the tourist traps on the Markt, it's well worth the short walk down this quaint side street. Also serves the best coffee in the city!
- Den Gouden Harynck, Groeninge 25, ☎ +32 50337637. Gastronomic restaurant which offers three course meals at very reasonable prices.
- Laurenzino, Noordzandstraat 1, ☎ +32 50 333-213. Su-Th 11:00-20:00, F 11:00-22:00, Sa 10:00-22:00. This is a good place to try out freshly baked Belgian waffles. They have them with chocolate, caramel, whipped cream or basically anything you want on top of it. They also have traditionally prepared ice cream available. It's easy to find, as you can smell the flavour of the waffles around the shop. €2.
- Chocolaterie Spegelaere, Ezelstraat 92, ☎ +32 50336052. Bruges '"Best Kept Secret, a place for chocolate-lovers.
- The 57, Wollestraat 29a, ☎ +32 50336242. 11:30 - 22:00. The 57 is a romantic restaurant in Bruges
- De Garre, 1, De Garre (When walking from De Markt to De Burg via the Breydelstraat, find a small door between two shops on your right side to enter De Garre street. The pub itself is the only door inside that street.), ☎ +32 50 34 10 29. Hidden in a backyard, this pub offers a nice atmosphere and about 100 different kinds of beer, including home-brewed ones. The house beer is called 'Triple de Garre' and is 11% strong, a good way to start the night. The pub is very often full, but there's a limit of two drinks per person, which means that new places become available pretty quickly.
- 't Brugs Beertje, Kemelstraat. This excellent pub (recommended in the CAMRA guide to the Benelux region) has hundreds of different beers and an authentic beer-cafe atmosphere. Clientele is majority tourists. The front bar is crowded; what looks like the door through to the restrooms opens on another bar area. In 2005 it was closed for most of July - this might be an annual occurrence.
- Curiosa (just off the main square). A good place for a lunch as well as a beer.
- Herberg Vlissinghe (Cafe Vlissinghe), Blekerstrat 2 (on the way to the Jerusalem church), ☎ +32 50 34 37 37. closed Mondays and Tuesdays. One of the less touristy bars, with a nice selection of draught and bottled beers. It's probably the oldest pub in Bruges dating from 1515.
- The area just north of the performing arts center has various cafes, most with sufficient beer selections, such as Café Leffe.
- The Druid's Cellar, St Amandsstraat 11/b, ☎ +32 50614144. A very nice cosy place to drink a beer and listen to some good music. The bar is located underground and actually gives the impression of a cellar. Usually plays rock music. The bar has a wide selection of drinks, from simple beer to 16 year old Bushmills whiskey.
- Bean around the World, Genthof 5, ☎ +32 50703572. American coffee house in the center of Bruges - offers free American newspapers and Wi-Fi to its customers
- Délisa 'Délices & Saveurs', Jan van Eyckplein 7, ☎ +32 50 34 09 89. Just a short walk from the Markt, this place undoubtably has some of the best coffee in Bruges. With a genuine espresso machine, the Conti, and a passion for good quality, the owner Sabine, is great for a chat and a good coffee for only €2.
- De Bierbistro, Oude Burg 14 (1 min from market), ☎ +32 470296006. Beautiful cellar from the 15th century. Nice place to have a drink or eat homemade dishes made with beer. The prices are very reasonable and the location is excellent if you want to experience some history of Bruges.
During the summer Bruges is a very popular tourist destination; reservations are probably preferable.
During the winter (Nov-Mar) a number of hotels offer a midweek promotion: 3 nights for the price of 2, if you arrive on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. Bookings can only be made through Bruges, Warm Winter Cheer.
- Camping Memling, Veltemweg 109. The only camping-site in Bruges, 3.2km from the Markt.
- Art Hostel. Low budget hostel, group accommodation
- Lybeer Travellers' Hostel. In the very city centre. Member of the I-hostels network.
- Passage. Very clean and quiet, centrally located Hotel/Hostel with a restaurant-bar downstairs. The name "Passage" comes from the little alley-way right next to the building which you have to pass through in order to reach the reception. Prices for the hostel are around €14 and breakfast costs an extra €5.
- Snuffel Backpacker Hostel, Ezelstraat 47-49, ☎ +32 5033 3133. Check-out: 10:00. Friendly, a straight line from the central Markt and cheap. Breakfast is included and cheap internet available, with free Wi-Fi. And the bunk beds have ladders. Live music on regular basis, in the bar with the cheapest beers in town where tourists and locals get together! €15.
- St Christopher’s @ The Bauhaus Hostel, 133-137 Langestraat (Métro: Crimée), ☎ +32 5034 1093, fax: +32 5034 1093, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. Part of the St. Christopher's Inn hostel chain. Beds include locker, privacy curtain, reading lights and individual power-points. €16.
- Atlas Guesthouse, Zevenbergenlaan 1, 8200 Brugge, ☎ +32 494 39 32 94, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Located between the forest and the historic city of Bruges, this cottage offers spacious accommodation with modern facilities including free Wi-Fi. Atlas Guesthouse has bicycles available to rent and a large terrace with a barbecue. Flat-screen cable TV with a DVD player is provided in the living room which includes a large sofa. The cottage features a kitchen with a hob and an oven. Atlas Guesthouse also has a washing machine and a bathroom with a bath/shower combination. For stays longer than 4 days guests benefit from a 15% discount on the price. From €85 per night for a double room.
- Best Western Hotel Acacia****, Korte Zilverstraat 3A-5, ☎ +32 50 34-44-11, fax: +32 50 33-88-17, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Ideal location behind the Market Square and Belfry (car free area) situated between the two main shopping streets of Bruges. Free wifi, a cosy lounge and terrace. Must see the parrot Coco who greets the guests every day! From €98 per night for a double room.
- Asinello B&B, Ezelstraat 59a. Check-out: 11:00. Lovely bed & breakfast with 3 private rooms, each with their own bathroom. A hammam is also onsite. This is a great option for a romantic weekend. €100-150.
- De Notelaar, Schaakstraat 17. Bed and breakfast outside of the city centre.
- De Wilde Wingerd, Elf julistraat 37, ☎ +32 475 59 51 49. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 10:00. Opened recently. They can host up to 11 people, ideal for families, ask to cook you their lobster meal. €70-140.
- Domus Brugensis, Vuldersstraat 106, ☎ +32 473711045. Very romantic, spacious and authentic B&B suite in the centre. Owners are city guides. €85.
- Hotel Tuilerieen. Famous hotel.
- Hotel de Goezeput, Goezeputstraat 29, ☎ +32 50342694, e-mail: email@example.com. Modern and comfortable rooms in a traditional building. Relatively close to the station. €60 for a single.
- Hotel de Keiserhof, on a quiet street near the station, has basic rooms from €25 per person and is not far from the centre. Basic breakfast is available.
- Hotel Salvators, St.-Salvatorskerkhof 17, ☎ +32 50 33 19 21, fax: +32 50 33 94 64, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Quirky art hotel in the centre, next to St Salvators Church. This traditional Bruges townhouse has been thoughtfully renovated, with each of the rooms decorated in its own style. Some of the rooms have en-suite jacuzzi, and some sleep up to 5 people. The hotel offers internet access and cycle hire for guests. From €70 per night for a double room.
- Hotel Asiris. A restored patrician residence in the shadow of the 15th century St-Gillis church, with 13 rooms, €60 a double room. You can also reserve a parking place for €4 / night.
- Hotel 't Voermanshuys, Oude Burg 14, ☎ +32 5034 1396. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:30. Clean, spacious rooms in the centre. Very friendly staff and includes a substantial breakfast. €60 for a double with shared toilet/shower.
- Hotel Prinsenhof, Ontvangersstraat 9, ☎ +32 5034 2690, fax: +32 5034 2321, e-mail: email@example.com. This elegant and friendly four star hotel is perfectly situated near the Grand Place & historic town centre of Bruges, with secure private parking. From €155.
- Hotel 't Keizershof, Oostmeers 126 (Between the station and the centre), ☎ +32 5033 8728, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Clean rooms, free laundry facilities. Parking. Breakfast included. €25-44.
- Hotel 't Zand, 't Zand 21. Check-in: 15.00, check-out: 11.00. Small hotel with 19 rooms, situated in centre. It is easily reached via the E40 (exit8) and you will find the hotel right opposite the main exit of the underground car-park. €105.
- Hotel Floris Karos (address=), ☎ +32 50 34 14 48. 3 star hotel a few minutes away from market square. 59.
- MS Watergeus, Kolenkaai 5, ☎ +32 47 367 3342. A barge, ten minutes away from the centre. The old captain's cabin has been renovated and can now be used as a B&B or just as a holiday flat. €75 for two people / night. Breakfast is €7 a person..
- NH Hotel Brugge. Good food and comfortable beds near to parking on the inner ring road, the concert hall and main bus station, in an attractive and completely modernised old building. The staff are obliging and helpful and food is excellent at all meals. Salads, main courses and desserts were all a delight, with the desserts scoring particularly high for attractive presentation. If there was a weak spot, it was the quality of the orange juice at breakfast. Rooms are spacious, perhaps 50m2 or more and the beds have crisp white sheets, duvets and comfortable mattresses. Wireless internet in the rooms needs an Orange subscription but this is modestly priced compared to many hotels. However, some rooms did not seem to have good Wi-Fi reception.
- Ridderspoor Holiday Flats. Holiday apartments on a quiet street two blocks from the city center. Flats include a bathroom and small kitchen and can accommodate 2-6 people. €60-100 per night depending on the number of people and length of stay.
- Walwyck Hotel, Leeuwstraat 8 (next to Leeuwebrug), ☎ +32 50 616360. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Within the oldest ramparts of the medieval city, in the heart of the city, but in the middle of a green area. dbl €100, sgl: €90 (Breakfast and taxes included).
- Hotel Ter Reien, Langestraat 1 (Located on the Groenerei canal, just east of the town centre.).
- ibis Brugge Centrum, Katelijnestraat 65, 8000 Brugge, ☎ +32 50 337575, e-mail: H1047@ACCOR.COM. This chain hotel is convienetly located and comfortable
- Exclusive guesthouse Bonifacius, Groeninge 4, ☎ +32 50 49 00 49, fax: +32 50 49 00 46, e-mail: email@example.com. The charm of a private home and the comfort of a deluxe hotel.
- Hotel The Pand, Pandreitje 16, ☎ +32 5034 0666, fax: +32 5034 0556, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Canalside House, Groeninge 16, ☎ +32 50 977 900, e-mail: email@example.com. Built in the 17th century as a gracious townhouse, it now provides the guests two luxurious suites with unrivalled panoramic view of the canal and the imposing church of Our Lady's. 191.
The most popular day trips from Bruges:
- Damme is a small town near Bruges. A seasonal riverboat goes there on a cruise of 35 minutes each way. It's a very scenic trip, the landscapes are picturesque, and the village of Damme even more so. You can also go there by bike (special route). Local bus service to Damme is very limited and a trip from the Bruges railway station takes 24 minutes.
- Ypres (Ieper) is an important site of Great War battles, cemeteries, monuments and traditions such as the Last Post (every evening). Very popular among old veterans and young boys interested in wars. Sadly the public-transport connection between Ypres and Brugges isn't great, a train ride takes 1:30h, and a combination of train and bus still takes at least 1h. So trips to Ypres are only advisable when you have a car available.
- Ostend (Oostende) is the monumental beach resort, called queen of the coastal cities resort. King Leopold II (1865-1909) built before his attention turned to inner-city Brussels to build his new capital. The quintessential cosmopolitan 19th century beach resort, full of endearing villas that have been classified as official monuments. Less than 15 minutes by train. Close by, about 10min by tram towards Raversijde, you can find the Atlantic Wall, two kilometres of trenches and galleries dating from both World Wars.
- De Haan is a beach resort with many fanciful buildings in the belle époque style. Residential streets are lined by many quaint houses. De Haan is an easy side-trip from Bruges by train to Ostend and then by the coastal tram (Kusttram) to the station De Haan aan Zee.
- Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp are great tourist destinations in their own right, and very easy to reach by train (30 minutes to Ghent, 1h to Brussels and Antwerp).