For most people traveling to Belgium, Brussels, Ghent and Antwerp usually top the itinerary. But someone recommended visiting Bruges, so I booked an Airbnb, boarded the Eurostar in London and set off for the “Venice of the North.” The city, known for its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings, was an absolute delight.
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Every Wednesday there is a food market in Market Square from 8a-1:30p. If you’re able to time your visit to be in town on a Wednesday, I would highly recommend a stroll through the market for some delicious, locally sourced food.
I had an absolutely amazing experience with Legends Tours. Our guide was entertaining, incredibly informative, and I appreciated his tips on where to take the best photos in Bruges. If you only have 48 hours in Bruges I can’t recommend taking this tour enough. You’ll be able to see all the highlights, learn the history of the city, and get an idea of which places you want to go back and visit later in the day. Without my guide, I might not have found the Rozenhoedkaai quite so quickly. The Rozenhoedkaai is arguably the most picturesque spot for photos in Bruges.
Even if you only have 48 hours in Bruges, I recommend eating Belgian waffles more than once. Because it doesn’t get more authentic than Belgian waffles in Belgium! My first stop was in Burg Square for waffles from the little waffle truck, Arlecchino By John. This might be the best waffle I’ve ever had in my entire life. But one waffle is not enough when you’re in Belgium, so I also stopped by Lizzie’s Wafels. These waffles are known for being extra-large and they come with delicious toppings…like caramel and white chocolate shavings!
An entire museum devoted to french fries? Count me in! You might assume french fries were invented in France based on the name, but they were actually invented in Belgium. So a made a visit to the Frietmuseum, complete with a batch of hot, fresh french fries. This is the first and only museum in the world dedicated to potato fries and it was a fascinating look at the history of fries…including the fact that they weren’t actually invented in France!
Oh. My. Word. This avocado toast was a culinary delight that I’ve been dreaming of ever since. Breakfast is served all day and this is the perfect way to start a day in Bruges.
Belfry of Bruges
I always recommend climbing to the highest point possible in a city to take in the birds eye view of the city. The Belfry of Bruges houses 47 bells and the 366 steps lead you to the top of the 272 ft tower. The Belfry was built in the Market Square in the 1200’s, which is absolutely mind blowing for this California girl who grew up around buildings that were less than 50 years old.
I’m not sure a trip to Europe would be complete without visiting at least one chocolate museum. And when you visit Frietmuseum, you get discounted tickets if you also buy tickets to the Choco-Story. There were chocolate tastings, demonstrations, and a look at the history of chocolate.
On our walking tour our guide pointed out these little signs indicating which chocolate shops are part of the Bruges Chocolatiers Guild. If a shop doesn’t have this little placard by the door then the chocolate could be imported from anywhere. A resident recommended a stop at Olivier’s for a chocolate tasting and it did not disappoint.
If you’re planning to travel internationally without data on your phone, I highly recommend downloading Google Maps before you head to a new destination. The maps will work even when you’re off wi-fi! Downloaded maps helped me navigate
Ask the locals for recommendations. I popped into a shop to buy stamps and asked the clerk for his recommendations of the best things to do with 48 hours in Bruges. He recommended exploring the windmills and this helped me discover parts of the city I didn’t even have on my itinerary.
Admittedly, there are not many books set in Bruges. However, if you want to read one, Bruges-la-Morte, although a bit dark, is probably your best option.
Interested in visiting other destinations in Europe? Be sure to head over here to see where else I’ve traveled.
What is your favorite European destination? What is at the top of your European bucket list?