One Day in Bruges: The Best Relaxing Itinerary

Bruges is an adorable, picture-perfect canal city located in Belgium and is known for its cobblestone streets, gorgeous architecture, chocolate, beer and waffles. It is lovely but geographically small and we found that one day in Bruges was almost the perfect amount of time.

Are you looking for the sweetest, most picturesque European city ever to visit for a day or two? Look no further than quaint Bruges. We had a wonderful time walking the cobblestone streets, cruising in the canal, and eating chocolate and waffles. Check out our one day itinerary here! #bruges #freetotravelmama #belgium

Located just a couple hours’ train ride from Paris, one day in Bruges was the perfect side trip from our 5 days in Paris to experience another culture and take in a different view. If you are traveling to Bruges from Paris or another city nearby via train, click here for a step by step travel guide.

Getting to Bruges

We purchased our Thalys train tickets to Bruges from Paris 90 days in advance to get the best price possible. We departed our Paris hotel around noon on a Saturday afternoon. After a brief train delay, we arrived at the Bruges station at about 4:00pm. We chose to walk the 15-20 minute distance to our B&B, but to take a taxi probably would have cost us about €12. The walk was pleasant but quite bumpy to roll our suitcases over the cobblestones the whole way!

One Day in Bruges Itinerary

Where to Stay in Bruges

We had booked our Chez Paul’s B&B through Airbnb and it was LOVELY. It was so perfectly and accurately depicted in the photos and we loved it. If this is your first time using AirbnBb, you can use my referral link to get $40 off your first stay of $75 or more! Chez Paul’s place is already competitively priced, so at $40 off, it would be a complete steal. You can read more about our Airbnb experience at Paul’s place here.

Bruges B & B

One Day in Bruges Itinerary

We dropped off our luggage and set out to explore. We walked a handful of minutes through the winding picturesque streets to the Markt Square. We headed straight to the stand under the belfry for some famous Belgian French fries. Belgians eat their fries topped with a heaping pile of mayonnaise, but that was a bit much for us, so we settled for some ketchup like many of the other unadventurous Americans and appeased our appetites.

The Markt area is as quaint and beautiful as it appears in photos. It was bustling with activity on that end of summer weekend day and the horse and carriage rides were in full effect. We passed on the carriage ride and explored on foot. Every street we walked down felt like a photo op and as if we were on the set of a movie. I loved every second of its adorable-ness.

One Day in Bruges

 

Markt Bruges

 

We made our way to Rozenhoedkaai to photograph the most captured scene in all of Bruges. Popular it may be, but disappointing it was not. We paid the €10 each to hop on the canal boat for a tour by water. The lines for this can be long, especially on the weekends, but if you head over at the end of their day between 5:00-6:00pm hopefully you can avoid the lines like we did.

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Canal Ride in Bruges

Bruges Canal Ride

They really pack you like sardines into the boats, but they are still very much worth their while. The guide shares some historical tidbits and you are able to see much of the city that you would not be able to otherwise. This is an activity that you just can’t skip.

One Day in Bruges Itinerary Canal Ride

Canal Ride in Bruges

The belfry tower is a beautiful sight to see. We admired it from down below, but you can climb the tower for about €8 to see a beautiful view of the city from above.

Belfry Tower Bruges Itinerary

Bruges’ Beer Wall is another famous instagrammable spot. We stumbled across it by accident tucked into a lovely courtyard.

Bruges Itinerary Beer Wall

That evening, we wandered around for a bit checking out restaurants to grab dinner. We had heard that the ones around the Markt area were not very highly rated. As we checked reviews while standing in the middle of town, we found that to be true. As exhaustion set in and places began to close, we had the great idea to get waffles for dinner! We chose Oyya Waffle and ordered a beautiful waffle covered in strawberries and whipped cream. Delicious!

Bruges Itinerary Oyya Waffles

For those of you looking for something less waffle-y, Bruges is known for its moles frites and beef stew. Shrimp coquettes are also a good choice. Had we planned ahead a bit more, we probably would have chosen Au Petite Grande or Pomperlut for dinner. But I still don’t regret my waffle!

One Night in Bruges

We crashed in our comfy beds on our quaint, peaceful street, and slept soundly until late the next morning. We slept late and with a bit of regret, passed on our plans to rent bikes and ride along the canal for 6K to Damme and check out the windmills along the way. Those of you that can pull yourselves out of the comfy bed earlier than we can should totally try it out! It’s on our must-do list for next time.

We went on a search for chocolate and waffles instead and admired the city in a new light. The afternoon and evening before had shown us the city bathed in sunbursts and the yellow hazy light of sunset. The morning sun brought out the colors more vividly and vibrantly.

One Day in Bruges

One Day in Bruges

I had read about the difference in types of waffles in Belgium. There are Brussels waffles which are crispy, light and fluffy. Liege waffles on the other hand, have sugar crystals mixed into the batter and are more dense and chewy. I was on a mission to compare the two, but found that the people of Bruges really love their Liege waffles and that was all that we could find. We picked up a plain one for breakfast from Fred’s. Yum!

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Fred Waffles Bruges

We went on a hunt for chocolate for our families to thank them for watching our children. We found a difference in the shops that tended to have more tourist-like offerings with prepackaged treats and those that were making the chocolate as we shopped and offering us fresh samples. We chose the authentic homemade aroma of Chocolat de Julie on Wollestraat and purchased our gifts.

We meandered along the canal and made our way to Sanseveria Bagelsalon for a quick lunch of bagel sandwiches. We didn’t have the time to sit, so they graciously wrapped them up to go. Oh. My. Goodness. I got the Amelia with white sausage, apples & fried onions. My husband was also fond of the Richard with egg, avocado & bacon. As I am typing this, I am brainstorming on trying to recreate these in my own kitchen this weekend. So tasty and budget friendly. We are casual, simple eaters usually, and these were perfect.

Chocolate Bruges Itinerary

After lunch, it was time to begrudgingly make our way to the train station. We wished we had the rest of the day to soak up the feeling that is quintessentially Bruges, but Paris was waiting and so there wasn’t much time to be sad! My husband convinced me to stop one more time for waffles at Fred’s (the third waffle in 5 waking hours!) as he hadn’t gotten one yet with ice cream. We literally inhaled one more waffle with ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream and promised to be back.

Waffles Bruges Itinerary

You Might Want More Than Only One Day in Bruges…

One day in Bruges is almost enough time, but if we could to do it all over again, we would schedule to arrive in Bruges the evening of the first night, explore the full next day, and leave the morning of the third day to allow for about 36 hours in Bruges.

waffles Bruges itinerary

Bruges was simply magical! I highly recommend including the picturesque city in your itinerary for a day or two. The cobblestone streets made us smile, the buildings made our jaws drop, the canal made us breathe deeper, and the waffles made our trip complete. I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy all that is Bruges! Please feel free to comment if you have any questions that I can answer to help you plan your perfect trip!

One Day in Bruges Itinerary

 

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One Day in Bruges: Top things to do, food to eat, and beautiful places for photography in this Europe bucket list destination. #freetotravelmama #bruges #belgium

One Day In Bruges; Cobblestone streets, chocolate, and french fries are among the bet things to do in this beautiful canal city.

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Author: Sierra

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23 Comments

  1. Avatar

    I can’t even describe how much I am drooling after reading this post. Just you talking about the different waffles you had made me salivate, but the pictures?! OMG. They just look so delicious! I don’t blame you at all for eating 3 within 5 hours. haha I also see the need for an extra day there to do some sightseeing. I’ll make sure to add that into my trip. Thanks for the heads up!

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      The waffles were so delicious! I have promised my husband that we will try to recreate them at home. But I am sure that we will fall short! 🙂

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    THis is exactly how I imagined Belgium, even though I have never been there. I love the achitecture, it looks so cute. I would love to try the local foods you mentioned and obviously the chocolade. As I am fan of beers I would spend a lot of time dicovering the breweries as well.

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      It was such an adorable city! I am sure you will love it!

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    Belgium is on my bucket list, and it looks like you had an amazing time! Your Airbnb looks so beautiful and cozy. I have a feeling my husband would love to take a photo with that Beer Wall. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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      It was an adorable city! And yes, we highly recommend that Airbnb. It was perfect!

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    Wow, you did a lot of activities given that you were only in Bruges for a day. The canal boat is pretty cheap and I would say that it seems like a nice deal even though there were lots of passengers on the boat. Too bad you weren’t able to go with your plan and rent some bikes. Bruges sounds like a good choice for that quick kind of getaway. We haven’t been there yet but I would love to see its picturesque streets and eat those delicious fries and waffles you had!

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      I highly recommend it! The city is small enough that you can see a lot of and still have a relaxing getaway! 🙂

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    Oh my those waffles look amazing! I think I could even go for more than 3 in a 5-hour span 🙂 The architecture is absolutely amazing, I should definitely visite Bruges soon. Thank you for sharing, it was a lovely article.

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      Thanks! Those waffles were divine! The city is the cutest place ever – I definitely recommend fitting it in someday.

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    I missed Bruges by whiskers last time . will keep this blog handy when i get the chance next time. The airbnb looks perfect! i love the landscape of the city

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      The Airbnb was the best we have ever stayed in and we’ve stayed in quite a few great ones. I recommend it for sure when you make it back. 🙂

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    This sounds like a wonderful trip! I would love to eat my weight in waffles and ice cream. Chez Paul’s B&B looks adorable! P.S. Thanks for the AirBNB suggestion and the $40!

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      You are welcome! We love Airbnbs; they give us the opportunity to soak up the essence of the place often more than a hotel does. This bnb was the best of both worlds; authentic but we also felt pampered. 🙂

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    What a lovely idea to combine a trip to Paris with a side trip to Bruges. I love that place, so charming and romantic! And I have great memories of a delicious cherry beer I drank there… and that beer wall is just great! 🙂

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      Thank you! It was the perfect side trip for us!

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    I only spent an evening in Bruges so I missed so many of these sights. I’ll have to look for the beer wall since that’s pretty unique. Good advice to plan for a slightly longer stay. I do like mayo on my fries, but I can understand the appeal of eating as many waffles as possible!

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      I think it’s definitely worth a return trip. I’d love to stay a full weekend next time to really soak up the essence of the sweet town.

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  10. Avatar

    This is definitely a convincing post that one must include Bruges for a 2 day trip. I would want to go for its architectural delights and the yum treats. I have heard a lot about waffles and you have definitely added hand-made chocolates to the list too.

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      Definitely worth a couple of days! 🙂

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  11. Avatar

    What an amazing post – it’s so well written and makes me want to revisit this amazing city! We loved Bruges during our visit as well – I am so glad you had such an amazing experience there. It’s really not that hard to fall in love with Bruges, right! Thanks for such an awesome, informative post.

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      Thank you so much! It is definitely such an easy city to love!

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  12. Avatar

    ooo..yum yum!! those waffles look so delicious especially with ice cream and whipped cream. These small towns have different magic.

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