Bruges itinerary

The Perfect 1 Day Bruges Itinerary (A Local’s Guide)

I’ve always seen Bruges as the most beautiful city in Belgium. Forget about Durbuy, Dinant or Ghent, none of these cities are as charming as Bruges!

Because there’s a reason why they call Bruges the “Venice of the North”!

Although you can easily spend a weekend (or more) in this wonderful city, in this post, I’ll show you what you should see in Bruges if you only have 1 day.

Ready? Let’s dive into this Bruges itinerary!

Note: if you plan to visit museums etc. be aware that you have to book online in advance due to COVID 19!

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1 day in Bruges itinerary

Take a horse and carriage tour around the city

Horse and carriage ride in Bruges

This is probably the most charming activity you can do in Bruges. On the great market, you’ll find various horse and carriage providers who would be glad to take you on a tour and give you an explanation about the city.

If you only have one day, this is the best activity you can do to see all the highlights in a short time frame.

Price per carriage – max 5 people€55
Duration30 min

Buy chocolate at the best chocolate store in Belgium – The Chocolate Line

In Bruges, there are many chocolateries. However, there’s one you should certainly visit which is considered the best in the whole city, namely, The Chocolate Line!

This is the atelier of famous chef Dominique Persoone and you can buy the most delicious pralines here in all flavours you can imagine!

Go for a drink in a beer cellar

You probably know that Belgium is known for its beer, so that’s what you should be discovering in Bruges too!

There are some very cozy “beer cellars” as we could call them, where you can almost find every Belgian beer to drink in a very charming environment!

I encourage you to order a tasting plate with several beers in smaller portions so you can try multiple Belgian delicacies at the same time!

The best beer cellars in Bruges include: ‘t Poatersgat, Le Trappiste and Comptoir des Arts. Make sure to add one of those to your Bruges itinerary!

Visit the Belfry and gaze at the city from above

The Belfry of Bruges on the market square

One of the top activities in Bruges is to visit the Belfry and take a look at the city from above!

Climb its 366 steps and enjoy a beautiful view while learning something about the history of the city and see how the city carillonneur manages to play the tower’s bells!

Duration1 hour

Take a photo at the most photographed spot in Bruges: Rozenhoedkaai

The most photographed spot in Bruges - Rozenhoedkaai

You can’t deny it, Bruges is a magical city. One of the reasons why they call it ‘Venice of the North’ is because Bruges has so many canals with lovely views!

You simply can’t visit Bruges without walking along those canals and enjoying the magical atmosphere, especially at sunset.

But there’s 1 particular spot in Bruges that’s insanely popular but also insanely beautiful: Rozenhoedkaai!

So take a walk along the canals and take your perfect picture of Bruges on this spot!

Duration45 minutes
LocationSee map below!

Visit brewery “De Halve Maan”

Belgium is all about beer and there are a lot of smaller breweries in every city which you can visit, this also holds for Bruges.

Brewery “De Halve Maan” is the creator of the beer “Brugse Zot” and many others. Luckily, these days you can take a tour of the brewery and taste its beers!

Fun anecdote: the brewery has underground pipelines running straight form the brewery to some pubs in Bruges!

Normal tour – 45 min€12
XL tour with degustation – 90 min€21

Visit the Beguinage

The entrance to the beguinage in Bruges
Entrance to the beguinage

This beautiful part of Bruges consists of cute white little houses founded in 1245 where once used to live the beguines of Bruges, all women who remained celibate.

These days, it’s still inhabited by women, particularly the nuns of the Order of St. Benedict but also other women who wish to stay unmarried.

Entrance to the beguinage is free, only the entrance to the Beguine’s house costs €2.

Watch out for the opening hours because they open at 6:30 a.m. but close early at 6:30 p.m.

Entrance to the beguinageFREE
Entrance to Beguine’s house€2
Duration1 hour

Take a boat tour on the canals

Canals of Bruges

Another top activity to include in your Bruges itinerary is taking a boat tour on the canals. As the canals belong to the most charming corners of the city, a boat tour is simply magical. And if you’re lucky you might see the swans floating next to you!

There are 5 spots in Bruges where you can hop on a boat:

  • Michielssens, Huidenvettersplein 13, tel. +32 50 33.00.41. 
  •  Coudenys, Rozenhoedkaai, tel. +32 50 33.13.75. 
  •  De Meulemeester, Wollestraat 32, tel. +32 50 33.41.20. 
  •  Gruuthuse, Nieuwstraat 11, tel. +32 50 33.32.93. 
  •  Stael, Katelijnestraat 4, tel. +32 50 33.27.71.

But watch out! The boats only go out from March until November.

Duration30 min

How to get to Bruges

1 day Bruges itinerary

You can enter Bruges via several ways.

From the train station, it’s a 10-minute walk until you get in the absolute city center. Which is very close! A lot of trains go out each day to places all over Belgium and trains are available from and to Brussels Airport which will approximately take you 1h30.

By car, you can also easily reach the city and park your car in one of the paid parkings under the city or at one of the free parkings outside the city on a 15-minute walk from the center.

If you decide to come by car, be aware that on very busy days (mostly Saturdays) the paid parkings in the city center could be full!

Belgium is a real bike country, so you’ll see lots of people bike through the city! If you decide to go to Bruges by bike, there are also 2 underground bike parkings in the city center.

Are you also looking for a place to stay? Take a look at my blog post about the 5 most stunning Airbnbs in Bruges!

Where to eat or drink in Bruges

Café Vlissinghe: oldest pub in Bruges

For a quick snack, you should visit the oldest pub in Bruges and probably the oldest one in Belgium or the world!

This pub already exists since 1515! Go admire the ancient decor while sipping from a drink or eating a little snack.

De Republiek

De Republiek is a very popular restaurant, certainly with the younger public, and will probably be fully booked if you don’t make a reservation beforehand!

They serve all kinds of delicious food and drinks in a very stylish atmosphere. Moreover, if you’d love to see a movie you can go to the theatre above to watch the best noncommercial movies.

De Passage

For delicious Belgian food, you should make a reservation in restaurant De Passage. They serve the best dishes for a reasonable price and the atmosphere is simply very cozy!

It’s a well-known spot in Bruges to go for dinner so I would advise you to make a reservation beforehand!

Other top activities in Bruges

Of course, Bruges has much more to offer than the activities I just listed above. So if you have more than 1 day to visit Bruges or you simply don’t like the activities above, take a look at these activities you could include in your Bruges itinerary!

The Church of Our Lady

The church of our lady as seen from the canals

This marvelous church is also one of the highlights of Bruges. It has the second largest brick church tower in the world and inside you can admire Michelangelo’s famous Madonna and Child as well as numerous art works.

Entrance churchFREE
Entrance museum€6
Duration20 min (church)
Combi ticket Gruuthuse Museum€14


Minnewater or Lake of Love is one of the greener highlights of the city. Take a walk through the park and admire its beautiful castle while taking the perfect Instagram photos!

The Lake of Love acquired its name because the people used to believe that nymphs lived in the water! How romantic is that?

Sint-Janshuis windmill

Just a little bit outside the city center you’ll be able to admire one of the ancient windmills that were standing along the water.

This wonderful piece of cultural heritage is perfect for a visit on a sunny day, and on walking distance from the center. Don’t forget to also take a look at the “Kruispoort” next to it, one of the ancient gates of Bruges!

Burg & Basilica of the Holy Blood

Basilica of the Holy Blood - Bruges itinerary

Next to the market square, you’ll find a square called the “Burg”. On this square, you’ll find probably a few of the oldest buildings of the city, with the absolute highlight the Basilica of the Holy Blood where they claim to have the original blood of Jesus Christ!

You can visit the small chapel as well as the treasury, to take a look at the Relic of the Holy Blood!

Church visitFREE
Treasury visit€2.5

Gruuthuse Museum

If you want to know anything about the history of Bruges, there’s no better place to be than the Gruuthuse Museum!

In this museum you’ll discover everything about the history of the city while admiring everyday objects and art from hundreds of years ago.

If you’re a real museum lover, this is the place you should be!

Museum entrance€12
Duration2 hours
Combi ticket Church of Our Lady€14


Historium in Bruges will offer you a unique experience in which you’ll get to know a lot of the history of the city. Through virtual reality, you’ll be taken into a story that will lead you through medieval Bruges.

This is a perfect activity for a rainy day and for all the history and tech-lovers visiting!

Tickets historium with VR€17.5
Duration1.5 hours

Your Bruges itinerary map


Bruges one day itinerary

I hope you gained some inspiration for your one day Bruges itinerary!

There are many more things to see in the city and the region, but these listed above were the absolute highlights! If you ever need more advice feel free to send me an email at emmasroadmap(at) or send me a dm on Instagram!

Have you visited Bruges before? What did you like the most? Let me know in the comments below!

Do you want to visit other cities in Belgium as well? Take a look at my recommendations for Leuven, Durbuy or Dinant!

Visiting Belgium in winter? Take a look at my recommendations for spending winter in Belgium!

11 thoughts on “The Perfect 1 Day Bruges Itinerary (A Local’s Guide)”

  1. What a beautiful place. I have been to Belgium once in Brussles but have never been to Bruge. Belgium does have the most glorious chocolate shops – they are like art! I love that you included chocolate on your itinerary, because it is a must in Belgium. Great ideas on what to do and where to stay!

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