Brugges was our next step after Amsterdam on our latest European adventure. Easy to train to from just about any nearby city, it was such a wonderful spot to spend a night. Most people go for day trips, but we decided if we traveled this far, we might as well spend the night- and boy are we glad we did.
Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce: Don’t even think twice. You want to stay in this historic, boutique hotel. This is where “In Brugges” was filmed, is in the most stunning location, is small and has an immense amount of charm. Due to the fact it was in a film, the front door is locked and you can only get in after ringing a bell- I think this is to deter looky-loos from traipsing through the quaint hotel lobby. Every room is different and beautiful- almost B and B like. The service is above and beyond- they kept the restaurant open for breakfast for us with a smile on their face when we accidentally slept in. Look no further than this Flemish treasure when looking for a place to rest your head.
De Republik: Recommended by the gentlemen who checked us into our hotel who was born and raised in Brugges (a unicorn) who said this was his favorite after work spot to visit, we immediately dropped our bags and went straight there. It was a fun walk from the hotel as we were able to see larger plazas, squares and smaller streets. Stumbled across the entrance to it which honestly looked like it belonged in Stalin-era Russia but once you walked in, there was a hidden courtyard with gravel, families, couples, an outdoor bar. It was such a gem. We visited midday but at night apparently they project movies under their strings of twinkle lights. Highly recommend you come, even just for a drink.
Hoek: We stumbled across this spot on our jaunt outside to the outskirts of Brugges (it’s not a large town at all). It looks similar to a British pub and is located on the corner of a street with a park filled with windmills across the way that you can look at. Really sweet bartenders and an outdoor patio if it’s a sunny day.
‘t Brugs Beertje: The most phenomenal bar- any beer you could want with the cutest old lady waitress. Any beer you could want, small and authentic. Some consider it the best spot in town.
’t Klein Venetie: On a touristy corner, but cute to pop into and watch the crowds go by. It’s across the way from the Relais hotel so it gives you a good view of the entire building.
Poules Moules: Just the cutest outdoor cafe in the middle of square from the 14th century. Order the mussels obviously and mad fries.
Order all the Brugse Zot- it’s the local beer from Brugges and you’ll certainly get a subtle nod of approval from any bartender when you do.
If you plan to walk from the train station (which I recommend, so you can see the outskirts of the city) bring a bag you can carry or one with VERY sturdy wheels on it. It’s not a very long walk but it is nearly ALL cobblestone so be prepared for some loud clacking as you make your way to the center of the city.
Eat Belgian waffles but split them! They are SO RICH and like eating dessert for breakfast.
Walk to the outskirts (with how small this city is, there is no reason not too) and windmill-filled parks, await you.
Only go for the day- by the time the last tour bus leaves, the city turns into a serene canal town and it’s really quite magical. Daytime hours feel a little like Disneyland but by early evening, it’s a whole new place.