A Weekend in Bruges - The Best 2 Days in Bruges Itinerary


14 min read
Colourful houses behind a stone bridge with water and green trees on either side
Bruges, the capital city of West Flanders, is also known as the Venice of the North

Do you have a weekend in Bruges, Belgium, coming up, and you're not sure how to spend your time there?

In this 2 days in Bruges itinerary, you will learn why Bruges makes the perfect weekend getaway. You will also find out which historical European landmarks you should visit, as well as learn about popular cafes and restaurants.

Known as the Venice of the North, Bruges is a beautiful medieval town famous for its long canals, historical buildings, Gothic architecture, and narrow, cobblestone streets. It is the capital and largest city in the West Flanders region and less than a 1.5-hour drive northwest of Brussels.

Despite being one of the most picturesque European cities, Bruges is often overshadowed by the larger and thriving nearby metropolises of Paris, London, and Amsterdam.

Many people think that all of Bruges' attractions can be seen in a single day trip, but ideally, you will need two days to explore it all. With a couple of days in Bruges, you will be able to experience all that the city has to offer!

If you have more time in Belgium, the neighbouring town of Ghent also has a lot to offer. One day in Ghent is enough to experience most of its offerings!

  • 2 day itinerary
  • Average of 10 stops per day

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Two Days in Bruges Itinerary

Bruges Belgium Map

Using the map of Brugge, you can explore all the days and stops.

A walk in the past...

Swans on grass in front of old buildings along a canal surrounded by green trees
Bruges has long canals where you can enjoy views of the city from a boat ride

The first day of this weekend in Bruges itinerary is about travelling back in time. Start by taking a walk through the old town.

The city centre is easily walkable and has attractions situated close to one another, so you don't need to worry about getting tired! And while both days are jam-packed, feel free to change up the intinerary and omit sights.

Before you walk, you should wake up early and have a nice breakfast. The first few attractions below will keep you busy for a few hours, so it's better to explore on a full stomach.

That's Toast is a great choice to try a variety of breakfast dishes. The cafe is cosy and well-decorated, and the food is fantastic!

For lunch, head over to Sfeerbistro De Twijfelaar for a relaxed and casual atmosphere, away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist areas. They offer freshly prepared and cooked food.

And lastly, end your day with dinner at The Olive Tree Brugge. The food here is tasty, and the portions are enormous!

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The tall Belfry Tower is a must on your 2 days in Bruges itinerary
Visiting the Belfry Tower must be on your 2 days in Bruges itinerary!

Belfry of Bruges

The Belfry Tower is a medieval bell tower overlooking Market Square.

Awarded a Unesco World Heritage Site, the Belfry Tower is one of the most famous things to see in Bruges for tourists. It served as an observation tower and as protection from thieves and neighbouring enemies back in time.

Want to know more about it? Go inside the tower. Step back in history to the Middle Ages and take a look at the old funds and charters.

You will also be impressed by the view at the top if you don’t mind climbing up stairs (and you can). The 366 steps are nothing compared to the magnificent views of the city that you’ll get to enjoy!

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If you have a weekend in Bruges, do visit the colourful Market Square
Surrounded by restaurants and shops, Grote Markt is considered the heart of the city

Market Square

Beneath the Belfry of Bruges, you will find the old Market Square ("Markt"), or the Grote Markt as it's also known - the heart of Bruges!

Market Square is surrounded by beautiful shops, restaurants, and brilliant architecture. The ambience in this area is amazing! Walk around, and you will spot the colourful brick houses you may have already seen on postcards of Bruges.

Continue your discovery of Bruges by exploring the post office architecture and other ancient buildings that reveal the past of Belgium.

Take a seat at one of the traditional cafes to enjoy locally-crafted chocolate or a refreshing Belgian beer. The family-owned Old Chocolate House is a popular place to grab some delicious chocolate.

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© J2R via Depositphotos
Looking up at the exterior of a medieval grey building with red and white flags
The Historium offers great ways to learn about the city's history and architecture

Historium Bruges

Finished strolling around Market Square? It’s time for the Historium. Step inside to step back in time!

Discover Bruges through the medieval Golden era with a short but impactful virtual experience.

The Historium is an imaginative way of sharing the history of Bruges, enhanced by dramatic music, film, and special effects. Grab an audio guide to learn everything about the Golden age and Jan Van Eyck.

Don’t forget to take some photos of the stunning panoramic views of Market Square from this attraction! After that, walk into the exhibition room to find informational postings on the city history, architecture, and layout.

The Historium is a great place to entertain yourself and spend a couple of hours. It is worth adding to your things to do in Bruges, Belgium list!

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A tall church tower with greenery at its foot in between two buildings on a clear day
When you have a weekend in Bruges, do make sure to visit the Church of Our Lady

Church of Our Lady

Another attraction you should add to your Bruges weekend itinerary is The Church of Our Lady. It is one of the taller buildings to see in Bruges! Built between the 13th and 15th centuries, the Church of Our Lady boasts an iconic art collection.

You can find Michelangelo's famous Madonna and Child sculpture here, among many other art pieces. Moreover, the decorative and ceremonial tombs of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold are in the church's choir.

Other exceptional artworks and woodcarvings include the paintings by Pieter Poubus - the Last Supper and the Adoration of the Shepherds - and Gerard David's Transfiguration. It is Michelangelo's sculpture, however, that drives most of the visitors here!

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Groeninge Museum

If you love European art and would like to see some unbelievable classic pieces from the Flemish primitives, then the Groeninge Museum is the place you should head to next.

Groeninge Museum is a famous art museum known for Belgian plastic arts. You will also find neoclassical paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries by Jan Van Eyck and Hugo Van Der Goes. Or, you can marvel at masterpieces from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Whatever your art taste, the Groeninge Museum is sure to impress!

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Medieval buildings, greenery, and a stone bridge on the left reflected in a canal
The Rozenhoedkaai, also called Quay of the Rosary, is Bruges' most photographed spot

Rozenhoedkaai

Want to know what the most photographed spot in Bruges is? Head over to Rozenhoedkaai! This place is just a 3-minute walk from the Groeninge Museum.

Rozenhoedkaai is a beautiful historic part of Bruges, along the canals that used to be a popular location for mooring boats. This iconic site features several stunning buildings that look like castles from the medieval era. There are also many bars, cafes, and restaurants just beside the canals where you can stop for a drink.

Rozenhoedkaai makes the perfect area for taking photos with your family, friends and loved ones at any time of the year. It doesn't matter if it's winter or summer; you should sit here for a while to enjoy its timeless scenery!

Take out your camera to create picture-perfect postcards of Bruges. It is the perfect spot for photographers!

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© Klodien via Depositphotos
The exterior of a modern red building complex surrounded by trees and a few people
Aside from music and art, Concertgebouw also offers stunning views of the city

Concertgebouw Circuit

One of the most underrated things to do in Bruges is the Concert Hall. If you are fond of music and design, this is the place to be!

Inside the modern building, there is a collection of modern music and interactive displays. The famous acoustics and contemporary art collection are quite impressive!

What’s more, you can marvel at the most beautiful views of the entire city here - the icing on the cake!

Guided tours of the concert hall are available. Check the hours before visiting, as they stop letting people in an hour before closing.

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Lizzie’s Wafels

No visit to Bruges would be complete without having tasted traditional Belgian waffles. There are many cafes where you can try mouth-watering waffles, but you should go to Lizzie's Wafels!

You won't be able to get enough of these waffles! The portions are big, so beware when ordering; you might want to share it with your companion!

The waffles are fresh, light and crispy. Also, there are plenty of toppings you can choose from, such as chocolate cream.

And, don't forget to try the hot chocolate; it's absolutely delightful!

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Shop while tasting chocolate

If you are keen on shopping, you are in luck! Bruges offers a variety of speciality shops scattered around the city. Whether it is a lace doily or traditional cookies and souvenirs, you will find it here.

At Depla Chocolatier, you can buy truffles, chocolate covered with fruit, or dark chocolate rice cakes. You are guaranteed to have one of the best cups of cappuccino, too!

If you want to buy something for someone who likes lace, you should try ‘T Apostelientje’. The owner is charming and can explain everything about lace patterns to you. All items here are handcrafted.

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People in a boat on a canal with old buildings and a Belgian flag on the left
A boat tour is a relaxing way to explore the city's winding canals and old buildings

Canal Boat Tour

As you're ending your first day in Bruges after exploring the city's architecture and wonders, consider taking a canal boat tour. A boat tour at the end of your first day will be the cherry on the cake!

Finding a canal boat tour is very easy as there are five landing stages throughout the city. A boat tour lasts about 30 minutes. Once again, you'll enjoy the winding canals and old historic homes.

So, make sure to add this relaxing activity to your things to do and see in Bruges list! After all, you can rest your feet after a long day of strolling around.

A perfect way to end your day, don't you think?

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Because one day is not enough!

© mistervlad via Depositphotos
Cobblestone road outside old medieval buildings with a partly cloudy sky above
The historic Burg Square is known for its Gothic and Neoclassical architecture

When putting together the second day of your two day Bruges itinerary, make sure to add the Burg Square on it as it is one of the must-sees in Bruges!

Burg Square is known for Gothic and Neoclassical architectural designs. The Gothic Town Hall from the 14th century is located here as well. Painted all over the hall, you will spot vivid 19th-century murals.

Grab breakfast and a cup of coffee in the morning at Books and Brunch, where they have delicious pancakes and other breakfast offerings.

For lunch, try out a place called Brazi's. It's a small, cute place where you can pick up a takeaway sandwich or a warmed baguette at a reasonable price.

And finally, as you are about to end your night, take a walk to De Stove. Here, you can have mussels with a superb sauce and a glass of excellent wine in a cosy setting.

Lastly, do rent a bike when exploring the eastern part of Bruges - it'll make your trip more pleasant!

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Church interior with stained glass windows and a large wall painting behind the altar
Basilica of the Holy Blood is thought to house a cloth stained with Jesus' blood

Basilica of the Holy Blood

The Basilica of the Holy Blood is a Roman Catholic church located in Burg Square, just beside the Town Hall. It is thought that the church preserved a cloth stained with the blood of Jesus.

The Basilica of the Holy Blood was built in the 12th century with a lower and upper chapel. The lower chapel has kept its Romanesque character. Dedicated to St. Basil the Great, it’s the only one of such character in West Flanders.

The upper chapel was later rebuilt in the 16th century in the Gothic style. It is where the relic of the Holy Blood was kept. In the 19th century, it was renovated in the Gothic-revival style.

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Admire a fantastic collection of famous graphics and statues by Salvador Dali. These works are authentic and exhibited in a dramatic pink and golden setting.

At times, there might be a long queue; however, it is well worth the wait! If you don’t like to wait, you can go to one of the cafes, rest and come back when the queue goes down.

Do pay the extra few Euros for an audio guide and enjoy earning the story about his art. The museum is marvellous - there are so many paintings in one place!

Book your Salvador Dali Gallery admission tickets.

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© infomods via Depositphotos
Large chocolate sculptures behind glass and small ones on a pedestal on the right
Enjoy learning about and tasting Belgian chocolate when you visit Choco Story

Choco Story

For the Chocolate addicts out there, don't miss out on experiencing Choco Story! Visit Choco Story to walk through the history of chocolate, attend a demonstration of Belgian chocolate making and more!

You will learn about the benefits of chocolate, the history of cocoa beans, and you will get to try free samples of chocolate! Make sure to leave at least 1 to 2 hours for the experience.

In the nearby shops, you can also find traditional flavours such as dark and creamy chocolate and some variations such as lemongrass, spicy chilly, or Moroccan mint.

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Lumina Domestica

Lumina Domestica museum is in the same building as the Choco Story museum and uses the same ticket office. You can buy a combined ticket for both experiences.

It is also known as the Lamp Museum, where you can find over 6000 antiques and lamps. So, if you are looking for one of the hidden gems in Bruges, this attraction is it!

Don't underestimate the Lamp Museum - it's not boring! It's actually quite interesting.

The experience starts from the beginning of humans' mastery of light, making light via fire. The museum then progresses from fire and explains the history of lamps and other light-related inventions.

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© Kisa_Markiza via Depositphotos
Historic brick buildings on the right side of a canal on a sunny day
Sint-Janshospitaal Museum was an operational hospital from the 12th to 19th century

Sint-Janshospitaal Museum

Sint-Janshospitaal is one of the oldest preserved hospitals in Europe. The hospital operated between the 12th and 19th centuries, which is when many nuns helped sick people.

They used several medical instruments and modern methods for that time. The proof for this is the artefacts in the museum that tell the history of the hospital.

Sint-Janshospitaal Museum is within the old hospital, where you will see the old furniture, silverware, sculptures, pewterware, and medical instruments. There are also paintings by Hans Memling, like ‘The Shrine of St. Ursula’.

Make sure to stop by the Diksmuide attic, the old dormitory, the custodian’s room, and the pharmacy when here as well!

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De Halve Maan Brewery

Your next stop will be De Halve Maan, the only remaining brewery in Bruges! Since 1865, they have been making the best Belgian beers in Bruge! The brewery has been a family run business for six generations now.

If you want to know more about the brewing process, take a 45-minute tour to explore the three-kilometre underground pipe. You will learn the trade secrets of making a beer and taste the local beer Brugse Zot. Brugse Zot is a strong, highly fermented beer with malt, hops, and yeast.

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Gothic style, grey roofed castle surrounded by greenery, overlooking a lake
Also known as "Lake of Love," Minnewaterpark is one of Bruges' most romantic spots

Minnewaterpark

For a romantic and peaceful time away from the large crowds, head to Minnewaterpark. Or, as the locals like to call it, "The Lake of Love". Scenic homes, buildings and trees can be found throughout the park. It also has canals twisting through it.

Minnewaterpark was nicknamed "The Lake of Love" due to a sad story about Minna and her warrior Stromberg, which later evolved into a local legend.

According to the legend, it is believed that you will experience eternal love if you walk over the lake with your loved one. That's why it is one of the most-visited romantic spots in Bruges!

You will also see beautiful swans swimming around where you can capture some lovely photos. O,r you can just rest your feet in the grass by the canals.

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Diamant Museum

The Diamant Museum was opened in 1999. The city archives confirm that Bruges' diamond trading and polishing began in the 14th century. In the museum, you will find out how Bruges was the first city of diamonds in the world.

There are daily cutting demonstrations to learn how they cut and polish diamonds. The exhibitions cover some historical facts and information regarding the diamond-making process.

You can also find a shop with many diamond products and choose something to buy for a friend or family member. Photographing is not allowed in the museum.

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A row of old whitewashed houses behind landscaped bushes and leafless trees
Dating back to the 14th century, Almshouses now serve as shops and historic buildings

Almshouses

Many small whitewashed houses in Bruges date back to the 14th century. Wealthy citizens and guilds formed them so that single women and older adults had a place to stay.

However, those who lived there had to pray for the rich people in return. They prayed in special chapels near the houses.

Now, there are about 46 preserved church complexes that serve as shops and historic buildings that reveal the past.

One such complex is the Almshouse de Meulenaere and Sint-Jozef. All of the almshouses are almost the same, but on some of them, you’ll spot bright colours or plants lining the doorways.

Interestingly, the founder’s name is painted on the structure of each house, and is where you can learn more about their history.

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Traditional windmill on a grass-covered field with trees at the back on a clear day
There are only 4 out of 25 windmills from back in the day left now

Windmills of Bruges

One of the best things to do in Bruges is to take a walk to the windmills. After exploring the shops, cafes, and iconic landmarks, escape the busy city life and head towards the windmills.

You can find them where the old Bruges city borders were once located. There were about 25 windmills back in the day, but now only four are left.

Some are open to the public, such as the Coelweymolen windmill built in 1765 and the Sint-Janshuismolen windmill built in 1770. Bakers built the later windmill to help them grind flour.

The atmosphere around the windmills is peaceful, and you can enjoy a coffee or a beer on the grass while observing the lovely canalside. You can also rent a bike to be at this location in just a few minutes!

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In Summary

Bruges is truly a unique, historic, and picturesque place in the world. I hope you enjoyed this 2 day Bruges itinerary and that it will help you fully enjoy the Venice of the North! I am sure Bruges will leave you speechless, and you will want to come back here again!

With your 48 hours in Bruges, you'll definitely cover some of the best things to do, cafes, restaurants, iconic sites, and museums. Your belly will be full of waffles and chocolate, and your camera full of everlasting memories.

Whether you are looking for a quiet, quick getaway from the bustling city or just a lovely and romantic weekend away, Bruges is the place to be!

This article was edited by Loredana Elena.

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Written by Aleksandra Jakimoska

Aleksandrajakimoska WRITER I am currently based in Ohrid, N. Macedonia. But like every traveler, I am unable to stay in one place for too long. My constant desire for travel makes me scared of settling down, and very often, I 'suffer' from the fear of missing out on new places.