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Brussels or Bruges: Which Belgian City Should You Visit?

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Planning a trip to Belgium and wondering which Belgian city to add to your itinerary? Should you spend that extra day in Brussels or Bruges (or another city)? Don’t worry! We got you covered. 

This is exactly what we researched before planning our very first Amsterdam Brussels and Paris itinerary. And today we will be breaking it down for you so that you can make the most of your European getaway!

Brussels or Bruges: Which Belgian City Should You Visit?

Brussels vs Bruges which one to visit

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Belgium is home to two amazing cities, Brussels and Bruges. Each city offers its own unique charm and activities that make it a great destination for travelers. However, if you’re trying to decide which one to visit on your trip, it can be a daunting task. 

Here you will find an overview of what each city has to offer and the factors you should consider when choosing between Brussels or Bruges. Whether you’re looking for exciting nightlife or a peaceful getaway, this guide will make it easier to decide which city is right for your trip.  

Brussels Grand Place (twinning with all the pretty red flowers)
Markt Square Bruges. Get ready to be mesmerized by gingerbread houses, medieval Markt Square, romantic canal tour, Belgian waffles and beer tour in one day in Bruges Itinerary.
Markt Square Bruges (matching in green)

So read on and get ready to explore Belgium’s best cities! 

Things to consider when choosing between Brussels or Bruges 

When deciding between Brussels and Bruges, there are a few factors to consider – from transportation, accommodation, sightseeing, popularity, USP for each, etc. 

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and a cosmopolitan city full of cultural attractions including museums, galleries, and historical buildings. It has excellent nightlife, an abundance of restaurants serving world cuisine, and great shopping opportunities. 

The public transportation system is well-organized and convenient, making it easy to get around the city.

Bruges, on the other hand, is a charming medieval city with cobblestoned streets lined with picturesque canals and colorful buildings. It is known for its excellent food scene, sightseeing opportunities like the iconic Market Square and Belfry Tower, and breweries. 

Bruges also offers plenty of outdoor activities such as bike tours and boat rides on its canals.

We will go over each of these factors and our verdict for each below,

Brussels vs. Bruges: Transportation and Connectivity 

When it comes to transportation and connectivity, both Brussels and Bruges have their own unique advantages.

Modern Streets of Brussels: Schaerbeek

In Brussels, getting around is easy and convenient thanks to an excellent public transportation system. The city has a comprehensive network of trams, buses, and trains that can get you to all the major attractions in no time. 

You can buy tickets ahead of time or purchase a STIB/MIVB pass for unlimited travel. 

All STIB buses, trams, and metro stations are equipped with contactless payment devices so you can pay from your credit cards, Apple or Google Pay – making it super easy to travel without carrying a lot of cash or change. 

Brussels Elisabeth Park: Rent a car, or bike to explore

Beyond the Brussels Capital Region, the city is perfect to travel to places like France, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg by road or rail. 

There are high-speed (Thalys) trains connecting Brussels to Paris, and Brussels to Amsterdam > this is definitely a plus for those who are on a multi-city trip to Europe and are not renting a car. 

Of course, you can rent a vehicle if you like. The city also has several car rental companies from where you can choose a vehicle of your choice. 

Read: Detailed list of day trips from Brussels Belgium

On the other hand, in Bruges, there are fewer public transportation options but it is still easy to get around. You can take a bus from the train station to the city center or take a boat tour along Bruges’ canals. 

Early mornings in Bruges: It is wonderful to walk 🙂

The city is also walkable, so it’s easy to explore its narrow streets and cobblestoned alleys without relying on public transit. We actually walked from the SNCB railway station to the main square, and it was fairly easy to navigate as well. 

Verdict: Brussels

Overall, Brussels has better connectivity due to its extensive public transportation network. However, Bruges is still easy to get around with fewer transportation options and its walkable layout. 

Brussels vs. Bruges: Accommodation 

When it comes to hotel and accommodation options, Brussels wins this round again for its variety. 

Being the capital city, there are plenty of great hotels to choose from that fit different budgets. You’ll find everything from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious 5-star hotels. 

Hotels in Bruges. Get ready to be mesmerized by gingerbread houses, medieval Markt Square, romantic canal tour, Belgian waffles and beer tour in one day in Bruges Itinerary.
Brussels or Bruges Belgium: Accommodation

If you wish to celebrate a special occasion you can opt for a centuries-old building by the Grand Place, or pick a room with Brussels city centre views!

The city also has plenty of Airbnb, so you can rent an entire apartment and have a more homey experience (or work from home). 

Read: Where to stay in Brussels Belgium for first-time visitors

In Bruges, the hotel options are more limited but still quite good. Because the city is compact, accommodation options are scarce and those by the Grokt Markt are usually pricey. They can be expensive during winter or the festive season as they are popular times to visit Bruges. 

Overall you’ll find mostly mid-range hotels as well as some boutique hotels that offer more luxurious experiences. If visiting in the peak season, we recommend booking hotel rooms ahead of time to avoid disappointment. 

Verdict: Brussels for its variety

Is it cheaper to stay in Brussels or Bruges?

Brussels definitely has a wider inventory of hotels and affordable apartment rentals as compared to Bruges. It is also possible to find a 3-star hotel in the heart of Brussels for $100 USD per night (for a couple). If you are on a budget Brussels will provide you with more options. If money is not an issue, both Brussels and Bruges are great!

Brussels vs. Bruges: Restaurants

This one is a tie between Brussels and Bruges. And here is why. 

Both Brussels and Bruges offer cheap eats and fine dining options. There are locally owned bistros and cafes to dining establishments serving Belgian and Flemish traditional dishes. 

Food in Brussels and Bruges

Both have fast food restaurants, and fresh marketplaces with grab-and-go options to suit every taste in Belgium. Many restaurants in Bruges focus on seafood, so it’s a great place for seafood lovers to try some of the freshest catches.

Brussels has a wider selection of international restaurants if that is what you are looking for. But for traditional Belgian cuisine, both are equally great. 

Verdict: Tie

You can enrich your Belgian experience with cooking classes in Brussels such as this chocolate-making workshop. Or join a brewery tour in Bruges!

Brussels vs. Bruges: Which is more picturesque (and with major fairytale vibes)

If you want to see a charming quaint small city with all the fairytale vibes, canals and cruises, and cute gingerbread houses, then you must visit Bruges!

Bruges is rightly known as the Venice of the North. As compared to Brussels, it is definitely more picturesque due to its charming canals, cobblestone streets, and historic architecture. 

However, Brussels still has plenty of beauty to offer with its impressive churches and grand squares. 

Verdict: Bruges

Brussels vs. Bruges: Which city is touristy

When it comes to which city is touristy, it’s a little tricky. 

Bruges… hands down, is popular with tourists. 

Whenever I share on Instagram how I enjoy being in Brussels, I always get others who don’t agree…many feel Brussels is….. well, too modern. And it is nothing other than a convenient stopover. 

Perfect city break: Brussels!

Which of course, we don’t agree with. Brussels has its own charm. For us, it is the perfect city break with history, culture, good food, shopping, and modern infrastructure! 

In Brussels, many tourists flock to the Grand Place in the center of the city. This iconic square boasts beautiful gothic buildings and is often packed with people in the peak seasons. 


From medieval architecture to something like the Atomium, Brussels has it all. They have museums, restaurants, shopping, and the perfect mix of the old and the new! Here is the perfect itinerary for spending a weekend in Brussels – you will LOVE it!

Bruges is pretty. No doubt, and should be absolutely visited. If you were to plan a trip to see a ‘quaint European town with fairytale vibes’ – surely add Bruges to your list. Bruges is all f-a-i-r-y-t-a-l-e every inch. 

Verdict: Both are touristy for their own reasons. Bruges is popular with bucket list chasers

Brussels vs. Bruges: Which city has more things to do

There are more things to do in Brussels than Bruges and quite a range of activities are available in the capital city to fill your itinerary for days. 

In Brussels, you can explore the city’s many historic landmarks such as the Grand Place, Royal Palace of Brussels, and St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral. Then there are cute sculptures like Manneken Pis and cool attractions such as the Comic Strip.

The skyline of Brussels is filled with beautiful churches, cathedrals, and government buildings. You can visit modern sites such as Mini Europe, Parlamentarium (European Parliament), and the Atomium.  

Galeries Royales Saint Hubert - One day in Brussels Itinerary
Galeries Royales Saint Hubert – Oldest covered shopping arcade in Europe

Don’t miss shopping opportunities in the city of Brussels, from the Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert to modern shopping malls and bustling flea markets. 

The city has numerous outdoor markets to explore where you can find fresh food and local goods, and various green parks as well. 

In Bruges, the streets are lined with beautiful buildings from medieval times. 

Get ready to be mesmerized by gingerbread houses, medieval Markt Square, romantic canal tour, Belgian waffles and beer tour in one day in Bruges Itinerary.
Bruges Belgium: You are cute!

The city is full of quaint canals, cobblestone alleys, and charming bridges that make it a fairytale come to life. You can also explore the city’s many markets and shops to find unique souvenirs. 

Bruges is more about the experience – you know, like the canals, strolling the market square, cruises, samplings at a brewery tour, etc. 

Canal boat tours in Bruges

In terms of attractions, Bruges is limited as compared to Brussels. Of course, you will be taking in the centuries-old grandeur at the Grokt Markt, climbing the Belfry Tower for views, and visiting the Saint John’s Hospital (the oldest hospital in Europe), and the Historium. 

Then experiences such as canal boat cruises, tuk-tuk tours, carriage rides, and brewery tours will take over. 

Verdict: Brussels (for the number of attractions)

Bruges vs Brussels: USP for each city

Each city has its own unique selling proposition aka what the destination is known for/famous for/ or marketed as. Brussels and Bruges are both known for their different reasons and depending on their characteristics you can choose which city appeals to you!

Kunstberg or Mont des Arts gardens in Brussels
Kunstberg or Mont des Arts gardens in Brussels, Belgium.

So Brussels is known for the grand…Grand Place. TinTin comics, Atomium, waffles, chocolates, Kunstberg or Mont des Arts gardens, European Union, etc are all associated with Brussels. 

Bruges is all about stunning medieval architecture, Grokt Markt, and beautiful canals. The Old Town is sprinkled with quaint cobblestoned streets, and shops and has touristy attractions like the Belfry of Bruges and the oldest hospital in Europe.

Belfort Tower - Get ready to be mesmerized by gingerbread houses, medieval Markt Square, romantic canal tour, Belgian waffles and beer tour in one day in Bruges Itinerary.
Belfry or Belfort Tower at the Markt Square

Bruges vs Brussels: Market Square (Markt) vs The Grand Place

When it comes to iconic sights, both Brussels and Bruges have incredible squares that are worth visiting. 

The Grand Place in Brussels is a stunning square surrounded by majestic buildings and filled with restaurants and cafes. This square is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Brussels and it serves as a hub for locals and visitors alike. 

Grand Place Brussels. Brussels Belgium things to do in one day itinerary trip. Explore the Brussels Belgium grand place, comic strip, royal palace, try Belgium waffles and other food! Get some Brussels Belgium photography tips and spot ideas for your trip
Grand Place Brussels

You will find the City Museum here. The buildings here date back to the 17th century, and it has surely seen their days of shine and scars over the centuries. It’s also a great place to take pictures and marvel at the city’s architecture. 

Meanwhile, Bruges has its own iconic square called Markt. This huge cobblestoned square is surrounded by colorful buildings, churches, and cafes. 

Get ready to be mesmerized by gingerbread houses, medieval Markt Square, romantic canal tour, Belgian waffles and beer tour in one day in Bruges Itinerary.
Bruges Markt Square – Food Market

Here you can enjoy delicious Belgian cuisine while admiring the beautiful sights of Bruges. The Belfry dominates the main square. 

When it comes to which square is better, that’s really up to personal preference as both are unique and beautiful in their own way. The Grand Place in Brussels is certainly more crowded but its grandeur and bustling atmosphere make it a truly memorable experience. 

Meanwhile, Markt in Bruges has a peaceful vibe with its tranquil atmosphere and picturesque buildings. 

The market stalls are up each morning, and they are taken down when the sun sets. However, the restaurants and other attractions near the market square are open (according to their operating hours). 

Verdict: If you want a bustling atmosphere and magnificent architecture, The Grand Place in Brussels is the place for you. However, if you’re looking for a more relaxed experience surrounded by old-world beauty, Markt in Bruges is the perfect choice. 

Brussels vs. Bruges: Best for Christmas and winter trips

Brussels and Bruges both offer wonderful experiences during the Christmas season. Each city has its own unique charms and activities to enjoy, so it can be difficult to decide which is best for a winter trip. 

In Brussels, there are festive events and attractions to explore over the holidays. The city’s spectacular Christmas market and light show are a must-see, and there’s plenty of shopping to be done in the galleries, arcades, and boutiques. 

The buildings of the Grand Place of Brussels are illuminated during the winter wonders happening
The buildings of the Grand Place of Brussels are illuminated during the winter wonders happening
  • Brussels hosts an annual Christmas market – Plaisirs d’Hiver
  • Winter Wonders is another event that takes place at the Grand Place, which includes a Christmas market with hundreds of chalets
  • Brussels Festival of Lights is another event worth attending in the winter

There are also plenty of restaurants that serve traditional Belgian dishes throughout the season.

In Bruges, you can experience an even more intimate atmosphere during the holidays. The city is full of charming Christmas markets, cozy cafes, and romantic cobblestoned streets. 

There are also several winter activities to enjoy including ice skating, chocolate-making workshops, snowy canal cruises, and more. 

  • You can skate at Boudewijn Ice Rink
  • Enjoy light event – Winter Glow
  • Various festive shops and Christmas market

When trying to decide between Brussels or Bruges for your winter trip, consider what type of atmosphere you’d like to experience. 

Verdict: Overall, both cities have plenty to offer during the Christmas and winter season. Brussels has a more lively atmosphere with its grand light show and bustling markets, while Bruges offers a more peaceful setting with snow-covered streets and cozy cafes. So ultimately it comes down to personal preference!         

Brussels vs. Bruges: Which City is Better for Couples

For the uber romantics, Bruges is the destination for you!

Brussels may be the ideal choice for those who want exciting and vibrant nightlife. The city has several bars, clubs, and restaurants that provide plenty of opportunities for a romantic evening out. 

Horse Carriage Rides at the Grand Place
Horse Carriage Rides at the Grand Place are romantic

Brussels also has a variety of cultural attractions, such as museums and historical sites, that are perfect for couples who enjoy exploring together.

Bruges is the best choice for couples looking for a relaxing escape. The city is filled with picturesque canals and cobblestoned streets that provide an idyllic atmosphere for romance. 

Bruges: Perfect for couple’s photos (Thanks to my husband for this photo)

Bruges also has many charming cafes, boutiques, and chocolatiers that are perfect for a cozy date. Plus, the historic buildings in the city center make for great photo ops. It’s a great spot for celebrating anniversaries, babymoon or even popping the question!

Verdict: Brussels may be better suited for those seeking an energetic nightlife while Bruges is great for those looking to relax. 

No matter which city you choose, you’re sure to have a wonderful time exploring Belgium with your significant other. 

Brussels vs. Bruges: Which City is Better for Families

Both Brussels and Bruges are excellent cities for families, but each offers something a little different. 

In Brussels, there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained. The city is home to many museums, parks, and other attractions that will appeal to both adults and children alike. 

Parc in Brussels

Grand Place, the Manneken Pis, and the Atomium are must-see attractions for any group. And for those looking for something a little different, the Comic Book route walking tour is a fun activity! 

In Bruges, families can explore the city’s historic sites and churches. The Markt Square is always bustling with life, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a meal or take in some of Bruges’ unique architecture. 

Swans in Bruges Canals Get ready to be mesmerized by gingerbread houses, medieval Markt Square, romantic canal tour, Belgian waffles and beer tour in one day in Bruges Itinerary.
Swans in Bruges Canal

Families can also take advantage of the city’s walking and cycling paths, allowing them to explore more on their own. 

Verdict: If you’re looking for a city that’s more activity-focused, Brussels has the edge over Bruges. The city offers plenty of family-friendly attractions, such as museums, parks, and the iconic Atomium. On the other hand, Bruges is a great place to explore at your own pace, with plenty of historic sites and churches to see along the way. 

Brussels vs. Bruges: Nightlife

In Brussels, you can explore the city’s vibrant bar and club scene with its many pubs, bars, and music venues. The city is also home to a number of festivals, concerts, and events that make it a great place for nightlife. 

In Bruges, the atmosphere is more relaxed with its many cafes and pubs. You can enjoy live music in the evening or have a few drinks with friends while admiring the beautiful architecture.

Verdict: Brussels

Brussels vs. Bruges: Which is affordable to visit in Belgium

When it comes to affordability, you have to consider different pieces of the sightseeing puzzle – free attractions/things to do, food, accommodation, transportation, etc.

In Brussels, you’ll find plenty of accommodation options that fit every budget. From luxurious 5-star hotels to more affordable Airbnbs, there’s a wide variety – a good supply of properties matching a steady flow of tourists. 

Modest accommodation in Brussels City Centre

In Bruges, it is possible to find affordable accommodation for most times of the year, but during peak season it might be quite a task. 

Both cities offer a variety of budget-friendly restaurants.

What to eat in Brussels Grand Place
Brussels restaurants at the center + street performers

When it comes to budget-friendly activities, there’s plenty to do in both cities as well.

Brussels offers a few free attractions like the Grand Place and the Royal Palace of Brussels (outside), while Bruges welcomes you to the Grokt Markt (free), and affordable attractions such as the Belfry (entry fee of 8 euros). 

Grand Place Brussels Belgium
Grand Place
Canal Tour in Bruges. Get ready to be mesmerized by gingerbread houses, medieval Markt Square, romantic canal tour, Belgian waffles and beer tour in one day in Bruges Itinerary.
Canal Tour Bruges

Typical prices for canal cruises in Bruges are 12 euros and a visit to the Historium will set you behind by 13 euros. The Atomium Brussels entrance fee is 17 euros.

Both cities also have some great parks like Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels and Minnewater Park in Bruges where you can enjoy your time. 

As far as transportation goes, you will need a daily transit fee in Brussels to cover bus, train, or tram rides as many of the attractions are far away from the centre. 

Bruges attractions can be explored on foot, but you have to factor in costs to get to the city from Brussels (like car rental, or public transportation ride). 

Verdict: Depending on your choice of accommodation, Brussels will be slightly cheaper.

Brussels vs. Bruges: Which is best for visiting other European countries

Brussels is surely your BEST bet if you wish to venture out to other popular European countries and cities. You will cut down on the travel time whether you are on a road trip, or taking the train. 

By keeping Brussels as a base, you can visit other Belgian cities (including Bruges), Ghent, Antwerp, Waterloo, Ypres, Dinant, etc. 

Meuse River
Meuse River in Dinant

If you’re looking to explore beyond Belgium, Brussels is the best option. The city is home to two international airports (Brussels Airport and Brussels South Charleroi Airport) which offer flights to many European cities. 

You can also take the train to Paris or Amsterdam in just a few hours. Luxembourg City can also be explored on a day trip. 

Beautiful River Valley of Luxembourg
Beautiful Luxembourg

Bruges is not as well connected as Brussels, but it is still possible to explore nearby countries by train or bus. For example, if you wish to visit Paris from Bruges, you will have to cross Brussels to get to the French capital (thus adding travel time). 

The nearest airport to Bruges is Ostende Airport.

Verdict: Brussels

Brussels vs. Bruges: Choose Brussels or Bruges based on your travel style and interests

Here is the fun part that will help you pick a city based on your travel style and interests. 

  • If you’re looking for a lively atmosphere and exciting nightlife, then Brussels is the perfect choice. The city has an array of bars and clubs, as well as trendy restaurants and cafes. 
  • Love to hop from one attraction to the next? Visit Brussels. Brussels is home to many cultural attractions, such as the Grand Place, Royal Palace, and numerous museums. You can stay busy and occupied for days visiting cathedrals, museums, galleries, etc. 
  • Prefer a quiet getaway, with boutique accommodation? Head to Bruges. Bruges has an incredibly picturesque landscape with tranquil canals and winding cobblestone streets. You can also explore the city’s many churches, including the famous Belfry Tower.
Charming lanes of Bruges
Charming lanes of Bruges
  • Love the gingerbread houses and wish to visit a fairytale and quaint European city? Bruges is the place to be Bruges is very Instagram-worthy! The backdrop of the colorful buildings and the canals with the swans are absolutely dreamy and everything that makes every bucket list chaser go —- 🙂
  • If you love art and culture, then Brussels is ideal for you as it has some amazing galleries and museums.
  • On a budget? Stay in Brussels, and take a day trip to Bruges to experience the iconic square in a day. In terms of accommodation again, both cities have a range of options to suit all budgets. 

How to add Brussels and Bruges to your Belgium Itinerary

When planning your Belgium itinerary, plan to arrive in Brussels. You can arrive via plane (from North America), or take the train from nearby European countries.

Royal Palace Brussels
Royal Palace in Brussels

Day 1: Once you are in Brussels, set aside 1-2 days to explore the city. At a minimum, one full day is required to visit all the prime attractions of Brussels. 

Here is a detailed one day in Brussels itinerary

Day 2: Then you can venture out to Bruges for a full day of sightseeing. 

Here is a detailed one day in Bruges itinerary

How far is Bruges from Brussels?

Bruges is located 98 km (61 miles) from Brussels. You join a guided tour, use SNCB regional trains, or drive there. Driving time is 1 hour and 30 minutes. Trains take about an hour. Here is a full day guided tour from Brussels to Bruges!

Read: Interesting Facts about Belgium

Things To Do In Brussels Belgium

Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and is a great starting point when exploring the country. From cultural attractions like the Royal Palace of Brussels to world-famous chocolatiers, there’s something for everyone in this amazing city. 

Here are some of the best things to do in Brussels Belgium: 

Visit the Grand Place: 

The Grand Place is the iconic heart of Brussels. This stunning square is lined with Gothic and Baroque buildings that house restaurants, cafes, and shops. 

Girl in Grand Place Brussels 2 day itinerary
Grand Place Brussels

Many of the buildings date back to the 17th century and ooze luxury and grandeur…. Just like its name. 

It’s a great place to people-watch and enjoy an espresso or waffle in one of the cozy outdoor seating areas. 

Brussels Town Hall Grand Place
Brussels Town Hall

Located in the Grand Place complex is the Brussels City Museum. This museum is home to exhibits showcasing the history of Brussels. It is situated on the north side of the square, opposite Brussels’ Town Hall, in the Maison du Roi, or Broodhuis – Bread House. 

You can also visit the Brussels City Hall (located in the Grand Place) and join a guided tour of the halls and rooms. These tours cost about 15 euros per person/adult. 

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

The Museum of Fine Arts is home to a world-class collection of art from all over the world. It is a set of 6 museums and galleries. They are 

  • Old Masters Museum: Dedicated to European painters from the 15th to the 18th centuries, this museum was founded in 1801 by Napoleon. The entry fee is 8 euros (free with the Brussels Card). 
  • Magritte Museum: This museum is dedicated to the work of the Belgian surrealist artist, René Magritte. The entry fee is 10 euros. 
  • Fin-de-Siècle Museum: See full art exhibitions from 1884 (Beaux-Arts was founded) to 1914 when the First World War broke out. The entry fee to the museum is 15 euros. 
  • Modern Museum: The Museum of Modern Art, also known as Musée Modern, exhibits modern and contemporary art pieces.
  • Antoine Wiertz Museum: This is a free museum where you can see the work of artist Antoine Wiertzpf. The museum is housed in the original home of the artist. 
  • Constantin Meunier Museum: This museum is located in the live-in-studio of sculptor and painter Constantin Meunier. Entry is free, and the place is an amazing site to appreciate the work of the artist. 

Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert

The Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert is one of Belgium’s most iconic landmarks. It is located just a few minutes walk away from Grand Place. 

Les Galeries Saint Hubert
Les Galeries Saint Hubert

The gallery was opened in 1847 and is home to one of the prettiest shopping arcades in Europe. 

It has the distinction of being the first-ever covered shopping arcade in Europe!

Les Galeries Saint Hubert is lined with charming cafes, chocolate shops, and luxury designer labels. 

Chocolate or waffle-making workshop

Enjoy an afternoon of culinary delight and learn how to make Belgian waffles or chocolates in the heart of the city. 

Typically these workshops last 2.5 to 3 hours, and they can be booked online.

Atomium Brussels

The Atomium in Brussels is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Belgium. This iconic structure was built for the 1958 World’s Fair and stands as a symbol of innovation and progress. 

The Atomium consists of nine steel balls (like atoms) that are connected by tubes to form a cube-like shape. The balls are connected by escalators, stairs, and elevators and each houses a different exhibition hall with its own unique design. 

The Atomium

At the top of the Atomium is an observation deck (located in the upper sphere of the building) where you can admire unparalleled views of Brussels and beyond. 

When you book a ticket to the Atomiun, you can also visit the Design Museum for free. The Atomium is only a few minutes walk away from Mini-Europe. 

Visit the Royal Palace:

The Royal Palace of Brussels is one of the city’s most iconic buildings. It is free to explore the palace in the summer months (it is not open to the public at other times of the year). 

The palace is currently used for administrative purposes to host diplomats – the royals do not live here. 

Sample Belgian Chocolate: 

No trip to Brussels would be complete without sampling the city’s world-famous chocolates. With so many iconic chocolate shops to choose from, you’ll never be stuck for delicious treats in Brussels Belgium. 

Where to Stay in Brussels

Lots of hotels and affordable finds in Brussels to call your home. Here are our top favorites, 

  • Warwick Brussels: (Mid-range): Soak in the views of the Grand Place by staying at Warwick. This vintage hotel is conveniently located near sightseeing attractions and transportation! Plus breakfast is complimentary. Book your stay here
  • easyHotel Brussels City Centre: This is one of the affordable stays near the Brussels City Centre. The interiors are comfortable, and modern and you can walk to the Grand Place, shopping areas, and the train station from here. You can check availability here

Things To Do In Bruges Belgium

Bruges, Belgium is a beautiful and charming city full of incredible sights and activities. From exploring the city’s cobblestoned streets to sampling local delicacies in its many cafes, there are plenty of things to do in Bruges that will make your trip unforgettable. 

Grokt Markt:

One of the most iconic landmarks in Bruges, Belgium is Grokt Markt. This historic public market square dates back to the 10th century. It has been operating as a market since 958. 

The Market Square is also home to some of Bruges’ most stunning architecture, including the Belfry Tower which dominates the site. 

Bruges one day itinerary - Get ready to be mesmerized by gingerbread houses, medieval Markt Square, romantic canal tour, Belgian waffles and beer tour in one day in Bruges Itinerary.
Bruges: In and around the Grokt Markt

Grokt Markt is a bustling square and is filled with tourists, locals, and street performers. The square is lined with cafes and restaurants, making it the perfect spot for grabbing a quick snack or lingering over lunch. 

On sunny days, you’ll find people lounging on the grassy lawn or simply enjoying the atmosphere. 

Aside from its beauty, Grokt Markt is also known for its lively market. Every day, vendors set up their stalls around the square to sell everything from local produce to handmade goods. It’s a great place to find unique gifts or just browse the wares of Bruges’ merchants. 

Belfry Tower: 

The Belfry is a historic tower that stands tall in the city’s market square and serves as a symbol of its medieval heritage. The Belfry was built between 1240 and 1300 as part of Bruges’ city hall. 

It stands 83 meters tall and features a carillon of 47 bells that chime every 15 minutes. The Belfry is the most recognizable structure in Bruges, making it a must-see for tourists. 

There is an entry ticket to access the Belfry, and here you can climb the 366 steps to reach the top where you will be rewarded with stunning views of the city. 

Burg Square: 

The Burg Square has historically been the center of power in the city and is home to several impressive landmark buildings. 

It is home to the 12th-century Gothic Town Hall which houses the city’s administrative wing to this day! 

Take a Canal Cruise: 

A canal cruise is a great way to explore Brussels from the water. Enjoy views of the city from the waters and discover hidden gems along the route. 


Historium Bruges is an interactive museum located in the heart of Bruges, Belgium. The museum is set inside a beautiful building that dates back to 1921. 

At the Historium, you can learn all about Bruges’ rich heritage and culture through fictional characters. The museum is home to 7 historical-themed rooms which takes you through the middle ages.

There are visual effects, film, music, and unique storytelling at the Historium. Other than the multimedia experience you can also soak in the views of the city of Bruges from its panoramic terrace!

Brewery tours: 

If you’re looking for a unique experience in Bruges, then consider signing up for a brewery tour. Bruges is home to some of Belgium’s best breweries and beer-making traditions. 

Get ready to be mesmerized by gingerbread houses, medieval Markt Square, romantic canal tour, Belgian waffles and beer tour in one day in Bruges Itinerary.
Bourgogne des Flandres

On a brewery tour, you’ll get an inside look at the brewing process and sample some of Bruges’ signature beers. 

Most brewery tours in Bruges begin at one of the city’s famous breweries, such as De Halve Maan or Brewery Bourgogne des Flandres. 

Here, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at how beer is made, from the ingredients and methods used to the top-secret recipes used to make each beer. 

After learning about the brewing process, you’ll then have a chance to sample some of Bruges’ finest beers. Brewery tours are a great way to get an inside look at one of Belgium’s most beloved traditions. 

Saint John Hospital: 

Saint John Hospital in Bruges is a stunning example of medieval architecture. The hospital was founded in the 12th century and is one of the oldest hospitals in Europe. 

It has been meticulously preserved and now serves as an educational museum that showcases the city’s history and culture.

The Saint John Hospital is located next to the Church of Our Lady. 

Outdoor activities: 

There are lots of pleasant outdoor activities to enjoy in Bruges. 

You can take a peaceful stroll along Bruges’ picturesque canals or explore its many parks and gardens. Minnewater Park is one of the most popular spots in the city and is a great place for quiet contemplation. 

Leafy lanes of Bruges

The city also has several bicycle rental shops, making it easy to explore Bruges’ winding streets and hidden pathways. 

Where to Stay in Bruges

When it comes to choosing where to stay in Bruges, Belgium, you have plenty of options. From modern hotels to cozy bed-and-breakfasts, here are some of our favorites in the city, 

Hotel Jan Brito: If you’re looking for convenient and luxurious accommodations, the Hotel Jan Brito is a great choice. Located in the historic city center, this hotel offers elegant rooms and suites with all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay. Plus you will find a spa area with a sauna, a hammam, and a gym on-site. You can check availability here

Grand Hotel Casselbergh: Grand Hotel Casselbergh is also conveniently located near many of the tourist attractions and provides comfortable accommodations for a great price. There is a parking space available for guests. And you have a spa area where you can relax! Click to make a booking here

Brussels or Bruges: The Verdict 

Both Brussels and Bruges are amazing cities with plenty to offer tourists. If you like vibrant nightlife, excellent shopping opportunities, and cultural attractions, Brussels is best for you. 

But if you prefer a more laid-back atmosphere and charming medieval architecture, Bruges may be the ideal choice. 

Being city and culture lovers we value Brussels a little more. And thanks to its connectivity to other European cities and accessibility within Belgium Brussels gets a few extra points for being charming and practical 🙂

Now, no matter which city you choose, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience in either place in Belgium. Happy Travels!

Read our Europe travel guides below

Pin: Bruges or Brussels: Which City is Right for You?

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