Bruges has become a popular and fancy weekend gateway destination due to the gorgeous architecture and the lovely canal system. Many visitors arriving in Brussels or Ghent also decide to spend one day in Bruges. The city is now one of the most photogenic towns in Europe, so it understands why so many choose to visit it.
We flew to Belgium on the weekend, spent three nights in Brussels, and took day trips to Ghent and Bruges. We traveled by train between the cities and walked through the city center and the surroundings. Although we didn’t prepare much, we saw a lot on these day trips.
So, here is a little inspiration for organizing your time if you only have one day in Bruges!
Table of Contents
Useful Info For The Perfect One Day In Bruges Itinerary
How to get to Bruges by train
Bruges can be reached by train from Brussels, Ghent, and Antwerp. A return train ticket to any Belgium destination is half price on weekends from 7 pm on Friday until Sunday. From Brussel to Bruges the ride takes no more than 1hour20minutes and you don’t need to book the tickets in advance.
Visit 2 of Belgium’s most beautiful cities in a day on a guided tour of Bruges and Ghent. Benefit from round trip transfers from Brussels and the services of a professional guide. See an abundance of medieval monuments and picturesque neighborhoods.
How to get to and around the city centre
Bruges train station is just south of the city center. From here, it’s a pleasant 20-minute walk to Main Square. Without a doubt, you can see all that Bruges has to offer by strolling the cobbled streets. You won’t need a car, not even a bike since it might be crowded.
If you don’t want to walk, you can choose a horse-drawn carriage drive to take you to the city center.
If you come with luggage and want to spend a couple of days in Bruges, take a cab or take the tram. Line 4, 13, and 14 from Platform No. 1 outside the station will take you to Grote Markt.
One Day in Bruges Itinerary. What to do In Bruges for a Day
We visited Bruges on a late autumn day when golden leaves were falling into the canals and streets, and the temperatures were pleasant. Still, many tourists were roaming around the city, much more than expected!
But, we managed to check all the places revealed in this one day in Bruges itinerary!
Take a walk through the Minnewater Park
Leave the train station and head northeast towards Minnewater Park, a truly romantic place in Bruges. Home to a wonderful castle, beautiful trees, a picturesque lake, and many swans, this place is a must even if you only spend one day in Bruges.
Since Bruges will be crowded, take some time to soak up the serenity and the scenery of the park. Right in the heart of Minnewater, you’ll discover the Minnewater Lake or Lake of Love, home to many fascinating and heartbreaking stories of love.
Take a few minutes to walk the Lovers Bridge and get some lovely pictures of the castle.
Visit the Church of Our Lady
Leaving Minnewater Park behind, you’ll reach the heart of the city. Soon you’ll notice the gorgeous Church of Our Lady, a must on every one day in Bruges itinerary.
The fantastic church displays a valuable art collection like Michelangelo’s famous statue: Madonna with Child, the tombs of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold, unique paintings, and 13th-century painted sepulchers.
Although the Church of Our Lady is a must for every art lover, the exterior is also imposing. The 115.5-meter high brick tower illustrates the mastery of builders in Bruges. Approach the church from the alleys on the channel side, and you will understand why everyone is taking pictures here. The church can be visited free of charge; the admission fee is for the museum only.
Explore the Main Square (Grote Markt)
Just 500 meters from the Church of Our Lady, you’ll reach Main Square. The beating point of Bruges, Grote Markt, is home to medieval festivals and craft markest all year round. The impressive Belfry Tower and the Historium are the two main spots surrounding the Grote Markt.
The main square is lined with plenty of restaurants, outdoor cafes, souvenir shops, and even food stalls during workdays. For your one day in Bruges itinerary, this place it’s a must!
All visitors will gather in the beautiful Grote Markt, the medieval trading center, so don’t be shocked if you see a considerable number of people.
Eat Belgian Waffles
Now it’s time for an introduction to the waffles world! Eating Belgian waffles is a must during your one day in Bruges, so don’t you even dare not to try one! With such a great variety of toppings, choosing one is a challenging task.
Imagine that people are waiting patiently in line for more than 30 minutes only to taste some. But judging their smile after trying the famous Belgian waffles, the waiting was worth it.
Climb the Belfry Tower of Bruges
The Belfry Tower that stands tall at the Grote Markt served as a guardian to alert inhabitants of fire or other disasters. It is 83 meters tall, and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999.
The Belfry is open every day from 09:30 am to 6:00 pm. To get to the top, you have to climb 366 steps, but the view above is well worthy. Expect long waiting queues even on late autumn weekends, so visit the tower early morning or late in the afternoon.
Get a medieval Lesson at the Historium
After strolling through Grote Markt, step inside the nearby Historium. An 8-minute virtual reality experience will take you back to medieval times. The museum is a series of rooms with a story to follow – there are projections, exciting music, and special effects. After the medieval lesson, step outside to the terrace where you’ll have a fantastic view of the Grote Markt.
Explore the Stadhuis (Old Town)
Stadhuis is one of Bruges’ oldest buildings, beautiful on the outside and impressive on the inside. The remarkable paintings all around the walls define essential events in the history of Bruges. You can learn more from the audio guide provided by the front desk.
Try Belgian Fries
After so much sightseeing, now it’s time to try the famous Belgian fries, another must-do during your one day in Bruges. There are many places where you can buy this Belgian specialty, but you should taste some around Main Square. If you’re brave enough, try some with Samourai sauce! Simply delicious!
Relax at Rozenhoedkaai (Quay of the Rosary)
Rozenhoedkaai, where the Groenerei and Dijver canals meet, is a stunning area and one place you won’t wanna miss while in Bruges. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the views over the gothic buildings surrounding the quay.
Take a canal boat tour
When your feet need a little rest, and by now, I guess they do, take a canal boat tour! Although it seems like a cliché, a canal boat tour is a must if you spend at least one day in Bruges.
Like nearby Ghent, Bruges also has gorgeous canals that cross the city. A 30-minute boat ride will offer you a different perspective over Bruges: impressive architecture, beautiful bridges, hidden alleys, statues, and many swans.
The tour is very informative and takes you to different places. The boats depart from various locations around the city every 30 mins and run from 10 am-6 pm from March to November.
Roam around the cobblestone alleys
Leave the bustling city center behind, roam around the peaceful alleys and stop along the way to admire the romantic canals lined with picturesque and historic buildings. That’s the Bruges you are looking for: soundless, charmful, and vivid.
If you’re into a guided walking tour of Bruges, I can highly recommend booking one.
Taste the famous Belgian beer
The famous Belgian beer is a must for every beer lover and not only. Even for those who do not prefer the taste of beer, there is something delicious! And in Belgium, there is plenty of beer to be drunk.
You can discover the Belgian beer culture at an interactive museum or learn the brewery process in a family-run business. Purchase a beer from a shop with more than 500 types of beers or enjoy one in a historic cellar. The opportunities are countless when it comes to beer in Belgium!
Walk to the windmills
Did you know that Bruges is famous for its windmills? Although you’ve planned only one day for Bruges, you might find enough time to visit the windmills if you manage your time well.
A water canal surrounds the Old Town of Bruges, so head northeast to see the windmills from the 18th century.
Being along the channel allows for a pleasant 30-minute walk and gives you a different glimpse of Bruges.
For an inside peek head to St Janshuis windmill. Koelewi Mills is beautiful as well but there is no access inside.
Getting back to the train station
A fairly easy 3km walk will take you back to the station. If that is too much for you, it will definitely be a taxi available for you in the area.
Map of the Best Places to visit in One Day In Bruges Itinerary
Underneath, you’ll find a customized map that includes all the locations you will visit on your one day in Bruges. Just open up this article on your phone and click on the frame in the upper right corner of this map. Google Maps app will open up and you can check all the details. I hope it helps!
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