Bruges, a fucking fairytale city, and a great spot for a weekend trip away. The northern Belgian town is situated around an hour away from Brussels and is easily accessible from the UK by car, plane or Eurostar. Full of history and virtually untouched by modern architecture, Bruges is a popular beauty spot with people from across the globe, and it's easy to see why.

The bustling medieval town is absolutely brimming with things to do, and no end of tourists willing to pay to do them. But with so many attractions in the city, it's hard to know what's genuinely worth your time and what's just a tourist trap.

Bruges main canal at night with Bruges Belfry and other buildings lit up
Bruges at night

So I've popped together a list of things you need to do in Bruges and some things you just need to avoid...

- Things to do in Bruges -

Take a boat trip along Bruges beautiful canals

Boat trips in Bruges are pretty standard. When I was researching canal tours in Bruges I came across a few sites that all seemed to offer the same short, affordable trip. You can expect to pay €10 per person for a half hour canal tour in Bruges which is ideal if you're taking a short break, however I didn't find any longer trips for anyone hoping to spend more time out on the water. Although the tours are short, they cover a lot of ground (water?) and you won't regret exploring Bruges this way!

Walk to the top of the Belfry of Bruges

The Belfry of Bruges is likely the most popular tourist attraction in all of Belgium, but for a very good reason. Not only is the Belfry beautiful to look at from the ground, but it also offers visitors the option to see Bruges from the sky. From the top of the tower, you will be treated to the most stunning view across the city, and if you time your visit right you will also be able to see the bells chiming from the ceiling above. You will need to carry yourself to the top however as there is no lift.

Myself and my family on a boat trip in Bruges
Enjoying a cheap boat trip in Bruges

View from the boat trip in Bruges
The boat trip ventured along the most popular canals in Bruges

Visit the Beer Wall

Find the Beer Wall and you will find tourist central, but don't let that put you off. Whilst the beer wall and the adjoining bar will be busting with visitors I would still say it's still worth a trip. Here you will find hundreds of bottles and glasses on show which makes it a perfect photo opportunity. I'd also recommend visiting the shop next door which is a bit of a labyrinth, but great fun to walk around!

Take a tour of De Halve Mann Brewery

No city break is complete without a visit to the local brewery, and in Bruges, you have a few to choose from. I would recommend a trip to De Halve Mann brewery however as this is where the famous Zot beer is made. Whilst the brewery tour is pretty standard it is a great way to learn some of the history of Bruges before indulging in the freshest of fresh beers.

View from the first floor of the Belfry of Bruges. Bruges Market square can be seen below.
View from the first floor of the Belfry of Bruge. Bruges Market square can be seen below. 

The view from the top of the Belfry of Bruges, looking out across the city.
View from the top of the Belfry of Bruges

Try a Merveilleux

A Merveilleux is a cream-filled meringue cake native to the Flander region of France and Belgium. Whilst you can buy these beauties in select stores in Paris and London, nothing beats devouring a Merveilleux cake where they originated. Merveilleux come in several different flavours however I'm quite partial to an original milk chocolate covered cake which tastes like it was created by the angels themselves. 

Myself and my family toasting with our beers inside De Halve Mann Brewery Bruges
Tasting the local Zot Beer at De Halve Mann Brewery in Bruges 

View from De Halve Mann Brewery Bruges. Canals, churches, and homes can be seen across the cityscape.
View from the top of De Halve Mann Brewery in Bruges

-Things to avoid in Bruges -

As someone who grew up being able to smell the original Cadbury factory from their house, I always knew doing a chocolate museum tour would be underwhelming but this was a different level of disappointment. Not only was the museum harder to find than any tourist attraction should be, but there just wasn't that much of interest there in my opinion. 


Similar to the chocolate museum, the Frietmuseum (chip museum) was also pretty dull. This one is a little more fun for children, but for any adult wanting to spend a cultural weekend in beautiful Bruges, I'd steer clear.

My family posing in front of a giant easter egg at Chocostory Bruges
A giant Easter Egg inside Chocostory in Bruges

A cone of Belgian chips on display at the Frietmuseum.

The Blood Of Christ 

Housed in the stunning Basilica of The Holy Blood Chapel, the blood of Christ almost made the things-to-do list as I was quite intrigued by it. The cloth features the blood of Jesus Christ on it and is kept in a vial, only displayed at certain times of the day. Ignoring the fact that it's likely not the actual blood of Christ, the object may still be of interest to both Christians and non-Christians alike, however the queue to see this piece of history will likely be enough to put you off visiting as it was for me. Maybe it's worth the wait to some, but anyone visiting Bruges with a strict schedule might want to skip this one.

Torture Museum

The Torture Museum in central Bruges is jam-packed with torture devices from every century, and whilst I did find it interesting, I couldn't help but feel that I was wasting my precious time here. I did enjoy learning about some of the most brutal man-made instruments imaginable, but while I was in there I only longed to be outside exploring the winding medieval streets of beautiful Bruges.

A chocolate covered Merveilleux cake
A chocolate covered Merveilleux cake

Posing with a Chocolate covered merveilleux cake in Bruges

Very happy with my choice of cake in Merveilleux De Fred in Bruges

So those are the things I think you absolutely need to do in Bruges and those you should probably avoid.

All of this is based on my own taste and opinions and whilst some of you may well enjoy the likes of the chip museum, I've travelled enough to know these kinds of places only exist because tourists will pay to visit virtually any kind of museum when they're on holiday.

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Hi, my name is Grace and I am addicted to free walking tours. The obsession started back in 2017 whilst I was visiting the beautiful city of Zurich. Poor as fuck and short of affordable things to do, I hopped on a free walking tour and I've been hooked ever since.

But this isn't an addiction I'm looking to beat, oh no, if anything I'm looking to take more tours, and here are 8 reasons why I think you should take a free walking tour next time you visit a new city!

Standing in the middle of Rynek Główny, Krakows main square
Rynek Główny Square in Krakow

1. First up, the obvious reason, they're free! Free walking tours are a super cheap way to see a new city. Whilst these tours don't technically cost a penny, it's good etiquette to tip your guide once the walk is over. You're under no obligation to tip at the end, however the tours are usually really great quality as the guides rely on tips for their income so it's likely that you will want to leave them a little something once the tour is complete.

2. Sometimes tour guides will offer you discounts on future paid tours simply for showing up to the free tour. This won't always be the case but if you are thinking of paying for a tour it might be worth jumping on a free one first to see if you like the way they are run.

3. Another bonus of taking a walking tour is that often the tour guide will hand out free city maps and other free resources to anyone taking part. Whilst the majority of us will use Google maps to find our way around a new city, if you're in a country where you can't use your internet data, a map could come in pretty handy!

View from the top of St Mary's Basilica looking over Krakow city
View from the Top of St Mary's Basilica in Krakow

4. If you have just landed in a brand new city, a free walking tour is a fantastic way to see the guts of the city and help you decide what to revisit later for a better look. Whenever I take a walking tour I always see things I didn't know about before, and they help me plan what else I want to do on my trips.

5. Only have a short amount of time to see the city? Free walking tours are the perfect way to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Most walking tours will last between 1-2 hours and cram a hell of a lot into that time which makes them perfect for short breaks!

6. Landing in a brand new city for the first time can sometimes be a little daunting, especially if you're not a naturally gifted navigator. Walking tours always help me to get my bearings in a new place, and I usually feel a lot more confident finding my way around once the tour is over.

View from St Mary's Basilica looking over to Wawal Castle in Krakow
View from St Mary's Basilica looking out towards Wawal Castle

7. One of my favourite things about free walking tours is the people you meet when you join them. You're almost guaranteed to make new friends from all over the world when you go on a tour, and there's nothing stopping you from going for a drink (or seven) afterwards.

8. Whilst the tour guides are good at covering everything on their set tours, they are also the best people to ask for recommendations. The best bar, the best restaurant, the best place to pick up a spare SD card for your camera, these guys likely know it all so milk them for all the information they have.

So those were 8 reasons why you should take a free walking tour when visiting a new city!

Have you ever joined a free walking tour before?

Thanks for reading!

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