Bruges River Belfry

How to spend the perfect weekend “In Bruges”

With its cobbled streets, cosy waffle houses and charming canals, Bruges continues to capture the hearts of city breakers. Follow in the footsteps of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson this winter and spend a fairytale weekend In Bruges….

Bruge Centre Sunset


Start your trip at Grote Markt, the ancient market square in the heart of historic Bruges. Lined with colourful cafes and medieval landmarks, it’s a great place to get your bearings.

The beautiful Belfry of Bruges dominates the square. Dating back to 1240 and standing 272 feet tall, it’s one of Belgium’s top UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The 366 steps to the top of the bell tower are a steep climb, but the picture-perfect panoramic more than makes up for the exertion. For winter visits, wrap up warm – that bird’s eye view comes with a breeze! Entry fee is €8. Opening hours: 09:30 – 18:00.

Bruges Frites

MUST-TRY FRIES: Look out for the vans selling frites next to the bell tower – they’re the best fries in Bruges. Fries are one of the national dishes of Belgium, so these are not to be missed. Don’t forget to ask for mayonnaise!


Home to what feels like hundreds of chocolate shops, Bruges is a praline-filled paradise. Melt-in-the-mouth treats await around every corner. Look for the ‘homemade’ signs in the shop windows to get the best quality fix.

Check out the original Godiva store at Grand Palace 22, pop into Dumon to sample the smoothest chocolates in Bruges, or pay a visit to Dominique Person, the ‘mad scientist of chocolate,’ at his incredible store, The Chocolate Line.

Bruge Chocolates

A trip to The Chocolate Museum will guide you through the rich history of chocolate and answer all your burning chocolate-related questions. Is it an aphrodisiac? Does it make you fat? Does it cause high cholesterol? Entry fee is €8 – delicious chocolate bar included.

Don’t miss: Stop in at The Old Chocolate House for a heavenly hot chocolate. The narrow staircase leads to the cosiest tearoom in Bruges. Try for a table by the beautiful stained glass windows. Lovingly-presented in a giant cup of piping hot milk with the chocolate and toppings of your choice served on the side, it’s a truly decadent experience. Drool over the menu here.


Fondly known as the ‘Venice of the North,’ no trip to Bruges is complete without a cruise on the city’s canals. As the boat winds through the maze of canals and ducks under dreamy bridges, you’ll be treated to unique views of the city’s spectacular medieval architecture. A 30-minute guided tour will set you back €8. Pickup points are dotted throughout the city.

Bruges River

Don’t miss: Sitting pretty in the heart of Minnewaterpark is the ‘Lake of Love.’ This romantic corner is also worth a visit when you return to dry land. Legend has it that taking a stroll across ‘Lover’s Bridge’ with your other half will lead to everlasting love. Failing that, it’s a great spot for taking selfies and watching the swans on the water.


Belgian Beer

TAKE A TOUR: A tour of the family-owned Halve Maan Brewery, is a must for beer fans visiting Bruges. The brewery dates back to the 16th century and today is home to a 3km underground beer pipeline leading to a bottling plant in the suburbs of Bruges. Don’t miss the rooftop dining area for tasty treats (try the beer soup if you’re feeling adventurous) and fantastic views of the city. Entry fee is €9 – glass of beer included. Book tickets here.

SHOP: Speciality beer shop The Bottle Shop stocks more than 600 beers – the perfect place to pick up some tasty souvenirs.

BEST BARS: Le Trappiste is a fantastic spot to kick back and sample a superb selection of local and international beers. In fact, there are more than 100 bottled beers and 15 more on draft to choose from. Just 300 meters from the main square, the super cool cellar bar dates back to the 13th century and is popular with locals and tourists alike.

Just down the road is another secret bar, ‘t Poatersgat. Look for the half-sized door and you’ll find yourself in another underground bar with a great atmosphere and more than 120 beers to choose from.


Choose from up to six daily flights from Dublin to Brussels. There are regular direct trains between Brussels Airport Zaventem and Bruges – travel time is 90 minutes.

Planning your next city break? Read our guide to ’48 Hours… In Amsterdam’ or check out our top picks for Christmas market city breaks