Inputs taken from Suresh Hariharan for this article.
Experience the Horse Carriage ride with a local guide to take you around the medieval town Courtesy: Toerisme Brugge and Jan Darthet
On the Canal Cruise Courtesy: Toerisme Brugge, Jan Darthet
A walk along the canal in the evening when Bruges is emptier is a must! Courtesy: Toerisme Brugge and Jan Darthet
Below - Catch the Harpist Luc Vanlaere in a live concert!
Below - Enjoy Lissewege - a quintessentially Belgian village just half an hour north of Bruges! Courtesy: Toerisme Brugge and Jan D'Hondt
Understand the chocolate story - the history of the Belgian chocolate! Courtesy: Toerisme Brugge and Jan D'Hondt
Expensive but out of this world - For the Best Belgian chocolates, do not miss to shop from the Chocolate Line!
|Agenda||Cost (In Euro)|
|The Belfry for panoramic views of Bruges||8|
|Walk around the town centre||Priceless|
|Visit the excellent churches||Priceless|
|The Chocolate Story - Understand the history of the Belgian chocolates and shop for chocolates||7|
|Luc Vanlaere Concert - A Harpist concert (A must see even for the non-music lovers)||Free but tips recommended|
For a small city, Bruges has a surprisingly high number of Indian restaurants. Word of caution though – they are very expensive. It is difficult to find a good Indian meal for two at less than Euro 30-35. The Taj Mahal is a good option and probably the cheapest amongst all Indian options just 250 metres from the Markt. They have lunch menus which are significantly cheaper. Food quality is quite good and portions are large.Check http://www.tajmahalrestaurant.be/
However, we would love to recommend Hotel Bhavani just 300 metres walk from the Markt. Owned by a Belgian lady and a half Indian gentleman, they served up authentic Indian food. A word of caution though, this place is more expensive than Taj Mahal and we paid in excess of Euro 40 for a meal for two. However, the highlight was “Masala chai”. Absolutely Indian taste, though expensive.
Plenty of options for pizzerias. Expect to pay about Euro 12-15 for a reasonably large pizza.
Stay in Bruges is relatively expensive. In peak season, expect to pay not lesser than Euro 100 per night for a 3 star hotel close to the Markt. However, the bed and breakfast options by far exceed the hotels and we would recommend families and couples alike to stay in them. These accommodations are not cheap and rooms offering view of the canal go for a premium but this is a much better way of grasping the allure of Bruges.
For hotels, we would in particular like to recommend Grand Hotel Casselbergh (www.grandhotelcasselbergh.com) or Oud Huis de Peellaert Hotel (http://www.depeellaert.com). Both these hotels have ideal location - right in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage City Centre, and on the higher end side (Upward of Euro 125 for 2 per night)
For hostels, try www.hostelbookers.com or www.bauhaus.be. This allows for options within Euro 25 per person per night. There are plenty of them in Bruges which allows even backpackers to have a good time without taxing their wallet a lot!
For cheap hotel options, try the Ibis right next to the railway station. Check www.ibis.com
|Details||Cost (In Euro)|
|Quasimundo Bike Tours||26|
|Bruges by night||Priceless|
To get a basic orientation of the city, it is essential to take a guided tour. Plenty of options are available – cycling, walking, segway, boat and horse carriage and we would recommend you definitely take at least one among them - preferably the Biking Tour. It is a fun way of seeing the city, quality of guides is top notch and one can cover a lot more area in the same time using a bike. Biking is not very tiring either as Bruges’ landscape is very flat with no inclines.
|Details||Bike Tour||Walking Tour||Horse Carriage||Segway||Canal|
|Price per person (In Euro)||26||9||39||50||8|
|Duration||4 hours||2 hours||35 mins||2 hours||35 min|
|Area covered||20-25 km||4-5 km||2-3 km||8-9 km||10-12 km|
|Quality of guides||Excellent||Very good||Good||Very good||Good|
|Value for money||Excellent||Very good||Average||Very good||Very good|
Post-afternoon, take a Canal cruise. This tour offers a much closer view of the canal and must do in our opinion. Check schedules at www.welkom-brugge.be
Go back to your hotel, take rest and come back refreshed for an evening in Bruges. Filled with day trippers during the day, Bruges is quieter and much more beautiful in the evening. The moonlight shining on the calm canal waters where one can see clear reflection of the surrounding structures can be poetry in motion. Keep it simple, take a walk along the canal, and soak in the atmosphere. Enjoy Bruges at its simplest best!
Where: West Flanders, Belgium
Why: Cobblestone streets, fairytale and colourful buildings - a throwback to medieval times and Belgian chocolate
For whom: Nature enthusiasts, relaxation, history and culture buffs, chocolate fanatics and music lovers
Good for how many days: 2-3 days
Best season: Between March and October
Families: People of all age groups would enjoy
Likely cost per person: ~Euro 200-250* (INR 16,000-20,000) (see details below) including accommodation, food, sight seeing and internal travel.
|Details (For 2 day trip per person)||Cost (In Euro)||Cost (In INR)|
|Accommodation (Four star hotel or Bed & Breakfast)||100||8,000|
*Figures are indicative only. Actual spends may vary from person to person
Direct trains twice every hour. Takes less than an hour to reach
Euro 13.80 one-way
Takes 3-4 hours with change at Brussels on Thalys
Advance booking (minimum two months) - Euro 29 + Euro 13.80 = Euro 42.8
Eurostar to Brussels and change to Bruges should take between 3-4 hours
Advance booking (minimum two months) - Euro 48.50 + Euro 13.80 = Euro 62.3
|Paris||Direct train takes less than 2.5 hours|
Advance booking Euro 29
A walk along the canals - full of romance! Courtesy: Toerisme Brugge and Jan D'Hondt
Cobblestone streets & medieval buildings! Courtesy: Toerisme Brugge , Jan Darthet
Enjoy the romance of the canals! Courtesy: Toerisme Brugge and Jan D'Hondt
Another view of the Brugge canal! Courtesy: Toerisme Brugge and Jan Darthet
Head to Zeebrugge for a beach experience! Courtesy: Toerisme Brugge and Jan D'Hondt
Have a sip of the Belgian Beer in the many cafes opposite the Belfry in the Markt! Courtesy: Toerisme Brugge and Jan Darthet
Visit some of the numerous churches all adorned with gothic architecture! Courtesy: Toerisme Brugge and Jan D'Hondt
Below - view of the Main Markt with the Belfry Courtesy: Toerisme Brugge , Jan Darthet
|Details||Cost (In Euro)|
|Discover the history of World War I (take the Quasimodo Flanders Tour)||63|
|Flanders Battlefield Day Tours||65|
|Zeebrugge - 15 kms north of Bruges for the beach|
|Go cycling to Damme - beautiful little Belgian town for relaxation|
|Air Balloon - helicopter view of the city||170|
|Go cycling to Lissewege - a quintessential Belgian town|
While there is much to do in Bruges, there is indeed a lot to do in Flanders! And there are plenty of options. For the history buffs, relive the First World War with the Quasimodo Flanders Tour which takes you across Flanders – into Ypres and back to Bruges (www.quasimodo.be). For those inclined to nature get into Damme, a fine little town about 7 km east of Bruges or just follow the canal north on a cycling trip to Lissewege, another quaint little village on the way to Zeebrugge. For people looking for relaxation on the beach, head to Zeebrugge and spend some quality time on the beach.