The fairytale city of Northern Europe, Bruges is a city to visit and make memories that last.
What you need to know about Bruges
Language: In Belgium a number of languages are widely spoken. Depending on the part of the country you are in you will find that locals speak French or Flemish at their mother tongue. English is also very well understood. Bruges is after all a very well frequented city for travel and tourists so the locals are unsurprisingly synced in with this and speak English in most restaurants, bars and attractions.
Currency: Belgium uses the Euro (€) as their currency, and you can find currency exchange places in the city, the airport and major hotels.
Banking: ATMs are typical in shops, super markets and on most streets. All major bank cards are accepted by retailers.
Weather: The weather is temperately warm in the summertime making Bruges a very pleasant place to stroll around. Brace yourself for gothically cold winters when the city can see frequent bouts of light snowfall as well as a cold mist engulfing its streets. The positive of that is that winter is beautiful to see and makes Bruges’ canals even more photogenic.
Bruges is an impressively tall place to visit
The moment you arrive you will be struck by the tall buildings, churches and gothic architecture that make travel to Bruges like stepping back in time. There may be modern sights, sounds and things to do on every street in the city but you can still look up and marvel at the centuries-old engineering feats that loom over the city centre.
Most impressively of all is the bell tower of the Belfry of Bruges that has become the iconic symbol of Bruges. Highlighted in the Colin Farrell movie ‘In Bruges’ (hilarious and a must-watch!), the belfry can be climbed by working your way up 366 steps. It is not the easiest of climbs (easier than the climb to the top of St Peter’s Basilica however for sure) but when you reach the top at a whopping 83 metres high you will be glad you made the effort; a birds-eye view of the whole city will be your reward. If you are physically able to do so then you simply must add it to your list of things to do in Bruges.
Float through the historic arterial canals
Once you have worked up a sweat climbing the belfry and seen it from the top you deserve a bit of a rest, and there is a fantastic option to unwind on a canal boat that will show you Bruges from its lowest vantage point on the water. Sharing the canals with majestic swans that glide past, there is a certain serenity to seeing the city from the water. It is also possible to jump off the boat at a different point to where you embarked from so you can use the canal boat almost like a one-off marine taxi ride.
Explore the alcoves and see the less well known side of Bruges
One of the nicest things to do when you visit Bruges is to get your comfy shoes on and join a walking tour. You can of course go it alone and seek out the sight by yourself, but a local guided tour comes with the added bonus of an expert in every nook, cranny and alcove in the city. Want to know about a particular statue? Chances are the guide can fill you in on the story of the person immortalised. Keen to find the best chocolate shops? Your guide will undoubtedly take you to one as part of your tour. Be aware that some tours have agreements with retailers to bring tour groups into certain shops in exchange for a commission or percentage of any purchases the group makes. Regardless though that should not put you off at all and a good guide can be worth their weight in gold in a winding, labyrinthian city such as Bruges. Whichever way you choose to explore, there are great little shops and points of interest to be found.
Eat and drink the night away
Expect to find yourself gorging on delicious meaty dishes washed down with a fine drink of Belgian beer. Leffe Blonde is the Globedge favourite but there are tipples to suit all tastes.
At weekends and on any occasion day, be sure to try to book in advance, especially in the Old Town area but if you would rather just rock up and grab a table on a whim you can still find a suitable place to eat in Bruges, some probably coming with a slight wait at the bar while a table clears. At less peak dining times you can grab your table of choice no problem at all.