One Day in Bruges (Best Itinerary + Map)

One day in Bruges walking itinerary that covers all the tourist attractions (+ a map and tips on how to see Bruges on a day trip).

Bruges (Brugge in Dutch) is one of the most picturesque cities in Europe.

It is the perfect medieval fairytale destination for a weekend trip. Located in northwest Belgium, Bruges is the capital of West Flanders. The city is often called the Venice of the North because it’s crisscrossed by canals.

Charming squares with horse-drawn carriages, and picturesque canals lined with Gothic houses. Is there anything more to ask for?

One day in Bruges itinerary

This self-guided walking tour will show you the best of Bruges in 1 day. The itinerary is designed in such a way, that it’s suitable both for day-trippers and overnight visitors.

In fact, it’s an improved version of my Bruges one day itinerary that I followed when I visited the city in December.

Find a map of this Bruges itinerary (with all attractions and restaurants’ websites) at the end of the article.

My favourite place to stay in Bruges is Casselbergh Brugge. Ideal location for sightseeing, right next to Burg Square. Plus, the hotel features private parking and spacious rooms with canal views.

Already have a hotel booked? See whether your hotel is in a good area in my guide to the best Bruges hotels on the canal.

Book tours or skip-the-line tickets with GetYourGuide or Tiqets (you get a mobile ticket + free cancellation). Tickets from attractions’ official websites are mostly non-refundable.

One day in Bruges (the best day trip itinerary)

  • Start the day with breakfast at That’s Toast!
  • Visit the Church of Our Lady
  • Admire the facade of the Hospital of St. John
  • See the most picturesque bridge
  • Explore the Quay of the Rosary
  • Eat a waffle at House of Waffles
  • Admire the architecture at Market Square
  • Climb the Belfry
  • Visit the City Hall and Liberty of Bruges
  • See the famous relic in the Basilica of the Holy Blood
  • Finish your one day in Bruges with a beer at ‘t Brugs Beertje


Have breakfast at That’s Toast!

09:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Start your day in Bruges with breakfast at That’s Toast! or Li O Lait.

That’s Toast! offers a great variety of savoury and sweet toasts. We tried the Triple Madame and the Triple French toasts. Both were so good, that I regretted we had only 1 day in Bruges and won’t have time for another visit.

That's Toast! breakfast

If you prefer bagels with eggs for breakfast, then Li O Lait is your place.

Visit the Church of Our Lady

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk) is a 14th-century church. Its tower is the second-highest brick tower in the world (122.3 metres high).

However, the most famous treasure of the church is the artwork Madonna and Child by Michelangelo. It was the artist’s only sculpture that left Italy before Michelangelo’s death.

The entrance is free, but you have to pay to see the Madonna and Child.

Church of Our Lady

Admire the facade of Hospital of St. John

10:30 AM – 10:50 AM
The hospital of St. John (Oud Sint-Janshospitaal) is founded in the 12th century. This makes it one of the oldest surviving hospitals in Europe.

In the Middle Ages, it was a place, where nuns and monks were taking care of sick travellers and pilgrims. The exhibition features surgical and medical instruments as well as various religious artifacts.

Don’t visit the museum unless you’re interested in medieval medicine. Nevertheless, don’t miss to see the building from the outside. It’s a gorgeous red brick building with a lovely inner yard.

Hospital of St. John

See the picturesque Bonifacius Bridge

10:50 AM – 11:10 AM
Bonifacius Bridge is one of the most picturesque places in the city. Despite its medieval look, the bridge is rather new dating from the early 20th century.

Bonifacius Bridge

Explore the Quay of the Rosary

11:10 AM – 11:40 AM
Cross the bridge and continue towards the Quay of the Rosary (Rozenhoedkaai). Quay of the Rosary is the most photographed place in Bruges. Here the Groenerei and Dijver canals meet, creating a strikingly beautiful and romantic scene.

Quay of the Rosary

Eat a waffle at House of Waffles

12:00 PM – 02:00 PM
A trip to Bruges is not complete without waffles. So for a lunch, stop at House of Waffles. They have an extensive menu of waffles ranging from sweet toppings to heavy savoury options. We tried the ones with caramel and chocolate toppings.

House of Waffles


Admire the architecture at Market Square

02:00 PM – 02:15 PM
Market Square (Markt) is the heart of the Historic centre. A weekly market is held here since 958. The square is dominated by the Belfry tower, surrounded by colourful medieval houses and Gothic buildings.

Provinciaal Hof

Market Square

Climb the Belfry of Bruges

02:15 PM – 03:00 PM
Belfry of Bruges (Belfort van Brugge) is one of the most famous belfries in Belgium. During the Middle Ages, the town archives were kept here.

The top of the tower (83m) is accessible by a steep staircase. Be prepared to climb 366 steps to the top. Nevertheless, the view totally worth the effort.

Belfry of Bruges

Time for chocolate

03:00 PM – 03:30 PM
Oliviers Chocolate Shop & Bar is a must for every chocolate lover. It’s a family-owned chocolate shop that offers more than 60 different chocolates and truffles! Don’t miss to try the hazelnut hot chocolate.

For cramique (traditional Belgian bread) and meringue cakes stop at Aux Merveilleux de Fred. It’s a fine bakery with an incredible chandelier.

Aux Merveilleux de Fred

Burg Square

03:40 PM – 03:50 PM
Burg Square means castle square in Dutch. The square took his name from the castle that Baldwin I, Count of Flanders built here in the 9th century. It was a military fortress used for defence against the Normans.

Visit the City Hall

03:50 PM – 04:10 PM
City Hall (Stadhuis) is the most impressive building on Burg Square. And it’s definitely worth to take a peek inside. It is possible to visit the Gothic hall and Historic hall. The entrance fee also includes access to the Liberty of Bruges.

City Hall

City Hall Gothic hall

Liberty of Bruges

04:10 PM – 04:25 PM
Liberty of Bruges (Brugse Vrije) is the city’s former law court. Today, the building houses the city archives. You can visit only the Renaissance hall where you can see the 16th century Charles V chimneypiece.

Liberty of Bruges

See the famous relic in Basilica of the Holy Blood

04:25 PM – 05:00 PM
Basilica of the Holy Blood (Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed) initially served as a chapel of the Count of Flanders. It consists of a lower Romanesque church and an upper Gothic church. The latter houses a piece of cloth said to be soaked in the blood of Jesus Christ.

It’s free to visit the lower chapel, but there is an entrance fee to see the artifact.

Basilica of the Holy Blood

Dinner at Ribs ‘n Beer

For traditional Belgian food visit Gruuthuse Hof or In Den Wittenkop. Try the Flemish stew with fries or the mussels.

However, if you need a break from the Belgian food, go to Ribs ‘n Beer or Paul’s Boutique Brugge. Ribs ‘n Beer is a little out of the Historic Centre, but believe me, it is worth the walk. The “all you can eat ribs” come in two main variations – grilled and slow-cooked (with different sauces).

Ribs 'n Beer

I recommend booking a table in advance for all four restaurants.

Have a beer at ‘t Brugs Beertje

Finish the day with a glass of beer at ‘t Brugs Beertje. It’s an authentic beer pub with an excellent range of beers (over 300). If you like fruit beers, try Kasteel Rouge.

More ideas for your 1 day in Bruges

If you have more time, check out these tourist attractions.

Take a canal boat tour

See this magnificent city from a different angle by taking a boat tour. The canal boats run from March till the end of October. During the winter, the boats run only during the weekends (if the weather is not freezing). The trip lasts about 30min and costs €10 (only cash).

There are several companies to choose from. The starting points are Huidenvettersplein 13, Rozenhoedkaai, Wollestraat 32, Nieuwstraat 11 and Katelijnestraat 4.

Take a rickshaw tour

If you’re not into boats, take a rickshaw tour. It’s a great way to explore the city. Plus, the tour includes places that can’t be reached by boat.

Saint Saviour’s Cathedral

Saint Saviour’s Cathedral (Sint-Salvatorskathedraal) is the city’s oldest parish church. It’s a huge cathedral with beautifully coloured stained glass windows. Also, the church features a rich collection of Flemish paintings.

Saint Saviour's Cathedral

Lake of Love

Lake of Love (Minnewater) is a lovely park area with a lake, willow trees and swans. It’s the most peaceful and serene place in the city. Minnewater is perfect for a stroll or picnics. However, if you’re visiting the city in the winter, you’d better skip it.


If you’re interested in the history of chocolate and the methods of its preparation, then visit the Chocolate Museum. There are free chocolate samples and a chocolate-making demonstration at the end of the tour. Please note that the museum closes at 5 PM.

You can book tickets in advance here.

Torture Museum

Torture Museum (Foltermuseum De Oude Steen) is housed in one of the oldest prisons in Europe! The unique exhibition is quite shocking and intriguing. You can see on display all kinds of torture instruments and devices.

Torture Museum

Getting around in Bruges

You can find a detailed map of the itinerary here.

The historic centre is quite small and walkable. You won’t need public transport at all. You can download a city map here.

How to get to Bruges

By train

Bruges is easily accessible by train from Brussels, Ghent or any major European city. The Central train station is about a 15min walk from the Historic centre. You can check timetables and book tickets online at SNCB official site.

By car

If you’re arriving by car it’s best to leave it on the outskirts of the city. Many shopping streets are car-free during the weekends. The most convenient parking is at the Central train station (Chantrellstraat 42-62).

By air

If you’re arriving from Brussels Airport, there is a direct train from the airport to Bruges. The journey is about 90min and it costs about €20.

Another option is by bus. FlixBus has several direct buses every day from the airport to Bruges. The journey is 2 hours, but the prices start at €5. The bus stops at Bargeplein, which is right next to the Central train station.

If you’re arriving from the Brussels South Charleroi Airport, there is only one direct option. The Flibco shuttle bus takes you directly to Bruges (2h journey).

Day trips from Bruges


If you’re interested in WWI this is a must. There were three major battles here and the city was almost completely destroyed in WWI. 

How to get to Ypres
There is no direct train, so I recommend going by car or taking an organized tour.

Great War Flanders Fields Tour is the best option (for an organized tour). What I like about it is that the groups are small and the guide is very knowledgeable. The tour also includes the Menin Gate Memorial and the iconic poppy fields of Flanders.



Ghent is a small medieval city with a gorgeous castle. It’s a perfect destination for a day trip (find more information in my itinerary for a day trip to Ghent).

How to get to Ghent
The fastest way to get there is by train (20min journey). Take a train from Bruges train station to Gent-Sint-Pieters train station. From there you can take the tram (line 1) or walk 2km to the city centre.

It will take you about 50min by car.



Brussels is the capital city of Belgium. Again, it’s easier to get there by train (1h journey). Brussels can be done in a day (for the best experience follow my 1 day itinerary in Brussels).

However, I would recommend you to stay at least one night. There are some interesting museums to visit and a lot of great restaurants. Plus, it’s a lot bigger than Bruges. 

How to get to Brussels
Take a train from Bruges train station to Brussels Central train station. From there it’s a short walk to the historic attractions.


Antwerp is a medieval port city with a stunning cathedral. It’s a 1h 30min journey by train. It’s a better day trip from Brussels, but it can be done from Bruges, too.

If you plan to stay overnight, check out the best hotels in Antwerp city centre.

How to get to Antwerp
Take a train from Bruges train station to Antwerp train station. The city centre is within walking distance from there. 

How many days in Bruges

Is one day in Bruges enough?

1 day in Bruges is completely enough to explore its historic centre. If you follow this itinerary you can cover the main attractions only in a day.

Nevertheless, it’s worth staying at least one night to see the city at night time. The historic buildings are beautifully illuminated in the evenings. Plus, you can enjoy peaceful tranquillity and long walks along the canals.

If you plan to visit Bruges on a day trip from Brussels, take an early train at around 8 AM. There are trains every 20min and the journey is about an hour.

If you plan a trip around Belgium, divide your time between Brussels and Bruges. For example, stay 2-3 nights in each city. Then from Brussels, you can take a day trip to Antwerp. And you can easily reach Ghent from Bruges.

Best time to visit Bruges

Bruges is a very popular European destination for a weekend or day trip. Plus, the city is especially busy on weekends. Thus, if possible choose the weekdays for your vacation.

For sunny and warm weather, visit the city from May to September. The busiest period is July, August and of course Easter and Christmas.

Winters are not very cold with short daylight hours. During my visit in December, it was almost dark at 4 PM and the sun was rising after 8 AM. Nevertheless, December is a great time to visit Bruges because of the Christmas markets.

In December the medieval city turns into a wonderful fairytale. Find out why you should visit Bruges at Christmas time.

Practical information about Bruges


Belgium is a part of the Schengen Agreement (the European border-free area). So you don’t need a Belgium visa, but rather a Schengen visa. If your country is part of the Schengen Agreement, you’ll need only a valid passport or ID card.


The official currency of Belgium is the Euro. Although credit cards (mostly Visa and Mastercard) are widely accepted in Bruges, you’ll need cash. The smaller restaurants and merchants take only cash. Also, American Express is not popular and not accepted in most places.


Belgium has three official languages – French, German, and Dutch. Bruges is located in the Flemish Region of the country (the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium). However, most of the people are fluent in English, too.

Travel adapters

Belgium operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. The associated plug types are C and E.

How would you spend one day in Bruges?
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About the author

Avatar Milena Yordanova
I am a full-time traveller and I have visited over 20 countries across 2 continents. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places, cultures and food. I’m an expert in travel planning and I am here to help you plan your dream vacation.


  1. I don’t see the “day in Brugge” map you refer to in your article…
    Where May of find that?

  2. Bonjour, hello Milena,

    If you had to choose between doing a day in Bruges or doing a day in Ghent, which one would you choose and why? We will be coming from brussels. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Christine,

      If I had to choose between Ghent and Bruges, I’d definitely choose Bruges. The city is much prettier and more charming than Ghent with many beautiful buildings. In addition, Bruges offers more memorable attractions and the food is better.

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