Bruges - A City Infused with Romance
by Youliana Veltcheva
January 27, 2020
Without a doubt, Bruges radiates romantic fairy-tale feel. The city is a lovers gem. It will wow you with its romantic medley of quaint cobble-stone streets, canals, rivalring those of Venice, beautiful medieval buildings, fairy-tale turrets, and delectable chocolate! One can hardly imagine a more amorous place for a couple in love!
From scrumptious waffles, chocolate galore, yummy french fries with mayo, an incredible selection of Belgium beer, you and your partner will indulge your senses. But there is so much more that the city has to offer to a couple in love. You can share a carriage ride, a boat cruise or a bike tour experience with your partner. You can stroll along the canals and the colorful streets, arm in arm, admiring the marvelous art galleries, quaint little markets and squares, delicate and sophisticated lace shops, and the remarkable architecture all around. This adorable city will give you unforgettable memories to share.
Bruges is small enough that you can walk everywhere on foot. Everything you need to do is right next to the city center. Within a walking distance, you can visit beautiful parks, city gates, towers, mills, churches and taste some of the typical local foods from the bustling cafes in the city center. In the evening go for a romantic stroll along the canals and enjoy a different more tranquil and idyllic view of the city with all the buildings lit up. Finally, stop by a local pub for some great music and beer.
A Day Trip from Paris to Bruges - Romance, Paintings, and Chocolate
If you are visiting Paris and consider exploring a different European country, you will not go wrong with a day trip from Paris to Bruges. The charming Belgium city is closer to Paris than Mont St-Michel, which renders it one of the best day trips to choose from while staying in the French capital. Book your private trip with Travel Planner Independent
and a driver will pick you up directly from your hotel. Then you will take the high-speed train to Lille, followed by a car ride to Belgium and a private tour of Bruges.
The day will be memorable and packed with great sightseeing and positive emotions. Travel Planner has a flexible cancellation policy, fun and knowledgeable agents, and the unbeatable option to book and pay on arrival.
Romantic Boat Tour
It’s an enchanting experience to be in a boat, exploring the canals and admiring the beautiful buildings and picturesque views. It doesn’t get any better than that. The boat tour is about 30 minutes and costs only 10 euro per person and is sure to be one of the most enjoyable activities for a couple of lovey doveys. To book a boat tour simply walk towards Groeningemuseum, find Boottocht tours
and hop on a cruise.
Bruges Markt is a pedestrian market square and a great starting point for a first visit. Walk around and admire the stunning 12th century Belfry tower and the opulent Court house, the colorful buildings, quaint restaurants and guild houses. Shop around or simply browse the variety of locally grown fruits, vegetables and flowers.
The Belfry(Dutch: Belfort van Brugge) is one of the main things on the list of tourist attractions. It is an impressive tower, dating back to the 1200s. If you decide to climb the 366 steps up, you will end up 270 feet up in a spot with an incredible view of the city, making it worth every bit of your effort. Not far from Markt is another marvelous sight, the Burg square, with its beautiful Gothic architecture and ornate city hall.
Minnewater, or the “Lake of Love”
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, tucked away in the southern part of the city, Minnewater park is a marvelous and peaceful place that invites lovers to enjoy a stroll together, share a picnic or simply contemplate and soak in its serene beauty. The lake is very romantic with the graceful white swans gliding along the surface.
Reminiscent of the love stories of medieval troubadours, the lake has its own legend - the doomed love of a beautiful girl, named Mina, who was in love with Stromberg, a neighbouring tribe’s warrior. Her father did not allow her to marry the man of her heart and forced her to marry another one. Choosing to remain faithful to her heart, Minna ran away from home into the forest. Tired and at the end of her strength, she was finally in her lover’s arms but it was too late. She died and the lake was named after Minna - Minnewater lake. It’s also believed that if you kiss your loved one on Lover’s Bridge, your love will become eternal. Ooh la la!
Another beautiful and romantic spot, close to the central square and perfect for a couple, is the quintessential romantic Koningin Astridpark. With a nice pond, swans, fountains and gazebo you can steal a kiss or two. Plus, you can bring your beer or wine as drinking in public places is allowed in Bruges. Right in front of the park is a great bar-bistro, L’Estaminet, that has been in business for more than 45 years. With its authentic “brown pub” interior, it invites you to sit inside on a cold winter day. Order their famous spaghetti or come here for dinner and try their great local beer selections.
Beguinage (Begijnhof in Dutch) is another very romantic spot in Bruges, which used to be the home of beguines, who were piouse and celibate. Currently there are nuns of the Order of St. Benedict and several women who have decided not to get married, who live there.
A beautiful quiet place, beguinage is especially charming in summertime when the gorgeous daffodils are blooming. After your visit, stop by the nearby Carpe Diem , a well known bakery, famous for its yummy bread and pastries. The cafe is a typical old Flemish living room, offering delicious waffles, pancakes and an assortment of delectable pastries.
The charming windmills on the north-east side of Bruges, are about 2 kilometers from the center. But it’s worth it to go a little further to discover the city’s fascinating ramparts, which unleash a picturesque view of its remaining windmills and four medieval town-gates.
, originally built in 1770, is the only mill open to the public and is still operational, grinding grain. The area around the windmills is a great spot for picnicking. The ramparts are actually a spacious six-kilometer green belt, almost completely surrounding the old town and a great way to explore the city.
Another special place to visit is the Church of Our Lady. With its feminine beauty and amazing architecture, it will surpass your expectations. The most amazing thing to see here, is Michaelangelo's Madonna, which is the only sculpture to leave Italy during the artist’s lifetime. If you cross the gorgeous Bonifacius bridge you can easily get to Groeningemuseum to see paintings of Flemish artists van Eyck, Memling, Bosch.
As an alternative to walking you can rent a bike. Bruges has multiple bike rental locations, bikes at very reasonable prices and is very convenient and bike-friendly. You can rent bikes from the Bauhhaus hostel
for 10 euro a day or at the city center Bruges Bike Rental
for 13 euro a day. The circular route around Bruges follows the canal going north. You pass through the windmills, the museum of Folklore, Museum of Lace, Dampoort, the oldest tavern in Bruges: Herberg Vlissinghe, Jan Van Eyckplein square, where you can stop and grab a snack at one of the most charming cafes in town - At Tatties
Then the route passes by Ezelpoort, Smedenpoort, the small white houses, called “godshouses”, the city concert hall “Concertgebouw”, the “Lake of Love” and Minnewater park. Finally, your bike route ends at the beguinage. If biking is your thing, I strongly recommend it, as you get to see quite a bit in a shorter period of time and have the flexibility to stop and relax wherever you choose.
Lizzie’s Waffles, located in the center of Bruges, is the ultimate place to try Belgium waffles. Dive in the hot freshly made extra large Belgium waffles with a choice of delicious toppings, perfectly big for a couple to share. Pair it with an aromatic coffee or a scrumptious hot chocolate for a heavenly treat.
Hot Chocolate and Bonbons:
Savor every sip of your hot chocolate at De Proeverie. It is actually part of the chocolate shop Sukerbuyc across the street. The interior is very cozy, plush and inviting.
The local hot chocolate is out of this world. Nothing less than the very best ingredients - a concoction of cream, milk, and a chocolate bar, dipped and melted in your cup, is what makes it so special. Belgium chocolate is well known world-wide and Bruges is the ultimate chocolate haven.
There are chocolate shops everywhere and you can sample the hand-made exquisite chocolate bars and bonbons.
To learn how chocolate is made and everything about its ingredients and history visit the museum of chocolate - Choco Story. You get free chocolate samples throughout, very informative exhibits, displaying some of the first equipment, used to make chocolate and an excellent demonstration of chocolate making at the end.
- Li O Lait is a marvelous hip place that is getting popular with its perfectly tasting coffee. Try its breakfast selection, light bagel sandwich lunch, tea or the typical Portogese pasteis.
- Visit Vero Cafe for coffee and some delicious home-made pastries. It is a small chic place with light wood design and growing popularity, so seats might not always be available.
- The Guliver tree has a scandinavian inspired interior design and a cozy fireplace with great cakes and pastries.
To experience the local culture and the soul of the city, have a romantic lunch or a long lingering dinner for two at one of the following restaurants:
- ’t Brugs Pitahuis is a pita place that is delicious, fast, cheap, and of very high quality, located near the main square. You get a selection of kebab (pork, chicken or lamb) or vegetarian options in different size portions. It is a great place if you are looking for a cheap, decent eatery.
- #Food is a perfect restaurant if you are on a budget and staying in the Ezelstraat area. It serves fresh, and healthy selection of burgers, salads, as well as some vegetarian and vegan dishes.
- De Stoepa, is a locals’ favorite, located close to the train station, the Lake of Love and the beguinage, offering Asian fusion food.
- Bruut, located in the city center, is very refined and romantic with a beautiful setting next to one of the canals. They offer traditional Flemish dishes, using high quality local ingredients for tasting the authentic local cuisine.
- Kok au Vin is a gastronomical gem, where everything is cooked to perfection, using the best local ingredients. Beautifully designed, and stylish, it also boasts impeccable service. It is the perfect place for a special occasion.
Bars and Breweries
For a romantic night on the town, check out some of the live music pubs. On my list of absolute favorites are
27B Flat jazz bar and
blues bar Comptoir des Arts.
Both have weekly live music and jam sessions. The music touches your heart in a special way when you share this moment with someone you love.
For some great Belgium beer visit any of the following:
- ’t Risico is located in the Sint-Anna quarter, close to the windmills. It is a typical “brown” café, popular with the people, living in the neighbourhood. It is also the perfect place for a simple dinner with a draft beer or a glass of wine with great music and a warm fireplace in winter time.
- Café Vlissinghe - the oldest pub in Bruges also located in the Sint-Anna quarter, has been around since 1515! They have some board and card games available inside. Besides a traditional beer you can also have a simple, decent lunch.
- Vino Vino is bluesy tapas bar, perfect for an informal dinner of tapas, paired with a glass of wine. It is a lively place with a great buzz and a mix of jazz, folk and blues that is not too loud to have a good chat.
The Rose Red is a hotel beer pub with a large choice of Belgian beers, specializing in Trappist beers. This is the place to taste different Belgian beers, and combine it with some simple tapas. It is very romantic with candle-lights and roses hanging from the ceiling.
Whichever place you choose, you can sample quite a few unique tasting beers, giggle over the smallest thing that comes to mind but beware: walking back to your hotel could be a challenge!
Exploring Bruges is a magical love experience that you will share with your partner. The marvelous architecture sets the romantic spirit of the city. And the charming canals are only the cherry on top. With bustling cafes, beer bars, exquisite restaurants, boat tours along the canals, gorgeous little bridges, there is romance in the air that will sweep you away.