When In Bruges…

  • 7:55am: Day trip to Bruges, Belgium from Paris. This was perhaps one of our favorite day activities in Europe. Begin your day by taking the early morning, 1-hour 20 minute high-speed Thalys train from Paris Gard du Nord to Brussels (1 hour 20 minutes). At the Brussels Midi train station, take the 1-hour IC train from Brussels to Bruges.

Quick Trip: One of the cheapest ways to buy your tickets, which we learned you should do at least a week in advance, is through this website: https://www.onlytrain.com/ . The ticket on this high speed train was around 100 EUR p/p, but can be quite cheaper. The 1-hour train trip from Brussels to Bruges is only 15 EUR. If paying with credit card, you will need to go to an actual ticket window with an agent as machines seem to only accept local debit cards or coins.

  •  11:00am: Arrive in Bruges and head immediately to The Old Chocolate House. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the smell of delicious chocolate truffles and baking waffles! Grab a table upstairs and create your ‘own’ hot chocolate. When ordering a hot chocolate, the server will give you a bowl of warm milk and an assortment of chocolate morsels to toss in and create your own adventure.

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  • 12:00pm: Head to the Markt, the city center of Bruges, which features exactly what you would expect Belgium to look like. Original Gothic constructions form the town’s identity. Cafes line the streets with people chatting, sharing mussels and drinking wine and/or Belgian beer. 

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  • 12:30pm: Make a beer stop at the Historium in the central square, which features a beautiful outdoor beer patio on the second level of the building. With a tremendous selection of Belgian beers on tap, the view of the Markt below is sure to please. On the ground floor of the Historium, you can actually take a tour. The exhibit itself is a historical reconstruction in the form of a number of medieval scenes, which transport you back to the Golden Age of Bruges.

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  • 1:00pm: From the main square, walk southwest down Wollestraat to the water, where for 8 EUR p/person, you can take a 30-minute boat ride through the narrow canals of Bruges. It’s the best way to sight-see in Bruges and you’ll get a verbal description of the old architecture, significance of different buildings, and more. It’s also a great way to get a lay of the land in terms of figuring out what to explore next.

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  • 2:00pm: Check out 2be-BeerWall for perhaps the best beer garden in the city. Try to get a seat on the outdoor patio. The bar itself houses 1,300 beers, and for 10 EUR, you can share a beer sampler, nuts, cheese, miniature sausages and waffles.

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  • 2:30pm: Time to experience another one of Belgium’s main attractions, Moulle or Mussles. Grab a seat where you started your day at Pules Moules, and ascend to the second floor to begin this dining extravaganza. A plate of fries and an enormous portion of mussels can be had at 25 EUR. The broth is unsalted, and the mussels are swimming in a thin layer of vegetables too, making this the healthiest plate of mussles I’ve had compared to the butter dominant French version of the dish. There are accompanying sauces that can be purchased as well. 
  • 3:30pm: Chocolate shop visit. One particularly good one is Chocolatier Dumon, right before hitting the main square. This store has one of the best deals I’ve seen on truffles. For 9 EUR, they will fill a box of about 20 truffles you chose, and they are quality. Have a coffee inside as well before heading back to the train to head back to Brussels. 
  • 5:30pm: After arriving in Brussels Central train station, head to the main square for perhaps the most beautiful view of Brussels, La Grand-Place. This is the central square of Brussels, surrounded by guildhalls and the city’s Townhall and the Museum of the city of Brussels.

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  • 6:00pm: Head to a classic beer bar, Delirium Café and try some of the thousands (yes, seriously!) of beers they have in this multi-level bar. Inside, you’ll find many of their beers on tap, conveniently marked with a pink elephant. Their menu is helpfully sorted by tasting notes and alcohol content. 

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  • 6:30pm: Ascend up the steps to view the flower garden from the top of Kruidtuin. The view is beautiful as you see the garden. Also, if you have time, pay a visit to Mary’s Chocolaterie, featuring quite arguably some of the best champagne truffles in Europe.

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