A few days in Bruges

Hello! This is a bit of a mashup post as I didn’t have a chance to write about my few days in Bruges in October before the Japan madness kicked in! I was back there recently, staying with my parents while I recovered from a back operation, and I thought it would be nice to do a post about this lovely city.

As most of you probably know, my parents live on a Dutch barge and are spending their retirement travelling around Europe. They were in France for five years and have been in Belgium for nearly two years now. I have to say, for me, Bruges has been one of the highlights!

As you walk into the centre of Bruges, you hear the gentle clip clop of horses’ hooves pattering the pavement, cyclists’ bells and distant carillon chiming from the belfry. It is such a charming city, it really lures you in!

A spot of sightseeing

On my last trip to visit my parents in October, when I was much more agile…we went for a good wander around and even went for a boat ride around this beautiful city. We were lucky with the weather and it was really interesting to find out about the architecture and history of the buildings. There are a few different boat companies but they all cost around €8 each for an hour’s journey and the drivers all speak a number of languages so hopefully, no one will miss out!


Boat trip

If boats aren’t your thing, many visitors to Bruges opt to see the city by horse and carriage, which is also a lovely thing to do, though quite expensive if there are only two of you as you pay per carriage rather than per person. It’s around €48 for an hour’s trip around the city. The coach park and train station are very close to the centre so you can always just walk. It’s a lovely city to walk around and if you’re staying overnight, make sure to have another wander around at night, the lights on the buildings are beautiful.

Chocolates and waffles and beer, oh my!

It feels like there are chocolate shops, beer shops and waffle houses everywhere you look in this city. One of the most well-known chocolate shops is Leonidas (look out for the blue awning and white writing!) and I can personally vouch for the fact that they are delicious! There are so many options though, you’ll probably want to shop around – what a torture that will be!
I haven’t been to many waffle houses (unfortunately!) but I’d definitely recommend the ones I have tried. In October, I visited a lovely little tea room called Prestige. The tea room itself is very quaint and traditional and they offer afternoon tea, waffles, pastries, chocolates and more, but on my Mum’s recommendation, I went for a waffle.
Unlike other waffles I’ve tried in Belgium, which have been tasty but quite stodgy, these were light, slightly crispy and delicious! Whether you’re in Bruges for a day or a weekend, this is a lovely little tea room to visit and it’s only a few minutes’ walk from the main square with the famous belfry.
Another place that we’d walked past on numerous occasions is The Old Chocolate House, which prides itself on selling the best hot chocolate.
The Old Chocolate House
I think you’ll agree, we had to test it! There is a chocolate shop downstairs and upstairs is a quaint, traditional tea room with dozens of things to look at. It was so cozy!

The inside of the tea room

I opted for a salted caramel hot chocolate and my mum ordered a regular one and a cream and butterscotch waffle. We eagerly waited for our drinks and we weren’t disappointed when they arrived.
Hot chocolates
Soon after ordering, you’re presented with a huge mug of steaming hot milk and a tray with chocolate cups filled with your choice of flavouring (plus a wrapped chocolate and almond biscuit!). Then you tip the cup or drop the whole thing into the milk and whisk until it has all melted.
Hot chocolate with salted caramel
It was sensational! I’d highly recommend that you pay this shop a visit if you go to Bruges, you won’t be disappointed. You can even get takeaway hot chocolate if you’re in a rush!
The hot chocolates are about €5 each but you get your money’s worth! The waffles were around €5 too, depending on which toppings you go for, and they were delicious! Thinner and a bit more like a fluffy pancake than the Prestige waffle but definitely worth a go!
If you like beer, another great thing to do in Bruges is visit a brewery. The beer of Bruges is called Zot and you can visit the original brewery, De Halve Maan. A tour costs €8 and that includes a pint of Zot at the end of the tour. Alternatively you can just go into the bar/restaurant for drinks or food or both! We went in for a drink one afternoon but the food also looked delicious. I’m not a huge fan of beer but I quite enjoyed a Zot Blonde.
All of this, plus stunning architecture, wonderful restaurants and friteries make this city the perfect place for a break, and all in all, a pretty good place for me to recover.

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