Backpacking Destinations: Bruges

The quaint and charming Belgian city is always hit among visitors and it can be perfect the perfect place to spend a peaceful couple of days.

What to do

Whether you are backpacking through Western Europe or you simply fancy a weekend break, we can definitely recommend Bruges as a place to go. It doesn’t contain the hustle and bustle of some other European cities but the West Flanders capital does offer a rather unique experience and one that is well worth trying out.

Take at least half a day to simply wander through the cobbled streets, passing Burg Square, the Markt and the historical centre with its gothic architecture. If you’d like to find more about the history of Bruges while walking, it’s from the historic centre where the very popular Legends of Bruges free walking tour begins.
If you are a fan of beer you simply must take a trip to the De Halve Maan Brewery. For €9 you can go on the standard 45 minute tour but if you are real beer fanatic then opt for the 90 minute XL tour for €19 which includes tasting three beers rather than just one. As well as finding out all about how the beer there is made, you will also be taken to the roof of the brewery for a lovely view overlooking the city.

To reawaken your senses after the beer tasting, you may want to head down to the torture museum for something a little different. The exhibition is based in one of the oldest prisons in Europe and admission for adults is €8. You can spend a good, stomach churning hour reading about all the gruesome instruments many people faced over centuries gone by.

When to visit

December can be a great time to visit if you love a good Christmas market. Lights and stalls flood the market square and there’s even an ice rink to skate on. Outside of this and there is rarely a bad time to go which makes it perfect to slot in to any backpacking itinerary. Temperatures are on average a little warmer than the UK and although you might get caught by the rain, it’s not known for being an overly wet place.

Where to eat & drink

For a cheap lunch or breakfast with plenty of choice, head to the HEMA down Steenstraat. Bruges isn’t full of places for an inexpensive bite but here you will find a wide selection of food at very affordable prices. For a larger meal, you simply must try Soup which can be found down Hallestraat. For less than €10 you can get large home-made soup, bread and butter, a toasted panini and a piece of fruit. The warm soups they serve up are as delicious as they are healthy and are not to be missed.

Where to stay

Bruges is well stocked with hostels and with the city being so small, most of them are in or merely a stone’s throw away from all the main attractions. The St. Christophers Inn is the perfect place to stay if you are after a cheap bed with a party atmosphere. Downstairs you’ll find a lively bar open until 2am that has a fantastic range of 40+ beers. For a quieter stay on a budget, you will want the modern Snuffel Hostel with its lovely interior garden. This place ticks absolutely all the boxes and is specifically designed for young travellers.