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Bruges is a charming warren of cobbled streets, vast churches, canals lined with gorgeous old warehouses, a spectacularly lovely main square and chocolate shops. Lots and lots of chocolate shops. Many of the best places to stay in Bruges are located around the historic centre, so it's a very accessible city and perfect for a short break.
In Bruges it's hard not to take a postcard worthy photograph. In the town's medieval centre there are no modern buildings to jump into your shot at the last minute, or cars to dash through. In fact, here you're more likely to have your photograph spoiled by a horse and buggy. For this is one of Europe's best-preserved pre-motorised cities.
Bruges is so lovely that everyone knows about it, so the best way to appreciate this beautiful town is to stay midweek, and not during summer. Bruges is beautiful all year round, and it's more pleasant when you're sharing it with fewer visitors.
Visit the Markt, and climb the Belfort - there's not much to see inside, but the view is worth the long climb. Take a ride on the canals and see the Begijnhof. Or take a horse and trap ride to the Minnewater.
Visit the tiny Basilica of the Holy Blood in the Burg, and admire the Stadhuis and Brugse Vrije, which are the Gothic town administration buildings.
See the Flemish art in the Groeningemuseum, then visit the Arentshuis next door and see the wonderful WW1 etchings by Frank Brangwyn.
Try some moules and frites, waffles, a locally brewed beer, and of course, as much chocolate as you can manage. And if you really want to try the local beers, visit the beer museum where there are a huge range to choose from. There's also a frite museum and a chocolate museum...
Bruges is floodlit by night, so you can walk around for hours seeing everything you've seen in the day but with an even more romantic tint. There are plenty of canal side cafes and bars from which to watch the world go by, and cosy tearooms if the weather turns nasty.
Bruges gets a lot of visitors, so in some parts of town prices feel hiked, but there are plenty of budget options when it comes to eating and drinking, and many of the pleasures of Bruges come from strolling round town, seeing what you see.
What Not To Miss
- The medieval Belfry of Bruges is one of the city's most prominent symbols. Head up the 366 stairs of this former observation post and take in the wonderful views of the city when you reach the top.
- The Groeningemuseum houses a wonderful collection of Flemish art, spanning six centuries. With a wide variety of collections ranging from Flemish Primitive artworks and neoclassical paintings, to Baroque and Renaissance masters, it's a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
- Head over to the Bruges Beer Museum and learn more about one of Belgium's most renowned industries. Discover all about the history of brewing and enjoy a few samples after the tour of the many different beers they have on offer.
- St Salvator's Cathedral is a wonderful example of Gothic architecture. Dating back to the 1300s, it boasts cavernous interiors and a wide collection of Flemish art.
As with all popular tourist destinations, the best places to stay in Bruges get very booked up during the peak periods and summer months. So plan ahead and book early, or even better come off season when you can almost believe you've got the place to yourselves.
Bruges City Break
- Right on the canal, just around the corner from the Basilica of the holy Blood, you'll find Die Swaene. Sophisticated and historically listed, this hotel has also won some industry awards, and has a Michelin Bib Gourmand recommendation. So if your standards are high when it comes to boutique accommodation, this is a good option.
- If you're looking for somewhere small and personal, one of the best places to stay in old Bruges is Number 11. This beautiful guesthouse has been tastefully and comfortably decorated in creams and neutrals, to make the best of the building's gorgeous original features and its quiet courtyard.
- Slightly out from the main square, but still within walking distance of the highlights, Ter Duinen is one to book if you're looking for somewhere to relax by the canal. This hotel has a beautiful courtyard, and a breakfast room which looks out onto it, so it's a peaceful haven to come back to.
- Hotel Monsieur Ernest's wonderfully central location means it's the perfect base from which to get to know Bruges. Set in a restored 14th century building, the accommodation is chic and spacious whilst a hearty buffet breakfast is served up each morning.
- Hotel Prinsehof is a smart upscale townhouse with stylish accommodation. Situated just a short distance from the sights, it's a splendid all round city stay.
Bruges for Romance
Bruges is a great place to discover with another person. There are so many small wonders that you're bound to find something special.
- For boutique style luxury with a reasonable price tag, one of the best places to stay in Bruges is the Hotel de Tuilerieen. Right on the canal, this hotel, converted from a 15th Century building, has big windows in the generously sized rooms, letting in lots of light and the beautiful vista of Bruges. It also benefits from charming original details and a good spa.
- If you love chintzy luxury and old fashioned manor house hotels, the Hotel de Orangerie is probably for you. It's right on the canal - the boat trips leave from just outside its tea rooms - and the rooms on this side have great views of all the action. The staff are genuinely helpful, the afternoon tea is good, the bar is well stocked and you're right around the corner from the main square. All the rooms are different sizes and have different decorations, so there's even a reasonably priced option.
- If you want luxury right in the heart of town, book the Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce. Backing directly onto the canal and right around the corner from Markt Square, this hotel's location is enviable. Inside the rooms are sumptuous but bright with toile de jouy wallpaper. They also have a superbly located tea room and terrace, so even if you don't stay here it's worth looking it up for a romantic tea break.
- The Pand, set in an authentic carriage house turned luxury hotel, boasts sophisticated accommodation with elegant furnishings. Located in a quiet part of town and with private jacuzzis in all suites, it's a top spot for romance - whilst there are a number of top eateries within walking distance.
- Canal Deluxe is a 17th century canal-side townhouse converted into a two bedroom B&B. This cosy spot has a wonderful log fire and a grand stone fireplace (the perfect place to curl up with a good book), whilst the characterful rooms have high ceilings and original wooden beams. Wonderfully intimate.
- Hôtel Heritage is a dreamily romantic escape! Boasting spectacularly elegant and historic interiors complete with chandeliers, paintings and traditional furnishings, their Michelin starred Mystique restaurant serves up dishes to die for. A real treat.
- B&B Bornedrager is centrally located and offers three elegant rooms, featuring modern furnishings with a classical style. Plus, it's strictly adults only - making it a great choice for romantic getaways. Wonderful breakfasts served up each morning.
Bruges on a Budget
- The Hotel Jan Brito has got to be one of the most historic properties in Bruges, but, surprisingly, it's also one of the best places to stay in Bruges on a budget. The decor is 'romanticised medieval', full of knights and maidens and the kind of grand, French style, four poster beds knights and maidens in black and white films favour. There's a wonderful courtyard with a big box hedge and bar and sitting rooms which are best described as 'noble'.
- In a charming redbrick house close to the Groenighe Museum, you'll find the Anselmus Hotel. With sixteen rooms, of all different sizes, including triples and quadruples, this a good option if you're travelling with a group and you want to keep costs down.
Bruges with your Family
You can't always get a high chair in cafes and restaurants, but people seem genuinely happy to see you show up with your kinder. The size of the town also makes it easy to navigate with little ones. There's no need to worry about transport, everything is within walking distance.
- For families looking for somewhere a bit more modern, the Hotel Walwyck and adjacent Walwyck Suites should tick all the right boxes. Rooms, suites and family apartments are decorated in simple white, with a few dashes of colour for interest. The emphasis is on comfort and space.
- For a home from home feel, little three roomed B&B, St Niklaas is one of the best places to stay in Bruges. You're staying in a gorgeous townhouse in the centre of town, with enough original features to make it feel special, but not so many that you have to worry your kids are going to break something...
- Anselmus Hotel's rooms sleep up to five, so it's a great choice for family city breaks. This characterful spot is also well located to see all that the city has to offer and, what's more, at great value!
- B Guest offers just two rooms, so if you're coming with the family you can have the whole B&B to yourselves! The accommodation is furnished in a comfortably country style and you can come back after a day out sightseeing to enjoy a cuppa on the roof terrace.
For An Apartment
- If you think a self-catering option would best suit your needs then browse through the wide selection available with our partner, booking.com
- The best time to visit Bruges weather-wise is definitely in the summer, with the average daily temperature reaching 17°C in August. This will be peak tourist season though, and so accommodation may be costlier than at other times in the year.
- Whilst it's a tad chilly in winter (the average temperature is just 4°C in December!), the city is beautifully picturesque at this time of year - especially if it happens to snow. What's more, it'll be less crowded and accommodation will be cheaper than during peak season. So if you pack a few jackets, you'll be good to go!
- The nearest airport is Ostend-Bruges Airport, located 5km southwest of the city, but it is only served by TUI flights from mainland Europe. Most travellers fly to Brussels and then take a train to Bruges.
- There are plenty of daily trains running from Brussels to Bruges - taking just over an hour and costing €14.70.
- You can also take the Eurostar from St Pancras to Brussels and then hop on a connecting train to Bruges. These start at just €34 and are a wonderfully peaceful way to travel!
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.
Still not sure which to book?
Best Hotels in Bruges
Hotel Jan Brito 37 rooms from $97Bruges
Historic 16th century listed building with classical rooms. Bedrooms, suites, and family rooms, all with noble themes, have marble mantlepieces, oak beams, four poster beds, romantic fabrics and wall papered walls. Stunning boxed hedge garden, bar and sitting room.City StyleSights nearby - Situated in the centre of Bruges. All attractions can be reached on foot.Private Hot Tub - The four best rooms all have jacuzzi bath tubsRomantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - CN Traveller
Anselmus Hotel 16 rooms from $113Bruges
A charming redbrick house with a gorgeous little garden. Rooms, small and large, sleep up to five people. All are colourful and modern. An excellent value choice for groups of friends or a family.Garden - The hotel has a really charming garden.Groups - Triple/quaruples rooms.Value chicSailing - Can be booked nearby.Recommended by - Good Hotel Guide
Hotel Walwyck/Walwyck Suites 18 rooms from $126Bruges
An adjoining hotel and a B&B on quiet cobbled streets by the canal. Pristine white rooms, suites, family suites, and friends suites with wooden beamed ceilings and big comfy beds. A great choice for families, friends and couples. Understated calm.Groups - Triple suites.FamiliesSights nearby - 5 minutes's walk from the main market squareLocal markets - Good for local colour.
Hotel Monsieur Ernest 28 rooms from $131Bruges (Brugge)
This restored 14th century patrician's residence enjoys a prime location in central Bruges. Spacious unfussy accommodation with a hearty buffet breakfast each morning to set you up for the day! Immerse yourself in the city's culture at this low-key spot.Short fly break - Situated just 15 miles from the airport and with a shuttle service provided, why don't you pop on over for a long weekend?Local exploring - Monsieur Ernest's central location in Bruges make it an ideal base from which to exlpore the citySights nearby - The Belfry of Bruges and Basilica of the Holy Blood are both just a short distance awayGreat walks - Stroll through the Park Sebrechts Brugge or wander on over to the beautiful Grand Place
Hotel de Tuilerieen 45 rooms from $131Bruges
A beautiful hotel on the canal side. Enormous contemporary yet classic suites have parquet floors, lots of natural light, and chic furnishings. Lovely terrace, bar, and indoor pool with spa. A luxurious choice for couples and spa breaks.LuxuryRomantic BreakCity StyleSights nearby - Right in the historic centre of BrugesRecommended by - Tablet, Kiwi Collection, Small Luxury Hotels
St Niklaas B&B 3 rooms from $137Bruges
A striking Bruges townhouse B&B in the heart of the city. Traditional architecture encases contemporary comforts and stylish rooms. Parquet floors, richly painted walls, subtle lighting and club foot bath tubs. A lovely spot for a romantic break and family friendly too.Sights nearby - Burg Square with its 14th-century town hall and Basilica of the Holy Blood.Local markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - I Escape
Ter Duinen 20 rooms from $143Bruges
A charming hotel with bags of character. Contemporary sun lit rooms all in neutral tones. Gorgeous conservatory breakfast room and inner courtyard. An understated spot with plenty of charisma.Sights nearby - All the major sights are easily accessible on footFull of characterRomantic - Good for couples.Local markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Frommers, Good Hotel Guide
Die Swaene 30 rooms from $160Bruges
A sophisticated award-winning hotel. Gorgeous rooms and suites with four poster beds and elegant furnishings. Excellent restaurant, spa, and lovely terrace. A romantic choice for the luxury traveller.LuxurySpa breaksCity StyleRomantic BreakRecommended by - Frommers, Small Luxury Hotels
B Guest 2 rooms from $160Bruges
A charming two bedroom B&B nestled down a quiet pedestrian street, yet still walking distance from the picturesque medieval city of Bruges. Both rooms are decorated in a comfortable country style with soft furnishings. Breakfast is served and there is a charming roof terrace to enjoy a cup of tea.Hideaway - Nestled down a quiet pedestrian street yet walking distance from many of the historic city of Bruges' sightsSights nearby - The Beguinage, the Belfry and the Church of Our Lady are all walking distanceCooking classes - Try your hand at the art of chocolate makingLocal markets - Good for local colour.
The Pand 26 rooms from $169Bruges
An authentic carriage house turned luxury boutique hotel in a tranquil area of Bruges. Sophisticated rooms and suites have all the mod cons and luxurious furnishings. Beautiful living areas and lovely outdoor terrace. A sumptuous spot.GourmetLuxuryCity StyleRomantic BreakRecommended by - Frommers, Kiwi Collection, Small Luxury Hotels
B&B Bornedrager 3 rooms from $171Bruges
This classic B&B enjoys a wonderfully central location in beautiful Bruges, close to the city's main attractions. The three elegant rooms have been lovingly designed in a traditional manner, and a great breakfast spread can be expected! The perfect option for a city break.Local exploring - B&B De Bornedrager's location in the historic centre of Bruges makes it a perfect spot from which to get to know the cityValue chic - Fantastic accomodation, in a great location without the killer price tag- what more could you ask for?Sights nearby - Go visit the beautiful Belfry of Bruges or head over to Market SquareRestrictions on children - Adult only
Canal Deluxe 2 rooms from $177Bruges
Set in a 17th Century canalside townhouse, this two bedroom B&B gives guests their own private lounge with grand stone fireplace and pretty garden for warmer days. Steeped in character, cosy rooms have high ceilings with original wooden beams and rich earthy colours. Ideal for a romantic city break.Sights nearby - Right in the centre of the Old Town so easy access to all of Bruges' highlights. The Market Square is 3 mins on foot.Full of characterLocal markets - Good for local colour.Romantic - Good for couples.
Number 11 4 rooms from $177Bruges
A beautiful guesthouse in old Bruges minutes from all the attractions. Picturesque bedrooms and one suite have creamy furnishings and parquet floors. Lovely garden, terrace, sitting room, and breakfast room. A very characterful spot.City StyleSights nearby - Located in the historic centre of BrugesLocal markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - CN Traveller
Hotel de Orangerie 20 rooms from $189Bruges
A beautiful ivy clad house on the canal bank. Traditionally elegant living areas, rooms and suites have high ceilings, fireplaces, wooden beams and chintzy fabrics. Lovely breakfast and lunch terrace. A romantic spot with plenty of charm.Views - Overlooks the Den Dyver canalCity StyleSights nearby - Located in the historic heart of the city with all major attractions within walking distance.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.Recommended by - Kiwi Collection, Small Luxury Hotels
Casa Romantico 3 rooms from $200Bruges
A delightful guesthouse, nestled into the heart of Bruges. Each elegant and comfortable room is decorated with tasteful furniture and artwork. When your not exploring the majestic old town, you can recline by the deluxe pool. Perfect for an intimate, romantic break in Bruges.Romantic Break - A charming and romantic B&B, with chic rooms, lovely pool and easy access to the sights of Bruges.Sights nearby - Arentshuis, Basilica of the Holy Blood and Belfry of Bruges are all within five minutes walk.Local markets - Explore the local markets of Bruges in the traditional market square.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Hôtel Heritage 22 rooms from $209Bruges
A period 19th century building with spectacularly historic interiors in a central location. Bedrooms and suites have chandeliers, paintings, and elegant furnishings. Michelin recommended restaurant, bar, and fitness room. A grand choice with great food.City StyleSights nearby - Belfry Tower, the Church of Our Lady, the Basilica of the Holy Blood as well as all of the historic museums.Local markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Relais & Chateaux, Frommers
Hotel Prinsenhof 24 rooms from $209Bruges
A smart townhouse hotel with sophisticated beautiful rooms. Bedrooms have gorgeous wall papered walls with all the modern gadgetry and lots of natural light. Lovely breakfast room and conference room for meetings. City style.City StyleSights nearby - Well located for major sights.Local markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - CN Traveller
Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce 16 rooms from $246Bruges
Fabulous canal-side boutique hotel. Classical rooms and suites have parquet floors, Baroque furniture and toile de jouy wallpaper. Fantastic restaurant and outdoor terrace. A luxurious choice in a very picturesque setting.Views - Lovely canal views.City StyleRomantic BreakLuxuryRecommended by - Tablet, Fodors
Manoir du Dragon 16 rooms from $397Bruges
An intimate and sunny hotel on the coast and overlooking a golf course. Charming rooms have colourful furnishings, DVD players and private balconies. Beautiful garden and breakfast terrace. Ideal for avid golfers and beach enthusiasts.Golf - Overlooking the Royal Zoute Golf Course.Sights nearby - Zeebrugge Harbour.Views - Great views from hotelSailing - Can be booked nearby.