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Bruges Day Trips from Brussels

Visiting Bruges is like being immersed in a fairy tale: here are the best options for visiting the city from Brussels.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

Bruges Day Trips from Brussels

Typical Bruges facades | ©Oliver Depaep

Bruges is even more famous than the Belgian capital. Every year, this small town in Flanders receives 3 million visitors and is the most visited city in the country.

The reasons: its canals, its cobbled streets, its medieval buildings and a charm that is difficult to describe in words.

The best option

Excursion to Bruges and Ghent by bus from Brussels

Visit the best of Bruges and Ghent in one day

The perfect tour to get to know the beauty of Bruges and take advantage of the day to visit Ghent. You will be accompanied by an expert English speaking guide and you will also have some free time.

Those who like to make the most of their time and return from their trip having seen as many places as possible should know that it is most popular to combine a trip to Bruges with a visit to Ghent.

In Bruges, your guide will take you to the highlights of the city (the Basilica of the Holy Blood, the Church of Our Lady, the Lake of Love, Burg Square, etc.), giving you time to explore the historic centre at your own pace before returning to Brussels.

Ghent is a city located 20 minutes away from Bruges and often overlooked by the fame of the former. However, there is a lot to see in Ghent. At first glance, the two cities may seem similar; however, Ghent is much more regal and is known as a university city with a lively cultural life. Ghent has nothing to envy Bruges in terms of aesthetics and discovering the two cities together on the same trip will give you a much more accurate impression of Belgium than you would get by visiting Brussels alone.

In Ghent, as well as touring the historic city centre, you'll see sights such as St Bavon's Cathedral, with its medieval treasures inside, the Castle of the Counts of Flanders (Gravensteen), the Church of St Nicholas and the historic Gralei Quay.

Why I recommend this tour: If you're only in Brussels for a few days and want to see more of Belgium without having to do a tour of the country, this tour is your best option.

The Premium Option

Discovery of Bruges from Brussels - Small Exclusive Group Tour

Discover Bruges in a small group tour

If you don't like to travel in large groups, visiting Bruges with an expert guide and a very small group of travellers will make this experience much more exclusive.

Organised excursions are very popular because they are very similar in price to the cost of a return train ticket and include the services of a specialised guide.

Bruges is a city that you will fall in love with just by looking at it, but if you also have a guided tour of Bruges from Brussels, you will get to know its most important places, its history and legends. The experience is far superior to visiting Bruges on your own.
You will meet your guide and the rest of the group in the centre of Brussels early in the morning to take the train to Bruges.

Once there, you will have both guided tours and free time to explore the city at your leisure. You can book your place online with the guarantee of free cancellation up to 24 hours before your departure. In addition, the tour takes place in a small group, giving you the chance to connect with the city and the guide.

On this tour your guide will accompany you to see the Central Markt Square, St. Saviour's Cathedral, the Belfry of Bruges, Burg Square, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, among other key points of the city.

Why I recommend this tour: This is one of the best value for money tours to Bruges from Brussels. You'll come back having seen the city in depth and you'll be able to do it unhurriedly, balancing free time with guided tours.

How much does a trip to Bruges from Brussels cost?

Bruges City Hall| ©R Boed
Bruges City Hall| ©R Boed

Prices vary depending on the duration or what is included, but you can find a day trip to Bruges from Brussels for 45 € on Hellotickets. This tour lasts a full day and in addition to Bruges, will also take you to see Ghent.

Considering how much it would cost to visit the city on your own, paying for transport and hiring a guide for a city tour, the price is more than worth it.

I have written an article on the price of excursions to Bruges from Brussels where you can compare the cost of joining an organised tour with the cost of visiting Brussels on your own by train, bus or car from the rental car.

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How long does it take to get to Bruges from Brussels?

The canals of Bruges with the Belfry in the background| ©raider of gin
The canals of Bruges with the Belfry in the background| ©raider of gin

It takes about an hour and a half by road. Guided tours usually use a regular bus or minibus, depending on the number of people on the tour, so the preferred mode of transport is usually by road.

The convenience of travelling by bus is that many of the tours include a stop in Ghent before or after visiting Bruges (Ghent is about an hour from Bruges and does not involve a major detour from Brussels).

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Best time to visit Bruges from Brussels

On weekends and public holidays the city fills up with tourists. If you can go on weekdays, you'll also find an influx of visitors (it is, after all, the most visited city in Belgium), but fewer.

If you go to Bruges in winter you'll be cold, so take warm clothes to keep you warm. The advantage of travelling to Bruges in winter is that you'll find far fewer travellers than in high season.

However, if you prefer a mild climate for visiting the charming city of Bruges, I recommend spring and autumn. In summer it can get quite hot, although it's not very common to find very high temperatures (unless you get caught in a heatwave).

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How long are the excursions to Bruges?

They usually last one day and although you could spend much longer in Bruges, one day will be enough to get to know the city well. The trip from Brussels is a short one, which will allow you to make the most of the day.

You'll see the most important monuments and squares, and you'll have free time to stop for lunch and enjoy the restaurants and narrow streets. There are excursions that even include Ghent, which is a very good option if you don't have much time during your trip to Brussels.

If you're still not sure how much time you want to spend in the city, you can take a look at my article on the length of Bruges excursions to help you organise your trip.

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Is it worth visiting Ghent on a trip to Brussels?

Of course they are. Both cities are less than an hour away from each other and Brussels, making them the perfect triangle for your trip in Belgium.

Ghent's city centre is quite manageable and almost all of its sights are relatively close, making it easy to get around in a few hours.

Most tours to Bruges round off the day with a stop to discover the best of Ghent. If you want to find out more about this option to see if it's worth it or not, I've written a guide on Visiting Ghent on your Bruges tour- take a look!

Visiting Bruges with children

Visiting Bruges with children on an excursion from Brussels is a great idea, especially if you do it on an organised tour where you don't have to worry about booking everything on your own.

In general, the distance from Brussels is not very long, so the journey is pleasant and not too tiring for the little ones. Once in Bruges, its cobbled streets, fairytale houses and canals will make them feel like they are in a Disney film. They will love it.

Make sure you take them prepared for the cold if you go in winter, although the temperatures are not much different from Brussels, you might feel the dampness more. Otherwise, get ready to enjoy Brussels with the whole family!

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Where (and what) to eat and drink on your Bruges tour

As a good Belgian city, Bruges is full of places offering locals and visitors all kinds of traditional delicacies: its famous craft beers, its exquisite chocolates and waffles, incredible meats, fish and mussels served with chips, homemade soups...

The great thing about going to Bruges on an organised tour is that as well as having free time to wander around the city at your leisure, you can choose what and how you want to eat there.

I've put together a handy guide to places to eat in Bruges so you don't have to worry about a thing.

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Getting to Bruges

Bruges illuminated by night| ©Olivier Depaep
Bruges illuminated by night| ©Olivier Depaep

If you are thinking of organising a trip to Bruges, either on your own or on an organised tour, in this article I have detailed for you how to get to Bruges from Brussels.

By Train

Trains to Bruges run approximately every 15 minutes throughout the day from the three Brussels train stations (Midi or Sud, Nord and Central). Each journey costs about 16 euros and there is no need to book, so I recommend you see the city at your own pace and simply head back to the station and return to Brussels when you are satisfied with your visit.

By bus

The bus takes longer than the train (about an hour and a half) and has fewer departures during the day, but if you want to save money, tickets are available from 6 euros each way.

By rental car

If you prefer to be independent and move around at your own pace and you've hired a car for your stay in Brussels, you won't have any difficulty getting to Bruges. As the most visited city in the country, it's well signposted by road, especially if you're travelling from the capital.

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What to see in Bruges

Decoration of the interior of the Basilica of the Holy Blood, Bruges| ©It's No Game
Decoration of the interior of the Basilica of the Holy Blood, Bruges| ©It's No Game

All tours cover the main sights of the city to make sure that the traveller does not miss anything relevant during his visit to the "Venice of the North". But if you have time to explore at your own pace, don't miss the following monuments and sights:

The Main Square

Known as the Grote Markt, it is the heart of the city. In the centre you will find a statue dedicated to local heroes and also the famous Belfort bell tower. Take the time to wander around, take pictures and explore some of the restaurants, although the latter are admittedly very tourist-oriented.

Burg Square

It's where you'll find the Town Hall, the Palais de Justice and the Basilica of the Holy Blood. It is also one of the busiest places in the city.

The Basilica of the Holy Blood

It owes its name to the fact that it is said to contain drops of the blood of Christ. You can visit it every day from 9:30 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00, but make sure that no ceremonies are taking place before you go.

The Lake of Love

It is one of the most famous canal areas. You can access it if you take a boat ride, which is recommended at least once for the experience. A half-hour trip along the canals can cost around 8 euros.

The Cathedral of St Saviour

The oldest church in Bruges, it has a 100-metre high 12th-century tower and houses various works of art. All of them have daily visiting hours, but these change according to the time of the year and the day of the week.

Church of Our Lady

Known for its marble Madonna by Michelangelo. It is a Gothic-style building that is closed to the public on Mondays.

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Practical tips for your day trip from Brussels to Bruges

Enjoy strolling through the streets of Bruges| ©Dan Visan
Enjoy strolling through the streets of Bruges| ©Dan Visan

You will have plenty of time

The first time I went to Bruges I only had one day to see the whole city and that meant that I went from one place to another in a hurry and did not enjoy it with the peace and quiet it deserved. I had plenty of time.

The historic centre of Bruges is manageable to visit in one day, so don't get overwhelmed and walk around at your leisure. If you go by train, remember that there is a continuous timetable, so you don't have to worry about finishing your visit at a certain time.

Lose yourself in the narrow streets

Few cities have as much charm as Bruges. Once you've seen the main sights, I recommend wandering the streets and canals in search of magical spots; you're sure to find them. Don't leave behind the chocolate shops, which are carefully curated.

Watch the sunset on the Rosary Quay

This is one of the best places in the city to do so. If you're staying the night, you'll discover a different city with plenty of nightlife, but in that case book in advance in restaurants or hotels.

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If you are interested in a trip to Bruges from Brussels, you will also be interested in

Manneken Pis, Brussels| ©Enrique Fernández
Manneken Pis, Brussels| ©Enrique Fernández

The Bruges excursion is undoubtedly the most popular excursion you can take during your trip to Brussels, but it is not the only one. In this article on the best excursions from Brussels and tours of the city you can find many more options including visits to nearby cities such as Antwerp or Amsterdam.

You will also find experiences to do without leaving Brussels such as beer or chocolate tastings and walking tours of the city.