The Essentials in... Bruges

+ I'm a fan of having little guides to reference when traveling. I mentioned a few when discussing intentional travel and one of my favorite resources is the New York Times “36 Hours in…” series. I’m going to borrow that idea and start doing city guides to share some of the cool things I’ve seen or, let’s be honest, the yummy things I’ve tasted while traveling.

Okay, Bruges, let’s do this! When we found out we were headed to Berlin for a week, we wanted to tack on a romantic weekend somewhere in Europe. Belgium has intrigued us for a little while, mostly because of the food. Waffles and Chocolate and Fries and Beer!

Bruges is picturesque because it wasn’t really impacted by either World War so many of the 13th-century buildings remain. It feels old and romantic, like a fairy tale. There are cobblestones, canals and amazing snacks! What we didn’t expect was to find some really modern inns and amazing Michelin-star food. We used the New York Times guide as a jumping off point, as well as the advice of a few friends who had visited (thanks W&L!).


1. Rooms at La Suite Sans Cravate. Arrive by train and taxi to either La Suite Sans Cravate or St. Jacobs. Both have modern furnishings which are rare in Bruges but also amazing breakfasts. We stayed at La Suite. Check-in was a delightful experience as the owner Victoria showed us around, brought us champagne and some homemade macaroons.

One of the benefits of La Suite is its slight distance from the square. Bruges can get touristy during the day and so it was nice to be a ten minute walk from “downtown”. After getting settled, we walked to town, checking out shops and bars along the way. If the weather is warmer, exploring the city on foot or bike would be lovely.

2. Waffles at Chez Albert. We LOVED all snacks in Bruges but the waffles at Chez Albert were perfection! Also try the street waffles at Jantje Vanille near the Beer Museum. I may or may not have eaten hot crispy frites at every meal. 'T Brugsch Friethuys had some of my favorite. 

3. Drinks at ‘t Brugs Beertje. There are lots of great little beer halls in Bruges. We went to ‘t Brugs Beertje and De Garre. Both have amazing selections and very helpful staff that can teach you more about Belgian beers. Oh, and not surprisingly, Belgian beer is a lot cheaper in Belgium!

4. Chocolate Shopping at BbyB. There are lace and chocolate and beer shops everywhere. The Bottle Shop has the best beverage selection including Belgian single malts and the best beer in the world. As for chocolate, check out BbyBThe Chocolate Line and/or Dumon.

5. Fancy Meals at Hertog Jan and Sans Cravate. Enjoy a lovely breakfast included at the inn! Lunch can be simple (fries and waffles?!) but we did have a great sit-down of moules frites at Poules Moules. As for dinner, maybe go all-out to a Michelin-starred restaurant. Our first fancy dinner was at Hertog Jan and our second was at Sans Cravate across the street from the inn! They both have smaller or a la carte menus on weekdays or for lunch which I would recommend. They are beautiful spaces with inspiring, delicious food. Hertog Jan even does beer pairings!

That was our 40 hours in Bruges. Will you go? Do meals of waffles and fries sound like heaven to you as well? And yes, all we really did on this trip was eat ;)

+ If we had had more time or more energy, we would have also added Michelangelo's Madonna and Child, Chez Vincent fries (he was closed) and the farmer’s market.