I first (I say first because I would definitely like to return someday) came to Bruges in December 2016 with my boyfriend. It was actually a Christmas surprise because he knew I had been dying to see this medieval fairytale city for ages. The whole time I was in awe and was literally jumping around out of excitement. Bruges blew past all my expectations and left me speechless. What a wonderful place to visit! I’ll share what I though were the best parts of our romantic trip that I would recommend.
1. Admire the stunning architecture
Bruges is not at all lacking beautiful architecture. Just walk around and take in this photogenic city. During our time here we strolled around a lot despite the frigid temperatures. It was such a thrill to see such esquisite and unfamiliar architecure. The whole city had this brick Gothic style and the roofs were built like steps. It is incredible how these gorgeous buildings were constructed hundreds of years ago and are still perserved so well.
2. Eat chocolate and Belgian waffles
THIS you cannot miss out on. Belgium is world-renowned for its chocolate and compared to the prices of actual food in this city, chocolate was cheap! Good news for us, but bad news for our health. You will notice chocolate shops just about everywhere and it is a very sweet (literally) experience to taste-test a few 🙂 We loved picking a few unique truffles and trying them as we walked along the streets of Bruges gazing at the beautiful sights. The waffles were also incredibly tasty and I definitely advise picking one up. Sweet, warm, and crispy, but not overdone.
3. Stroll around Rozenhoedkaai and Beguinage
These area two areas in which I found the most romantic to walk around as both were gorgeous. Rozenhoedkaai (The Quai of the Rosary) will definitely leave a very nice impression on you. It is really the most picturesque place ever with the cute river-front buildings and shops in the background. You can also see the Bruges Belfry in the background, which was one of the ending scenes of In Bruges if any of you are familiar with that film.
Beguinage is a quaint architectural complex with lots of white residences, which originally was a convent. We came here on a misty morning which just added to the stillness and mystery of this place. I loved how quiet and subtle these areas were and it was very peaceful.
4. Drink real Belgian beer together
Not to be “that person”, but you haven’t really tried beer until you’ve had authentic Belgian beer — and I’m not talking about that Blue Moon stuff that is sold in America. We went to the Brouwerij De Halve Maan and had a very lovely experience there. Many of the beers brewed here are award-winning and will not disappoint. We also got a relatively affordable and hearty meal plus a nice spot by the fireplace to defrost our toes and fingers. We forgot gloves which was a little stupid haha but at least now we know for the future. It was very nice to decompress here after a long day of walking around and sightseeing, plus the beer was phenomenal.
5. Pop around stalls at the Christmas Market
If you come to Bruges during Christmastime, I definitely advise visiting the Christmas Market in the old town square. Buy some carmelized nuts and warm up with one (or 4) glasses of Glühwein which is European mulled wine. If you come here at night, there is a special kind of ambiance seeing all the glowing lights and the shiny ice rink. It felt very magical to see the all children skate by, filled with laughter and joy. It is also a wonderful place to visit during the day and is definitely very romantic to be cozied up next to your significant other drinking some Glühwein and taking in the Belgian Christmas spirit.
I would definitely recommend Bruges to anyone. It will surely make the perfect trip for young and old couples alike, and it is a nice break from the busy everyday life. Additionally, there wasn’t much need for public transportation since the city is very walkable. You could probably discover most of the city in 1 day, however, I loved our two day trip because lots of these places needed a second take to really appreciate all of their beauty.
This medieval city reminded me that happiness can be so simple and that it shouldn’t be hard to be happy. Just walking around and admiring the canals and scanning the gothic architecture made me feel so content. Despite the cold temperaures, I felt very warm inside and now Bruges has a special place in my heart. Plus the sweet man I am with made this adventure happen which was definitely such a thoughtful surprise 🙂 Let me know if you have any upcoming plans to visit Bruges!