Brussels National Airport is the main airport for Bruges. There
are numerous daily flights to Brussels Airport from across the world. If you
have not booked a private transfer with us, you have a few options.
Bruges is 67 miles from the airport, easily accessible by train (50 minute train journey). There is a train station right in the Brussels airport, so you can get off the plane and right onto the train. There are two trains per hour leaving from Brussels to Bruges (keep in mind that the time table screen will show you the end stations; Oostende or Blankenberge or Knokke-Heist). To know the exact schedule go to www.nmbs.be (website available in English).
The train station is on Stationsplein, 1 mile south of the center of town, about a 15-minute walk or a short taxi or bus ride, choose any bus labeled CENTRUM and get out at the Markt to be in the center of the action.
The smaller Oostende airport is just 15 miles from Bruges on the coast but offers very few flights.
Traveling to Bruges on Belgium`s
rail system is a natural choice. Trains to and from Brussels leave
every 30 minutes during the day. The journey from Brussel-Zuid to Bruges takes
about 50 minutes. Brugge is not the terminus, look for trains going to Oostende
or Blankenberge. If you are traveling on the Eurostar that same day, you can
get a cheap add-on ticket to Any Belgian Station`. Otherwise, buy a ticket when
you get to the station. Be aware that trains are often full to and from Bruges,
especially during rush hours.
With a backpack nearly all hotels are reachable by foot. However, if you have a suitcase you may want to consider taking a taxi because the cobbled streets. A taxi will run you about €11 depending on your final destination. A cheaper option is the very frequent bus service from the station to Markt square. Choose any bus labeled CENTRUM and get out at the Markt to be in the center of town. Buy your ticket from the kiosk at the bus station outside the railway station (about €3) or on the bus (cash only).
There are taxi stands at the Markt (tel 050/334-444) and outside the rail station on Stationsplein (tel 050/384-660).Is Bruges a walking city?
Bruges is a great walking town. The historical center is compact and filled with cobbled pedestrian-only streets, which makes walking the best way to get around.How do I get around Bruges using public transportation?
Most city and regional buses are operated by De Lijn (www.delijn.be/en) and depart from the bus station next to the train station on Stationsplein, or from a secondary station at `t Zand near the Concertgebouw , and many buses stop at the Markt in the Old Town. Purchase your ticket from a De Lijn sales point or automatic ticket machine before boarding and you’ll pay less than buying tickets on the bus. You can purchase your single ticket (about €3, valid for one hour) from the De Lijn sales point in the station, from an automated ticket machine before boarding, or on the bus; the largest bill you can pay with onboard is a €10 note.I will have a car in Bruges, where can I park?
If you have a car, don`t try to drive around the narrow streets of the center. We recommend parking outside the walls (easier in early morning) or head for the main rail station and use the underground parking. There are also multistory car parks that are a five minute walk from the city center. Nice city mini-buses cruise the town with high frequency, and in any case, the historical center must be traversed on foot, by bicycle, by horse-drawn carriage or by boat to enjoy it.How do I get around by bike?
Cycling is a perfect way to get around Bruges and
discover the historical center. Up to 60% of all incoming traffic in the city
center are cyclists. Unlike most Belgian cities, it has made cyclists
privileged road users so they can travel in both directions on some(not all) of
the narrow, one-way streets in the center city. Others are one-way only and
you`ll be fined if you`re caught riding against the traffic flow so keep a
close eye on the street signs. Ride with caution, because the streets are
filled with crowds of tourists likely to step out in front of you at any
minute, but apart from that, the streets are traffic free and safe for families
with older children to navigate by bicycle.
There are several bike-rental points spread over the city and some that offer guided bike tours where a local guide will take you across Bruges highlights within a few hours. Prices for bike rentals start at around €4 per hour, or about €12 for a full day. There`s a discount with the Brugge City Card at some rental shops. Another option available (if you`d rather not pedal) is to rent an electric bike, about €30 for an 8 hour rental.
Bruges is generally very safe. The city is kept clean and the police are quite pro-active and visual throughout. Beware of pickpockets, mostly in crowded buses and in the pedestrian streets. Do not leave any luggage out of view as it might disappear. If you`re taking the bus with a backpack, it`s better putting it between your feet than keeping it on your back.Can I pay/tip in US dollars?
The currency used in Belgium is the euro (€),
US dollars are not accepted. You can get euros in different banks opened from
Monday to Saturday and automatic cash points opened 24 hours a day. ATMs
are widespread throughout the city. Note, many places in Bruges will take card,
but some smaller restaurants and shops are cash-only.
We recommend that you exchange a small amount of cash prior to your trip, enough for a cab ride or basic spending on arrival. It is also useful to remind your bank and credit card company that you will be travelling to make sure your cards will work while in France. We recommend you record all your credit card numbers, as well as the phone numbers to call if your cards are lost or stolen.
Under the euro system, there are seven notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. Notes are the same for all countries. There are eight coins: 1 and 2 euros, plus 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents.
For more information about tipping visit: Tipping in Belgium
It is difficult to declare exactly when the
best time to visit Brugge would be - the city`s climate is not
extreme nor particular relative to the rest of Western Europe. Furthermore,
most of Brugge`s churches and museums are open year round, and indoor
attractions such as these are pleasant in all seasons. The architecture
has been constant for centuries, and is variously beautiful with snows or
Summer temps in Bruges only reach the 70s. Spring and fall act as shoulder seasons with fewer tourists and cooler temps. In the winter temperatures can drop to near freezing levels, which in turn keeps many visitors away.
All this aside, if pressed to pick a month, the best travel time would probably be April, because the city comes to life, literally and figuratively. The floral blossoms in April bring colorful petals and warm weather.
Some churches, such as St. Giles and St. Anne`s, open April first after having been closed most of autumn and all winter. Further, the flora blossoms in April, adding delicate and colorful petals to a warm weather tourist experience.
Visitors to Bruges with mobility problems using a wheelchair or
mobility scooter should be aware of certain problems which need consideration
when touring Bruges. Because of its age and construction some areas are
not very wheelchair friendly. Drop curbs are not readily available and some
exhibits require the use of stairs which excludes the disabled from a visit. The
cobbled areas of Bruges vary by degrees with some very easy to cover and some,
especially the older cobbles can be a really bumpy ride!
Please note that not all Hotels have wheelchair access so double check for the `wheelchair` sign on the Hotels web site.
Many attractions in Bruges are becoming more user-friendly to the disabled traveler but certainly it still has a lot more to do!
Belgium has three official languages: French, German, and Dutch. However, most folks in Bruges are fluent in Dutch and English. Unlike Brussels, where most people speak French, you`re better off sticking to English in Bruges (unless you know Dutch)! If you decide to do some travelling into the surrounding, more rural areas, or happen upon a restaurant off the beaten track then it`s a good idea to brush up on your Dutch! We suggest you get a good English-Dutch guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.What is the culture like in Bruges?
Bruges is in the Flemish
region of Belgium, which makes the city`s culture more Dutch than French. Here
are a few quick tips to make your visit a smooth one:
-Always greet the shopkeeper and restaurant staff when entering a building. A simple hello goes a long way.
-Tipping is not necessary, as Belgian restaurants include service charges in the bill. However, it`s also normal to round up to the nearest whole number or leave a couple Euros for quality service.
-Cyclists are everywhere and don`t always signal their approach with a bell. Keep your eyes peeled when crossing the street or turning corners. And don`t walk in the bike lanes!
You probably already know that Bruges has got the best beer and
chocolate in the world, but did you know it also has fabulous seafood and
waffles. Here are some local specialties you`ll want to be sure to try during
Frites: The potato chop is one of Belgium`s national dishes. Frite cars are the best places to try fries and eat cheaply in the city center. You will also find some excellent moules-frites in the city ` that`s mussles and chips (in English).
Carbonade flamande: Flemish stew, also called stoofvlees, popular in the winter months. It is a stew slow cooked in beer that has been around since the Middle Ages, and you can try all sorts of versions, mainly beef.
Waffles: These gooey, sticky treats are best eaten warm from a street vendor. There are sligh regional variations. The waffles in Bruges are crispier that others and come with a variety of toppings. You`ll also find them as a cone so you can eat while you walk around – multi-taking at its best!
There is no shortage of restaurants in Bruges, from Michelin-starred to mobile stands in the Markt selling fries in paper cones, with just about everything in between. It is sometimes best to take a stroll away from the main tourist areas, like central market place (`Grote Markt`) and the Burg Square, these can be tourist traps. You will find that the more authentic quality food is better if you wander off the beaten track. Find a street with more locals than tourists and ask somebody. Locals are always happy to help.
While Bruges has plenty of pubs to choose from, the city`s woeful lack of clubs makes for a pretty tame night out. Most of the action takes place around the Old Town, where a gamut of traditional-style bars sell an amazing selections of beer. If you want to hang out with the hip crowd, then head to the haunts around Kuipersstraat and Zilverstraat.What are the business hours in Bruges?
Stores usually open from 10am to 6 or 6:30pm Monday through Saturday. Some open Sunday afternoon, and those in the center of the city will open all day on Sunday in summer. Most museums close on Monday, but not the Stadhuis, Belfort, or churches. Everywhere is closed January 1, Ascension Day in the afternoon, and December 25.What is the Internet Access availability in Bruges?
Most hotels in Bruges offer Wi-Fi access for free. There`s free, blanket broadband coverage of the city center and most cafes and restaurants also provide Wi-Fi hotspots.What are the best areas for shopping?
Bruge offers a healthy mixture of
independent boutiques and high end retailers, but the choice fails to rival
that of nearby Brussels and prices are high, thanks to the hordes of tourists
visiting the city. There are a range of designer boutiques, high street brands
and local markets scattered throughout the city, not to mention numerous
chocolatiers selling their delicious treats around the Old Town. You can get a
whiff of nostalgia as your chocolate is weighted and packaged, although locals
will tell you that the stuff you get in the supermarkets is just as good and a
fraction of the price.
Bruges is also famous for its production of lace goods, which can be found in specialist shops and local markets. There are about 80 lace shops in the city. Beware though, the lacework is not necessarily produced locally. There is a school for lace though, where you can still get `the real thing.`
For an authentic taste of Bruges, visit the Old Town`s only working brewery, De Halve Maan (Half Moon), where you can pick up bottles of the local brew. An excellent selection of Belgium beer can also be found in the city`s off licenses or the `t Brugs Beertje.
Key areas: The main shopping areas in Bruges are situated between `t Zand and Markt Square, Steenstraat, Geld Montstraat and Jakobstraat are the main retail arteries of the city, with other streets lined with shops leading off from these.
Markets: On Wednesday morning, there`s a great food market in the Markt Square, while `t Zand Square is a great place to pick up bargain clothes on Saturday. The Fish Market across the canal from Burg Square trades from Tuesday to Saturday and there`s a great flea market on the Dijver Canal on the weekends.
Shopping Centers: The big chain stores are concentrated on Steenstraat, while Noordzandstraat features numerous boutique outlets.
Note: Value-added tax (VAT) rate is currently 21% in Belgium and can be refunded to non-EU citizens by shops affiliated to Global Refund. Participating shops will issue a Global Refund check, which should be stamped at customs.
Emergency dial 112
For any emergency (fire, police, ambulance), the number is tel 112 from any land line or cellphone. For 24-hour urgent but nonemergency medical services, call tel 078/151-590.