Bruges can get uncomfortably crowded during midsummer, so if like me, you want to make some good photos and avoid the tour groups, get up at 6 or 7 in the morning, and the city is almost yours until the tour buses arrive at 10. You can then hire a bike tour the surrounding canal paths and visit the beautiful little town of Damme.
Great place. We would love to go back there. We definitely recommend the canal tour -- sit up the front of the boat as it adds to the experience going under the low bridges. The food is also great -- many a quality bakery and some great little pubs too.
Bruges is a fantastic, medieval city located in Northwest Belgium, about twenty miles from the beach. However, those staying at Bruges hostels will find that even in summer, it is rarely warm enough by western standards to enjoy a day at the beach. Bruges is plagued by rain just as often as London or Ireland but the wet and gloomy weather lends Bruges much of its cozy charm. The Flemish are warm and inviting and often speak nearly flawless English, in addition to their native Dutch, and most can speak or understand French.
Bruges is often dubbed "The Venice of the North," thanks to its endless number of canals and bridges. Make sure to leave your Bruges hostel and visit the Church of Our Lady, where you can see the Madonna and Child, one of the only Michaelangelo pieces taken out of Italy. You can also pay a steep price to climb Bruges' infamous Belfry tower, complete with hundreds of bells to marvel at as you ascend the three hundred and sixty-six narrow steps to the top and pray no one else is coming down at the same time! The brewery tours are very entertaining and informative and come with a free glass of cold and fresh brew at the end. Also, don't forget to try the gooey waffles and melt-in-your-mouth Belgian chocolate. Dumon chocolate is a good and cheap recommendation. These items are wonderfully delicious and a trademark of Belgium.
Luckily, there is no shortage of fun free things to do to keep you out of your Bruges hostel! Your trip to Bruges isn't complete unless you check out the Basilica of the Holy Blood at Burg square, where the famous relic of Jesus' blood is on display for two hours everyday. Get there early because the lines can get wicked. There is no cost to get in, but a small, optional donation is requested. There are also windmills located on the edge of the city center, which are nice to sit under and have a picnic. Bruges is full of gorgeous city parks which make great places for strolling and kissing in such a perfectly romantic town. But the best free thing to do in Bruges is simply to walk around and admire the breathtaking medieval architecture that has survived with a little reconstructive help. Bruges' main attraction is the charming little city itself!