As part of my visit in Belgium around Brussels, Ghent and Antwerp, I could not miss visiting Bruges too.
At 138.4 square kilometres in size, you can easily do a self-guided walking tour around Bruges in half a day. Because of what a small town it is, it is extremely easy to do a free walking tour in Bruges on your own at completely at your own pace.
I was especially exhilarated to be finally visiting this little town after watching the movie In Bruges (and watching one of the main casts jumping down from the Belfry :/). The plot was meaningless, but the scenes did set me up for what to expect on my day trip there.
Bruges is distinguished by its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings, which makes it exceptionally pleasant to do a walking tour on your own and do some city sightseeing around Bruges.
It is a 30-45 minute walk from the train station to the centre of Bruges.
Be sure to stop by at the tourist centre while you’re at the train station to grab a map!
A Brugge city tour is easy to follow once you have the Bruges walking tour map.
The highlights below are follows the order starting from the moment you walk from the train station to the furthest major attraction in Bruges.
Recommended duration in Bruges: half day
What to see on a self-guided Bruges walking tour, Belgium
1. Begijnhof/ Minnewater
Be greeted by a family of swans and this picture-perfect bridge flanked by surrounding buildings.
2. St Saviour’s Cathedral
3. Church of Our Lady/ Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk
This is the most photographed spot in Bruges. The Groenerei and Dijver canals meet, creating a romantic, charming scene, especially so in winter!
5. Market Square/ Markt
The hub of all activities. Most of the shops facing the centre are restaurants, but don’t miss the row of iconic, narrow houses that are built above it!
This 13th-century belfry has a 47-bell carillon and is 83m high, offering panoramic views.
Costs 6€ to climb up the 366 steps.
I’ve been climbing towers in Ghent, Antwerp, Florence, etc and honestly, the views is worth every effort and penny you put in. I would never let any tower pass me by without conquering it.
There are rest points in between and while the steps are steep and climbing in circles may get you groggy, the fact that the enclosed tower only allows you to see at most 3 steps in front of you before curving upwards helps make climbing up easier. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.
7. Burg Square
8. City Hall/ Hotel de ville
It is situated on the Burg Square.
9. Jan van Eyckplein/ Het voormalige hanzekwartier
It is a former Hanseatic quarter. This part of the city used to be a thriving port in 1200.
This red brick medieval building on this quarter is the first building to be restored in the 19th century.
What’s interesting about this wooden facade (above) is that it is an authentic wooden house that was prohibited from the 17th century onwards because of it being a fire hazard.
You can find this along the road Genthof in the direction Woensdagmarkt.
Other things to see and do in Bruges, Belgium
1. Kathe Wohlfahrt
Chanced upon this store between Markt and Burg, Kathe Wohlfahrt.
If you haven’t seen this around Europe, it is a Christmas store, with little Christmas trinklets displayed on every possible corner of the shop. I was extremely fascinated by the cuckoo clocks, angels, chimes, wooden dolls and Santa Clauses that I’ve only seen in fairytale shows.
This shop originates from Rothenburg, a medieval old town famous for its Christmas markets!
I visited Rothenburg too and am equally enraptured by the little Christmas shops there! I will accompany a post with pictures of Rothenburg soon. 🙂
2. River boat ride
When in Bruges, take the river ride if you can! It was a pity I couldn’t because it was pouring the entire day I was there. You’ll be able to see parts of Bruges that are hidden from the pedestrians on the streets.
It costs no more than 8€.
There you go, that’s a Brugge free walking tour for you to do, at your own time and pace!
There are also day tours that goes from Brussels daily at 11am.
If you’re in Belgium, don’t miss out the full Belgian experience by visiting Brussels, Ghent and Antwerp! Each offers unique sights and vibes.
Read other posts about Belgium:
- Visiting Ghent, Belgium For Free!
- Coolest Ghent Food Recommendations from a Local
- Couchsurfing in Ghent, Belgium
- Packing List for Europe Winter
- Cheapest Way to Travel Around Europe
- How Much Does A Trip To Europe Cost?
- Europe Trip; 6 Months, 16 Countries, 55 Cities, 11 Languages
- Is Couchsurfing Safe? 6 Couchsurfing Lessons & Tips From Travelling Solo