There’s a reason why Bruges is often called Venice of the North. This enchanting medieval city, which is situated in Belgium and is home to about 120,000 people, has more than 80 canals and bridges.
It’s also known for its cobblestone streets, a historic city center that’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the best-preserved medieval buildings in all of Europe.
Bruges has quickly become one of Europe’s top travel destinations. People come for the museums, the delicious food and beer, the stunning architecture, and the abundance of things to see and do in and around the city.
They also come to enjoy the many festivals that take place throughout the year, including Blues of Bruges, Choco-late Chocolate Festival, and Summer End Festival.
Below are 13 of the best tours in Bruges.
1. Tour a Chocolate Museum
Humans have been craving the sweet taste of chocolate for thousands of years, and visitors to Bruges can learn all about its fascinating history with a tour of the Choco-Story Chocolate Museum.
Learn about how chocolate came to be a beloved treat for people all over the world, and the changes it went through over the centuries to become what it is today.
See more than 500 items associated with chocolate in the museum’s collection. Watch chocolate being made right before your eyes and enjoy delicious samples.
Be sure to take your time going through the museum as the ticket is good for the entire day.
2. Take a two-hour Guided Tour of Bruges
The best way to really get to know a city is to walk around it. Visitors to Bruges can do just that with the help of a local guide, who will provide information about the history and culture of the city.
This two-hour walking tour starts just outside the central train station. As you make your way through the historic city center, you will see many attractions, including Lake of love, Walplein Square, Begijnhof, Church of Our Lady, Gruuthuse Palace, Dijver Canal, and the Basilica of the Holy Blood.
You’ll also get some free time to explore on your own and grab a bite to eat in one of the restaurants or cafes along the way. At the end of the tour, your guide will provide you with a map, some recommendations on things to see and do, and a discount card for restaurants, shops, and museums.
3. Explore Bruges on a Rickshaw
There are many ways to explore Bruges, but likely the most comfortable way is via Rickshaw. During this one-to-two-hour tour, you will enjoy the sights and sounds of both well-known touristy areas and lesser-known neighborhoods.
Start the tour in Market Square. As you go along, see many of the most notable landmarks and attractions before heading into territory you would otherwise not know about.
Listen carefully as your knowledgeable guide tells stories about the history and local lore.
4. Learn How to Make Belgian Chocolate
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make chocolate so you can enjoy the treat anytime you want, this Belgian chocolate-making workshop is for you.
Spend two-and-a-half hours learning the theory behind chocolate-making, learning about tips and tricks to make sure your batch comes our right every time, and making your own chocolate. You’ll make both Pralines and Mendiants, which are the two most popular Belgian chocolates.
When it’s all said and done, you’ll have about 30 fresh chocolates to enjoy with a glass of homemade hot chocolate.
5. See the Highlights and Hidden Gems of Bruges
Spend three hours wandering the cobblestone streets, admiring canals and medieval buildings, and exploring lesser-known corners of Bruges with a knowledgeable, local guide who knows about the places that aren’t typically listed in the tourist books.
This comprehensive tour will take you away from the tourist crowds and into areas of the city popular with the locals. Along the way, see the oldest brewery in the city, admire the interior of a Gothic church, relax on the banks of the Lake of Love, and indulge with a chocolate tasting at a Belgian Chocolatier.
This tour is flexible, so if there’s something else you would like to see, make sure to mention it to your guide so he or she can try to add it to the tour.
6. Take a Trip Back to the Middle Ages at the Historium Museum
If you find yourself wondering what it would be like to experience the city of Bruges the way it was in the Middle Ages, this ticket will allow you to do just that. As a bonus, you can skip the line-ups and enjoy a complimentary drink as well.
The Historium Museum is one of the most popular attractions in the city. Upon arrival, your host will provide you with an introduction, followed by a virtual reality trip to the year 1435. During your travels, you’ll fly over the city to see what it looked like during that lively time and sail into the port of Bruges.
An interactive exhibition is also on-site; this is where you can learn everything there is to know about Mediaeval times in this fascinating city.
Before you leave, enjoy your complimentary beverage in the Duvelorium Grand Beer Café, where you’ll also have the opportunity to sample a range of Belgian Beers.
7. Dinner and a Show with a Medieval Twist
Travel back to the year 1468, where you’re a guest at the wedding banquet of Charles the Bold and Margaret of York. Over the course of five hours, spend the evening celebrating and indulging in food, drink, and entertainment.
Enter the former Jesuit Church in the historic city center and start the night off with a four-course dinner similar to one that would’ve been served at that time.
Enjoy delicious, carefully-prepared dishes, including pate, soup, bread, spare ribs, chicken, and an assortment of vegetables, followed by a dessert of apfelstrudel.
Following dinner, costumed entertainers put on a lively performance featuring jousting, dancing, falconry, sword fighting, and flame swallowing. Choose from an assortment of local wines and beers as you enjoy the show.
8. See all the Top Sites in One Tour
Make your way to the Vivaldi Restaurant, where you’ll meet your local tour guide, who will take you on a three-hour journey through Bruges on foot.
See many of the most iconic sites in the city, including the Church of our Lady, where you’ll see Michelangelo’s Madonna. Belfry Tower, Burg Square, Church of the Holy Blood, and the Beguinage are also some of the landmarks you will see on this tour.
At the end of this three-hour tour, you’ll be given the option to take a remarkable canal tour.
9. Indulge with a Beer and Chocolate Tasting Tour
This three-hour tour combines historical attractions with local delicacies. Get picked up at your hotel and join your knowledgeable guide, who will take you through the historic heart of the city.
The Fish Market, Dijver, Minnewater, The Burg, and Market Square are just some of the notable landmarks you’ll see along the way.
Sample tasty Belgium chocolate and learn about the history of this beloved treat at the Choco-Story Museum, followed by a three-course lunch at the De Halve Maan Brewery.
After lunch, tour the brewery and learn about modern brewing techniques.
10. Dive into World War History
Whether you are a World War history buff or someone who wishes to learn more about the great war, this in-depth, nine-hour bus tour covers a number of iconic sites related to World War 1.
Take in the beautiful scenery as you roll through the countryside in the comfort of your air-conditioned coach as it makes its way to Ypres. See the 55,000 names on the Grand Menin Gate Memorial.
Visit restored trenches, bunkers, a well-preserved battlefield, and war graves. Before heading back to Bruges, you’ll stop to take in the impressive sight of the infamous poppy fields of Flanders.
11. Make Your Own Belgian Waffles
Make your way to the Ezelstraat Quarter, where you’ll take part in a 90-minute workshop in the art of Belgian waffle making.
Follow along as your instructor provides a quick history lesson and guides you through the process of preparing, baking, and decorating your very own waffle creations.
Top your waffles with cream, fruit, honey, or chocolate, and enjoy a complimentary beverage while you eat as many of the waffles as you can.
Leave with a copy of the recipe so you can make these delicious treats at home.
12. Explore Bruges at Night
There’s something magical about Bruges after the sun goes down. You can experience the lively atmosphere of this Medieval city after dark with this two-hour walking tour.
Meet your local guide at Markt 5 and make your way along the cobblestone streets, passing by canals and historic buildings as you go. Skip the touristy areas and stop at Cafe Rose Red to learn more about the bike culture in the city.
Make your way to Jan Van Eyck Square and hear tales about the well-known Dutch painter. Admire the beautiful St. James’s Church, which was built in 1240. Take a break at Eiermarkt, where you can enjoy a complimentary beverage
13. Take an Architectural Tour of Bruges
Bruges is known for its well-preserved medieval buildings and unique architecture. This two-hour walking tour is a great way to see the best of the best.
Listen as your expert guide recounts legends about life in medieval times. Take in the beauty of Minnewater Lake and explore the former Red Light District. Admire a Gothic Cathedral which has the tallest tower in Bruges.
Witness a combination of Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance architecture at Burg Square. Wander around the Grand Place of Bruges, where you will see Belfry Tower and Provencial Hall.