Last updated on August 28, 2019
Some of you that follow me on Instagram will know that I have just returned from another trip to Bruges in Belgium. This has been my second time in Bruges and I have enjoyed it even more than the first! My beautiful girlfriend Emma loved it even more as it was her first time in Belgium, we ate lots of Belgian chocolates, drank loads of Belgian beer and did some amazing sightseeing.
We started of our holiday in sunny Hull (just off the east coast of the UK) and visited a large aquarium / marine life attraction called ‘The Deep‘. It was Emma’s first time at The Deep but I have been 5 times previously and I would strongly urge anyone to visit. It costs £12.50 for an adult ticket but it allows you to go back and visit as many times as you’d like within a 12 month period of time! …Oh, and did I mention, they have Penguins! So why the hell aren’t you there already?! Duh.
We decided to travel to Belgium via Ferry crossing from Hull with P&O Cruises, they operate a mini-cruise fleet from the port with overnight crossings to Zeebrugge & Rotterdam with a free, short coach to both Bruges & Amsterdam respectively. The reason we chose to travel this way is because I have used them to both destinations previously and it’s great! You effectively get 2 extra days holiday because of the overnight crossings, they have multiple lounges / bars on-board along with duty free retail stores, Starbucks coffee shops and even Cinemas, amongst multiple restaurants and much more!
The cabins are clean, comfortable and the hospitality on-board is brilliant, and best of all…IT’S CHEAP! We paid £100 for Return tickets (between 2 of us) which included a Premier Cabin and Coach transfers each way! You cannot complain at that, at all. PLEASE NOTE: We chose the option of the ‘extra night’ and booked a hotel for the following night in Bruges as a day trip wasn’t for us, but hotels in the city are cheap enough and there are some hostels too for those travelling on a budget.
We arrived in Belgium at 9am and where cruising around Bruges by 10am. Straight off the coach we decided to check in at the hotel in order to get rid of our heavy luggage and set off exploring the medieval city. We decided to go all out on this trip and booked the only 5 star hotel in Bruges, Hotel Dukes Palace. This was costly as it was 5* and also it was the actual home of Belgian royalty once upon a time and is an attraction itself for many tourists in Bruges. If you’d like to read my full review on Hotel Dukes Palace, click here.
Our first journey off the coach was a lovely walk through the beautiful Minnewater Park, here you will find ‘The Lake of Love’ and its easy to see why. For anyone visiting Bruges I’d recommend having a walk around here as its only a 10-15 minute walk outside of the city and away from all the hustle and bustle.
Important stuff first, Breakfast! We found our way to a popular waffle place and ate our way through some extremely nice waffles with fresh strawberries! (and don’t forget the cream and chocolate sauce). We then went and did a little bit of exploring and I tried helping Emma to get her bearings in the city (which was a fail) ha-ha!
Next stop, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, this was a good first little attraction to start the day. Entry was free of charge and the church was a fantastic piece of art. I’m not a Christian by any means at all but this place holds a vial of what is believed to be the blood of Jesus…pretty cool! They had a small ‘museum’ attraction too which cost us €2.50 each to have a look around, which was worth it overall!
After this our poor little bellies where rumbling again already so we went to find a place to eat that we scouted on the way in, they made homemade pizzas and breads as well as pasta dishes which looked, smelt and tasted AMAZING! Now unfortunately I’m unable to give them much credit as they aren’t on Google, Trip Advisor or anything but they are called ‘More is Less’. Best pizza EVER, we ended up going back 2 times afterwards for more!
Next, the Torture Museum! What an amazing attraction, for €6-8 we spent a good hour in there reading about all the old ways of dealing punishment not only in Bruges but around the world. All the methods you learn about are physically right there in front of you to see and touch, with some gnarly realistic wax models taking the pain! All of the devices on display where REAL medieval devices too, it was all the real deal with no modern day remakes on display which was a really good touch.
After this we where a little tired from the journey so far and decided to go back and chill at the hotel, have a few beers at the bar and get freshened up ready for dinner that evening. We’d done some research beforehand for places to eat and found a lovely little restaurant which we’d made a reservation for 2 weeks before going, which I’m glad we did as it was fully booked in no time. The restaurant was a short 10 minute walk out of the centre which was pleasant, even in the dark. On the way we decided to take some lovely photos of the city at night including the famous shot below.
Now, la pièce de résistance of the trip. Bistro Pro Deo, our choice of restaurant. I was absolutely gobsmacked by this place. I walked in and immediately felt at home. It is a small, very cosy, warm establishment with a strangely charming decor and our host Nathalie was the friendliest person I have ever had the pleasure to meet on my travels so far. Nathalie was very accommodating to some of our strange requests and couldn’t have been any better if she’d tried. To top it all off I had the famous Flemish Stew for my main and this was hands down the best meal I have ever had the pleasure of eating in my life. We also tried a local beer called ‘Zot’ which is now Emma’s favourite beer and it came with a great story that there is a huge 2km pipeline under the city to many bars and restaurants that distributes beer on tap! Now I’m listening, I want this at home! So, will I be back to Pro Deo? HELL YES! Check out my full review here on Trip Advisor.
After Pro Deo we headed back to our hotel and checked in at the bar for a few more drinks before heading to bed.
This was the day we wanted to get all the extra sightseeing done, and buy all of our gifts before leaving that evening so an ‘early’ start was needed *cough* early for emma *cough*. The first stop of the day was Historium Brugge, where we experienced the golden age of Bruges via an interactive, visual audio tour. Entrance was €10-13.50 each which seemed a bit steep but it was worth it considering the bit of a museum afterwards and access to a balcony which overlooked the market square which was great to take photos from.
After this we decided to do something I’d never done in Bruges before, but always wanted to…a Canal Tour! There are many points around the city that can take you on a Canal Tour, my top tip to you is that the city makes sure they all charge the same €8 per person and they all take the same route. This excursion was one of my favourite moments in Bruges, it was fun, inciteful and took a good hour. After this we went back to the pizza deli for more food and the headed off to the next attraction.
Last but definitely not least we decided to climb The Belfort, what I consider to be the pinnacle landmark of Bruges. We had to queue up for around 35 minutes to get in which was usual and this can take up to an hour at peak times, but for a €10 each entry fee it was more than worth every cent! 366 steps to the top of the tower, climbing a piece of pure history felt so airy, but great. The view from the top was absolutely phenomenal, what a perfect end to the perfect trip with the perfect girlfriend.
Half past 5 was upon us and back to the coach pick-up it was to catch the overnight ferry crossing back to the UK. This short European trip will go down as one of my favourite holidays to date, the people we met, the things we saw, the time we spent together was out of this world.
Bruges, we miss you. Be back soon.