When you think of Belgium, what comes to mind first? Beer? Chocolate? Waffles? Well Bruges has it all in abundance. As I was visiting over Easter the obvious order of excitement for me was chocolate, waffles, beer. When you’re walking all day you need something to keep you going and you can’t get better options (cue excuse to completely indulge). So following on from part one, here’s the tastier post where I explore where to eat, drink and find blissful sleep.
Discovering a taste for Belgian beer was a surprise revelation from this city escape. It’s probably the easiest thing you’ll find in Bruges thanks to about 180 breweries across Belgium making sure it’s not in short supply (Source: Wikipedia). This means there’s so much choice you should be able to find something to your taste pretty much anywhere – outdoor courtyards, cosy restaurants and even small cafes.
As you know I’m no beer expert but what I can say is if you’re like me (more of a cocktail drinker) start out with the blonde or golden ales as they’re much less bitter than the darker Belgian beers. We set the challenge to try a different beer each time we stopped for a drink which we found surprisingly easy, and before long we’d lost count of the number we tried between us.
You can try a lot of beers on your own but beer tasting is the done thing (obviously). My favourite find was T’ Brugsch Bieratelier .
Small and cosy, you take a seat, order three beers from the menu and three mini pints arrive. Here were mine…
Multiply by a group of friends and you can easily sample most of the menu. And the more beers you try, the more Belgian beer glasses you get to see which definitely started to encourage our choices throughout the trip!
But if beer really doesn’t take your fancy and your mouth is watering for chocolate, this is where you need to go.
Mary’s – the fine chocolate lover’s heaven. It’s certainly not the cheapest you’ll find in Bruges but it’s definitely worth popping in to at least smell and admire.
Dumon Chocolatier was the shop we all enjoyed a good few samples and bought treats to take home. Sadly I only managed to take this Instagram of the chocolates as I got so carried away deciding what I wanted to buy.
But I think you’ll forgive me when you see the waffles we tracked down at The Old Chocolate House. Hidden above a chocolate shop (where you can buy the most amazing hot chocolate) you’ll find this lovely little tea room.
There are a lot of Belgian waffle takeaways in Bruges, but nothing like this…
Add a giant bowl of hot chocolate and you’re in sugar heaven. Mmmmm if I could go back and eat one of those right now!
Of course you could spend most of the day eating waffles and chocolate, but even with the sweetest tooth you’ll need a good meal during your stay. We were recommended two places.
De Poulin is a cheap eat where you can essentially get roast chicken and potatoes. Simple but filling, with a good beer menu. There’s not too much more you need if you’re looking to save some money to spend on daytime treats!
But if you’re looking for something a little nicer definitely try Zwart Huis. A beautiful gothic building built back in 1482.
I’d been unwell that day so I didn’t manage many photos indoors and had a simple bolognese, but the rest of the group were more adventurous and there were no complaints at the table. I think what made the evening here was the beautiful building and friendly staff. It’s not a very well kept secret so I’d recommend booking a table in advance.
With so much to do, see, eat and drink it’s worth getting a nice place to rest. I’d not tried Airbnb before but when my friend Ashley sent over a few links I realised how great it was at offering lovely homes at really reasonable prices. If you’re lucky like us you might also get a helpful host who can recommend all of the great places in the area. (Most of the recommendations here and in the last post came from our host!) Unfortunately, the property we rented is no longer available as our host was moving home but this was second on our list of options.
As for travel, we got the Eurostar from St Pancras to Bruges, due to booking before Christmas we got return tickets for about £80.
Bruges is definitely somewhere I would recommend visiting if you’re looking for a relatively relaxed weekend of sight-seeing, eating and drinking. If you want to see what it’s like when the Christmas markets are there, you should check out Jessi’s posts on Two Feet, One World.
Have you been to Bruges? Would to add any recommendations to the list?