Bruges: A Student Travel Guide
One of the best things about living in the UK is how quick, easy and cheap it is to get to mainland Europe. For short weekend breaks there are so many options it can be hard to decide where to go. To help you out we are creating a series of guides to places in Europe that are perfect for short holidays.
Bruges, in Belgium, is a picturesque town full of original architecture and stunning ancient churches.
Bruges is so easy to get to by train. From London St Pancras you can take the Eurostar all the way to Brussels, where you change to get a direct train to Bruges station. The whole journey takes less than 3 hours and is relatively cheap (around £50 return) if you book well in advance.
The best place to stay in Bruges is probably in one of the dozens of Bed and Breakfasts. For around 40 Euros per person per night, you can find a very comfortable room in the centre of town. You can search for B&Bs in Bruges here.
Getting breakfast included in the price is also well worth it in Bruges, as the price of food at restaurants is ridiculously high. Stuff yourself with croissants, bread, fruit and coffee for breakfast, and you will only need a small snack for lunch!
If you are really tight on money, and don’t mind basic accommodation, then there are also a number of hostels in Bruges that range from 15-40 Euros per night. You can search for them here.
What You Should Do
There is so much to do in Bruges that it can be hard to fit it all in if you are just there for a weekend. Fortunately, a lot of the best attractions are either free or very cheap.
- Bruges is famous for its Northern Renaissance artists such as Jan van Eyck (below) and Hans Memling, and the best place to see their work is at the Groeningemuseum. This art gallery costs just 1 Euro for anyone under 26, and has art ranging from the 15th century to the modern day.
- Taking a boat ride down the numerous canals in Bruges is the perfect way to get a tour of the town, and is well worth the 7 Euro cost.
- They take their beer very seriously in Bruges, so it would be a shame not to try it out eh? The best way to do this is to head to one of the numerous pubs in the town centre, such as Brugs Beertje which has over 300 Belgian beers on offer. Similarly, there is a shop called 2be which has over 700 beers and a whole range of Belgian food which is an experience in itself.
- Some of the best things to see and do in Bruges are completely free. Walking around the edge of the city centre takes a couple of hours and is a great way to see the landmarks and some lovely windmills. At Our Lady’s Church, there is one of the few Michelangelo sculptures outside of Italy.
What Is Not Worth Doing
Just as some of the attractions are great value, some of them are also very overpriced. You can get horse and carriage tours around the town, but at 35 Euros for a half hour trip, it is much better to just walk. Similarly, the main tower in the central square (made famous by the film ‘In Bruges’) costs 8 Euros and unless you love walking up lots of steps for an obscured view at the top, then it probably is not worth it.
Top Three Tips
- The one overriding thing you need to know about Bruges is that food and drink is VERY expensive. Almost all the restaurants are very touristy and charge upwards of 20 Euros for very average main meals. If you can, try and find restaurants on the outskirts of town that look less touristy.
- By far the best way to experience Bruges is to walk around. The town centre itself is very small and you can walk from one side to the other in less than half an hour. However, the cobbled streets are painful on your feet and legs, so make sure you bring comfy shoes.
- For some reason almost everything closes on a Monday. So if you are planning to go just for a couple of days, it is best to avoid Mondays.
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