When you ask people to point out Belgium on the world map, I guess most people don’t know where Belgium would be on this world map. Belgium borders next to Germany, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and France. And from my hometown in The Netherlands it is only 40 minutes before I reach the border.
With many nice cities in Belgium like Brussels, Liege, Antwerp, Gent and Bruges, Belgium becomes a great place to do a short city trip to one of those cities.
For this trip me and my husband choose Bruges. With only 2 hours by car and with a great hotel deal including a stay in a hotel with breakfast, a free drink at the bar and an entry to the Beer museum including a beer tasting, I didn’t have to think too long before I have booked this weekend.
My husband and I got in the car on a rainy Saturday in January. Although the weather prediction didn’t look well, I knew we could spend many times in the many museums Bruges has to offer.
Around noon we arrived in our hotel. We took a free coffee at the hotel bar to heat up before we would step in the rain. Our hotel Velotel was about half an hour from the city center on foot. The room wasn’t big, but it was clean and comfortable. A good choice!
Timo and I walked romantic under an umbrella to the Friet museum. This museum is all about the fries and potatoes. There was some good explanation with some photo’s and paintings. As it was past lunchtime already, we bought a portion fries in the museum restaurant.
The next museum on the list was the Chocolate Museum. Bruges isn’t a big city so the distances are all walkable. In the Friet museum we bought a combination ticket so the entrance fee would be a little cheaper.
At the entrance of the Chocolate museum we got a chocolate bar including the entrance fee. That is a good start! Of course I love chocolate. Last year, when we visited a chocolate museum in Mexico we already got a good explanation about how cacao was used in the Mayan century. This museum had the same explanation in pictures and drawings. At other floors there was more information how to make the Belgium pralines which this country is famous for. You can even attend a demonstration how to create the pralines. Interesting and fun!
After those 2 museums, we were thirsty. We walked to the Bruges Beer museum. In this museum they created a self guided tour trough the museum with an Ipad. You can hold the IPad in front of a picture or object. Then an explanation will follow. Easy peasy and much more fun like reading signs.
At the end of the tour we had a beer tasting in the cafe of the museum. We got 3 coins each and with those coins we could get a 3 beers of all kind of flavors. I really loved the sweeter tastes with fruits and even chocolate. We had a lovely view over the ‘Grote Markt Plaza’ (Big Market square). And it was just a relax place to finish the day.
We started the day with a very good breakfast in the hotel. We prepared for more walking today as the rain stopped, but it still looked a little gray today. A perfect place to park the car is at the railway station, with only 3.50 Euros a day.
From there it is only a 10 minute walk to the old city center.
Today we just walked around and find some hidden gems. The Grote Mark, the views over the canals, Belfort tower (which you can actually climb!), Begijnhof ten Wijngaerde and many more. The buildings and streets were just lovely to walk around. We tried to visit a church, Sint Salvators cathedral, but it had a Sunday service at that time.
The Stadhuis (city hall) you can visit from the inside. I really can recommend that as you can view a beautiful Gothic Hall. I really loved the details here. The museum displays some pieces on how the city Bruges was controlled over the times.
This entry ticket also gives you free entrance to Bruges Vrije, which is a court with an old renaissance hall from the 16th century. Although this building is smaller like its next building the Stadhuis, there is a good self guided explanation from all the paintings and wooden details in this renaissance hall. I really can recommend visiting both.
To finish the day Timo wanted to visit the Diamond museum. This museum educates about the diamonds and how to cut the rough stones into master pieces. You can read about the history, why Belgium was a big place for cutting the diamonds. They also display the tools which have been used and which are used now. During the day there are a few cutting demonstrations, which take about an hour. The museum was really interesting, but I think the demonstration took a little too much time.