Bruges, the Venice of the North. A modern destination that respects history and tradition. Often suggested as a day trip from Brussels, but that deserves to be explored for more than a day. A gorgeous Belgian city when the sun is shining in all its splendor, but that is able to keep its charm when it rains. Here are 10 things to do in Bruges on a rainy day, in case your visit coincides with some liquid sunshine.
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1. Drink Hot Chocolate
A delicious cup of hot chocolate in Belgium.
There’s nothing that makes me feel better under rainy and cold weather than a cup of hot chocolate. Luckily, there is not a lack of chocolate shops in Bruges.
From well-known shops such as Godiva, Leonidas, and Neuhaus to family-owned shops like the Old Chocolate House your choices will feel endless.
At the Old Chocolate House, there’s even tea time, but where you can replace all the tea, scones, and sandwiches with hot chocolate, pralines, and more chocolate.
2. Take Pictures
I don’t typically shoot black & white but Andy inspired me to try it.
If you are like me, you don’t feel too motivated to take pictures when the weather is short from excellent. However, during my trip to Bruges, I had booked a photo tour with ‘Photo Tour Brugge,’ and decided to go forward with it.
Andy, the photographer and tour guide offered to move the tour to the next day, but unfortunately, it wasn’t possible for me. I’m glad we decided to do so because the tour was the highlight of that day.
Andy’s eyes helped me see Bruges in a great light, even if the actual light was not the best. It was also a fantastic experience to interact with a permanent resident of Bruges, and explore some of the non-touristy spots of the city.
3. Explore Museums
Bruges is full of history, and one way to discover it is by visiting museums.
When it’s raining, museums are always a good option. In Bruges, it seems that it doesn’t matter what you are into there will be a museum for you.
Art? The Groeninge Museum and the Guido Gezellemuseum are excellent choices.
Food? There is a Fries Museum (Frietmuseum), a Chocolate Museum (Choco-Story), and Beer Museum (Bruges Beer Museum).
History? You can visit the Archeological Museum (Archeologiemuseum), the Historium Bruges, and even the Torture Museum (Foltermuseum De Oude Steen).
4. Climb a Tower
View from the Historium Tower observation point.
There are two towers that you can climb where in Bruges. First, there is the Belfort (Belfry & Carillon) Tower. This 83 meters (272 ft.) tall tower houses a carillon and will reward you with a panoramic view of Bruges after climbing 366 steps.
The second tower is the Historium Tower. From here, you can see the Market Square (Markt), and the Belfort Tower. This tower has 145 steps, and the observation point is at the height of 26 meters (85 ft.).
Please keep in mind that both towers have age and size restrictions. The stairs are narrow and are not recommended for people with a fear of heights or who are claustrophobic.
5. Taste Beer
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Rain or shine, drinking beer in Bruges is recommended. You can try it on your own, or you can book a beer tasting tour.
I can personally recommend the BeerWalk Bruges Tour, which ended up being a private tour (the perks of traveling in low season!). Our guide, Ariël Meeusen, was incredibly knowledgeable about everything beer and Bruges history.
I can say that my husband and I have a reasonable knowledge of beers and in the first 10 minutes of meeting Ariël, we had already learned so much. We didn’t have a bad beer on the walk (we probably had some of the best-tasting beers we ever had in the world), and they were not samples, they were full beers.
This was our last tour on our Belgium trip, and I’m pleased about it. We surely left the country with a smile on our face.
6. Enjoy Hotel Amenities
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I know, I know. When you are vacationing in a city you have never visited before, you want to explore it. But sometimes traveling is not as easy as it looks, and you start getting tired. Maybe it was an overnight flight, walking too much, or you decided to climb a tower with more than 300 steps, but you feel you need to rest.
There’s nothing wrong with staying a few hours in your hotel to take a nap or to enjoy its amenities. In Bruges, I stayed at the Hotel Dukes’ Palace, and it had so many amenities I couldn’t take advantage of them all, including its spa facilities. What I did take advantage of was its fantastic breakfast, and you should do it too! Book It Here.
7. Visit Shops
Langerstraat street in Bruges is not only shops. Take this picture as an example.
There are many shops near and around the Markt in Bruges. Nonetheless, my favorite stores were located along Langerstraat street.
Some of the shops that caught my attention in the area include:
Rebel Rebel – alternative clothing and accessories.
Den Elder – sadly it was closed but is a collector shop for book, film and music lovers.
The Fat Flamingo – a skateshop with an ‘I want them all’ footwear collection, and excellent customer service.
Bambino – Like a treasure cave with gadgets and gizmos aplenty. You can wander here for hours and leave with a loot without breaking the bank.
8. Taste some Wine
Wine Tasting is serious business.
Belgium is known for its beer. But did you knew it also has pretty decent wine offering? Because of its location is easy to find delicious wines from France, Italy, and Germany.
To taste a few wines at once, I recommend visiting Blend Wijnbar-Wijnwinkel. Aside from the wine they have a good selection of small bites that could turn into lunch or a late night snack. Even dinner if you wanted to.
9. Eat Dinner
Cambrinus Crème Brûlée
Talking about dinner, food is taken seriously in Belgium, including Bruges. Portions tend to be big, and it is uncommon to have a bad meal.
For one of the best meals you could have at Bruges, I recommend you make a reservation at Cambrinus. Some people would argue that it is touristy, but it is for a reason. In their menu, they have 400 beers, and also traditional Flemish food.
I decided to order the ‘Menu of the Brewers’ and was not disappointed. It included Trappist Cheese Croquettes, a Flemish Carbonnade prepared with “Gulden Draak” Beer, served with Applesauce and a Crème Brûlée perfumed with the dark Abbey Beer of Ename.
10. Buy Souvenirs
Beer stein shot glass.
Maybe not the most exciting of the things to do when it’s raining in Bruges, but it is always nice to take home something that reminds you of your time in Bruges.
You can go traditional and buy handmade lace, or chocolates. You can also get shirts or shot glasses as I do. Whatever your choice there won’t be a lack of options, and you’ll be sure to remember Bruges nonetheless.
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