With scenic squares adorned with gingerbread houses, medieval edifices, horse-drawn carriages, and cobbled alleys running alongside stunning canals, Bruges Belgium is indeed one of the most beautiful cities in the world. While traveling Bruges (or anywhere in Europe, tbh) can put a dent on your wallet, it’s still possible to find gratifying activities that are cheap or even free of cost.
Planning to visit Bruges soon? Check out these 8 best things to do in the city that won’t cost a single euro.
1. Sightseeing galore
Let’s state the obvious first: Bruges is one of the best places on earth to do sightseeing.
Everything you see is picturesque: the small city has a plethora of colorful fairytale-like guild houses, quirky cafes and chocolate boutiques, cobbled alleys, old churches horse-drawn carriages on every corner, scenic swan-filled canals and bridges, and charming small towns that’ll take you back to medieval Europe. The city gets even more splendid at night so don’t head to your hotel in Bruges yet after a long day of exploring.
Wander around the UNESCO-listed old town on foot. Explore the Market Square and Burg Square. Take lots of pictures. Sample sweet and fluffy Belgian waffles. Get lost.
2. Get creative with the Belfry of Bruges
If you don’t want to shed some sweat and cash climbing up the Belfry (which takes 335 steps and costs 8 to 10 euros), simply adore the monumental belltower from the ground. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the 83-meter structure isn’t standing entirely straight.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Go have your own “Tower of Pisa” moment in Bruges and take creative photos with the tower.
Bruges is home to tranquil parks where you can take a break from the crowd, have a picnic and take a stroll with your beau.
On top of the list is the Minnewater Park, a scenic spot tucked away at the southern edge of the city center. It features two romantic attractions: the lovers’ bridge and the lake of love. If you want somewhere more hidden, check out Hof De Jonghe, a tranquil green oasis where sheep roam around, eating apples that have fallen from the trees.
4. Sign up for a free walking tour
Wandering around the city at your own pace is nice. However, there’s more to Bruges than taking IG-worthy sceneries – you’ll appreciate the city better if you know the history. The good news is you can find walking tours that are free of cost.
Experience it from a local perspective. Learn more about the city’s history from the passionate tour guides. Walking tours run from two to three hours. If you’ve had an amazing tour, be generous enough to leave some reasonable tips for your knowledgeable guide.
5. Sample free Belgian chocolate
Who doesn’t love chocolates? How about free food samples? Well, you can have the best of both worlds in Bruges.
Lies on Wijnzakstraat street, just north of the city center, is Choco-Story (Chocolate Museum), a local chocolate store. Walk through the doors and you’ll be offered delicious chocolate samples. The store will also walk you through the chocolate production process.
6. Witness the Procession of the Holy Blood
Each Ascension Day, Bruges upholds the ancient tradition of the Procession of the Holy Blood, dating back to the Middle Ages. It showcases the passing of the relic of the Holy Blood of Jesus Christ, which is believed to have been brought to Bruges after the 12th century Second Crusade.
For over 700 years, groups of priests and locals in medieval outfits have been making their way through the streets in a parade including floats, brass bands, and performances from Biblical scenes.
With or without the procession, you can freely roam around Heilig-Bloedbasiliek, the ornate cathedral where the relic lies.
7. Discover Bruges’ last standing windmills
Being close to the Netherlands, Bruges is home to several windmills waiting to be discovered. Today, only four are remaining, and have become historic landmarks.
Along the edge of the large canal encircling the Old Town are four last standing windmills. They were built during the 18th century and, surprisingly, two of them (Sint-Janshuismolen and Koeleweimolen mills) are still being used to grind grain.
8. End the day with a relaxing harp solo performance
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“Music, art and culture should be accessible to everyone and not just the privileged and intellectuals of the society” ~ Luc Vanlaere These words shall stay with me for long. • Luc Vanlaere is a renowned harpist from Flanders! Luc plays his own compositions on harps and several other instruments from different cultures, few built by him over the years! His concerts in Bruges are intimate and free for public because he believes music should be accessible to all! He has dedicated his life in pursuit of sharing his love for music with one and all! We were lucky to have stumbled upon this gem in Bruges ❤️ • #brugge #belgium #lucvanlaere #harpconcert #musicforlife #culturetripbruges #culturetripping #travelinspiration #travelseries2019
“Music, art and culture should be accessible to everyone and not just the privileged and intellectuals of the society” – Luc Vanlaere.
If you’re in Bruges, you don’t want to miss Luc Vanlaere’s harp concert. Vanlaere is a renowned harpist and instrument maker who plays his very own compositions. His 40-minute long intimate harp concert is a great way to end the long day. The concert is free, though donations to support his cause and talent are very much appreciated.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a daytime writer for Green Park Hotel Brugge, a three-star hotel offering the perfect countryside accommodation experience while exploring the best-preserved medieval city of Belgium. Since this free-spirited damsel loves to go on adventures, she’s got a lot to say about travel, dining, cultural enjoyment, and lifestyle.