Attractions Nearby Bruges, Day Trips and Excursions
(Bruges, West Flanders, Belgium)
No trip to Belgium is really ever complete without spending a day, a week or even a month in its glorious capital city of Brussels
and visiting its many attractions, all of which are extremely close to Bruges. At around 102 km / 63 miles to the south-east of Bruges, Brussels can be reached in just over one hour and once there you will find a number of truly world-class attractions at your disposal.
Once one of the grandest seaside resorts in Europe and regularly frequented by both the upper classes and members of royalty, today Ostend and its many beachfront attractions simply make for a pleasant day trip or brief excursion. Also of interest close to Bruges are the cities, towns and villages of Antwerp
, Damme, Ghent
A famous medieval city with a population of roughly 235,000 people, Ghent is worthy of a day trip and stands some 56 km / 35 miles south-east of Bruges, at the meeting point of the River Scheldt and the River Leie. Some of the main attractions in Ghent include the St. Baafskathedraal
and its historic oil paintings, the 14th-century Belfort belfry, the 12th-century castle known as the Gravensteen, and the Museum voor Schone Kunsten
(Museum of Fine Arts), where artists such as Van Dyck and Rubens get a look in. The canal cruises in Ghent are especially pleasant and leave from the Korenlei and also the Graslei.
Many tourists unfairly overlook a day trip to Antwerp and since this important Belgian city is only 107 km / 66 miles to the east of Bruges, it certainly warrants some time. Many of the attractions in Antwerp flank the banks of the River Scheldt
and can be easily enjoyed by simply taking a boat trip. If you prefer to take a walking tour, most start from the Grote Markt
and lead to the Steenplein, where Antwerp's oldest building resides, the Steen, an imposing castle dating from the very start of the 13th century.
Of the many quality attractions to be found within Brussels, Bruparck
is amongst the most popular and is a large theme park where you will find the Atomium, Miniature Europe and the Oceadium water park. Much of the best architecture in Brussels is centred around the Grote Place, such as the Town Hall and its Gothic tower, while close by, the iconic bronze statue named as Manneken Pis may be small, but it draws crowds of thousands every single day. If you have time, enjoy a guided tour of the Brouwerij Belle Vue
Formerly a small fishing village, Damme is a mere 5 km / 3 miles to the north-east of Bruges, meaning that it can be reached in a matter of minutes. Damme has become an extremely popular destination for day trippers and lies next to the Zwin, a prominent waterway linked to the actual sea. The Gothic-style Stadhuis is a particular highlight, as is the relatively new Uilenspiegel Museum.
Straddling the Meuse River and situated around 198 km / 123 miles from Bruges, Liege is a city with some 200,000 residents and can be reached in just over two and a half hours. Therefore, the attractions of Liege lend themselves more to a weekend break or short excursion, rather than an actual day trip. A good place to begin your sightseeing in Liege is at the Montagne de Beuren
, where almost 400 stairs lead you to a former citadel and some rather special views. Also look out for Liege's Sunday morning flea market known as 'La Batte', which spreads for around 1.5 km / 1 mile along the river quay.
Ostend is only 31 km / 19 miles west of Bruges and currently promotes itself as the 'City on the Sea', tending to appeal to a younger generation of travellers. If you are stuck for something to do on a Sunday, then Ostend may be the answer, since its shops stay open all day every Sunday. The annual Dead Rats Ball (Bal du Rat Mort) is another highlight and a particularly popular themed event, and takes place in March at the Ostend Cathedral.