Walk without reason
Your first task, should you choose to accept it… is to walk without reason, without a map, without directions, and just for the sake of walking. Bruges (Brugge in Dutch) has an impossible charm that can not be replicated elsewhere in the world and walking is a must do in Bruges. The best way to experience the city is to soak it up on foot, enjoying all the hidden alleyways and local coffee shops along the way. The smaller the street and the further away from the Grote Markt you get, the more chance you have of finding authentic gems the locals hope to keep a secret.
Cruise the Canals
The second best way to explore Bruges (some will argue the best) is to cruise the canals on a guided tour that will take around half an hour from pick up to drop off point. This is a unique way to visit the city though in summer will be overcrowded and in winter you will be hard pressed to find regular departures and I have had conflicting advice about whether the cruises are running or not…. hence not yet experiencing Bruges this way.
Though Bruges is impossibly beautiful outdoors and it can sometimes be difficult to want to step foot inside a building for fear of missing a moment in time outdoors, if you do take the time to experience some of the building interiors you will be strongly rewarded. The Basilica of the Holy Blood is one such building you should step inside, and the Belfry Tower will offer you fantastic views over the Grote Markt.
Eat, Drink, and Eat some more!
Belgian chocolates, waffles, beer, and fries…. these are the staples you simply must try whilst in Bruges. The Choco-story museum is also a great way to learn more about the history of Belgian chocolate making and includes a free sample!
Hire a Bike
Finally, another great way to explore Bruges beyond the immediate vicinity of the city centre is to hire a bike and cruise through the streets like a local. Again, a no-map policy is best employed so that you can discover the city on your own without regard for time or anything else for that matter! There are endless parks, alleyways, lakes, canals, etc. to keep you entertained for at least a full day.
These are just a few ideas to help you get started on your visit to Bruges. For more, visit www.visitflanders.com. A special thanks to Visit Flanders for hosting World of Wanderlust for my visit to Bruges.