The Best Weekend Bruges Itinerary … on a Budget!

By on February 15, 2018 in BELGIUM, Budget Travel Ideas, Europe, Itineraries with 6 Comments

The Best Weekend Bruges Itinerary ... on a budget!

There’s no doubt that Bruges is one of Europe’s prettiest cities and, as a result, it’s also possibly one of its most expensive too!

This can make life pretty hard for a budget traveller.

One top tip when it comes to seeing Bruges on a budget to is avoid the summer high season, when crowds of people flood the tiny streets.

Instead here in the winter months, when accommodation is cheaper.

I actually visited in January and although cold, the log fires, and cosy indoor atmosphere at this time of year, really added to the magic of the city.

When it comes to other top tips for seeing this fantastic Belgian city on a shoestring, check out my best weekend Bruges itinerary for those on a budget.

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Day 1

Begin your first day in Bruges by locating the 2 most important central squares of the city – namely The Markt and The Burg.

Once here absorb the free hustle and bustle as tourists, horses, taxis and locals all jostle together, then make sure you snap the iconic Bruges buildings that surround both squares.

Once you’ve done this it’s time to explore the attractions.

Climbing the infamous Belfort, made famous by the movie In Bruges (which you have to watch if you haven’t already), will set you back 12 euros, but is worth the splurge for the view from the top – a perfect introduction to the city’s UNESCO status.

Belgium, Bruges, Belfort

After this, The Burg’s Heilig-Bloedbasiliek and Brugse Vrije are both free to enter and therefore perfect budget itinerary activities.

Try to time your visit to Heilig-Bloedbasiliek with when the phial of Jesus’ blood gets brought out – it’s quite the spectacle!

After the 2 squares, it’s time to head to Bruges’ premier museum, the Groeningemuseum, which features the city’s best collection of artwork and is dominated by the creations of a group of artists known as the Flemish Primatives.

Belgium, Bruges, Groeningemuseum

Anything but primitive, you can easily spend an hour exploring the work on show here, before heading over to the Arentshuis, whose entry is included in the 8 euro ticket fee.

Largely showcases the work of official war artist Frank Brangwyn, whose collection sits in a traditional Bruges 18th C merchant house, which has been well restored and makes a lovely part of any Bruges itinerary.

In the afternoon, hop onboard a beautiful 8 euro Canal Cruise and take in the stunning city views from its peaceful waterways.

Highly recommended is Bootex.Be, a well-priced and very centrally located Canal Cruise company who offer fantastic tours with multi-lingual commentary.

Then it’s off to enjoy some of Belgium’s top beers as the sun goes down. One of the most atmospheric places to sample them is in the historic bar of Cambrinus, where the menu features hundreds of local varieties and some cheapish (for Bruges!) snacks.

After dark, grab your camera and head to Minnewater, or the Lake of Love as it’s known, to grab some stunning night time shots.

A perfect free way to round off Day 1 on your Bruges itinerary, call in at local favourite De Stoepa for a alfresco nightcap on the way home!


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A popular European destination, Bruges has a good range of hostel accommodation suitable for those of us travelling on a budget. Top of the list St. Christopher’s Inn – The Bauhaus, which is located in the gorgeous suburb of St Anna a short walking distance from the city centre and with some better priced eating options as a result.

I also stayed at St Christopher’s Inn – Gare Du Nord in Paris and was really impressed with the value offered in this other expensive city. Read my full review here.

Day 2

On day 2 of your Bruges itinerary, why not burn off some of that beer with a stroll to Bruges’ fabulous windmills.

Located in the suburb of St-Anna, the windmills occupy a grand position on the edge of the canal and walking to see them past pretty houses and along cute streets makes for a lovely stroll.

Belgium, Bruges, St Anna

Once you’ve got your windmill snaps – 2 of them are still active and look fairly grand cast against a blue sky, head to the lovely local café/bar nearby called De Windmolen to get a great view into some local life.

After warming up with a reasonably-priced hot chocolate or cooling down with a beer, continue your wander through St-Anna to the imposing Jeruzalemkerk.

One of Bruges oldest churches, it’s only a few euros to get in here and admire (if that is the right word) the very unique alterpiece covered in skull motifs.

Belgium, Bruges, Herberg Vlissinghe

After this it’s definitely time for another drink, this time in Bruges oldest pub, called Herberg Vlissinghe, which is located in St-Anna has been serving locals for 500 years.

After you’ve refreshed yourself, wander back into the centre of Bruges and take in the grand St-Salvators-Kathedraal and Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk – 2 of the city’s best churches and free to enter.

Then make your way to the long-standing family brewery Halve Maan. Here you can enjoy an excellent 45 minute guided tour for just 8 euros, which includes a glass of their famous Bruges Zot beer at the end.

The tour also provides rooftop views of the Bruges, so heading here at dusk will give you stunning skyline snaps.

Belgium, Bruges, Halve Maan

Complete your Bruges itinerary with a trip to ‘t Poatersgat. This is one of the cheapest drinking hokes around, jampacked full of students in a cellar-like bar below the street! Choose from over 120 beers – the Fort Lapin and Barbar brews come highly recommended.


#1 Bruges Lonely Planet Guidebook – Ideal for top eating recommendations and the maps are definitely needed for finding your way around.

#2 Walking Footwear – No matter what way you look at it, Bruges involves a lot of walking, so be sure to take some comfortable footwear with you. I recommend these great Merrell Sirens for us ladies.

#3 Water Bottle Carrier – With all that strolling you need to keep hydrated and these devise is perfect for hands-free water carrying

#4 A Great Camera – Whichever way you look at it, Bruges is picturesque and you’ll definitely want to capture all that glory. I highly recommend the Sony A6000 Mirrorless as a lightweight, compact and fantastic travel camera.

So that’s my perfect weekend Bruges itinerary for those of us on a budget.

Have you visited this classic Medieval city?

What did you enjoying doing most there and do you have any great budget tips to add?

Please share the love in the comments box below…


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About the Author

About the Author: Creator of Big World Small Pockets, Stephanie Parker is a budget travel addict! Originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Stephanie backpacks the world collecting tips, advice and stories, to share with a smile .

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There Are 6 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Babeesh says:

    I’ve been meaning to go to Bruges for literally years…I don’t live so far away yet I seem to always find excuses! Thanks for the inspiration! I will need to try and go this spring! 120 beers? You sold me there 🙂

  2. Wouter says:

    He Step, really nice itineray, we have made a walking track in bruges, maybe u like?

    kind regards

  3. Iona Sphillihp says:

    I’ve been to Bruge twice. Once in December and again in August. It’s beautiful in all seasons but I must admit I enjoyed it more in winter. Bocca is a great cheap eat. Pick your pasta, pick your sauce and away you go!

    • Steph says:

      Awesome food tip Iona, thank you so much. Glad to hear you enjoyed winter most – when I went it was freezing, but I did think this somehow added to the charm. I’d hate to be battling the summer crowds there too!

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