Average costs in Bruges
Stay – Youth hostels in the center are very expensive. If you don’t mind sleeping outside the center, you can save up more than 50%. Within the center a hostel costs at least €40 per person. Therefore it’s even better to immediately book a budget double room or apartment. Because they already start at €50!
There are plenty of three or four stars hotels as well. They will cost you a bit more, but the location and the beautiful buildings where you’ll sleep in are definitely worth the extra cost. A three or four star hotel generally starts at €85 per night. If you’re lucky you can already book a five star hotel for €100, but usually the prices start at €150 a night.
Eat – This city is the tourist hotspot of Belgium. Therefore, the prices that restaurants charge are quite high here. For a soft drink you easily pay €3.5, and for a beer you’ll pay €5.
If you’d like to eat something, you have something for everyone’s budget, but the more you go into the center, the more expensive it will be. Count on spending between €17 and €30 per person. Popular chain restaurants might even feed you for €12. Don’t forget to also visit a the ‘frituur’! For only €5 you can already try the delicious Belgian fries.
A sweet Belgian waffle costs between €3 and €5, a box of pralines would cost between €12.50 and €22 for 500 grams (1.10 Ibs).
Transport – I personally don’t think that public transport is necessary in Bruges, since the most beautiful sights are found in the city center. It takes about ten to fifteen minutes to walk from the central station to the city center. If you do want to take a bus, you pay €3 per person or €1.8 if you purchase a ticket with your cell phone (via a text message or with the smartphone app).
Trains are cheap in Belgium. To visit the neighboring Ghent or Brussels you pay a little less than €10 for a single ride.
Train tickets can be bought in the train station (at a ticket booth or vending machine) or on B-rail.be.
Saving money in Bruges
Don’t eat on the touristy squares – The large squares surrounded by majestic and imposing buildings are wonderful to look at. Yet you better not look for a restaurant here! The prices are overly expensive and often the food isn’t that good either. Search for some great places on TripAdvisor instead.
Walk – Bruges is really not that big. Instead of taking the bus everywhere, you better use your legs. The big buses don’t even fit into the cute city center and thus you would miss out an pretty much everything.
Eat fries! – You can find a lot of ‘frituren’ in Bruges. These places cook the most delicious fries that you’ve ever had. I promise you!
These yummy fries cost almost nothing either (between €2 and €5 for a gigantic portion!). You should also try one of the many small snacks with it. A favorite for many Belgians is the ‘frikandel’. And don’t forget to choose one of the many sauces as well! We have way more than only mayonaise!
Things to do in Bruges
Belfry of Bruges – You can’t miss the highest building in Bruges. The 83m (272 ft) high Belgry is located on the ‘Markt’ (where there are in fact quite some beautiful buildings) and is incredibly beautiful. Make sure that you climb the 366 stairs to get a phenomenal view of the old city.
Beguinage – A bit outside of the busy squares and markets you can find the Beguinage. In the past, women that didn’t want to live in society were stationed here and devoted their lives to God. Now you can especially enjoy the beautiful surroundings inside and outside these buildings.
Historic buildings – Bruges is full of them! The beautiful houses, the imposing guilds, the magnificent churches and the cute streets are all worth a photo stop. Monuments that you should definitely visit are the ‘Burg’, all of the buildings on the ‘Markt’ (next to the Belfry), the Basilica of the Holy Blood and the beautiful town hall of Bruges.
Exploring the channels – Just like in Amsterdam, you can also get on board of a little boat and sail past the cute houses. A boat trip takes about half an hour and costs you slightly more than ten euros per person. Along the way you’ll get beautiful views of the city, assisted by interesting and funny stories.
Flanders fields – Bruges lies close to an area where a large part of the world wars have taken place. If you’re in Bruges, I definitely recommend to also go visit (one of) these monumental plains. The Flanders Battlefields certainly are impressive. Thousands of white graves show you how many people died -purposeless- for the idealistic views of a disturbed man.
Beer, chocolate and fries museum – The three delicacies in Belgium are all housed in one museum! Go and discover the history behind Belgium’s finest and sweetest foods and end the tour with a try-out of these delicious products.
Go cycling – Bike from Bruges to Damme (or further!) And discover the beautiful Flemish landscapes. Almost the whole road is flat, so you don’t have to worry about breaking a sweat. During your bike ride, you’ll cycle along beautiful Flemish farm landscapes and the winding paths along the rivers will show you some truly spectacular sights.
Go out for dinner – In Bruges there are no less (!) 16 restaurants that have been awarded one or more Michelin stars. So it’s definitely worth to eat out here. The menus are expensive, but it’s an experience that will stay with you for a long time coming!
Go crazy on candy – You can’t go exploring Bruges if you don’t have enough energy, right? And how can you better keep your energy level than by heading into one of the many cute candy stores to stuff yourself with different pralines or chocolates? Or perhaps a tasty waffle suits you better? Whatever you like: if you’re a sweet tooth, you’ll love Bruges!
Things to avoid in Bruges
Staying too long – If you don’t want to spend too much money, it might be a good idea to not stay in Bruges for too long. The hotels, restaurants and shops aren’t exactly cheap. But perhaps even more important: Bruges isn’t that big. If you plan your trip well, you can see most of the sights in half a day!
Buying expensive chocolate – If you visit more cities in Belgium than just Bruges, I advise you to wait with buying Belgian chocolate. The prices here are much more expensive than in the rest of the country, and the quality is the same or sometimes worse. In Bruges you’ll soon pay 50% more for pralines or chocolate figurines that you can find elsewhere in Belgium as well.
Coming with your car – If you plan to come to Bruges by car (or rent one) – don’t. Bruges is very easy to reach by public transport and with the car you won’t enjoy it at all. First of all, you’ll lose a lot of time driving into the city, secondly there is almost no parking space (and the few parking spots are very expensive) and there are plans to make the city completely car-free in the future. Try to visit Bruges stress-free with the public transportation. It’ll be a lot more fun that way! (And from Brussels international airport there’s even a direct train from Brussels to Bruges!)