Belgium Guide for Brussels + Bruges

At the end of August, I took a solo trip to Belgium and visited both Brussels and Bruges. It was my first big solo trip. I say “big” because I’ve taken plenty of solo day trips, but this was FOUR nights with me, myself, and I.

I actually wasn’t as nervous as I thought I might be, but I had a solid plan going in which I found really helpful. I spent two days in Brussels and two days in Bruges. I was glad for the two days in each city because I was able to really soak everything in and had plenty of time to relax, BUT you could easily spend a day in each and have a great time.

Below I’m sharing a few things to do in each city, and you can check out my Belgium Food + Restaurant Guide here.


BRUSSELS

The capital of both Belgium and the European Union, Brussels was my first and last stop. It’s easy to find affordable flights, and you can easily hop on a train to visit other cities.

GRAND PLACE
The central square of Brussels. The ornate buildings are absolutely stunning. Worth seeing at night as well.

MANNEKEN-PIS
You may be familiar with the peeing boy fountain, Manneken-Pis, but there are actually THREE total including a little girl (Jeanneke-Pis) and a dog (Zinneke Pis). A little silly, but an iconic landmark.

ATOMIUM
One of the funkiest landmarks of Brussels. You can admire the structure from the outside, or purchase a ticket to head up to the top sphere for views of the city.

EVEN MORE:
• Follow the Comic Book Route around the city and check out all the murals (comics are a huge part of the Belgian culture)
• Explore the Sablon neighborhood
• Take a stroll down Rue des Bouchers.


BRUGES

Bruges (or Brugge in Flemish), is made up of cobblestone streets and canals and has been deemed the nickname “Venice of the North.” The nickname pulled me in. . .I fell in love with Venice, so I was ready to be swept away by Bruges.

GROTE MARKT
The main square of Bruges, is a great starting point. Begin by admiring the colorful houses before you head to the Belfry. Climb the 366 steps to the top for views of the square and entire city.

After that climb, you’ve earned yourself a beer break. In the same square, you’ll find the Historium Museum, and you can head up to the balcony (for free!), grab a drink, and enjoy the view.

CANAL BOAT RIDE
Take a boat ride through the canals and discover the city from a new point of view.

ROSARY QUAY (ROZENHOEDKAAI)
One of the most photographed places in the city, and absolutely gorgeous at sunset.

EVEN MORE
• Visit Burg Square where you’ll find the Town Hall and the Basilica of Holy Blood
• Stroll around Minnewater Park
• Check out the Church of Our Lady
• Head to the edge of town to see the four windmills.
• Take time to get lost on the small cobblestone streets – that’s how you’ll really discover everything Bruges has to offer.

TIPS

• While most people speak French, Belgian actually has THREE official languages: French, Dutch, and German. But you can get around just fine with English.

• Rain is a part of the Belgian climate, so pack an umbrella, but don’t let a little rainy weather get you down!

• If you’re in Brussels, take advantage of the train and visit nearby cities like Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, and more.

So was my first solo trip successful? I’d say without a doubt YES! If you’ve ever thought about taking a solo trip anywhere, I say go for it!

– Courtney

CHECK OUT MY BELGIUM FOOD + RESTAURANT GUIDE HERE.


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