The UNESCO world heritage city of Bruges (Brugge) is an enchanting town filled with winding roads that lead you to chocolate shops, street waffles and craft ‘bier’ at every corner. Behind all of the sweets lies a culture of authentic and socially conscious people. All of Belgium feels like a hybrid of France meets Amsterdam and we loved every moment during our short 3 day stay.
How to get there- The Belgians have made it SO easy to tour their country. Basically, you just fly into Brussels and then you can walk to the underground of the airport and take the train straight to Bruges. No car is needed at any point when in town. You (and the kids) can easily do everything by foot. The Brussels airport was so efficient, extremely clean and all in all, a good experience. The food there is also exceptional!! Here is a 5 second video of Bailey and her convenient Heely’s taking her through the airport.
Food Food Food!
What’s the best way to make your way through Bruges? Revolve it all around food 🙂 There is no better way to get purposefully lost in the city and soak in all of it’s culture then by hitting up all of it’s many hot spots to grab some eats!! You may even find a 5 ton Recycled 4-story whale as you have your morning coffee <3 (stay with me on this one, wink).
CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE
So I really don’t have to recommend a particular chocolate place… because they are everywhere!!! Most places have a 6 piece minimum, so we would grab a bag and let the girls pick 3 each… but we probably did this about 4 different times 🙂 As they say, when in Rome.
One of the best parts of Bruges is breakfast time. With waffles, coffee (kaffee) and tea selections that keep you wanting more, you may forget to eat for the rest of the day. Here are a few breakfast places we recommend for an always fresh, made to order meal in Bruges.
- At Tattie’s ~ At Tattie’s Trip Advisor Reviews Tattie’s looks like a basic eatery from the curb but your tastebuds will be more than delighted while you take your first few bites of your meal. Tattie’s serves fresh Belgian waffles with fruit and fresh whipped cream along with eggs, omelettes and pastries. They also serve up delicious coffee, tea and smoothies all with a view of the canal and the Skyscraper Whale (a must-see!) !!!
- Blackbird ( be sure to make a reservation) https://www.blackbird-bruges.com Blackbird is a quaint and tastefully decorated hot spot with Acai bowls, granola and traditional breakfast. It’s directly across the street from the Recycled Whale (like Tattie’s) on the river.
- Bohio Bohio FB page <3 Delsih!
Being that half of us are vegetarians and despite all of the chocolate filled temptations, we still took a moment to be conscious eaters at a hip little spot called Bohio. We found Bohio through the Happy Cow app and it led us to what appeared to be a clothing shop out front and then led into a cute cafe that shares a space with a hair salon. The menu consists of mostly Buddha bowls and Toasts along with coffees and teas. The best coffee I had in all of Belgium was at this little cafe. Order the Iced Latte. Yum!
- Blackbird (from above) also serves lunch!
Sometimes when we are traveling, it’s difficult for us to find a balance between making sure the girls eat a nutritious enough meal and going with the flow in a “When in Rome” fashion. I want them to have nutrition so that they can sustain the walking, new environment and jet lag and feel good… but at the same time, I don’t want to be a food nazi. So, what seems to work for us is that I always make sure they have protein and lots of water in the morning… and then I’m relaxed for the rest of the day because they have energy and are hydrated :). However, when tempted with sugar filled breakfast … this can prove to be a difficult task. We had the same issue in Spain where they eat cinnamon-covered fried bread dipped in chocolate as a traditional breakfast…. (churros) yum! So a little trick I have learned is to find a REALLY healthy place. If at all possible, the gal behind the counter should be wearing patchouli and there should be some sage burning or at least a Buddha statue somewhere in the establishment (wink). Then I order the girls either a mozzarella filled, hummus filled or chicken filled sandwich in the most tree bark looking bread they have …along with a large smoothie… this usually buys us all a few more hours and it helps the mom guilt dissolve.
- Dukes Palace- The terrace at Hotel Duke is a wonderful place to grab a casual lunch and beer or tea and let the kids run throughout the garden. Duke’s palace combines casual comfort with elegance from the 15th century. It serves a full Lunch and Dinner menu.
- Ellis Gourmet Burgers- Ellis Burger link <3 Delish!!!
Ellis Burger is named after Ellis Island in New York City. Ellis Island has been one of the major conduits for Europeans immigrating to the US during the last century. The owners have decided to bring the burger back to Europe and with inspiration from the US (wow, we are doing something right hehe) also add a personal flare with world renowned chefs and the freshest food products available. The fries and mayo are wonderful served as an appetizer. I had the Portabello Mushroom Burger which makes my mouth water just remembering it. Steve had the traditional burger which he loved and the kids had grilled cheese sandwiches <3. We of course ALL had fries. There is also a square right outside the front door so that your kiddos can roam freely within your view without concern of roads or crowds.
Bruges Skyscraper Whale-
As mentioned above, a must-see in Bruges in the Bruges Sky Scraper Whale. You can take a stroll to the canal or pair it with breakfast at either Blackbirds’ or At Tattie’s.
There are more plastics in the ocean then there are whales swimming in our seas. This video gave me chills and made the hair on my arms stick up (literally). Please, pretty please, take a moment to watch this 4 minute video on the architects and Naturalists that were commissioned to create this piece right here in our (USA) country’s very own Brooklyn. It’s such a beautiful thing to be inspired by fellow American’s… It will open as a new window so you won’t lose your place on this blog 🙂 Video that gives this pic SO much meaning <3 Please watch!
I love how all of the villages, towns and major cities have squares in town. While I don’t recommend ever eating in one (unless it’s not a super popular one), they are always a great place to see what the town was like many centuries ago. In the Bruges square, you are quickly reminded of what a power-house Belgium was and how it had SO much influence and power around the world at one time.
Now all of it’s palaces in the square are somewhat charming yet still tourist traps that capture the grandiose 15th century and it’s unparalleled architecture.
Duke’s Palace- Hotel Duke Palace
We were SO pleased with our choice of staying at Duke’s Palace. The prices were reasonable (starting at under 200 per room) and they even offered a family room so that you don’t get gauged with having to get 2 rooms. ALL of the staff were so helpful and friendly and the grounds were essentially, thoughtfully placed quarters amongst unique and elegant gardens. On top of all of that, the staff and garden were so Kid-Friendly. There isn’t a playscape but there is a large garden and a staff that seem to be genuinely happy to see kiddos coming through the beautiful 15th century doors. Booking online gets you the best deals for this particular hotel. If you have kiddos with you, they provide pint-sized robes and slippers and a couple of chocolates at turn-down service.
The video below is Bailey skating through the 15th century hallway while licking an ice cream cone at hotel Duke’s Palace <3
I hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures in Bruges!! Please message or comment if you have any questions about your trip tp Bruges!!