Ask anyone who’s traveled to Belgium what their favorite city was and they’ll likely answer “Bruges!” With a reputation as one of the last untouched medieval towns and crowded streets that prove its booming tourist industry, Bruges offers a charming vibe that you simply cannot experience in other European hot spots like Paris, London, and Rome.
For Belgium native Pierre Vandamme, Bruges held such a special place in his heart that he decided to bring the exquisite tastes of western Europe to the mouths of those in the western U.S. The rich smells and flavors engrained in the Bruges culture and his grandmother’s old-world culinary creations inspired him to found Bruges Waffles & Frites, a traditional Belgian-eatery franchise with locations throughout Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho and Nevada.
When planning your trip, be sure to include these five must-do’s on your itinerary and experience Bruges like Vandamme and other locals who’ve developed an unwavering passion for the cuisine, culture, and cobblestone streets that give the town it’s truly unforgettable charm.
Take A Tour
Have Your Fill of Waffles and Frites (and much more!)
Explore, Wander, and Wonder
People Watch at the Markt
Catch A Tune At the Concert Building
First and foremost, you need to get your bearings. Tour the city in style from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage or float the quaint canals during a boat trip. The Legends of Bruges Walking Tour is perhaps the best way to get a true sense of the city if you’re up for a small jaunt. Bruges native, self-proclaimed historian, and tour guide Simon gives visitors riveting insight on important landmarks, city economy, and stoic symbolism while also offering chocolate and beer samples and daily discounts.
One bite of an authentic Belgian waffle and you’ll understand why Vandamme desperately wanted to spread the tasteful joy to the U.S. Belgium is famous for four key staples: waffles, frites, beer, and chocolate – all of which are easy to find throughout the city. Instead of the sweet, breakfast-only item we have in the States, stop by a food truck for a true Bruges experience. These savory, hot-off-the-griddle waffles will give you a different idea of what a Belgian waffle is – and should be. Wash down your waffles and fries with one of many infamous beers at The Hobbit and stop by any of the corner chocolate shops to sample a Bruges delicacy.
The medieval character makes Bruges a prime place to simply explore. Grab a coffee at li-o-lait and head to one of four historical windmills or climb the twisting stairs of the Belfry Tower. Check out the Kantcentrum – or Lace Center – home of the renovated old lace school of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, and learn about the lace industry and lace education in an interactive way. If you find yourself around Oud Sint-Jan around 5 pm, be sure to catch the marvelous sounds produced by harpist Luc Van Laere as he offers a free concert Tuesday through Sunday.
Though known for people watching, the Markt is also the best place in the city to catch the last of the sun’s rays. Climb the steps of the Provincial Court and watch the sun set on Bruges narrow streets. Best of all, the Markt’s central location means you’ll have several unbeatable dining and drinking options just minutes away.
Despite Bruges medieval facade, state-of-the-art architectural masterpieces like the Concert Building serve as a reminder of 2002, when the city was the Cultural Capital of Europe. From classical favorites to contemporary dance and everything in between, the Concert Building is a must-visit site when touring places that make Bruges so unique. Check out the event calendar to see what’s going on when you’re in town.
Still longing for a taste of Bruges after your trip? We understand. Find your nearest Bruges Waffles & Frites, and experience a little piece of Belgium heaven. No locations near you? Consider joining our franchise and spread the taste of Bruges in your community!