Bruges is well known for being one of the most romantic cities in Europe, with its picturesque canal, cobbled streets, and medieval buildings offering the perfect setting for couples to explore.
With much of the old city being pedestrianised and contained within a 430-hectare area, it’s easy to get around on foot to see everything it has to offer.
Whether you’re planning a romantic weekend break, a longer getaway, or just stopping by as part of a longer holiday exploring Europe, make sure to check out these top romantic things to do in Bruges for couples.
1. Climb the Belfry
The main attraction that many tourists come to see in the city is the Belfry. This iconic landmark towers over the old town, right by the main market square, and climbing its many steps to see the view from the top is one of the most romantic things to do in Bruges.
Dating back to the 13th century, the beautiful Gothic architecture is a must-see feature for anyone interested in history, and while climbing the 366 stairs is hard work, it’ll be worth it to reach the top.
Once you’re right at the top of the Belfry, 83 m (272 feet) above the city, you’ll find the best panoramic views of Bruges. From this impressive viewpoint, you’ll be able to spot other sights that you may want to visit, like the Church of Our Lady.
It’s also one of the most romantic spots in Bruges for getting a photo together. While you have to book a time slot to visit the Belfry, there’s no limit to how long you can spend at the top, so you can take your time getting the perfect shot.
Top tip: Time your visit to reach the top of the tower by midday. The cacophony of the 47 bells may be loud but it’s a spectacular and unforgettable experience to hear them ringing out right about you while you look out to the city.
2. Go on a boat tour through the canals
While it’s a lot of fun to walk the beautiful streets of Bruges, taking to the water is one of the best ways to see the city.
The canals that crisscross Bruges are one of its most famous features. So much so that it’s often referred to as “the Venice of the north”.
Not only do these waterways provide a picturesque setting to sit and eat lunch or have a drink, you can also hop on a boat to get a guided tour of the city, from one end to the other.
Top tip: You can get on a guided boat tour from a few different points along the canals, such as at Rosary Quay, but they all follow the same route and take you past the same sights.
3. Have a romantic meal out
There are many fantastic restaurants to make a romantic date night in Bruges, so you’ll never be out of options.
While you’re in Belgium, it’s the perfect time to try some of the local specialities like mussels or stoofvlees (Flemish beef stew), not to mention lots of frites!
For one of the best restaurants in Bruges, try Oud Brugge on Sint-Amandsstraat, a small restaurant with one of the tastiest Flemish stews in the city.
If you’re looking for an extra special date night, then there’s nowhere better than In’t Nieuw Museum. With a warm and inviting atmosphere, sharing one of their amazing steaks is one of the most romantic things to do in Bruges. Read our review of In’t Nieuw Museum to find out more!
4. Take a walk to the quieter spots in Bruges
Bruges is a popular tourist destination all year round, so you’ll often find the city centre bustling with life, especially around the main market square and other plazas.
The city also has plenty of quieter nooks and crannies to discover, but if you really want to get away from the crowds then simply take a walk out from the city centre.
The old town is almost entirely bordered by water which acted as a defensive moat, and there’s a path around this perimeter that’s a perfect way to see different parts of the city. One of the best things to do in Bruges is take a walk up to these quieter areas, even if just to experience some different scenery.
You’ll pass the many different city gates that are still intact, and you can head to the windmills along the northeast side. The hills that they stand on offer a great place to sit with a picnic and enjoy the views.
5. Explore the streets in a horse-drawn carriage
One of the first things you’ll notice when you enter the main Market Square in Bruges, other than the towering Belfry, are the lines of horse-drawn carriages waiting in the centre.
While it may almost seem like a cliche, being shown around town via this form of transport is one of the most romantic things to do in Bruges for couples who might need to spend some time off their feet.
These carriage tours take you around the city, passing places that you may not have seen before. It’s a great way to see lots of sights within a short timeframe, so it’s a great option if you only have one day in Bruges.
Try to book a carriage tour on a dry day, but even if the weather’s cooler you can wrap up warm and still have a fun time being pulled along.
Top tip: Book the carriage ride on a weekday morning to see the city at its quietest and get the best photo opportunities.
6. Taste locally-brewed beer
There is an abundance of places to get a drink in Bruges, and not only is Belgian famous for its many varied beers, but the city itself also has two breweries where you can book brewery tours or simply grab a drink together:
- Bourgogne de Flandres – With seating right along a canal, this is one of the most beautiful and romantic spots in Bruges. Make sure to take the opportunity to try one of their beer flights, the perfect way to sample a range of their different brews.
- De Halve Maan – Dating back to 1856, this brewery has a fantastic courtyard where you can sit and relax with a glass of one of their drinks. If you need a recommendation, try the Brugse Zot Blonde – it’s our favourite!
While everyone may not be the biggest beer aficionado, it’s always worth trying one of the many different brews as you may be surprised by what you like! For example, there are numerous flavoured Belgian beers, such as cherry, if you like a sweeter drink.
7. Explore Minnewaterpark
There are a few parks nestled in Bruges that provide scenic locations for a romantic picnic or relaxing stroll, with Minnewaterpark being among the best.
The park is home to the Minnewater, a rectangular lake known as the Lake of Love. The name itself indicates the various romantic legends and stories surrounding this body of water.
The park is also located near Begijnhof, another beautiful location which is one of the best places to visit in Bruges.
8. Cross the Bridge of Love
Confusingly, there is more than one “Bridge of Love” or “Lover’s Bridge” that people refer to when describing the most romantic things to do in Bruges, but these are the two that you should make sure to visit:
- Minnewaterburg. At the southern edge of Minnewaterpark, this bridge crosses the romantic Lake of Love and is a great spot for a photo together.
- Bonifaciusbrug (Boniface Bridge). This small pedestrian bridge is one of the most popular photo spots in Bruges. With the impressive Gruuthusemuseum and Church of Our Lady towering over this little bridge, you can see why crowds gather to cross it and take pictures.
9. Have a day trip to Ghent
Being just half an hour away by train, Ghent is a perfect destination for a day trip out, and its centre captures many of the same fairytale vibes of Bruges.
While Ghent is a much larger city than Bruges, feeling much more like a metropolitan hub with trams rolling down its busy streets, the old town has some of the most beautiful architecture in Europe.
Stroll over St-Michielsbrug for a great photo opportunity with Saint Nicholas’ church in the background, or visit the fascinating and iconic Gravensteen castle.
To get more inspiration of activities and places to visit if you head to this beautiful city, you can read our blog on the most romantic things to do in Ghent.