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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Things To Do In Bruges, Belgium

Check out these Things To Do In Bruges, Belgium before your trip to this beautiful city.

If Bruges is a stop on your first cruise since the pandemic, you might want to read about What You Should Know Before Cruising Again here first.

The third stop of our Transatlantic cruise was Bruges, Belgium. The ship docked at the Zeebrugge Cruise Terminal which is a transit port and is very active with giant container ships, cargo ships and passenger ferries in addition to cruise ships. There is nothing to see or do in this area. Unless you just want to relax on the boat for the day, you will have to book a tour through the cruise line to take you to Bruges or other local cities or you can take a free shuttle from the ship to the cruise terminal where you can book tours, find taxis or buy passes for tram transportation depending on how you want to enjoy your time in Belgium.

We booked the Bruges On Your Own tour with Royal Caribbean ahead of time. We boarded a motor coach that was waiting for us near the ship. The driver gave us all a small map of Bruges, which turned out to be our only guide to getting around since we were having trouble navigating with the WiFi service we purchased for this trip. 

After a 30 minute drive, we had 5 hours to explore Bruges. We were dropped off in a parking lot near  Minnewaterpark and got a glimpse of it on our way into town. We were hoping to stop here if we had time on the way back. But for now I was focused on getting into Bruges to start our eating frenzy!

According to our map, we would pass the Church of Our Lady Bruges on our way to House of Waffles. I really wanted to get right to the waffles then the church but backtracking was not something we had the luxury of time to do. 

The church was huge and if we didn't see the altar, crucifix, stations of the cross and all the other parts that are common to every catholic church around the world, we would have thought we were in a museum.

The statues and other works of art were beautiful.

The one piece of art we did want to see here, though, was Mother and Child by Michelangelo. This marble sculpture is the only one that left Italy during his lifetime. We are lucky enough to have seen some beautiful works of art of his in Italy. I will never forget how I felt seeing the Pieta at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. This was something I had wanted to see in person my whole life and I couldn't believe I was really seeing it. It was a dream come true. We didn't know anything about Mother and Child before we started researching the area for things to do so when we found out we would have to pay 24 euros each to see it, we passed on it. It was good enough for us, and our retirement budget, to just see it on this poster. And we were also thinking of our time constraints. It was time to move on to our next stop.

Belgium has been on the top of my bucket list since I was a kid. I have been wanting to come here ever since I had my last waffle on my last visit to the 1964/65 World's Fair in Queens, NY. My grandma would take me and my sister, almost every Sunday during the 6 months it was open each of those years and she would always buy us a waffle.

One day, after the fair closed, I was excited to see Belgium waffle on a pancake house menu. I found out then that the American version of a Belgium waffle was definitely not comparable to the real Belgium waffle and resigned myself to thinking that the only place I would ever eat it again would have to be one day in Belgium!

Unlike the World's Fair that only had one choice of waffle, there are two types of waffles to choose from in Belgium. House of Waffles had them both. The Belgium or Brussels waffles airy and light and slightly chewy inside is surrounded by a crispy outer shell. This is the one we had at the World's Fair. We usually had it covered with powered sugar but had it once or twice topped with strawberries and whipped cream. I had this one and I ordered it with the powered sugar. It was just as delicious as I remembered it. Soko wanted to try the Liege waffle. His waffle was denser and sweeter than mine and also delicious. I was so happy to have finally satisfied my craving! This stop did take a much longer time than we anticipated though.

Our next stop was Rozenhoedkaal. We heard that flocks of people come to this canal on a daily basis to take pictures. There were loads of people here taking pictures but we were able to get a couple of good shots. It was as pretty as a postcard here and we could see why it would be one of the popular places to take pictures in Bruges.

Next on our list of sights to see was the Basilica of the Holy Blood.

This was a much smaller church than the church we visited earlier in the day.

We came here to see the cloth with blood that might have been wiped off of a lifeless Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea according to something written in one of the apocryphal gospels. These gospels are not included in the bible and are works of unknown authorship or of doubtful origin so when we saw that we would have to pay 5 euro each to see the vial, we passed again and were happy with just seeing a picture of it. We were still thinking about saving time, also, so a quick stop here was fine with us.

Burg Square, where the Basilica was, had a couple of other buildings we wanted to see. The Deanery of Saint Donatian was one of them.

The Town Hall was the other. It's the building on the left. All the buildings were attached like this throughout the square. We almost didn't see the Basilica because we expected to see a stand alone building. Instead it was in one of the corners of the square sandwiched between two buildings.

One of my favorites stops of the day was the one we made to buy Belgium chocolates. I wanted to make sure I was buying the best chocolates Belgium had to offer and found out that Dumon was high up on lots of lists of many influencers including travel writer, Rick Steves. 

The little Dumon shop Rick Steves describes in his book was hard to find. It was on a side street off the main road. But we finally did find this adorable little store that smelled heavenly as soon we opened the door. It was so tiny that we had to squeeze past two customers that were being waited on at the front counter to get inside. We walked down a couple of steps, just passed the counter, and found some pre-packaged chocolates but they were not what I was looking for. After waiting our turn, we found them at the front counter, little pieces of milk, dark and white chocolate molded into small but beautiful works of art. I found the size box I wanted to bring the chocolate back home in to use for souvenirs and one for myself. The very friendly chocolatier filled them for us and wrapped each one with a pretty bow. 

I wish I had taken pictures of the gorgeous chocolate. I only had this empty box left when that thought struck me. Trust me, though, this was the creamiest, most delicious chocolate I have ever had in my life!

Our last stop of the day was Markt Square. We were coming here to find the green frietkot that sold the french fries I kept reading about. It was near the Belfry of Bruges. We knew we could climb the 300+ stairs to get to the top of this medieval bell tower but we also knew that I had a claustrophobic panic attack in a light house that was similar in size to this building. We decided to pass here too. Besides we were really running out of time by now.

We did find the fries but I was disappointed that they didn't come in the cone shaped bag I read they would come in and they were only salted and not sauced or seasoned like I read they would be. They were good but not any different than the fries we eat at home.

We ate our fries as we walked to the parking lot to meet the bus. On our way back, we found a huge, boutique-like Dumon store. I was so glad we didn't see this store before we found the small shop or we would have never bothered to look for it. I stopped in to get more chocolate. I bought a praline bar and a milk chocolate with almonds. I was so excited to find the praline because I was thinking of the New Orleans confection. That would be delicious combined with the chocolate, but then, after eating a piece, I found out that praline means hazelnut in Belgium. I gave the rest of the praline bar to my daughter who loves hazelnut when I got home but I did eat half of the other chocolate bar after I finished the fries, even though I didn't have any more room left in my body to fit it! 

I was stuffed but happy after our day in Belgium. We ran out of time, though, and didn't make it to Minnewaterpark. I was thinking about trying to run in and out real quick but decided we should just get on the bus and not take the chance of being late. I was really glad with our decision after the bus driver left one of our fellow cruisers stranded after only waiting 5 minutes for him! We will just have to wait visit the park the next time we visit Bruges! I will definitely be craving a waffle again one day soon and need to come back!

Posts about the other stops this cruise brought us to:

Have you been to Bruges, Belgium? What things did you find to do?


  1. welcome to Belgium ;-). it seems you had a lot of fun.

  2. Sounds like an amazing trip/cruise. I've spent 2 days in Bruges, its such a lovely town to visit. Thanks for linking with #pocolo

    1. I hope you ate a lot of waffles and chocolate while you were there!

  3. Gorgeous images of your trip! I'd love to visit for myself some day.

    Thanks for sharing your link at My Corner of the World this week!

  4. So gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful pictures!

    1. Thank you so much for coming by to check them out!

  5. The waffles look yummy. And best chocolate ever is enough for me to book a ticket! I'm there.

  6. Looks like a place I would like to visit, thank you for sharing this Your Moment Blog hop.

  7. It sounds like a delicious day in Belgium!