Anyone who likes to travel will know how real the ‘travel bug’ is. However unfortunately for us we vowed at the start of the year that we wasn’t going to book any holidays until we bought a house. Which sucks, a lot. Weekend breaks however are totally justifiable. Aren’t they? Well we thought so and after just four days of being back from Australia we booked a little weekend trip to Bruges for Andy’s birthday. Oops!
One of the best things about living in the UK is how close we are to the rest of Europe. Which means nearly any European city is a great place for a weekend break. Bruges was next on our list and after realising how close it was to Calais, we booked ourselves on the shuttle and went on a little road trip. When I say little, it really was pretty short. Did you know it only takes an hour and 20 minutes from Calais to Bruges? It’s so close you could go for a day.
After navigating the cobbled one way roads of the city we arrived at our hotel about lunchtime. We did a quick super market cheese sweep in Calais on the way! We stayed in a beautiful hotel called Hotel De Tuilereen which was right in the centre of town so once we’d checked in we waisted no time and went for a wander.
I started writing this post as a standard Bruges travel guide. However after getting about five paragraphs in, I realised we didn’t really do much in Bruges but eat. So it very quickly turned into a foodie guide to Bruges!
Within two minutes we found ourself in a place called the 2be Beer Wall (one of the most famous beer shops in the city). This place is pretty awesome! As you walk in there’s a big long wall filled with bottles and glasses of different types of Belgian beer. When you get to the bar there’s a number of different beers you can try in all different flavours and strengths of alcohol. It’s like a tunnel of never ending surprises. After collecting your beer you can go out onto the terrace to drink it whilst taking in the beautiful scenery of the city. Little did we realise, this terrace was actually just behind the willow tree in the famous ‘bruges’ canal photo you see everywhere!
Coat: c/o John Lewis
After having a little drink we decided to venture along the cobbled streets a little further. After going in nearly every other chocolate and beer shop along the way we finally found the main square. Like every European square, it was pretty amazing and lined with tons of gorgeous buildings. It’s here in Markt where the Place De Bruges sits. Whilst in Belgium, you can’t visit without trying some of their super yummy Belgian Frites. So being the fatties we are, we went to the nearest chip van and got ourselves a big portion of frites covered in curry ketchup. You’re supposed to smother them with mayo (that’s the tradition), but not being a fan of mayo I went for a slightly yummier option!
We spent the rest of the day exploring the rest of the shops and drinking lots of coffee. One thing Bruges is not short on is coffee shops! After having yet another beer (this time by the fire in the hotel) and getting changed we headed out for dinner. There’s so many amazing places to eat in Bruges- you’ll see mussels and steak restaurants everywhere. Every time we go out for dinner in London we always end up in steak places so we decided to mix it up a bit and went to a little Greek place called The Olive Tree. The food here was soooooo good! From start to finish everything was amazing. Two of our highlights have got to be the Red Caviar Taramasalata and the Slow Cooked Lamb. Both are absolutely gorgeous.
After having the most amazing sleep in our marshmallow four poster bed, we got up the following day and went on a hunt for some breakfast. Again, when it comes to eating, you’re spoilt for choice here. After doing some research (using my new favourite Tripso app) we decided we were going to try a little place called Tearoom Carpe Diem. From the outside it just looks like a typical Belgian bakery. When you walk in you’re greeted by huge french sticks and lots of colourful cakes! As you go through into the cafe area in it’s like a maze of different little rooms, each with their own character and design. We sat in the terrace area which was really cute. Both the food and the drink here completely surpassed expectations. I ordered a sandwich and it was in a baguette bigger than my arm!
We had two more things left on our list to do. The first was chocolate. In every foodie guide to Bruges you’ll see it mention Belgian chocolate. You can’t go to Belgium without stuffing your face with chocolate and nearly every other shop in Bruges is a chocolate shop. Andy is a huge fan of the Guylian seashell style chocolates so it would have been wrong (especially on his birthday) to come home empty handed. The chocolate shop we stocked up at was called Moeder babelutte rozenhoedkaai. Try saying that one when you’re drunk! But name aside, the lady in there was really lovely (beligians can be a bit abrupt at times) and she was really helpful, plus the chocolate was awesome.
The last thing on our list to do in Bruges was to scoff our faces with Belgian waffles. You can probably tell all we really did was eat on this city break! After stocking up on chocolate we went to visit a few of the museums however after reading lots of poor reviews and seeing they were actually pretty expensive, we decided to give the culture a miss and scout out some Belgian waffles. Eventually we ended up in yet another cute tearoom called Verdi and ticked our last foodie thing off the list.