Intoxicating Belgian Beers, Chocolate to die for, beautiful buildings, cobbled streets, horse drawn carriages, pretty canals, great food and most of it easily reached on foot – A Bruges city break is the perfect weekend.
For an easy city break I’d recommend taking P&O ferries from Hull to Zeebrugge. The ferry sails daily at 7.30pm (you need to be on board by 5.00pm) and sails overnight, arriving in Zeebrugge at about 8.3-pm. Once you leave the ferry it’s only about 20 mins coach ride to the edge of Brugges and a simple, pretty 10 minute walk into the centre. From there almost everything is walkable within 5-15 minutes.
The ferry is a great alternative to flying as it is cost effective (especially if you avoid weekends) and it means your holiday starts the moment you get on board. There are several bars, two restaurants (one is a buffet), a small cinema, small casino and arcade area, live entertainment and stunning views from on deck as you sail into the night.
Cabins vary from cost effective compact bunk bed rooms with no windows right up to luxury cabins with double beds and views over the front of the ship, but all are clean and well maintained and there are multiple berth options to choose from suiting couples to families. We use them regularly as they are a fun way to begin a trip and it means no airport queues.
This time we were foot passengers (although you can take a car) and we sailed out one night, spent the next in Brugges and then sailed back the following evening so had a 3 night break away. We have also done the “dashes” where you just spend the day there. These are still great and can be really cost effective especially if there are 2-4-1 offers on tickets but it is great to have the extra time in the town to really explore it if you can.
So would definitely recommend the ferries if you are in easy drive time of Hull.
Where we stayed
Hotels in Brugges can be expensive and we wanted somewhere modern and fresh but above all in a great location. Some hotels can be as much as 350euros a night but we were pleased with our final choice – the Portinari which cost around 130euros. This was in a great location at the end of the main shopping street, about 10 mins walk from the main square and had lots of bars and restaurants right on the doorstep. Rooms were a bit dated and basic but they were clean and had everything we needed. Upgraded rooms were available and i suspect they were worth paying a bit extra but as we were there on a bank holiday weekend they were fully booked and we couldn’t upgrade.
For the love of beer
Beer is an obsession here and it’s easy to see why. The choice is amazing and the bars range from quaint traditional venues with wood panelled walls through to modern vibrant bars. One of our favourite places to while away a few hours is 2be which has a great beer garden tucked around the back (just head to the bar and turn right and keep going round the corner) with heaters, bean bags and great views over a canal.
It also has a fabulous beer wall with every Belgian beer you can think of and is a tourist attraction in its own right!
From a Delirium to a Duval, from a Chimay to a Kasteel Brown (my husbands favourite) the choice is bewildering and tasty!.
Here’s a few top food and drink tips!
- A Kriek (cherry beer) is perfect with brunch – light and lovely!
- Chips and Mayonnaise are a national obsession so try them
- Like some jazz with your dinner? – head to the amazing Bistro Zwart Huis for atmosphere, amazing food and great service
- Belgian beers can be very strong so go steady but try as many different ones as your constitution will allow!
- There are many great bars but seek out Le Garre – down a little alley, it has its own unique self-named beer and a distinct Belgian charm
- Watch out for the Kwak! If you have one you’ll find out what I mean!