Planning to visit Bruges but not sure if you want to do a Bruges Day Trip or Overnight? In most scenarios, it is best to stay overnight in Bruges. During the day, Bruges can get crowded from all the people that day trip there. However, at night the crowds have dispersed and the medieval city has an enchanting atmosphere.
There are also some cases where it makes sense to visit as a day trip. This post will help you determine the pros vs. cons for both options to decide if you want to visit Bruges as a day trip, or if it is worth staying overnight in the charming medieval city.
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Why Do a Bruges Day Trip or Overnight Stay?
Bruges a charming medieval city that was once a flourishing powerhouse of Flanders in medieval times. Today, it is referred to as the Venice of the North due to its picturesque canals. Bruges is an incredible city to visit, with many things to do. Whether you do a Bruges day trip or overnight stay, it is sure to be worth it!
Bruges Day Trip or Overnight? The Pros and Cons
Deciding Between a Bruges Day Trip or Overnight? There are pros and cons to consider for both options. Below, you’ll find a detailed list of the pros and cons for each option.
Pros of Doing a Day Trip to Bruges
✅ Not Having to Change Hotels
Not having to change hotels can be a big plus to doing a day trip. Maybe you are traveling with kids or have lots of luggage that makes changing hotels difficult for just one night, and that is okay! It is still possible to experience a few highlights of Bruges on a day trip.
✅ Having More Time in Other Places
Taking a day trip to Bruges will give you a quick overview of the city, and allow you to spend more time in other cities or see more places. Sadly, vacation time isn’t an endless thing and so its necessary to decide which places are most important for you to spend time at.
At the very least, doing a day trip to Bruges can give you a great overview of the city and then maybe you can come for longer next time!
✅ Day Trips are Convenient if You are in a Nearby City
Day trips can be very convenient if you are staying in a city that is just a short distance from Bruges. For example, if you are staying in Brussels or Ghent, a day trip may actually be a great choice because getting to Bruges is just a quick train ride away. In this case, you could leave early and maximize your day in Bruges.
✅ If You Prefer Guided Tours
Guided tours can be a great option to see somewhere new, without worrying about the logistics of how to get there. Tours can also help maximize your time in the city, as they typically include a walking tour for orientation and some of the top activities, like a canal ride. If you like taking guided tours than a day trip might be a good option for you.
Cons of Doing a Day Trip to Bruges
The biggest con of doing a day trip to Bruges is that everyone else does a day trip. This means most people arrive in the small town around 10 am and leave by 4 pm. As Bruges is relatively compact, this of course causes crowds in the mid-day.
Whereas if you stay overnight you can experience Bruges in the early evening and morning with hardly any crowds.
🚫 Limited Time
Another con of a day trip is that it really doesn’t involve spending the whole day, especially if you are coming from further away like Amsterdam or Bruges.
Instead, you will realistically have only a few short hours in Bruges. Its enough time to walk around, take a canal tour, and see Markt Square, but you’ll miss out on all the things to do and it may feel rushed.
Pros of Staying Overnight in Bruges
✅ More Time in the Charming Medieval Town
Lets face it, the biggest pro to an overnight in Bruges is that you’ll have more time in this beautiful city. There is actually quite a bit to do in Bruges, that it is worth it to stay overnight.
On my first trip to Bruges, I spent 2 nights and thought after the first day I’d see everything and hop on over to Ghent, but I was wrong. Bruges is such a charming city, I spent my whole time there and have been back.
✅ Night time in Bruges is Magical
I cannot highlight this enough, Bruges at night is a different atmosphere than during the day. The crowds disperse, and you are left in this beautifully lit, fairytale town.
Picture having a nice dinner, stopping at a bar for a cocktail, and then wandering the enchanting cobblestone streets – it is truly incredible.
Also, there is nightlife in Bruges. While it isn’t as crazy as the bigger cities, there are a few cool bars as well as cocktail lounges that are worth checking out.
✅ Hotel Prices
Surprisingly, the price of a hotel is a pro to staying overnight in Bruges. This is because on average, hotel prices are lower in Bruges than in nearby big cities such as Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam. Therefore, you could save money by spending one night in Bruges.
✅ Its a Great Escape from the Larger Cities
If your trip includes stops to places like London, Paris, or Brussels you will have crowds, even at night time. Bruges is a very different vibe than the larger cities, instead it is small and charming.
While there is crowds during the mid-day, the crowds are gone by around 4 pm. Therefore, staying overnight in Bruges is a nice escape from the large cities.
✅ There is Plenty to Do in Bruges
Lastly, there is enough things to do in Bruges to justify staying one night. Below are some of the highlights of what to do in Bruges:
- Take a Canal Tour
- Taste Belgium Beer and Take a Brewery Tour at De Halve Maan
- Visit one of the museums like the Historium or Bruges Beer Experience
- Check out the beautiful Belfry and the Flemish architecture at the Markt Square
- Try some Belgium Waffles, Frittes, or delicious Belgium Chocolate
- See the Swans at the Lake of Love
- Join a Walking Tour, Belgium Food Tour, or Beer Tour
There is much more to do in Bruges. For more information about the best things to do, check out my guide on why Bruges is Worth Visiting.
Cons of Staying Overnight in Bruges
🚫 Less Time in Other Destinations
An obvious con of staying overnight in Bruges is that it leaves you with less time in other destinations. This is definitely something to consider, and depends on what you want to get out of your trip.
🚫 Carrying Luggage Around
Another con of staying the night is that it means traveling with luggage. This isn’t a problem if you are doing that you visit lots of cities – for example London to Paris to Amsterdam, because in this case you are already going to be moving around with luggage.
However, if you are just staying in Brussels for one week than it may seem like a hassle to move hotels and carry luggage for just one night.
Things to Do at Night in Bruges
One major consideration of staying overnight in Bruges is what is there to do at night? Well to start, Bruges has a variety of great restaurants, from historic places like One Restaurant, to outdoor terraces, to candlelit dinners at places like Cookies, there is something for everyone.
After dinner, explore the picturesque canals without the crowds. Take a walk around the medieval city and experience the lit up medieval city or even take a horse-drawn carriage ride as the sun sets.
Where to Stay in Bruges
I highly recommend staying at Dukes’ Academie Brugge. It is recently renovated and has beautiful rooms. I’ve stayed here personally and had a great experience. It is centrally located and only a short walk to the main sites and the train station.
FAQ: Bruges Day Trip or Overnight
How Much Time Do You Need in Bruges?
Two days in Bruges is the ideal amount of time, as it will allow you to fully experience the fairytale town of Bruges. There are plenty of things to do in Bruges and it is a beautiful place to spend time in. Spending at least one night in Bruges is ideal, but its even better if you can spend two nights.
Is It Worth Staying Overnight Night in Bruges?
Absolutely! It is worth staying overnight in Bruges. Night time in Bruges is an enchanting atmosphere with the beautiful canals and the lit up cobblestone streets. The day trip crowds have left the city, making it an incredible time to explore the charming medieval city. Staying overnight will also give you more time to see all of the incredible sights in Bruges.
So, Should You Do a Bruges Day Trip or Overnight Stay?
There are many things to consider when deciding to do a Bruges day trip or overnight stay. Some reasons to do a day trip include if you are staying in a nearby city, prefer not to change hotels, and just want a quick overview of Bruges. Reasons to stay overnight include having more time in Bruges, seeing Bruges without the crowds, and experiencing the enchanting atmosphere of Bruges at night.