Where to Stay in Bruges for a first time visit

Where to Stay in Bruges for a first time visit? An insider’s guide 2024

Looking for where to stay in Bruges? The capital province of West Flanders, Bruges, is located in the northwest of Belgium and is the 6th most populous town in the country. The city centre is incredibly beautiful and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

More than one hundred thousand people inhabit the Bruges, and almost 20.000 live in the city’s centre. This town set on the channels is known as the Venice of the North because, like Amsterdam, it is based on canals. Following suit as its commonly compared “partner”, this magnificent city is visited by almost 800.000 tourists annually.

It was in the middle of the 19th century when it became a famous tourist destination. At those times, there was a process of restoration of residential and historical monuments and churches, which led to the development of tourism and further efforts that gave many new places where to stay in Bruges and an attribute of a European Capital of Culture in 2002.

Bruge, by many architects, is one of the most preserved towns in Europe, hence the name of “the medieval city in Belgium.” The two main monumental objects that depict this are the Church of Our Lady, whose brick tower is the second highest tower in the world, and the sculpture of Madonna and Child made by Michelangelo, believed to be his only sculpture before he left Italy while still alive.

What makes the city of Bruges so spectacular is the textile. The city of Belgium is famous for its extraordinary and unique technique of producing lace.

Besides being the most architecturally stunning and distinctive lace city, Bruges has a few beer brands named after the city. Some of the most popular are Brugge Blond, Brugge Tripel, and Brugse Babbelaar.

Also, Venice of the North has many picturesque streets and famous Christmas Markets to visit during the holidays. Additionally, you shouldn’t miss the culinary magic of Bruges.

Question: Where to stay in Bruges for a first-time visit?

Bruges has that smell of timelessness that isn’t present in many places; it’s so authentic and breathtaking, and the almost six centuries of history and culture that can be seen are delightful.

The Central Market is very impressive, especially the belfry above, which used to be a sign for the incoming ships to the town for trading. The tower may be hard to climb as it takes 366 steps to reach the top. However, the view from the astonishing height is worth every step.

The movie “In Bruges” depicts another artistic work that showcases the town and its heritage. It is a dark-humour movie about Irish hitmen who, after completing their jobs, have to hide in Bruges for new orders. Besides the movie, other sights illustrate the city’s historical attitude. Likewise, horse-drawn carriages are one of the attractions that await you.

Therefore, we can all agree that there isn’t any doubt that the historic architecture, the bridges, the wonderful parks, and the fascinating Belfry are all worth seeing sights. All the landmarks are easily accessible, which will make you entirely astonished by this memorable city.

If you think that nothing else can surprise you, think twice. A canal tour is another place of note. Many extravagant buildings, which are lodgings where to stay in Bruges, including the Rozenhoedkaai, parks, and low bridges, will be on your way.

We know that different types of people require different advice on travel accommodations. This guide includes the best areas for

  • the first time visitor
  • Families
  • Couples
  • Luxury & Design
  • Solo-Traveler
  • on a budget

Are you more of a visual learner/travel planner?

Lucky for you, we’ve included a map with all of our favorite neighborhoods and handpicked hotels for all of your travel needs.

Check it out below to get a better idea of where you should stay for your first or next visit to the Bruges.

Read more: Looking for your next travel destination? We have a detailed guide to 7 days in France.

(This guide is always up to date, the last updated April 2024.)

But, first things first:

Here is the question: Where to stay in Bruges for a first-time visit?

The answer is simple: City Centre

The City Centre, known as Grote Markt, is the most historic place in the whole city, surrounded by colourful buildings and the Belfry. It used to be a landmark of the town when ships visited Bruges because of the textile industry.

Unfortunately, the tower has been a victim of three fires. One more significant attraction at the centre is the Church of Our Lady, with its second-highest brickwork tower worldwide. It is built in the Gothic style, while the interior is in the Baroque style. The ceiling impresses with the cross-vaults, and the floor is tailed in black and white.

Some of the popular areas in Bruges include:

  • Markt (Market Square)
  • Belfry of Bruges
  • Burg Square
  • Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Wrouwekerk)

Why do we recommend these areas?

Markt, or the Market Square, is where you will remember and discuss. Firstly, the Belfry Tower offers a breathtaking panorama of the city with its colourful houses. Then, you have the Provincial Court building, an architectural marvel that you should consider visiting. Lastly, to frame a romantic picture of the central place, I will add the horse carriages, which will take you on a sightseeing tour.

Belfry of Bruges is an 83-meter-high tower offering an impressive city overview. There are 366 steps up to the top, which are worth climbing. As you climb, you will meet the local treasury where all the seals, stamps, and funds of Brudges were kept during the Middle Ages.

Burg Square represents the spirit of the city. The whole square is surrounded by monumental buildings, some of which were built centuries ago and represent a variety of architectural styles. Furthermore, there is a museum, Liberty of Bruges, with golden statues that impress you as soon as you see it. Next is the City Hall and a Deanery, which guarantees an immersive experience.

The Church of Our Lady in Bruges represents a Roman-Catholic church, primarily famous for the Madona and the Child statue. The statue has been recovered after it was stolen by the Nazis.

Here’s a full map for you to understand the different areas.

Please note: those might not be the exact names of the districts, neither its absolute borders. I just tried to simplify this information.

📍Best Area:City Centre (Grote Markt)
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Best for Families:B&B l’histoire de l’éclair
👩‍❤️‍👨 Best for Couples:Hotel Bourgoensch Hof
💎 Best Luxury HotelRelais & Châteaux Hotel Heritage
🤩 Best Design Hotel:The Notary
😎 Best for Groups:Zucchero Apartment
🦸 Best for Solo-Traveller:Snuffel Youth Hostel
💃 Best Hotel for Nightlife:B&B Riverside
🤑 Cheapest Place to stay:Coolhuys 84
👌 Safest Area: St. Anna Quarter

1. Best areas and handpicked hotels for Bruges 

Continue scrolling or pick your group and travel type on the menu:

1.1 Families
1.2 Couples
1.3 Luxury Traveler
1.4 Design Traveler
1.5 Groups
1.6 Solo-Traveler
1.7 Nightlife-seeking traveler
1.8 Budget Traveler

1.1 Families

You have chosen a perfect place for a family-friendly holiday that will offer something for all members, no matter what age they are. The city of Bruges has a fairy-tale atmosphere wherever you go, especially in spring, so it is exciting for a household visit. The attractive places will make you eager to visit as many as you can. The variety of tours and park visits makes this medieval city especially interesting for family visits.

City Centre

I suggest this part of the Venice of the North because you will surely enjoy it, and if you are wondering where to stay in Bruges, this might help you. The boat tour offers fascinating exploration and relaxation. Belfry Tower is worth every step, and the Choco-Story Museum will delight the kids to try numerous tastes.

For the adults, De Halve Maan Brewery will be a nice place to visit; it offers a variety of beer tastings, and the children can learn more about its production. However, there is no better place to picnic than Minnewater Park, around a lake full of swans.

Even if you go outside the central area, entertainment is inevitable. Boudewijn Seapark offers a visit to 10 attractions, including the dolphin show.

Historic Centre

Bruges is a world heritage site from its architecture points to being one of the most important trade centres in the past. Therefore, the streets and the canal networks are still preserved. Additionally, the predominant Neo-Gothic style of the buildings and monuments contributes to Bruges’ traditional character, which makes it uniquely popular.

Handpicked accommodations for families

B&B l’histoire de l’éclair, City Centre

Offering family-friendly rooms, heating, and a terrace with the possibility for breakfast, B&B l’histoire de l’éclair is the perfect place to stay in Bruges for the entire household. You will have a private entrance seating area, and your room is equipped with a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, a minibar, and a coffee machine. Moreover, the location of the lodging is near to every well-known landmark.

Book B&B l’histoire de l’éclair here

Make yourself at home at B&B l'histoire de l'éclair

Enjoy your time at B&B l'histoire de l'éclair

Hotel du Théâtre, Historic Centre

You can not stay in a better old-fashioned hotel! It is located in the heart of Bruges, offering warm decor and a cozy atmosphere. If this wasn’t enough to consider Hotel du Théâtre, the following might do the trick.

The rooms provide a view of cobblestone streets, and you can enjoy the fresh air on the terrace and a bar. Furthermore, family rooms, heating, and breakfast should have enough teazers to choose this hotel.

Book Hotel du Théâtre here

Experience comfort at Hotel du Théâtre

Have a wonderful stay at Hotel du Théâtre

1.2 Couples

Fancy a romantic gateway to Bruges? Let’s explore delicious options for couples and create favourite moments together by finding where to stay in Bruges. While you cherish the love with your couple, you can dedicate some time to history, charming architecture, picturesque views, and many exciting places to visit as a couple.

City Centre

Hand-in-hand romantic walks through the best area to stay in Burges, Belgium, climbing the Belfry, visiting Lake of Love in Minnewater Park, or taking a romantic walk in the Begijnhof peaceful park grant unforgettable feelings that you can bring back home from this romantic journey.

Central District

Take a canal tour and delight in the view; sweeten yourselves by visiting the Choco-Story Museum, tasting Belgian Cuisine, and being impressed by the appearance of the Basilica of the Blood. Also, don’t forget to visit the rest of the places in the city centre. Even though there are many places to visit, everything is close in this romantic and charming city.

Handpicked accommodations for couples

Hotel Bourgoensch Hof, City Centre

Terrace overlooking the canals and historic centre of the Venice of the North, is an addition to the room. Furthermore, the rooms have a coffee machine, a TV, and a private bathroom. In addition to excellent food, Hotel Bourgoensch Hof has a bar where you can relax and chat with your beloved.

Book Hotel Bourgoensch Hof here

Enjoy your stay at Hotel Bourgoensch Hof

Have fun at Hotel Bourgoensch Hof

Hotel Ter Duinen, Canal District

Family-run hotels are always a great idea, and so the Hotel Ter Duinen is an excellent option to consider. Start your mornings with a local breakfast, while the night grants relaxation with coffee, tea, or drink. The cozy rooms have a fantastic view of the canals or the courtyard and offer air-conditioning and a private bathroom.

Book Hotel Ter Duinen here

Relax and unwind at Hotel Ter Duinen

Have a great time at Hotel Ter Duinen

1.3 Luxury traveler

Visiting a monumental city like the medieval city of Belgium and finding the most luxurious places to stay in Burges is a pleasure that isn’t easily declined. The province of West Flanders can surprise you and elevate your experience with champagne, floral services, and personal assistance at your disposal.

City Centre

You can organize a personal tour throughout the centre of the city and tailor it to your interests. Shopping is never a bad idea, especially if you are accompanied by somebody who knows the city. Bruges has a significant cultural legacy; thus, there are many art galleries, museums, and theatre performances to visit with exclusive VIP access.
Crown your day with a dining experience in some elegant restaurants and spend the rest of the evening with good company.

Historical Centre

The Historical Centre, or as people usually call it, the soul of Bruges, presents an impressive experience. You can customize a private tour and immerse yourself in this outstanding architectural paradise; get on a horse carriage, enjoy an afternoon trip, and discover the magical Burg Square and the paintings of the Flemish Primitives in the Groeninge Museum.

Handpicked accommodations for the luxury traveler

Relais & Châteaux Hotel Heritage, City Centre

This private mansion dates back to the 19th century and is built in classical style. It has been renovated and transformed into Relais & Châteaux Hotel Heritage suited for a traveller like you. The stylish and elegant rooms have extravagant decorations and luxurious furniture that gives an impression of sophistication and glamour.

Indulge in the spa and wellness centre, taste Belgian specialties in the luxury hotel restaurant, or relax with a drink in the bar. However, if you decide to spend quality time outside, cozy restaurants are located just outside the hotel.

Book Relais & Châteaux Hotel Heritage here

Relax and unwind at Relais & Châteaux Hotel Heritage

Have a great time at Relais & Châteaux Hotel Heritage

Dukes’ Palace Brugge, Historic Centre

By choosing Dukes’ Palace Brugge, you will be staying in a former ducal palace, indulging in an exquisite hotel. High ceilings, air-conditioning, and a spacious marble bathroom will add to the feeling of affluence. Relax on a terrace overlooking the hotel garden. The food is prepared at the hotel’s restaurant using only fresh seasonal ingredients for preparing specialties that showcase the refined Belgian cuisine.

Book Dukes’ Palace Brugge here

Private room at Dukes' Palace Brugge

Have a pleasant stay at Dukes' Palace Brugge

1.4 Design-lovers

Let’s unpack the city’s artistic elegance and explore the options for where to stay in Bruges that will match your specific taste. Bruges, being exposed to such surroundings and the place’s design scenes, provides you with a unique chance to immerse in the city and its beauty.

City Centre

If you are wondering what can lead you to the best area to stay in Burges, Belgium, here is the answer: museums, galleries, architectural charm, design shops, cafes, many concept spots, and cultural events. Be sure to check out Vero Caffè and the cocktail bar Bar Salon while you are in this marvellous city of Belgium.

Historic Centre

Being a design traveller means you can hardly resist this city’s architectural heritage. This timeless scenery can generate magical photos, create drawing masterpieces, and enjoy public artistic settings.

Handpicked accommodations for the design lover

The Notary, City Centre

Are you looking for a well-deserved rest and breakfast with a magnificent view of the garden and an outdoor swimming pool to cool? Then there is no better choice than The Notary. Your room will surprise you with a sitting area, a coffee machine, and a private, very comfy bathroom.

If you are tired of seeking a restaurant outside the accommodation, you can start the day with a delicious breakfast and order à la carte local specialties later in the day. Room service, champagne, fruits, cookies, and an airport shuttle are available.

Book The Notary here

Make yourself at home at The Notary

Enjoy your time at The Notary

Design Apartment Pandreitje Brugge, Historic Centre

Design Apartment Pandreitje Brugge features wooden floors, a living room with a flat-screen TV, a fully equipped kitchen, and a private bathroom for your ultimate comfort. Upon stepping outside, you’ll find a variety of shops, including a bakery, caterer, grocery store, restaurant, and laundry, all within a 5-minute walk. This convenient location allows you to enjoy quality time just outside the historical center of Bruges.

Book Design Apartment Pandreitje Brugge here

Experience comfort at Design Apartment Pandreitje Brugge

Have a wonderful stay at Design Apartment Pandreitje Brugge

1.5 Groups

The city of Bruges offers a great stay for group travellers and amazing lodgings where to stay in Bruges. Every spot can be an interesting adventure. A group sightseeing trip, a cruise through the canals, a visit to the City Centre, almost everything can be such an experience.

City Centre

Not only the architecture and the City Hall building or the Church of Our Lady, but also a visit to a brewery, a horse carriage ride, a picnic at the Love Lake, or a climb to the magnificent Belfry are such a group-friendly experience.

St. Anna Quarter

This place called Seminar Quarter is a small neighbourhood in the centre of Bruges. It represents one of nine quarters that the city consists of, according to the 1972 plan. In the heart of this district is St. Anna baroque church, where its name comes from. The most significant medieval architectural jewel is the Jerusalem Chapel. A famous Flemish poet, Guido, has a museum in this district. Additionally, the Windmills of Bruges enchant the district.

Handpicked accommodations for groups

Zucchero Apartment Brugge, City Centre

Zucchero Apartment is a nice place to stay in Bruges decorated in an earth tone décor awaits you, offering a comfortable stay. Nearby are many cafes, restaurants, and bars. Also, what is more important is that the Grand Place is only 120 meters away.

Book Zucchero Apartment Brugge here

Enjoy your stay at Zucchero Apartment Brugge

Have fun at Zucchero Apartment Brugge

B&B Anna9, St. Anna Quarter

With magnificent views of the river and garden about 400 meters away from the centre of Bruges, B&B Anna9 provides a private bathroom, air-conditioning, a minibar, and a coffee machine. You can also feel refreshed and enjoy an on-site wellness package. Minnewater Park is nearby; as a group, you can organize picnic walks for relaxation.

Book B&B Anna9 here

Relax and unwind at B&B Anna9

Have a great time at B&B Anna9

1.6 Solo-travelers

In this small and mesmerizing town, you can embrace the freedom to visit whenever you decide. The welcoming atmosphere and the hospitality and kindness of the locals will match your character as a solo traveller.

Historic Centre

At your own pace, you can plan a few important visits to the Basilica of Holly Blood, Groeningemuseum, which houses the masterpieces painted by Flemish painters Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, and Hyeronimus Bosch. The Burg Square is the main point of interest, as it is the Markt Square, as well as the Belfry of Bruges.

Central District

This small city has many architectural sites that are hard to resist. They simply appear in front of you as you stroll along the streets, so in this district, let me suggest the park areas, shopping, and dining spots. All of this will make you blend in with the culture, history, and beautiful natural appearance.

Handpicked accommodations for a solo traveler

Snuffel Youth Hostel, Historic Centre

Travelling alone also means that you will share the kitchen, bathroom, and living room. However, that also indicates that you won’t be alone and you will get to make many new friends. Snuffel Youth Hostel has a concert hall so that you can attend concerts, performances, workshops, and lectures several days a week.

Book Snuffel Youth Hostel here

Relax and unwind at Snuffel Youth Hostel

Have a great time at Snuffel Youth Hostel

Hotel Fevery, Canal District

The Hotel Fevery is a small family-run eco-friendly accommodation located in Burges’ centre. It offers a bathroom, a nice room, and a continental breakfast to start the day. If you would enjoy a ride, a bike rental is possible. Also, Markt Square is a 10-minute walk from Hotel Fevery.

Book Hotel Fevery here

Private room at Hotel Fevery

Have a pleasant stay at Hotel Fevery

1.7 Nightlife Traveler

You might not experience nightlife as in bigger cities. However, Bruges provides pubs, bars, dance clubs, and restaurants.

City Centre

Interesting things to do in the evening are going for a beer-tasting tour, taking a night canal tour, and visiting nightclubs and dance clubs, like Club 13, located in the central part. You can also count on catching a live music event.

Simon Stevinplain

The Square got the name after the mathematician Simon Stevin, who invented the decimal system for fractions. The square is a lively place offering nightlife content.

Handpicked accommodations for nightlife

B&B Riverside – Centre of Bruges in a calm area, City Centre

Almost 2km from the Belfry, this place to stay in Bruges is located in a quiet area. B&B Riverside gives you access to a kitchen, river views, one bedroom, a living room, a dining area, and a bathroom. Breakfast and a bar on-site are included.

Book B&B Riverside here

Make yourself at home at B&B Riverside

Enjoy your time at B&B Riverside

The Chocolate Suites, Simon Stevinplein

The Chocolate Suites is located in the city’s centre, this family guest house is close to the Market Square and offers chocolate-decorated rooms. There is heating and a lift, as well as free Wi-Fi.

Book The Chocolate Suites here

Experience comfort at The Chocolate Suites

Have a wonderful stay at The Chocolate Suites

1.8 For the Budget Traveler

Almost any activity that you can enjoy is budget-friendly. With that in mind, there are reasonably priced residences where to stay in Bruges. Making it a perfect place for a budget traveller. Everything is easy to explore in a walkable distance.

City Centre

You can get to every park, monument, or other place of interest in the centre of Bruges on foot or by bike. The city offers many options: visit parks, enjoy a picnic, a free exhibition, a concert, and affordable dining.

Sint-Gillis Quarter

This quarter is very close to the centre and thus appropriate for budget-friendly travellers looking for cheaper housing.

Handpicked accommodations for budget traveler

Coolhuys 84, City Centre

Coolhuys 84 is a bit away from the centre for reasonable money, you will stay in a spacious holiday home with a bedroom, bathroom, dining area, kitchen, and a terrace. For the colder months, there is a heating option.

Book Coolhuys 84 here

Enjoy your stay at Coolhuys 84

Have fun at Coolhuys 84

B&B Emma, Sint-Gillis Quarter

B&B Emma is simple yet pleasant quarteting in a quiet residential area. Rooms have a toilet, flat-screen TV, and a bed. To get to Markt Square, you will need to walk 15 minutes.

Book B&B Emma here

Relax and unwind at B&B Emma

Have a great time at B&B Emma

2. Best Neighborhood to Stay in Bruges

Bruges offers comfortable accommodations, promising an enjoyable stay for any traveller. In any case, you can explore different spots and enjoy the town, including its historical, architectural, and modern attractions.

  • City Centre
  • Historic Centre
  • Canal District
  • St. Anna Quarter

3. FAQs

What is the best neighborhood to stay in Bruges?

The City Centre, known as Grote Markt, is recommended for its historic charm, proximity to major attractions like the Belfry of Bruges and the Church of Our Lady, and a lively atmosphere with colorful buildings.

Where should you not stay in Bruges?

While Bruges is generally a safe and welcoming city, some areas might be less central or have fewer amenities. It's advisable to avoid extremely outskirts areas to ensure convenient access to the main attractions and facilities.

What should I avoid in Bruges?

It's advisable to avoid overcrowded tourist traps and be cautious with pickpockets in crowded areas. Additionally, respecting local customs and being mindful of noise in residential areas contributes to a positive experience.

Where should I stay in Bruges for the first time?

For a first-time visit, the City Centre (Grote Markt) is highly recommended. It offers a rich historical experience, proximity to iconic landmarks, and a vibrant atmosphere. This central location allows easy exploration of Bruges' charm and attractions.

4. Map + All Sights

5. Summary of Where to stay in Bruges

Considering you know where to stay in Bruges, all that’s left is to plan your itinerary and prepare for a fantastic time. This Belgian city will surely impress you as it is truly one of a kind!

For even more excellent destinations, read the rest of my blogs.

Other European Destinations

Before you run off, here is a few more handwritten articles for you. These will help you to find more unique experiences and enjoy your holidays at fullest.

Any Questions?

There you have it. I hope you have no questions and found your home in my home town.

However, please remember: I am not perfect, and it is likely I missed a few things to point out.

Therefore: Do you have questions? Is anything not clear?

Please please please drop me a comment below with your email! I will reply to you ASAP via email and here in the comments.

In fact, your questions help me to make this article better. So I help you to help me.

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