July 14, 2024

Tips for Visiting Bruges on a Budget

The medieval city of Bruges in Belgium is a major draw for visitors, who come to explore the cobblestone streets, canals, and historic buildings. The city dates back to the first century, but it didn’t begin to truly thrive until the Middle Ages. Today’s Bruges is a captivating mix of heritage and vibrant culture. It was also the setting for the Colin Farrell black comedy, In Bruges.

The centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with medieval houses and architectural masterpieces around every corner. The downside is that the city can get crowded during peak tourist season and the prices in local restaurants and cafes reflect its popularity. But fear not, you don’t need to splash the cash to enjoy a trip to Bruges on a budget. We have some tips to help you have more fun for less money.

Getting There

There are plenty of ways to travel to Bruges on a budget but if you are already in Belgium, you can catch a train or bus to the city. Bruges is only an hour away from hubs like Antwerp and you can make plans to stop in Ghent on the way back, which is another city worth visiting.

If train travel floats your boat, buy a Belgian Rail Pass – this gives you 10 journeys on the Belgian rail network for 87 Euros. It’s suitable for travellers aged 26+. Younger travellers are eligible for a Go Pass 10, which works in the same way but is cheaper. Bruges rail station is on the outskirts of the city, but it is only a 20-minute walk into the centre. You can catch the bus, but walking is a more scenic option, plus it is free!

Another option is cycling. Belgium is great for cycle touring, with plenty of gorgeous countryside and nature reserves to explore on two wheels. There is a 52km triangular route that tours the picturesque countryside around Bruges, Oostkamp, and Torhout. En route, you can visit various historic castles, before ending up in Bruges for some much-needed chocolate and beer.

If you are travelling from another European city, going via bus is usually the cheapest option. It costs from 12 Euros to catch a bus from Paris to Bruges, and the journey is only 4 hours 25 mins.

Travel in Bruges

The cheapest way to explore Bruges is on foot. The city isn’t very big and most of the main attractions are close to one another.

If you get tired or you have a raging hangover, consider renting a bicycle. There are several bicycle rental shops in Bruges, including one at the station if you arrive in Bruges by train. Bikes can be rented by the hour for a half-day or full day.

Taxis are also available, but they tend to be expensive.

While you might arrive in Bruges in a rental car, don’t bother hiring one for use while you are there. The city isn’t big enough to make the cost of renting a car worthwhile unless you plan to explore the wider area.


The cheapest way to stay in Bruges on a budget is to check out couchsurfing websites. These handy sites connect travellers with friendly locals happy to offer a spare bed or couch to visitors passing through. It’s a popular option with students and backpackers, but anyone can couch surf. Staying with a local allows you to pick up tips and advice. Why not give it a try?

Hotels are a cheap accommodation option for travellers on a budget. There are several to choose from, with Snuffel Hostel, Lybeer Traveller’s Hostel, Charlie Rockets, and St Christopher’s Inn all within 1km of the city centre. Beds in dorms cost as little as £20 per night, with private rooms starting from around £52/night.

Airbnb has accommodation in Bruges, but prices are higher than some other Belgium towns and cities. Private rooms typically cost around £70 per night, although you may find cheaper options. Guest houses and flats will be more expensive.

There are several campsites around the city if you prefer to spend a few nights in a tent. One example is Camperplaats Bargeweg, which charges 25 Euros for a pitch; drinking water is not included but the site is close to the city centre.

For those with a bigger budget, guest houses and hotels offer more luxuries, private bathrooms, and you won’t have to put up with noisy roommates crashing into your dorm at 4AM.

Food and Drink

The food in Bruges is hale and hearty. Expect to eat plenty of steak, mussels, sausages, and fries, washed down with local beer and followed by chocolate and waffles. Cheap and tasty snacks and meals are available in cafes all over Bruges. There are more upmarket restaurants, but a three-course meal will set you back at least 50 Euros.

Fast roof restaurants like Mcdonald’s are ubiquitous if you’re down to your last 10 Euros and need a burger fix. Tap water is free and safe to drink. Carry a refillable bottle and stick to water if you don’t want to waste money on beverages from cafes and bars.

If you have the means to prepare your meals, make sure you visit the market in Grote Markt Square on a Wednesday morning. There you can buy fresh fruit, vegetables, and other food for a lot less than eating out in cafes and restaurants.


One of the best things about Bruges is that it costs nothing to explore this wonderful city on foot. Take a stroll along the canals and soak up the amazing architecture, window shop, and take selfies as you walk over ancient stone bridges.

Walking tours are free and are a great way to get your bearings if you are new to Bruges. The guides do appreciate a tip at the end of the tour if you enjoyed it.

Bruges has plenty of museums. The Beer Museum gets our vote, but if you’d like to learn more about Flemish art, visit the Groenbingemuseum. The Historium Brugge is great for history buffs, as is the Folklore Museum. Visitors with a sweet tooth will enjoy the Chocolate Museum, and those with a strong stomach might like the Torture Museum.

Remember to pick up a BrugesCard, as this gives you 25% off various attractions and museums in Bruges, including rental bicycles and theatre shows.

Visit the Princely Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde, a convent garden dating back to 1245, and admire the street art.

Take a boat trip on the canals; this is a must-do way to explore the city. There are several boat tour operators, but they all charge more or less the same so don’t worry about price checking. Each tour travels around the same loop. Operators depart every 20 minutes or so from one of the jetties around the city. A ticket is 8 Euros.

Summer is the best time to visit Bruges, although it is gorgeous around Christmas time when the festive markets are in full swing.

We have covered everything you need to know about visiting Bruges on a budget. All that remains is to wish you a safe trip!

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