Less than 24 hours in Bruges, Belgium – what do you do?

Eat as much as you possibly can, of course!

My Bruges (don’t ask me how to pronounce it, I practiced for a week which evoked many laughs and odd hacking noises) to-do list was as follows:

1. Drink a Belgian beer

2. Eat fries

3. Eat waffles

4. Eat and buy chocolate

That is a chocolate induced smile right there.

I’m happy to report that even in my limited time in that beautiful country I completed the to-do list and then some.

Upon my return I’ve created a new to-do list:


1. Make waffles as good as the Belgian’s do – particularly the Liege waffle.

2. Make Flemish stew.

3. Find a great source for Belgian beer in Seattle then drink some.

4. Plan my return trip to Belgium.

Of course there is more to this stunning city than the food. Like wandering the brick-paved streets in the middle of the night in silence as you take in the stunning architecture, the way the moon reflects on the frozen canal, and the warming thought of drinking a dark beer in a pub established in 1515 – oh, that’s food too, I’m hopeless.

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57 Responses to “Bruges, Belgium”

  1. Liv B

    Oh my! I think you’ve just added Belgium onto my already rather lengthy “Must See” list! Waffles? Fries? That store with the continental meats & cheeses? It has to be heaven!

  2. John

    Bottleworks in Wallingford is a great source for carryout Belgian beer. Brouwers always has at leat 15 (probably) on tap.

  3. bethh

    oooh your timing is impeccable. I am figuring out a spring trip to Europe and have been dithering on the Belgium question. It may be Brussels, not Bruges (unless I learn that only Bruges will do!) but wow… that looks amazing.

  4. Maureen

    I’ve never been to Brussels but my sister spent a summer there when she was in college and just loved it. Every letter home was how she ate her way across the city.

    Love your photos.

  5. Jen S

    Oh how I adore Belgium! One of my favorite countries in the world to visit. Glad you enjoyed your time as well. I think Heather suggested spots well for Belgium beer in the NW. I’m amazed at how many even Fred Meyer carries sometimes! Many local breweries are also making Belgium style beers. I suggest Beer Advocate online for a good search too.

  6. Sarah

    Old Town Ale House in Ballard also has a great selection of Belgian brews, good food, and is kid-friendly to boot.

  7. Kimberley

    I love all of this. One, your noble goals in new cities (food!). Two, your adorable and lovely style. Three, that you’re writing about wintry Europe from some sunny, tropical island. Yes.

  8. Tine

    Oh, you’ve been in Belgium! I’m from Ghent! Bruges is a beauty, but you have to visit Ghent if you return to Belgium.
    Looks you have eaten ‘Stoverij’, a typical Flemish stew recipe. Pretty good, tons of good recipes! Never leave Belgium without eating a waffle or french fries! You did a good job ;)!

  9. Bart

    Glad you like our country! Are you still looking for recipes? There are a number of waffles and stew recipes which are well known in Belgium, I don’t know if a translation is available though…

  10. Kathryn

    I went to Bruges a couple of months ago and it’s such a wonderful city to wander round, your photos really capture the beauty.

  11. giuseppina

    I stayed only a few hours in Bruges ( it waas hard raining that day) : it’s so an amazing city , we can “feel” history ,really . it’s like a journey into the past ( if you have some imagination ) Thank you for sharing and thank you for your beautiful blog !

  12. Lisa Mantchev

    My husband (Belgian-Bulgarian) spent a couple of months researching and executing the Perfect Liege Waffle… you’re going to need to buy an industrial-grade waffle iron. And possible rewire part of your kitchen. But it’s worth it. 🙂

  13. Erica

    My husband and I are going to Belgium in September! Any restaurant recommendations? And where is that cheese shop? I need to go there!

  14. Adam

    I love Bruges! We went a couple years ago, and fell in love with it. When you figure out your Flemish stew, please, please share it. Also, if you find a good Belgian-style fry place in Seattle, share it too. I haven’t had fries like those in Belgium since. I understand that it may be that they were fried in horse fat, which is something I’m not sure is readily available in the US. 🙂

  15. the yummyblogsisters

    beer – fries – waffles – chocolate, you tasted the best on your first trip! Thank you for calling our country beautiful, makes us smile! Next time you come and visit let us know, we would love you to show some great places in Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels… here’s a little taster on our blog under ‘places we like’:
    Great nails!

  16. Jenni

    Hi Ashley! Glad you enjoyed your trip, the photos are wonderful! I’d love to see a recipe for Liege Waffles when you come up with it. We’re opening a new coffee bar and wine shop in a few weeks and I’d love to eventually serve traditional Belgium waffles. Thanks again for sharing!

  17. Kathryn

    The Stumbling Monk on Capitol Hill (on Olive just up from the Starbucks that serves beer) only serves Belgium style beer (mostly all imported from Belgium). So delicious!

  18. Mandy

    Well, let me echo everyone else and tell you that Brouwer’s is a great place for Belgian beer (and it’s right next to the Theo chocolate factory so, that doesn’t suck).

  19. KathyG in WA

    Oh I loved Bruges! Thx for the photos, esp of the square. I miss it! I do so love their chocolate! I look forward to the waffle post!

  20. Katya

    In about 3 weeks, it will have been a year since I was in Brussels and Bruges. Thanks for bringing me back there!

  21. Mary's Pastry Lab

    I visited Bruges last year… i must say it’s the most romantic city i’ve ever been to (what Paris?!) and i would really really love to retire here one day…

  22. S

    Ashley, I do not have adequate or beautiful enough words to voice how much I love your website and your photos. Belgium looks mesmerizing. I was wondering though, what is Flemish stew and what are the main ingredients in it/why does it taste so good? Thanks!

  23. Shana

    You should visit Sweet Iron in downtown Seattle on 3rd Ave. They specialize in Liege waffles. It is all they do. They are tasty.

  24. Kasey

    Ashley, I visited Bruges on my month-long backpacking trip through Europe in college and totally fell in love. Everything about it was magical. One thing that I remember, though, is chocolates of all shapes and sizes. I remember seeing some chocolate breasts in a shop window, which I found to be pretty entertaining. My friend and I stayed at a hostel that used to be an old movie theater. It was pretty fun to be awoken in the middle of the night to our roommates, two Scottish boys who were on a roadtrip. It was dark and I remember I never saw their faces when they got into their beds and the four of us chatted all night. The next morning, we woke up and I noticed just how cute they were! Granted, I was 21, but it was still one of my favorite travel memories 🙂 You look adorable!

  25. Eva {not your mama's dinner}

    Whow! I’m from Belgium and I’m completely overwelmed by all the love for our country. Next time you visit {Or all the other people who are planning to visit} you should definetely come to Ghent! It’s very similar to Bruge but more real; more lively, more authentic. We always laugh about how Bruge was especially build for the tourists… Really! Ghent! I also know a lot of nice bars/ coffee places/ museums/ … around here; so feel free to give a shout if you want a tour. Also; I’m posting about belgian waffles next week, if you’ld want an authentic recipe from an authentic belgian girl… 🙂

  26. Liza in Ann Arbor

    I went to Bruges in the 90’s. It absolutely charmed me. I’ve been dying to get back since the movie In Bruges. If you haven’t seen it, you should. They really take advantage of the location.

  27. WhileHeWasOut

    Bruges is such a lovely city! I have never in my life seen such an amount of french fries as in Belgium. What a pity I missed to try the waffles! Very nice post, thank you for sharing.

  28. ann

    I agree with the few Belgians here… Ghent is even more magical. And indeed way more real. And the place to be for foodies. And yes we eat our fries dipped in mayo. What else is there? 😉

  29. Emily

    Bruges is lovely! Although I have to say that I’m partial to my home here in Brussels! When you return to Bruges, you should make a bike trip out to the countryside nearby and bike to the ocean, it’s absolutely lovely!

    I’ve actually decided that I should learn to master the recipes for both the gaufre de liege and the gaufre de bruxelles. I haven’t been compelled to do it so much since they only cost a few euro, but better to master the recipe now than never!

    I also just learned how to make belgian fries the authentic traditional way, if you want to check out the recipe on my site.

    I’m glad you fell in love with my adopted country and I hope you come back soon!

    PS – I agree with Eva’s comments from above, you definitely have to go to Ghent the next time you’re in Belgium (and Brussels of course!)

  30. Tracy C.

    Bruges, Belgium is one of my all time favorite places…was there for just two nights and three days, I think…by the time we got there, we were close to the end of our 2 1/2 week tour of Europe…we visited 7 different countries in that amount of time and Bruges, Belgium was my favorite of all places that we traveled that time… love your pictures… brought back some lovely memories… since we were there in july, we were able to ride a boat along part of the canal which was very nice…. 🙂
    Thanks so much for sharing…. 🙂

  31. Bryce L.

    Great post. Every Saturday morning for the past three years, our neighbors come over and we eat Liege waffles. One week we top it with savories, the next sweet. You should grab your family (and your camera) and drop in and eat.

  32. Sweet Harvest Moon

    I see you liked your little trip to Belgium, I’m glad 🙂
    How did you like ‘Stoofvlees’ (Flemish stew)?
    See you soon in Belgium!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Sweet Harvest – I LOVED Flemish stew. Just tried recreating it at home actually but it wasn’t nearly as good. Still looking for the right recipe.

  33. Lluisa

    So cool to see the city where I attended highschool for 6 years through the eyes of a visitor. Now that I don’t walk in those streets everyday anymore I realize how pretty it is. I see you liked it too. Always willing to give you restaurant (read: Fries Shops (frituur)) recommendations if you’re planning a next trip to Belgium 🙂