Flanders Discovery: A Quick 3-Day Escape to Bruges and Ghent

A spontaneous 3-day journey to Bruges and Ghent during the autumn school holidays became our last-minute decision. It was a choice inspired by my son’s desire to hone his photography skills in a yet-to-be-explored picturesque town. The charm of Belgium, coupled with the lingering taste of the waffles from Brussels, led us to choose Bruges and Ghent as our weekend destination.

Planning the trip to Bruges and Ghent

Hotel Duke Academie Bruges

The hotel Duke Academie, where we stayed, offers a perfect balance between its proximity to the main canal and the historic old town. One standout aspect of the hotel is its luxurious breakfast, attracting customers from beyond its doors. Remarkably, despite its top-notch quality, the hotel’s breakfast remains surprisingly affordable when compared to the overall rates. 2 1

The itinerary of Bruges and Ghent

1st Day: Minnewater, Begijnhof, and Frietmseum

2ed Day: Market Square, Burg Square, boat cruise, and Rozenhoedkaai

3rd Day: Ghent old town

Minnewater in Bruges
Street scene in Bruges, Belgium
Street view in Bruges, Belgium; Bruges and Ghent

1st Day: Minnewater, Begijnhof, and Frietmseum


Our hotel is conveniently located near Minnewater, also known as the Lake of Love. After breakfast, we set out on a leisurely stroll from the serene lake, enjoying the romantic scenery and the graceful dance of swans. Our journey led us to the Beguinage, a hidden gem crossed via the picturesque Beguinage Bridge.


Following the Beguinage Bridge, the houses along the path showcase a blend of classic Flemish architecture with intricate details. The quaint structures include gabled roofs, distinctive brickwork, and charming facades, creating a picturesque and timeless atmosphere.

Entering the gardens of Beguinage, we were greeted by a peaceful oasis. The white-washed houses line cobbled pathways, creating an atmosphere of timeless beauty. The Beguinage was established as a sanctuary where women could lead a religious life without taking formal vows. The enclosed garden, complete with large trees and a central church, adds to the peaceful ambiance.


Around lunchtime heavy rain greeted unexpectedly. Despite the rain, we sought refuge in a cozy waffle house, treating ourselves to a quick and delicious lunch. The waffles from this restaurant were double the size of those I tried in Brussels, and they were all freshly made from the open cooking corner.

As the rain persisted, we decided to explore the Frietmseum, uncovering the surprising origins of French Fries, which trace back to Belgium.

Begijnhof in Bruges, Belgium

2ed Day: Market Square, Burg Square, boat trip, and Rozenhoedkaai

Market Square

Before our boat trip, we began our exploration at Market Square. The Duvelorium Belgian Beer Bar, situated above the Historium Bruges, offered us the best view of the entire square. Visiting in the morning provided us with the wonderful opportunity to stroll straight to its balcony and capture a few pictures.

Burg Square

Adjacent to Market Square is Burg Square, a historical centre of power in the city for centuries. The 14th-century Gothic Town Hall, still occupied by Bruges’ city administration, stands as a grand and majestic landmark on this square.

Market Square in Bruges, Belgium
View from the boat in Bruges; Bruges and Ghent

Boat trip

Opting to purchase tickets for our boat trip onsite, we found ourselves waiting for a while before finally boarding. The boat journey took us through major sites; however, the provided audio guide was not entirely clear, causing us to miss out on valuable information about the buildings and sites along the route. Numerous tour boats floated along the canals, and in hindsight, I recommend spending a few extra euros to book an organized tour in advance to avoid waiting times and gain more insightful information. Some of these tours also include guided walking excursions.

Boat trip starting place in Bruges; Bruges and Ghent


From the boat, we admired the picturesque Rozenhoedkaai (Rosary Quay), a charming corner in Bruges. After our boat trip, when the sun surprisingly brightened our day, we strolled around this corner, capturing more photos. It turned out to be the most Instagrammable and loveliest spot in the city.

Rozenhoedkaai ; the best corner in Bruges

3rd Day: Ghent old town

We enjoyed two sunny days in Bruges, but upon reaching Ghent, the weather shifted to a gloomy and gloomy sky, eventually leading to rainfall.

Ghent’s Old Town is like a storybook with its medieval charm and architectural marvels. However, the weather decided to play its own role, offering a overcast sky that cast a muted tone over the entire city. Although we were fortunate to avoid rain, the monochromatic tones of most buildings melded with the overcast sky, resulting in an atmosphere that appeared less lively than I anticipated.

Despite the subdued weather, Ghent’s Old Town retained an undeniable timeless allure. The historic streets, cobblestone pathways, and centuries-old structures provided a glance into the city’s rich history. It was fascinating to explore each corner, where every building seemed to whisper tales of bygone eras.

Several remarkable highlights await exploration despite the less-than-ideal weather. The historic Gravensteen Castle stands proudly. As we strolled along Graslei and Korenlei, the picturesque canals presented the city’s charm, even under the grey sky. Some houses along the Graslei and Korenlei are painted with colour, making the area more vibrant. Additionally, the quaint cafés and restaurants dotted throughout the old town added warm feeling to the subdued surroundings.

Ghent old town; Belgium
Ghent water front; Bruges and Ghent

Travel tips for Exploring Flanders (Bruges and Ghent)


Belfry Tower: Climb the Belfry tower for panoramic views of the city. Be prepared for a steep climb, but the views are worth it.

Canal Cruise: Take an organized canal cruise to see the city from a different perspective. It provides insights into the history and architecture of Bruges.

Local Delicacies: Try Belgian chocolates, waffles, and fries. Visit local chocolatiers and try different flavours.


Gravensteen Castle: Explore Gravensteen Castle, a medieval fortress in the heart of the city. The views from the castle are impressive.

Graffiti Street: Discover Werregarenstraat, known as Graffiti Street, where artists are free to express themselves on the walls.

Graslei and Korenlei: Wander along the scenic canals of Graslei and Korenlei, lined with historic guild houses. It’s particularly beautiful in the evening.

Local Markets: Visit the local markets, such as Vrijdagmarkt, for a taste of local produce and unique finds.

Gentse Feesten: If visiting in July, don’t miss the Ghent Festival (Gentse Feesten), one of the largest cultural festivals in Europe.

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