Guides

Where to Stay in Bruges – 5 Best Areas for 2024 (w/Hotels)

Traditional colorful brick houses with stepped gable facades along a calm canal in Bruges, Belgium, at dusk with reflections on the water.

Welcome to Bruges, Belgium’s crown jewel and my favorite pocket-sized European city! I’ll be your trip-planning gal for where to stay in Bruges, as I’ve been to this charming city multiple times and fell more in love every time! 

I’ve also compared ALL the best areas and hotels and have come up with the ultimate best-of-the-best list so you can plan your holiday with ease! And to make things easier, I’ve arranged them all by price.

The very Center of the Historic City is the best place to stay for first-timers! It’s where all the action is! But stay tuned, I have prepared 4 more areas that I neatly sorted by interest so you can find the perfect spot in Bruges for you!

Just remember to book your hotel in advance as this is quite a touristy city, and the best deals get booked fast!

If you are in a hurry

Here are the best places to stay in Bruges, with hotels from luxury to budget:

Here is a map of where to stay in Bruges with all the best 5 areas I will be talking about in this travel guide:

NOTE: The Historic Center of Bruges encompasses the 5 areas I’ll discuss in this blog post. The City Center (the area I recommend as no. 1) is actually the very heart of the Historic Center.

1. City Center – where to stay in Bruges for the first time

Statue with a flag in the historic Market Square of Bruges, framed by colorful traditional step-gabled houses and vibrant flags under a clear blue skyStatue with a flag in the historic Market Square of Bruges, framed by colorful traditional step-gabled houses and vibrant flags under a clear blue sky

The City Center of Bruges, or the very heart of this historic town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the perfect place to uncover its medieval beauty.

Bruges (also known as Venice of the North) was one of the world’s most important commercial cities in the Middle Ages! It was home to the world’s richest merchants, all thanks to its strategic port location and the network of canals that made shipping easy.

This is where you’ll find the iconic Market Square (Grote Markt, map), which has been the area’s main artery since the 1300s. You’ll also have easy access to the main canals and lovely winding streets filled with old shops! 

Me and my husband often visited Bruges while we lived in Paris, and we’d always start our visit from the Belfort or Belfry Tower. This 83-meter (272 feet) attraction in the Market Square is one of the many Flemish city architecture examples where instead of a church on the main square, they built towers to show the freedom and independence of the Flemish spirit! 

The Burg Square and its Stadhuis (City Hall), along with the 12th-century Basilica of the Holy Blood (map), are my other top recommendations for this area. The Basilica hides a cloth stained with the blood of Jesus, and it’s one of the most crowded attractions of Bruges, at least from what I remember!

Vintage bicycle parked in front of a historic grey stone building with ornate windows and a bright orange door in BrugesVintage bicycle parked in front of a historic grey stone building with ornate windows and a bright orange door in Bruges

We loved walking the streets of the City Center and food-tasting at all the authentic restaurants. I recommend the traditional Belgian beer stew or mussels with fries at Poules Moules (map)! Or you can always go with the typical eating french fries under the Belfry Tower experience!

The 2 best breweries in town, Bourgogne des Flandres Brewery and the Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan (this one is famed for its beer pipeline), are also located here! Both offer tours and tastings, so feel free to stop by! 

I mean, this city has everything dedicated to beer – museums, beer shops (2be shop or The Beer Wall is a MUST-visit!), breweries, and even stews. It’s no wonder because its beer history dates back to at least the Middle Ages! 2 locally-made beers I recommend are Straffe Hendrik and Brugse Zot! 

The City Center and the rest of the Historic Center are super walkable, and the charming architecture and compact size of the city make Bruges even more surreal once the Christmas Markets appear in its main squares!

Luxury hotel

Located in the best area, Hotel Dukes Palace is one of the top luxury hotels in Bruges. This gorgeous historic hotel offers rooms with an amazing interior design, a charming swimming pool, a spa center, and a nice bar where you can try numerous cocktails with a great city view. Being within walking distance of main attractions, Hotel Dukes offers a unique stay in Bruges.

Other accommodation options in the City Centre

mid-range

This four-star hotel features a nice bar, beautifully decorated rooms, and world-class service

budget

Hotel Central offers affordable accommodation in the City Center, a restaurant, and modern rooms with free Wi-Fi

Things to do in the City Centre

  • Walk in the historic Burg and Market Squares
  • Discover the canals of Bruges on a guided boat tour
  • Hop on horse-drawn carriage tours that depart daily from Market Square
  • Go up the Belfort Tower and check out the amazing city view
  • Take a perfect photo at the Rosary Quay (map)
  • See the first Michelangelo sculpture to leave Italy during his lifetime in Church of Our Lady (map)
  • Visit the Bruges Beer Museum and then go beer-tasting at ‘t Brugs Beertje (map)

2. Ezelstraat Quarter – where to stay for those on a budget

Charming turreted castle with red window accents situated on the banks of a canal, surrounded by greenery and a stone bridge in BrugesCharming turreted castle with red window accents situated on the banks of a canal, surrounded by greenery and a stone bridge in Bruges

Located in the Northwest of Bruges and 3 km (1 mile) from the City Center, the Ezelstraat Quarter is a beautiful part of Historic Bruges with medieval buildings, ancient cobblestone streets, nice parks, shops (most are closed on Sundays), and stunning canals. 

Being a bit outside of the main attractions, you will find more affordable accommodation. That’s why my answer for where to stay in Bruges on a budget is definitely Ezelstraat Quarter!

Start your day strolling through Donkey’s Gate, check out some delicious chocolate shops and cafes, and spend time in the parks. If you follow the canal along the Ezelpoort you can reach the City Center to see all the historic buildings in Bruges. 

When we were walking past this quarter, I saw a super fun waffle workshop place and immediately regretted not having pre-booked! I’m madly in love with Belgium’s waffles and will definitely be back for a workshop here! But at least I made sure you know about it (check out the official website for reservations) so you can book your spot in advance!

After the famous 2008 movie “In Bruges” with Colin Farrell, Bruges has seen a spike in travel demand as the world finally discovered how adorable it is! 

Luxury hotel

This luxurious hotel with a great location offers charming rooms, top-class service, and an on-site restaurant serving delicious breakfast. You can rent a bike from the hotel and take a tour around the beautiful canals, too. Restaurants and the town center are within walking distance, making this a super pleasant stay in Bruges.

Other accommodation options in the Ezelstraat Quarter

mid-range

Close to the Old Town Bruges and canals, this hotel has spacious, family-friendly rooms with a great city view

budget

Just next to Bruges Market Square, this affordable hostel offers a bar, a nice terrace, and clean rooms

airbnb

This Airbnb offers a comfortable room with a city view and great access to Old Town and its restaurants

Things to do in the Ezelstraat Quarter

  • Have a walk on 13th-century Ezelpoort streets
  • Visit Saint Constantine & Helena Orthodox Church
  • See the amazing architecture of Karmelietenklooster (try to pronounce that!)
  • Check out one of the best chocolate shops in Bruges (map)
  • Have dinner at Ribs ‘n Beer (map)

3. Sint-Anna Quarter – best place to stay for local heritage

Author of the post in a winter hat and coat standing before a grassy slope with historic windmills in the background, on a wet cobblestone path in BrugesAuthor of the post in a winter hat and coat standing before a grassy slope with historic windmills in the background, on a wet cobblestone path in Bruges

Sint-Anna Quarter is located 2 km (1 mile) North of Bruges City Center. It is a less touristy, quiet neighborhood with cobbled stone streets, beautiful canals and 17th-century cottages.

We walked through St. Anna quarter on our way to see the historic windmills, and I remember thinking to myself how beautiful the old homes and narrow streets were. I could totally see myself living here despite the gloomy weather we had that day! By the way, yes, the windmills here are super old, more than 300 years old! The Sint-Janshuismolen (map) is one of the oldest ones!

This city also has a long lace work tradition. In fact, it’s well-known throughout the country as a lace city. You can even visit the Lace Center & Museum in this area to learn more about it! They even have bobbin lace demonstrations every weekend!

By the way, thinking about the narrow streets made me remember a fun fact that stuck with me during our visit: Bruges was actually one of the world’s biggest pre-motor cities, meaning that it was built when people still only rode horses! That surely explains the narrow streets!

Luxury hotel

This charming 4-star hotel offers elegant suites with a boutique-style interior, a delicious breakfast (all guests rave about it!), and the best staff! You can chill in the bar or lounges, all of which are tastefully décorated, much like the rest of the hotel.

Other accommodation options in Sint-Anna Quarter

mid-range

Hotel Adornes is a nice place to stay near Market Square in Bruges, and it offers modern, family-friendly rooms 

budget

Centrally located in Bruges, this hostel offers affordable accommodation, a bar, and clean rooms with free Wi-Fi

airbnb

This Airbnb offers comfortable family-friendly rooms with good amenities, and a terrace overlooking the beautiful streets

Things to do in Sint-Anna Quarter, Bruges

  • Visit St. Anne’s church and the 15th-century Jerusalem Chapel
  • Have a stroll on the parks at Sint-Anna Quarter and see the windmills
  • Go to a 500 years old Bruges cafe Vlissinghe (map)
  • Check out the amazing chocolate shops in the area

4. Sint-Gillis Quarter – where to stay for tranquility

Aerial view of Bruges' distinctive architecture with colorful houses and cobbled streets along a serene canal, basked in the soft light of early morningAerial view of Bruges' distinctive architecture with colorful houses and cobbled streets along a serene canal, basked in the soft light of early morning

Located on the North of Bruges City Center and just a 15-minute walk from it, Sint-Gillis Quarter is the best area to stay in Bruges for those who are looking for a cool yet peaceful neighborhood. Here, you’ll find hip cafés, picturesque canal views, and a small selection of restaurants.

By staying in the Sint-Gillis Quarter, you will be very close to Bruges City Center, but at the same time, you will have a chance to escape from tourist crowds. The best way to enjoy this area is simply walking along the beautiful canal, chilling in its green spaces (check out Hof Campers (map), where you can even spot some sheep if you’re lucky!), and tasting delicious local foods.

And if you feel extra curious about the history of the region, you can take a trip to the nearby Damme. This 12th-century city was an important strategic location throughout medieval times, and it’s where many important battles took place. It’s less than 6 km (3.7 miles) from Sint-Gillis! This great 2-hour tour takes you across Dame on an electric scooter, and it’s quite affordable, too!

Now let’s check out the best places to stay in the Sint-Gillis area:

Luxury hotel

Hotel Ter Duinen is one of the best luxury hotels in Bruges, offering rooms with an epic canal view, a nice bar, and a tranquil terrace. You can enjoy a drink on the luxurious hotel’s terrace and watch the boats go by. Market Square is within walking distance, and family-friendly rooms are available, too.

Other accommodation options in Sint-Gillis Quarter

mid-range

One of the best boutique hotels by the canal, it offers rooms with lovely décor and canal views

budget

This low-key bed and breakfast in Bruges is situated in a historic building and offers a yummy buffet breakfast

airbnb

A lovely stay in a cottage that has that home away from home vibe

Things to do in Sint-Gillis Quarter, Bruges

  • Walk by the canal on Langerei Street
  • Enjoy a stroll at the beautiful Hof de Jonge to feel like a local
  • Explore the area’s narrow cobblestone streets
  • Have dinner at Tom’s Diner (map)
  • Visit Sint-Gilliskerk Catholic Church which has an amazing architecture

5. Magdalena Quarter – where to stay for families

Scenic view of a calm canal in Bruges with the spire of the Church of Our Lady in the distance and a classic brick house amidst autumn-colored trees on a clear dayScenic view of a calm canal in Bruges with the spire of the Church of Our Lady in the distance and a classic brick house amidst autumn-colored trees on a clear day

Located just a ten-minute walk South of Bruges City Center, Magdalena Quarter is a quiet area with many parks, museums, historic buildings, shops, and restaurants. Whether you are a foodie or a history lover, you can find something in this chilled neighborhood! I particularly recommend it for kids because it has tons of outdoor spaces!

The Minnewater Park (map) is a must-see here, with a lovely church by the canal and swans swimming around, ideal for serene walks during the sunset! Just across the bridge from the park, you’ll reach the Begijnhof complex, another nice area to walk, where religious laywomen used to live in the 1600s!

Also, talking about the 1600s, this is when the chocolate legacy of Bruges was born! Although most of the old, authentic shops are located in the City Center, you’ll find plenty of them on Upper Katelijnestraat Street, just by the famous boat tour agencies! I remember making my own hot chocolate here, but I’m not sure in which shop it was – it could well be Chocolaterie Brugge Home Sweet Home (map)!

If you want to stay in a quiet area but want to have easy access to the main attractions, Magdelena Quarter is the best place to stay. Here are the best hotels I carefully chose for you:

Luxury hotel

The ultimate luxury in Bruges awaits with Ralph Lauren fabrics, art objects in rooms and across the hotel, a gorgeous library with a fireplace, and many other luxury amenities. They also offer a generous breakfast, umbrellas for rainy days, and private parking for €30 per day.

Other accommodation options in the Magdalena Quarter

mid-range

A lovely 3-star hotel with modern and clean rooms, buffet breakfast, and private parking

airbnb

This luxury apartment is just next to the Fish market, has modern amenities, and tons of attractions nearby

Things to do in Magdalena Quarter

  • Spend some time at the Koningin Astridpark (map)
  • Explore the many cafés and restaurants at the Braambergstraat Street
  • Uncover the rich heritage of the Begijnhof complex
  • Visit the Groeninge Museum showcasing Belgian and Flemish art
  • Whisper your love to your better half at St. Bonifacius Bridge for eternal happiness (according to a legend)

FAQs about where to stay in Bruges

"Cloudy day view of a canal in Bruges flanked by a row of traditional European houses, with a tower standing tall in the distance and a boat navigating the waterway"Cloudy day view of a canal in Bruges flanked by a row of traditional European houses, with a tower standing tall in the distance and a boat navigating the waterway

👨‍👨‍👧‍👦 What are the best hotels for families in Bruges?

🗺️ Which area should I stay in Bruges?

If you are visiting Bruges for the first time, the City Center is the best area to explore the city. 

🏢 What is the best hotel in Bruges?

Hotel Dukes’ Palace in the City Center is for sure the best hotel in Bruges, Belgium! It offers ultimate luxury, elegant rooms, and a central location. Both the amenities and guest reviews say this is Bruges’ best hotel!

🤔 What is the best time to visit Bruges?

June to August is the best time to visit Bruges, Belgium. This is when you’ll have mild weather with temperatures of around 20 degrees Celsius.

👆 Is one day enough for Bruges?

Yes, as you can see the main attractions in 4-5 hours. However, if you want to explore multiple museums, climb the Belfry Tower, or get to know the city in greater detail, it’s better to spend a night or two. You won’t regret it!

🚶 Is Bruges a walkable city?

Absolutely! Bruges is very walkable! In fact, walking is the best and sometimes the only way to get around this gorgeous medieval town!

🚗 Where to stay in Bruges with a car?

Parking is available across Bruges (paid in the Center, free on the outskirts). Most hotels in the Center, like Duke’s Academie and Boterhuis, offer parking for a fee (from €20 to €25 per day), so you can stay whenever is more convenient for you.

Conclusion

Author of the post in a cozy grey coat and knit hat smiling by the canal in Bruges, with historical buildings and festive lights in the backgroundAuthor of the post in a cozy grey coat and knit hat smiling by the canal in Bruges, with historical buildings and festive lights in the background

I hope you enjoyed this virtual ride across the medieval Bruges as much as I did! By now, you should already have an idea about where to stay in Bruges! But in case you’re still between places, I’ll share 2 of my favorite stays:

Bruges is one of the most popular cities in Belgium, especially for foreign visitors, so be quick to book that reservation! And remember: tasting local chocolate, beer, and french fries is a must!

And, of course, if you need more advice or would just like to ask a question, you can do so in the comments below!

Say hi to Bruges for me, 

Darija


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