Bruges, a small town about an hour outside of Brussels, is the perfect destination for families with young kids. We took our little toddler to spend the winter holidays and we had the most amazing time. It is impossible someone not to have seen at least a photo of the town as it is one of the most photographed places in Europe. The famous old bridge on the river is the most popular spot and seeing it from close it is unreal with all that charm.
I cannot say enough about the beauty of Bruges. All the buildings look like gingerbread houses and there is a smell of chocolate and baked dough everywhere you go. 80% of the stores must be chocolate or waffle shops and I was feeling so guilty the whole trip due to the embarrassing amounts of sugar I had consumed.
We visited Bruges during the Christmas period, so the town was at its best. Very beautifully decorated and the Christmas markets were creating a warm and cozy atmosphere. Even though the town is quite small, it is full of life too. Groups of people were drinking beer and talking in the streets till the later hours of the evening. You could see so many families and couples. The place is every romantic’s dream. One man even proposed to his girlfriend in the central square in front of hundrends of people. She said yes, in case you wonder.
Walking around is pretty easy. It is impossible to get lost, because anywhere you go, you get back to the center. We tried to go for a long walk but we ended up to a familiar place again. Everything is very close and walkable, supermarkets, restaurants, museums, hotels, etc.
The paved ground is great for babies in strollers, because it puts them to sleep in a moment and parents can enjoy some time for themselves. In December, as everywhere in Europe it was very cold. Dressing in layers is the key, because inside the restaurants and cafes are hot, so you have to take off some clothes. Most restaurants have baby chairs and kids’ meal, such as spaghetti with meat and small pieces of veggies, that children won’t even notice (for those who don’t like vegetables). However, we found it difficult to take the stroller inside the restaurants, as the spaces are pretty narrow. Astrid Park is a big park with with palyground and a lake with ducks swimming in it. It has tunels for kids to play in and only five minutes away from the town center.
There are also many toy stores around the town, but what is an absolutely must to see is the Friet Museum. Is there even a child who doesn’t like fries? Bonus, the special area for pretend play, where they can “cook” the potatoes and then “sell” them. We spend here more than an hour and she was saying all the time Mr.Potato! Mr.Potato!
Choco – Story is interesting too, but don’t take the stroller because the isles are really narrow and difficult to walk through with all the tourists and the elevator is never available.
We stayed at Hotel De Castillon which is perfect for families, just in the town center with delicious homemade breakfast. The rooms were huge with stunning decor, and the staff was very friendly and helpful.
Bruges or Brugge is one of the most charming places I have been and an easy escape for families as it offers a combination of amazing beauty, good food, nice hotels and many activities for young children.