We debated for some time about adding Bruges to our itinerary - I had been advised that it was too touristy, did not feel real etc... but it seemed like the most logical pit stop when travelling from the Netherlands to France - using public transport - so we ignored all advice. The plan was not to hire a car on our last Europe trip and travel mainly on trains. (this failed... more later) The train planning was relatively easy when using the Man in Seat 61 to look up all train information across Europe. We took the early morning train out of Amsterdam and a train change at Antwerp got us to Bruges by lunch time.
The weather continued to work against us, yep travel is not always a bed of roses and sunshine... we spent two days exploring Bruges in the rain so it was a rather grey outlook. The town is gorgeous and easy to walk around if your kids are happy to use their walking legs. During our short time in Bruges we barely scrapped the surface - a picture perfect town with its architecture and canals - the land of Chips/fries and Chocolate...
In the two days we were in Bruges we walked a lot between the downpours and discovered some great spots. The best part of it, was that it could all be done on foot and the kids went along - as there was always a bribe of hot chips or waffles on offer. Just exploring on foot is one of my favourite ways of discovering a city and love that Bruges was small enough to do this with the kids.
The other highlight was climbing up the 366 steps up the Belfort (Belfry) Tower - The climb is well worth it - you get impressive views of the old city and its red rooftops. The climb can be a little tricky especially as you reach the top of the stairs and it can get a bit claustrophobic My kids managed the climb up fine, the descent was a little harder for my 9 year old. There are a few landings to take in the views as you climb so you can rest and catch your breath. The views are worth the climb though.
Mr Techno did not have the time to partake in any beer tastings however he did enjoy trying out different beers at dinner time.
Things to see & do in Bruges with or without kids:
Arrive midday - check into Hotel
Walk around Bruges - orientation
Hot chips in Bruges Square waiting for the rain to stop..
Afternoon swim at the hotel before heading back to find a quick bite to eat.
Climb top of Belfort - 366 steps
Visit the Friet (Chip) Museum
Visit the Chocolate Museum
Walked around town and up to the Windmills on the edge of town.
Depart on train for Paris at 6am
Floris Karos Hotel
Train via Antwerp from Amsterdam - Thalys
Paris - Bruges or vv - Direct trains
All train travel info can be found on Seat 61
Nearest Airport is Brussels and connect via local train
Movie 'In Bruges' with Colin Farrell - for grown ups as a tad too violent for kids
Great Escapes Blog - lots of tips on where to eat!