My Bruges Story – Buses, Chocolates & Waffles
How do you get to Bruges?
Have you ever tried to plan a trip to Bruges from the UK? It’s not as straightforward as you may think.
Usually, when I plan my travels, I hop onto SkyScanner and book a flight from my closest airport to the city I am visiting, but Bruges doesn’t have an airport. So, if I wanted to fly, it would mean flying to Brussels and then getting a train into Bruges.
But here’s the thing…
…Bruges isn’t that far away from me here in the UK.
So, I got a bit creative thinking that there must be a better way to get to this destination.
I searched for Ferry crossings, but none went into Bruges. Their services busses which departed from the port went into Brussels.
I then checked out the Eurostar but had the same problem – I could get to Brussels, but would then need another train into Bruges.
Finally, I checked my favourite trusty coach service, Flixbus, and to my surprise, they had a direct route from London into Bruges.
And even better, a return trip was just €35!! …which breaks down to less than €18 each way.
I’d struggle to go out for dinner for €18, but I could travel 185miles (298km) from London to Bruges!
The trip by coach did take 6 hours, but there was free wi-fi on board and a couple of stops at service stations and passport control, so plenty of opportunities to get off and walk around.
The other methods of transport may have been quicker in theory (although a lot more expensive), but by the time you factor in additional trains and change over time, the difference was probably only an hour or two.
After my coach journey, it was a 20min walk to my Hostel, St Christopher’s Inn, which was just on the outskirts of the town.
I loaded the walking route on my Maps.me app and noticed that it was very twisty.
I followed the map but I had to keep closing the app to open my camera because each time I turned a corner I was presented with another picturesque view or interesting piece of architecture.
The place was beautiful!
After checking in, I wanted nothing more than to explore. I dumped my stuff in my room and headed back into the centre with my camera.
…It’s the middle of autumn, the leaves are glowing orange and red. The air is still with a slight drizzle of rain. It’s just about to get dark and the street lights are giving off a warm glow that is reflecting off the water and cobbles. Couples are walking arm-in-arm huddled under umbrellas without, what seems, a care in the world.
I mean, I was on my own wandering around with a camera, but even I felt the romance in the air.
So many times I saw couples sharing a kiss on a bridge and I really wanted to take a picture of them. I refrained because I didn’t want to intrude on their moment – but it would have made for a beautiful photograph.
Chocolate and waffles
The next morning, my first stop was Coco-Story, a chocolate museum. To be honest, my main excitement and purpose of visiting Bruges was for the chocolate!
I’ve always been a big fan of the Belgian praline seashells by Gillian and they have remained my favourite chocolate for quite some years. They were only recently trumped by another Belgian brand of chocolate that I discovered on this tip. More on that later.
Back to exploring Bruges.
After the chocolate museum, I continued to tick off all the top tourist attractions that I wanted to visit, as well as sample a freshly made (and still warm) Belgian waffle.
To find out where I went, or what stops to consider on your visit, look out for another blog post coming soon.
Bruges is not that big…
After ticking off the tourist stops and racking up over 20,000 steps on my fitness tracker, I headed back to the hostel for a bit of chill time.
St Christoper’s Hostel had a great relaxing but quirky vibe to it. I sat in the lounge area to have something to eat whilst sorting through my photos/videos and updating my social media. At which point, I realised that I had visited almost every stop on my list – in just one day!
What was I going to do for the second day?
As I sat wondering, I noticed some city maps next on the reception area.
Maybe it has a few stops on it that I have missed, I thought.
I grabbed one, sat back down and opened it up fully on the table.
It turns out that this map was more of an ‘off-the-beaten-track’ map. In other words, it had loads of interesting little sights that were a bit more hidden. Things like a secret garden, an upside-down cannon and a frog that you had to kiss…
Yes, I kissed it.
Here’s the proof…
…to find out why I kissed the frog, keep your eyes peeled for bonus blog post where I detail some of these quirky hidden sights.
Or better yet, go to the bottom of this post and subscribe to my blog so that you don’t ever miss a post.
Back to the Belgian chocolates…
It was my last night in Bruges and I spent it relaxing in the hostel bar. I ordered a pizza, had a little drink and continued to read a read a book that I was reviewing for my book blog.
Better yet, the pizza was just €5! …it was a frozen pizza that they had simply wacked in the oven for 30 minutes, but I wasn’t complaining. It was still great value and it still tasted good!
The next morning I packed my bag, checked out and made my way back to the bus station.
I enjoyed a very healthy lunch inside the station…I’m not exactly sure what the yoghurt thing was, but it tasted good.
Thanks to my frugality, I still had a bit of money left over and therefore decided to buy a bit of chocolate to take home back to the UK.
…and also to ruin my healthy lunch with!
I love praline and I love white chocolate. So when I noticed a bar of chocolate containing both, I just had to buy it.
There was a multibuy offer on so I purchased a few other bars in different flavours.
As I was waiting for the bus, I couldn’t help myself and I had to try a piece.
OMG I was in heaven.
I tried to save as much of it as possible, but sadly, not much of it made it back to the UK. It just tasted too damn good!
Galler is officially my new favourite chocolate.
It’s unfortunate that I haven’t managed to find any Galler chocolate in the UK, but I am still looking. If anyone knows of anywhere that stocks this brand, please do let me know! …you’ll instantly become my new favourite person.
Bus from Bruges
I was still waiting for the bus when I received a text message from Flixbus informing me that the bus was running late due to traffic and provided me with an estimated time of arrival.
Well, that’s a handy little feature! Don’t you just love when modern technology actually works and makes your life easier?
Eventually, the coach arrived, I claimed my seat, hooked up to the wi-fi and got myself comfy for the 6-hour journey back to London.
Unfortunately, the journey back wasn’t as smooth as the journey there. We got held up at both borders, French and British, as we passed through the passport control points.
We had to vacate the coach a few times, bags were searched and patrol dogs boarded the coach.
Our driver informed us that this was normal. Sometimes they let you straight through, sometimes they do a light search and other times they do a full search.
It just so happened that on this occasion we were fully searched at both control points.
There’s nothing we could have done, we just had to let the authorities do their jobs, and once they had ticked all their boxes, they allowed us to carry on with our journey.
Unfortunately, this extra delay meant that we hit the outskirts of London at 5pm and had to drive through the city centre at rush hour.
At one point, I checked the distance to London bus station on my phone and it gave me an estimated drive time of 8 minutes.
We arrived at the bus station 1 hour later!!
1 hour of starting and stopping and pushing our way through London in order to complete a trip that should have taken 8 minutes.
Due to all these delays mounting up, we arrived in London 3 hours later than expected and I had a pre-booked train to catch!
I sprinted across London from the bus station to the tube station, down a few steps and escalators and squeezed myself into a carriage.
The 4 min tube ride allowed me to catch my breath again before dashing from the carriage, running up some more never-ending escalators, quickly nipping into the ladies toilets for a pee, then into M&S for a sandwich, then straight to my platform where I jumped onto the train, claimed my seat, and as my bum hit the chair I heard the doors close behind me.
I made it just in time!
I ate my sandwich and relaxed the whole way home.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Bruges is the most picturesque place I have been to so far on my travels. It was breathtakingly beautiful – a real chocolate-box town.
But my favourite part of any trip is coming back home and seeing the excitement on my dog’s face as I walk through the door.
Before doing anything else, I always make a huge fuss of him and sit and have some welcome-home dog cuddles.
Have you visited Bruges? Let me know about your trip in the comments below.
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