The 5 best urban walks in Bruges

1) Ramparts

Landscaped in the 19th century, the ramparts form an attractive green belt around the old town. You can wander along meandering paths leading to ancient city gates, climb up to windmills and drop into neighbourhood cafes along the way. Not many tourists come out here, so you find yourself among local people walking their dogs and kids riding their bikes to school. The total circuit is just over 7 km, almost all on quiet paths.

a man walking his dog at the Rampart in Bruges

Ezelpoort, Ezelstraat

2) Hidden Canals

Some canals in Bruges are crowded, but others are often deserted. Begin on the quiet Speelmansrei, following the canal until you come to a smallbridge. Now turn down Moerstraat to pick up the canal again at the Ezelstraat.

houses by the canal in Bruges

Speelmansrei

3) The Merchants’ Quarter

Not many tourists walk through the quarter where foreign merchants settled in the 15th century. You can wander down quiet lanes overlooked by tall Gothic houses and across squares where foreign traders once sold silks, spices, beer and furs. Begin on the square in front of the former stock exchange at Vlamingstraat 35.

Merchant's Quarter of Bruges and large tower

Vlamingstraat 35

4) Forgotten Bruges

A quiet, forgotten corner of Bruges lies beyond ’t Zand square. Here you find small almshouses, intimate restaurants and local shops. Head down Boeveriestraat to reach the ramparts and then follow the meandering path to the right to reach the Smedenpoort. Now turn right down Smedenstraat.

Fountain in Bruges

’t Zand

5) Canals by night

You can put together a canal walk once the crowds have gone to take in romantic spots after dark. First walk down Meestraat to reach an ancient bridge which is one of the loveliest (and quietest) spots on the canals. Now navigate your way along the canals Groenerei, Predikherenrei, Verwersdijk and Spinolarei.

the canals of Bruges by night

Meestraat

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