Things to do: Summer Attractions in Bruges

There are lots of things to do in Bruges throughout the year- here are a selection of things unique to the summer season that are waiting for you to try!

Cactus Festival

Outdoor music

bruges music

On the second weekend of July, Minnewaterpark is taken over by a variety of international music groups for three days of live music from a mix of genres. Past acts have included Mogwai, Kate Bush and KT Tunstall as well as local performers. Tickets in 2015 cost 55 euros for one day, with an extra 13 euros if you want to camp at a venue just over a mile away with buses running between the campsite and festival. As the venue is fairly small for a festival, there is only one stage- meaning no overlaps! But at the same time if you don’t like what’s on stage there are stalls, food as well as local acts playing just for the honour of getting their music out there.

More information (you’ll need to google translate!) can be found on

Assumption Day

Annual Religious Procession

15th August is a Bank Holiday in Belgium, celebrating the Catholic holiday Assumption Day: commemorating the Virgin Mary’s assumption into heaven. In Bruges every year the Brugse Belofte procession (translated as Bruges’ Promise). This has happened every year for over 700 years. The procession features actors portraying different religious scenes, and a special candle which is carried from Our Lady of Blindekenskapel at 9.30am through t’Zand,Vlamingstraat, Jan vanEyckplein to the Lady of Our Potterie Church, arriving there at 11am. There is then a church service before the procession returns back the same route.


Old style music

Short for the Musica Antiqua festival and part of the annual Festival of Flanders, the MAfestival is a celebration of ancient music which has been running for over 50 years. Each year the ten-day festival features attractions including both free and paid concerts, master classes, conferences, exhibitions and competitions.

For the last couple of years, a particular highlight of the MAfestival has been the Velo Baroque, which takes place on one Sunday (2015 date was 9th August, the concluding day of the festival).Velo Baroque is a 30 kilometer (18.5 miles) round-trip bike ride starting from Bruges and following a trail to Damme, Meetkerke and Zuienkerke through wetland and woodland to watch various muisc concerts at different venues along the way.

In 2015 the MAfestival runs from 31st July until 9th August, with annual dates being around the same time each year. The epicenter of the festival is t’Zand Concert Hall.

More information can be found at and

Triennial Bruges

Contemporary art

Triennial Bruges is a Contemporary Art and Architecture exhibition event, brought back to Bruges for the first time since 1974 in 2015, with aspirations to establish it as an annual event. The broad idea is that a concept is selected, and a variety of indoor and outdoor venues are taken over with different peoples’ explorations of the concept.

In 2015 Triennial Bruges runs from 20th May until 18th October, with 3 indoor (set opening times) and 14 outdoor installations (open 24/7) and 40+ international artists, architects and scientists exploring the theme of Bruges as a “megacity”. It asks the question what if the 5,000,000+ tourists who visit Brugges each year just decided to stay? More information can be found at

Watch the world go by

Relaxing activity

bruges beer

Find a nice bar, order a beer, sit back and watch the world go by. Bustling Bruges, with it’s 5 million plus annual tourists, is the perfect place to relax and take in your beautiful surroundings. And the summer time is the perfect time of year to do this, when the weather’s warm enough to sit outside- but not too hot to really relax as in other worldwide cities. With Belgium’s perfect selection of homegrown beers too you can’t find a better location. Order some “tapas” nibbles from the menu if you’re feeling peckish: go local and enjoy some cheese with mustard. Just don’t have one too many and peak too early, meaning your whole evening is wasted!

There are nice but typically expensive bars in all main squares in Bruges, but some of my favourites are in the smaller squares and streets such as treelined Simon Stevinplein and canalside Huidenvettersplein (Tanners’ Square) where you’ll find slightly cheaper prices.

Klinkende Kroegen

Bar/pub Music

Roughly translated as Sounding Bars, Klinkende Kroegen is a summer music schedule running every Wednesday throughout July and August. Each week a free live performance is arranged by a different band in a different bar between 8pm and midnight. Performances range from songwriters to cover artists, and every genre from Soul to House. The program is published on, but the translate function of google may be required.


Free music events

A fairly young event, Moods is another celebration of music in Bruges started in 2014, centering around Burg square. In 2015, there is a free concert in Burg square every Friday and Saturday, and a paid concert (costing 13 euro for presale tickets) in Binnenplein Belfort from 24th July until 6th August.

More information including ticket sales for paid events can be found at

Brugge Belfort


Although open year-round, the views of the Belfry have to be best with the clear skies and warm weather of the summer. Climb the 366 steep steps to the top at 83 meters and then BREATHE and take in the stunning panoramic view. It’s not the worst climb I’ve done, but not the easiest either, and there are a few very narrow points. During summer months the queues will get very long, as only 70 people are allowed up at once, so go early or late in the day to avoid. When we visited the bells very suddenly started playing, making me jump out of my skin! 2015 prices are around 8 euros per person, but are you can get in free if you get a City Card or Museum pass.

More info at


Cycle ride

Bicycle hire is a big business in Bruges, and one of the first things recommended to us the first time we went to Bruges by a regular tourist was cycling to Damme (I’ll never forget him trying to talk to a local woman about it and loudly saying “you know, Dammmnnn- beautiful” in a typical British manner. The local woman had no idea what he was going on about and this lasted for a good few minutes until she finally got it and went “OOohhh, Dah-muh, yes beauuutifuulll little village”. Pronunciation, we learnt, is everything).

Start off by making your way to and cycling the vesten- the lovely green outer ringroad which will probably take you past some windmills. This will take you to Dampoort. Follow the signs for traffic to Damme and you’ll find a brilliant flat cyclepath along the canal which will take you straight to Damme. This road is around 4 miles long and on bike should take around 30 minutes to get there. Look out for the trees lining the road, all of which have been bent in exactly the same spot by the wind, then look out for the white Hoeke Windmill- the signal that you’ve arrived!

In Damme there are a few small attractions including the Our Lady of Damme church, the town hall or Stadhuis on Kerkstraat with 2 “stones of justice” hung on the wall outside- a punishment tied to the feet or neck of convicted women to carry around the village, and a few nice little bars and restaurants.

Once you’ve had lunch and a lovely wander through the pretty streets, take your time to cycle back along the same path back to Bruges.

There is also a boat which runs along the canal from Bruges to Damme in around the same time if you’re feeling less energetic, but the cycle ride has to be the best way to get there! A day’s bike hire costs around 10 euros for adults, whereas an adult’s return boat trip costs 10,50 euros. Bicycles are even allowed on the boat so a happy compromise would be to buy a single ticket at 7,50 euros and then cycle back! This, of course, leads me on to what is widely regarded as the must-do tour of Bruges…

Bruges boat tour


bruges boat

Boat tours in Bruges run from Spring until Autumn, so was something we didn’t get to do on our first couple of visits until we finally went during the summer.

Four around 7 euros, you’ll get a lovely relaxing boat cruise around the famous canals of Bruges- “the Venice of the North” (being a Brummie- the city claiming to have more canals than Venice, I actively seek canal trips on all holidays. Okay, that probably has nothing to do with me coming from Birmingham, I just like canals and rivers). The cruise includes a multi-lingual commentary from a live tour guide who points out all of the wonderful sights of the medieval city which can’t be seen from any other means of transport, including the most photographed dog in the world, Fidel (don’t google him, go on the tour and take your own photo!). Definitely worth the fee.


That’s all of the summer-exclusive attractions of Bruges that I can think of. Let me know if you have heard of others or discover any of your own and I’ll feature them in the article!

Review: Straffe Hendrik Wild 2015

Straffe Hendrik Wild - 2015

Today we’ll be reviewing Straffe Hendrik Wild (2015 Edition) from the Haalve Maan Brewery over in Bruges. It’s a derivative of the Straffe Hendrik Tripel, produced on a limited run, with these ‘Wild’ versions of the popular Tripel first being introduced in April of 2014.

Where does the ‘Wild’ tag come from?

I’ll quote the Haalve Maan themselves on this….

The traditional tripel beer is re-fermented with a wild Brettanomyces yeast, that creates unusual fruity aromas in harmony with the rich use of aromatic hop varieties. The wild yeasts also provide a longer natural shelf life to the beer and taste developing over the years.

Sounds like it might be interesting to follow this review up after giving the beer a year to mature – we’ve put aside a couple of bottles.

Abv wise it weighs in at 9%, comes to us in 330ml bottles and has a recommended serving temperature of 6°C (43F). Shelf life is recommended to be no more than 5 years.

Carl’s Review

First I’ll talk about the bottle: The Straffe Hendrik range has a fantastic clean modern design – they looks classy, especially the quad, and the Wild is no exception. The white label with brewery logo, distinctive Straffe Hendrik typeface with the highlighted date and then the eye-catching Wild tag around the label base – looks tasty.

I pour the 330ml bottle into a Straffe Hendrik glass – colour wise it’s golden, very clear with a nice head and like the label, looks great. It smells fruity to me and I can smell apples and peach – a nice smell indeed.

Once the head dissipates a little I give it a taste…  It’s quite a bitter taste actually which turns a little sweeter once it lingers. Perhaps it’s the drinking of it on a nice summers day but this really goes down nicely. The finish is dry – I think it’s quite refreshing.

To sum up – I like this, I really really like this – everything about it I like – the label, the colour, the aroma the taste.  I’m a little annoyed I only bought 4 as I wouldn’t mind putting more of these away for a year to see how it develops with time.

A very very excellent and highly recommended –  9/10

Helen’s Review

Straffe Hendrik Wild (in Glass)

This beer is presented in a brown beer bottle with a white label featuring the Halve Maan brewery logo and cheerful green typography.

When I poured the Straffe Hendrik Tripel Wild the first thing I said is “wow, what a beautiful colour”. It’s a bright, crisp orangey amber colour with a lovely white head. It’s quite cloudy and makes me feel happy.

I’m not one for smelling beers as you might be able to tell from my previous reviews, but this one has a lovely fruity aroma. It makes me want to go and sit outside in the sunshine.

The first mouthful of my beer and I’m struck first by a lot of bubbles, so much that it takes a few seconds to pick up any distinct taste at all. Then bitterness sets in on the tongue. It’s not an unpleasant bitterness, but is definitely the main flavour for me. Once that’s died down I’m left with a fruity-coffee taste on my tongue. Again it’s not unpleasant, but not driving me wild either.

That fruity-coffee flavour lingers in the back of my throat for quite a while. Once it’s gone my tongue is left excited and a little fizzy, and I’m left wanting more. It seems to bring quite a lot of saliva to my mouth too. The flavour has definitely made a distinct impression on my tongue.

I like this beer and appreciate the flavour, but I can think of others I’d go for before. I do really like the branding though and find the bottle one of the most attractive I’ve seen. I much prefer my darker beers.

I’d give this beer a decent 6 out of 10.