From Bruges to Damme by bike

A quiet little town of 22,000 souls, Bruges can boast of attracting more than 7 million tourists every year. Situated in Flanders, just a few kilometres from the North Sea, the city seems to have been designed for lovers from all over the world, provided you visit out of season! The city's maze of narrow streets are packed at weekends and during the school holidays. Although the city affectionately known as the "Venice of the North" has nothing in common with its Italian counterpart (starting with the climate!), the Belgian version more than deserves to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's great to stroll along its cobbled streets, visit its museums, admire its monuments or sail on its canals... And as is traditional in northern Belgium, why not hop on a bike for a ride along the canals, heading for Damme just a few kilometres away.

© M. Vinuesa / Shutterstock

The best way to discover Bruges and soak up its history and unique atmosphere is to get lost and wander through the maze of cobbled streets in its medieval setting. Don't hesitate to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Grand-Place, and you'll really discover the undeniable charm of this sleepy city, frozen in time a few hundred years ago. You'll come across some not-to-be-missed sights, such as the Saint-Anne district, the Saint-Gilles district and the peaceful beguinage. You can visit a number of museums, from the classic Groeninge to the bizarre Museum of Torture. But if you feel like leaving the city for a few hours and soaking up local Flemish life, why not hire a bike and take a ride along the canal to Damme, a small town adjacent to Bruges. Peace and quiet guaranteed, this quiet little town is well worth a visit.

Bruges at sunset

- © canadastock / Shutterstock

And if you feel like it, why not stay close to Bruges. If you're looking for peace and quiet, the area around the Venice of the North is full of small, charming and peaceful B&Bs for a unique romantic getaway. Here is a selection of 3 places to stay not far from Bruges, where you can relax in family-run establishments that are more accessible and far from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

⭐Here is a selection of 3 B&Bs where to stay near Bruges.

Hotel De Grote Wateringe Bruges
Booking.com

Hotel De Grote Wateringe

Hotel de Grote Wateringe is 6.8 km from the golf course.
8.1 Very good
From
£69 / night
Book
Guesthouse B&B De Loverlij Bruges
Booking.com

Guesthouse B&B De Loverlij

Guesthouse B&B De Loverlij is located in a peaceful area of Jabbeke, less than 6 km from Bruges.
9.5 Exceptional
From
£151 / night
Book
Flemish cottage Bruges
Booking.com

Flemish cottage

Located in Oostkamp, Flemish Cottage has a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a garden and a terrace.
9.4 Fabulous
From
£115 / night
Book

In Flanders, and more widely in north-western Europe, the use of bicycles to get around is very widespread. Indeed, it's very common for children to cycle to school from an early age, and for parents to do the same for work. Belgium, nicknamed the flat country, is no exception. The average altitude in Belgium is just 200 metres. So Flanders is the perfect place to find beautiful, pleasant cycle paths. The city of Bruges is no exception, and this is your chance to hire a bike and explore the area around Bruges in complete peace and quiet, far from the hustle and bustle of the city. Head for Damme, a small, historic and picturesque town very close to Bruges and the Belgian coast.

Bike ride to Damme

- © M. Vinuesa / Shutterstock

Damme came into its own in the Middle Ages thanks to its status as the outport of Bruges, then one of Europe's leading merchant cities. The two towns were linked by a channel to the North Sea, so Damme was home to hundreds of European ships. And it was from this small town that goods were transported to Bruges on flat-bottomed boats. Wine, cloth, animal skins, jewellery, etc. were all shipped from Damme. Over the years, however, the decline of the maritime trade made itself felt, and Damme was gradually transformed over the centuries into a picturesque little village where you can enjoy a pleasant stroll.

You'd think you'd passed the Dutch border, with its windmills, pretty houses, water everywhere and daffodils, but this charming little town of Damme is actually in Belgium. Hire a bike and set off from Bruges, just 20 minutes by bike along the canal to reach this quiet little town. Admire the bucolic scenery and, once you've arrived, take a stroll through the town. Take the old town fortifications as your starting point - there's a map to help you find your way around and visualise Damme. Here you'll find the imposing Church of Our Lady, built in 1230, which bears witness to the town's heyday as the outport of Bruges and one of the most important in Flanders. Take a look at the town hall, built in 1464 in the Brabant Gothic style. It stands on the former market square and served as a warehouse and town hall. But these days, you'll be a long, long way from the hustle and bustle of Bruges city centre. If you want to find out more about the city, head for De Grote Sterre, the former stately home to the right of the town hall. Here you'll find the tourist office and a small museum tracing the history of Damme.

Damme Municipal Palace

- © Menno van der Haven / Shutterstock

👉Practical information

You'll have no trouble hiring a bike for the day to get to Damme. Expect to pay around €12/day Here are the bike hire points listed by the city: https://www.visitbruges.be/fr/verken/fietsverhuurpunten&utm_source=easyvoyage

If you want to visit Damme but don't want to hire a bike, there are river shuttles between Bruges and Damme. It runs daily from the "Noorweegse" quay in Bruges to the centre of Damme and back

🕛Open Monday to Saturday, 11am to 5pm

💰Fares:

Adults: €10 one way / €15 return
Senior: €8 one way / €12 return
Children: Free for children under 5

by Val HANCOCK
Need a hand? take a look at our guide
Bruges
Bruges
Further reading
An overview of the most unusual museums in Bruges
Bruges
An overview of the most unusual museums in Bruges
With its colourful facades, cobbled streets, canals and beguinage, Bruges is a living testimony to the history of Belgium. A medieval town par excellence, the city is an open-air museum....
A unique sensory experience at the Concertgebouw Museum in Bruges
Bruges
A unique sensory experience at the Concertgebouw Museum in Bruges
Bruges, a picturesque little town in the north of Belgium. In the distance, the North Sea rises proudly, lulling the inhabitants of Bruges into an iodised air. The city is imbued with...
Visit the Bruges beguinage, a haven of peace in the heart of the city
Bruges
Visit the Bruges beguinage, a haven of peace in the heart of the city
Bruges is undoubtedly famous for its canals, its medieval charm, its cobbled streets, its primitive painters and its chocolates. In short, it has all the makings of a romantic little...
Latest news
Montpellier
Delving into Montpellier's cultural life
Marseille
Our 5 favourite spots on the Côte Bleue: paradise between Marseille and Martigues
Marseille
The 10 most legendary hotels in Marseille
Montpellier
Visit the Ecusson: Montpellier's historic centre
Naples
Discovering the villages of the Amalfi coast, an Italian poem
Read more articles
Best cities