The best time to visit Bruges
High season in Bruges lasts from April to the end of October, and the tourist flow remains quite high during the whole period, with particular peaks in July-August (busiest months of the year) and May (3rd busiest month).
Winter is an off-peak season, except for the Christmas holiday period: January has the lowest number of visitors in the year.
For the best crowd/weather ratio plan to visit Bruges in March or November. June is the best summer month for a visit. In September and May weekends are extremely busy, though crowds are moderate on weekdays.
Most europeans tend to invade Bruges in August, during their usual vacation period - except for the British, who arrive in masses to explore the city’s Christmas markets in December. Japanese tourists also have their favorite month: it’s April. US visitors can be seen the most often between May and July, as for the Belgian tourists, they prefer coming in autumn.
Autumn and winter have the best ambiance within which to visit this small city, stroll along its canals and cobbled streets and finish the day in a cosy restaurant with a fireplace. In winter (except for holidays) you’ll also be able to get the best hotel rates and visit the most popular Bruges’ sites without any hassling crowds or long queues.
Tips to avoid crowds at Belfry
You may easily lose a half hour or more here, queuing to climb the stairs to the top. Only 70 visitors are allowed at a time, and in August, for instance, there are statistically almost 4.000 visitors every day, most of whom want to get inside! There’s no way to book a time slot or a ticket, everyone has to wait in line.
The best time to visit the famous Tower is therefore right at the opening: the earlier you come - the smaller the queue will be. This is due to a huge number of city trippers (locals & foreigners) who arrive to Bruges in general by 10-11 am and head to the Belfry first thing. In high season the queue may already be very long by 11 am. Midday is the peak time.
The crowds thin out again by late afternoon (once most day trippers have left), and there’s usually no queue to Belfry after 3 pm in the low and shoulder season. The site closes rather early, and during high season coming shortly before the last entry time may be risky.
Visit in the middle of the week if possible. That’s when the number of visitors is the smallest. Saturdays and Sundays, not surprisingly, come with the biggest queues.
Prefer climbing Belfry on a sunny day. When the weather is bad you won’t see much from the top, and it will be vexing after all that effort to get here!
Remember that there are 366 steps to climb: if you’re not in good health, it may be better to admire the Tower from the ground and check the other city sights.
Photo credits to Dennis Jarvis via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Adults: € 10,00
Tips for a few days in Bruges
This page will give you many tips to avoid crowds in Bruges as well as crowd schedules for top tourist attractions in order to plan your visits.
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Photo credits to Ken and Nyetta via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)