As of June 8th, local tourists are allowed to visit Bruges again. On Monday June 15th Belgium will open its borders for visitors from Europe, the UK, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Lichtenstein. There are no restrictions. No news yet when travellers from the rest of the world will be allowed, this is a joint European decision, but the European Union will most probably open its borders for the rest of the world on July first.
In Bruges tourism is slowly coming back, but it is still pretty quiet, so it is in fact a perfect time to visit the city if you don’t like crowds. Hotels, bars and restaurants are open again, as are shops, and mobile food trucks. Most bars and restaurants have an outside terrace area where everyone can sit with enough distance between the tables. The number of people in the indoor areas is limited. Prior reservation (restaurants) and registration (cafés) is required and your party is limited to 10 people. Cafés and restaurants close at 1 AM. Some restaurants offer meal delivery (delivery) and meals to take away (take-away). Waiters have to wear a mask. When shopping you are asked to enter shops on your own and to stay no longer than 30 min. in a shop. Each shops limits the number of shoppers at the entrance. At the beginning of the main shopping streets you can desinfect your hands and buy a face mask. Payment by card is advised, although cash is also accepted.
Most museums have reopened with exception of the belfry and the Sint-Janshuis windmill. No news yet on when they will open again. Choco-Story, the Concert Hall and the Frietmuseum will open on July first. The musea work with a reservation system, you can make reservations up to two weeks prior your visit. It is recommended to wear a mask, at the entrance desinfectants are available and you have to keep 1,5 m distance from other visitors. You can scan a QR code to get all the information on your smart phone because audio guides are not available. Best bring head- or earphones.
In the weekends you can take a boat tour, only 20 to 25 people are allowed on the boat and everyone has to wear a mask. From June 20th horse carriage rides are available again on the weekends, they will have a plexiglass shield between the coachman and the passengers.
Guided walking tours are also allowed again, a guide can take a max. of 20 tourists, everyone has to keep a distance of 1,5 m, it is advised for everyone to wear a mask in case the distance of 1,5 m cannot be guaranteed. Guided tours should be booked in advance, the guide has to keep a list with names and phone numbers of the visitors participating in the guided tour. Desinfectants should be made available for all participants and the guide has to desinfect his hands every time he touches something. The guide will be the one who opens the door for everyone in the group.
Taxis run normally. Busses and trains are back to their normal schedule, and the free Shuttle bus in Bruges has also resumed its operation. Face masks are compulsory on public transport.
All large events are cancelled until the end of August.
A swimming and sun bathing area will open at the Coupure on June 27th every day from 1 to 8 PM. Only 30 people are allowed on the pier and this year there are no changing rooms, you already need to wear you bathing suit. They will also work with a reservation system.
If Bruges is on your bucket list, now is the time to visit!!