Being a Digital Nomad in Bruges

And that will be the last time you see Brugge (pronounced Brooh-geh), spelt as “Bruges” in this article. Whether you’re inspired by the film or not (certainly the former for me), Brugge is a modern day historical masterpiece. The bite-size Belgian town commands first class tourist numbers for the nation, if not Europe, with its medieval architecture, antique footpaths and of course, broad variety of ales. So let’s find out what it’s like to be a digital nomad in Brugge.

Getting there

Wandering around Europe is pretty easy. Perhaps that’s just the appreciative Aussie in me coming out. After all, our closest major nation is a 3-hour flight from Sydney! I’m also convinced that trains are the fastest and cheapest way to make your journey across the continent, especially if you are heading towards a major town or city. Brugge has its own central train station, which is only a short stroll to and from the main city-centre (Centrum). There are many options by rail and the cost will of course depend on where you’re coming from, how classy you want travel or perhaps you have a local discount etc. But here’s a solid indication: A second-class return journey, lasting about 3 hours from the Netherlands, with one change-over, will set you back anywhere between 60-80 Euros. For the most complete and accurate pricing, it’s best to hop onto your local rail website. Try one of these handy platforms.

https://www.nsinternational.nl/en

https://www.belgiantrain.be/en/search

https://www.omio.com

Accommodation

Obvious alert: Brugge is certainly no cheap-weekend trip, so prepare to dig a little deeper into those travelling pockets. Having said that, there are always ways you can be smart about your expenditure. The urge to set up camp near the city centre is always strong, but the great thing about Brugge is the spread of accommodation in and around the city; there is plenty on offer for whatever style of traveller. I stayed at the Ibis Budget, which is about a 5 minute walk from the station and saved more than 50% on accommodation costs than most places in the city centre. The budget hotel offers comfortable bedding, workable WiFi speeds and morning breakfasts (for 7.50 euro). Expect to pay anywhere between 100-150 Euro a night in the city centre, for a mid-range hotel.

A horse carrying people in Bruges
Brugge, Belgium

Food and Drinks

This is no south-east Asia backpacking trip, the cost of eating out is going to be a little dearer than most nomad-centric locations around the world. Fret not however, during my stay I was able to find some handy outlets that offer delicious meals that won’t turn you into an European begpacker!

Here are some great options.

1. Taboule – Syrian/Middle Eastern cuisine

2. Bocca – Take-away Italian

3. Li O Lait – Bagel House for breakfast/brunch

4. Soup – A delicious assortment of Soups for dining in

5. That’s Toast – Breakfast toast with loads of toppings

Now to Drinks. If you’ve travelled much around Europe, you’ll know that the price of alcoholic beverages is quite good (cheap), relatively speaking, certainly to Australia. Brugge is quite popular for its special beer – you know, the ones they insist you pour in a glass- so unfortunately, there’s no getting away from the price of liquor. But if you steer clear of the fancy places (very obvious) and stick to the open markets and stores, expect to pay 4-6 euro for a special beer and 3-4 euro for a basic pilsner. Quick hint: try the Kwak! Comes in a super cool glass

Beers in bruges
Beer for days in Belgium!

Work-space

This is what I absolutely loved about Brugge. Free internet galore! Most sit-in places have Free-WiFi that doesn’t require a password. Even if you’re wandering the streets, there is a high probability you can connect to near-by restaurants or bars. For a sit down work session, there are plenty of laptop friendly breakfast and brunch cafes. My favourite was Li O Lait. Great value breakfast/brunch bagels, fantastic coffee and best of all, spacious indoor and outdoor areas so you can work in comfort and peace. Quick note: If you do go to Li O Lait, you will need to sign in with your Facebook account to access their WiFi. It will ask you to check-in before being connected, so as long as you’ve got no problems with your Facebook friends knowing where you are in the world, you’re all good to connect!

Why Brugge?

Brugge is a town straight from a fairytale! Picture Disneyland combined with the Kremlin and you have Brugge. With its cobble-stone pathways, horse-carts roaming the town-centre, iconic wall-to-wall homes and overall historical preservation, Brugge is truly a sight for sore eyes. While most digital nomads would call a week in Brugge a bit extreme and expensive, I wanted to experience everything this unique place had to offer in my own time. They’ve even built a 7-9 km oval running track around the city making sure travellers staying for a little longer can burn off all those waffles and chocolates!

river and city of bruges
The picture perfect city of Brugge

Imagine waking up one morning to find out that you had teleported to the 18th century. Except everyone was dressed like they were in 2020 and you had free WiFi! Well you don’t need to imagine anymore, just go to Brugge. While not the easiest on the wallet, Brugge is a gorgeous European city. If you find yourself in the Western parts of the continent, you’d be kicking yourself if you didn’t at least spend a couple of nights in Brugge.


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