Located in the Flemish region of Belgium, Bruges is the capital and largest city in the province of West Flanders. As one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe, this UNESCO World Heritage city has a population of about 200,000 but attracts nearly 7 million visitors annually. The small old city is surrounded by four gates along the old rampart, although Bruge’s official limits stretch down to the Zeebrugge, or port, on the North Sea. From the ramparts around the preserved old city, to path-lined canals, fields, farmland, and great beaches and boardwalks of the nearby coast, running in Bruges is a sheer delight.
The best places to run in Bruges, and a great way to see the old city, are the inner or outer canal paths. Nearby, there are wonderful trails by castles in Tilleghem and an extensive network of canal paths that are popular for biking and running. We also love the 6 km canal-side run the the pretty town of Damme. On the coast about 15 km north, there are miles of ocean-side paths and fantastic beach running in Blankenberge, De Hann, and Ostend, and the unique Zwin Nature Park. For park-like and wooded paths, we recommend Ryckevelde, Beisbroek Forest, and the extensive network in Bulskampveld. The countryside around Bruges is also lovely for running — there are extensive paths and quiet rural roads passing by fields, farms, and historic sights of the Great War.
There is decent public transport in the area, consisting mainly of buses and trams. A light rail does go to the coast, and trains to other cities in Europe. For exploring the countryside, a car is helpful.