Its beginning to look like Christmas …
With Christmas well on its way what better way to get in the festive spirit than an adventure to one of Europe’s wonderful Christmas Markets. Although the Christmas markets are on the smaller scale in Brugge, the fairy tale charm of the city itself will provide for an unforgettable festive break.
Europe is super well connected so there are near well infinite options to reach this magical city.
Drive your own, or hire a car from almost anywhere in Europe, and drive yourself to this stunning city.
Jump on a flight for a quick and efficient way to explore this Belgium gem. Brussels plays host to the closest international airport, with 650 flights a day. Once landed, switch out the plane for a train to Brugge direct from the airport, check the live schedules here.
More often than not, coach travel tends to be the most affordable travel option these days. Be prepared for a long journey, depending on your departure point. Check out GoEuro to see what your coach options are.
Efficient and hassle free, I simply love a train journey. If there is a way for me to travel quickly and comfortably without having to deal with an airport, sign me up. Brugge is served by frequent train services from Brussels. If you’re travelling from London, jump on the Eurostar from St Pancras International and switch at Brussels Midi/Zuid to connect to Brugge. And the best part, the price of the Eurostar includes your connecting fare to Brugge! Plan your journey here.
Where to Stay
Accommodation options are all around in this fairy tale city. Take your pick from Hotels, Hostels, B&Bs and Airbnbs. The town is rather small and very walk-able so you don’t have to stay in the central square.
I stayed at the Snuffel Hostel which was perfect. A sociable hostel with friendly staff, large rooms and clean bathrooms. Less than a ten-minute stroll into the central square along the cutest streets and a wander by the delightful canal.
What to See & Do
Just wandering the winding cobblestone streets of this Belgium gem is a great way to explore the city and discover so many of its delights. Find yourself in one of its many adorable cafes, treat your taste-buds to some local delicacies take to the water and explore the canals.
The annual Christmas market takes place annually in the historic town centre. Make your way through the city to Markt Brugge and you’ll be greeted by festive cheer in the form of an epic ice-rink, Christmas music and alpine huts filled with festive treats including mulled wine and waffles.
The Christmas Market runs between 24th November 2017 and January 2nd 2018.
If the markets don’t capture your festive heart, visit the cutest Christmas store in town, Käthe Wohlfahrt. Filled with beautifully handcrafted items including Christmas ornaments and Cuckoo Clocks. It is a must visit whilst visiting Brugge, especially during the Christmas period.
Horse-drawn Carriage Ride
For the romantics out there, what better to do in a fairy tale town than take your significant other for a horse-drawn carriage ride? Bonus points if you’re lucky enough to get some snow!
This experience will set you back €50 for a half an hour journey around the historic old town.
Looking for another angle to see this magnificent city? Why not take to the water and explore the canals of Brugge? Thirty-minute cruises take you for a journey through the city, showcasing all of its highlights. Although the online schedule notes the operating months to be March-mid November, on my travels in December, there remained to be multiple companies operating cruises. The average cruise price was advertised around €8.
When in Belgium why not do as the Belgian’s do? Hire yourself a bike and explore the city like a local. Find yourself outside the old town and see what else Brugge and Belgium have to offer. There are so many places to hire a bike around town with the price for day hire sitting between €6-€13.
Belfry of Brugge
For a bird’s eye view over this historic city, climb to the top of the Belfry tower just off Markt Brugge. Standing at 83 meters it boasts an unforgettable panoramic view of Brugge, just beware you’ll have to work for it, there’s 366 steps standing in your way.
Entry to the tower costs €10
Visit the Brugge Beer Museum during your visit to learn all about the iconic beverage. Follow through from the history of beer, to its production process, taste the essential ingredients and pick up some handy food pairing tips. But most importantly, taste the delicious brew for yourself. After the interactive museum experience, find your way to the tasting room, where you can select three beers of your choosing for tasting.
Tickets cost €9 without a tasting, but lets be honest we all want that tasting so the €15 tickets are much more likely to tickle your fancy.
Well you’ve tasted the local brew, why not taste the local sweets too? Include a visit to Choco-Story on your Brugge itinerary and you simply won’t regret it. Learn all about the famous Belgian chocolate whilst touring the museum and enjoy sampling the sweet treats too. Tickets can be bought in combination with other Brugge attractions but sole Choco-Story tickets cost €8.
Where to Eat
Well you are in Belgium so there are three essential delicacies that you must try …
Everyone’s heard of Belgian chocolate, with its worldwide acclaim. So, it would be rude not to enjoy it, in its origin. You don’t have to look far to find this delicacy, almost every second shop is a chocolate store. Pick up a few from each store and eat your way around the city. I honestly can’t think of a better way to experience the city.
“And in the mornin’ I’m makin’ waffles” Just like Belgian chocolates, you’ll find waffles around almost every corner. Enjoy them from street food vendors or cafes but for the biggest and best waffles in town visit Lizzie’s Wafels.
Beer (sorry kids, you’ll have to skip this one)
Last but certainly not least, Belgium is famous for its delicious brew. Endless varieties of beer are available at most bars, so many that you won’t even know where to begin! Ask your waiter for recommendations or just take a gamble. Head to De Garre if you can find this gem, hidden down an alley between two chocolate stores no less.
So, if you’re looking for a Christmas getaway or just wanting somewhere to get into the Christmas spirit, Brugge is just the place. Come on, get planning and don’t forget your Christmas sweaters …