Long known as one of the most historic and well-preserved medieval towns in the world, Bruges seemed almost too perfect a place for this time of year, a most ideal Christmas town. But in many ways, Bruges exceeded my expectations. I anticipate a town much smaller and a whole lot more touristy than what I discovered. Christmas in Bruges distills the fairytale essence of Christmas. And if there’s one word that sums up Bruges, it’s chocolate. You can’t walk the streets before encountering an intoxicating scent of pralines and Belgian waffles. But if sweets are your weakness, then let me warn you, prepare to muster up all your self-control.
1. Christmas Markets in Bruges
There are 2 Christmas markets in Bruges. The city hosts an awesome ice sculpture festival.The markets are smaller than the ones in Brussel. Yet, don’t miss to visit them because of the fairytale atmosphere. The main one is located at Markt in the historical heart of the city. There is a second smaller Christmas village at Simon Stevinplein. Both markets are within a walking distance from each other.
2. Bruges Serene Canals
Belgium is one of the ‘low-countries’ and has the canals to prove it. Take advantage of the quiet time of year in December for a canal-side stroll in Bruges. Duck down a side street and you’ll feel like you have the whole town to yourself.
3. Festive Belgian Chocolates
Belgium is synonymous with chocolate and Bruges chocolate is some of Belgium’s finest. We enjoyed browsing the shops and spotting Santa caps and reindeer among the chocolate creations.
4. Bruges Cozy Beer Pubs
Bruges has its fair share of Belgian beer pubs. De Garre is famous for their house beer which weighs in at about 11% alcohol content so watch out. We also visited ‘t Brugs Bieratelier which had fantastic atmosphere including an old timey cash register. Our favorite part was the fact that they do tasting flights to give folks the opportunity to sample a variety of Belgian beers. Variety is the spice of life.
5. Christmas Dinner at Bistro de Schilder
Bistro de Schilder is a cozy restaurant stationed inside an old gabled canal house in Bruges. There are some disturbing paintings of clowns on that wall, but that aside, the food was quite excellent. I managed to eat an entire pot of mussels in their signature beer sauce. Plus, don’t forget the frites! Bistro de Schilder is an ideal spot for Christmas dinner in Bruges.