Home Uncategorized 39 Stunning Things to see in Bruges in Winter

39 Stunning Things to see in Bruges in Winter

by Roberto
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Bruges. This small Flemish city in the north of Belgium packs a serious punch. It deserves its place on any Europe itinerary, and is an absolute must on any visit to Belgium. Bruges in winter is the ideal time to visit, rather than the summer when throngs of tourists pack its streets. A weekend break in Bruges in 2021 is also the perfect amount of time to see its main attractions.

So what is it about visiting Bruges that enticed me so much, and after two days made me so disappointed to leave. In a word, everything. It’s one of the smaller cities I’ve visited recently with the population of the inner city being around 20000. This helps to give the place a calming relaxed atmosphere; one that belies its size. That coupled with its canals, its medieval buildings and pedestrianized streets ensure that a stay is very fulfilling for the cultural traveller.

The following blog is a 20 minutes read.

Table Of Contents
  1. Why Come to Bruges in Winter
  2. Travelling to Bruges in Winter
  3. History of Bruges
  4. Why Visit Bruges in Winter
  5. Top things to see in Bruges in Winter
  6. Christmas in Bruges
  7. Canals and Lakes
  8. Churches of Bruges
  9. Squares of Bruges
  10. North of the Centre
  11. Museums in Bruges
  12. Eating and Drinking in Bruges
  13. 39. Take a walking tour

Why Come to Bruges in Winter

I’m going to be honest, Bruges didn’t really enter my radar until the movie of In Bruges did. It’s not a movie for the sensitive, but being Irish the humour was right up my street. But moving away from Ray (the movies character), who didn’t have much in the way of good things to say about Bruges, the city was presented as a waterside masterpiece.

Much of my wanderlust has been born from my love of movies and in Bruges, this was most definitely true. It didn’t take me two days to fall for its charms. It took me all of ten minutes after I disembarked the train and made my first amble into the city. If you have any doubts why I feel so about the city, take a look at blog, a 50 photos of Bruges why I fell in love with the city.

Two days or a weekend will  let you see a lot of what the city has to offer, but it’s the kind of place you could spend a few more, as it would be easy to slow down to the pace of the city. So many backstreets warrant walking down, and there quite a few museums and galleries. I couldn’t imagine getting bored here, it’s as perfect a place to do nothing as I have ever been.

Travelling to Bruges in Winter

Bruges in West Flanders is located 97 Km from Brussels the Belgian capital. Its served by a good road network naturally, however, bear in mind that much of the centre is pedestrianized if coming by car. I opted to come by train from Brussels which takes roughly one hour. A return ticket between the city’s cost me €29.60 for second class. Bruges is also easily reached from Holland. The train station is located 1.5km from the centre, and my suggestion is to walk, the alternative being a taxi.

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History of Bruges

Bruges is a Viking city founded in the 8th century. It quickly grew as a port and by the 12th century canals and medieval city walls had been added, to a now burgeoning metropolis. During the subsequent centuries Bruges was the commercial and trade capital of North Europe, and a hub for much of the continent. Many of the great cities of Europe constructed houses here, signifying its importance. A great many of the wonderful buildings that I will soon introduce you to were financed during this time.

The silting up of the main waterway serving the city, the Zwin Channel, caused a massive drop off in its fortunes. The population suffered severe decline. But the misfortune of one is often to the benefit of another, as with a lack of funding to develop, the city has been preserved in time, with much of its original buildings still intact. The 20th century brought tourism as the main industry and the city we now stroll through, is one that knows its place firmly in this modern-day. The historic centre of Brugge is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site

Why Visit Bruges in Winter

As mentioned before Bruges is ideal to visit in winter. It does see its fair share of tourists for the Christmas markets (as any city does), but its incomparable to the summer. As evening falls and the few day trip tourists leave it’s even more romantic. Visiting outside of December will allow you to see the city as it was seen all those centuries ago, a peaceful canal side city. The fairy tale houses are lit up, and the reflections on the canals are dream like. It’s the perfect way to warm your heart on a cold night.

Of course the cold is something that has to be contended with come winter. In December and January the average temperature is around 4 degrees Celsius. There are a good number of wet and possibly snowy days around this time of year too. Dressing sensibly is the way to go, with layers. especially if spending lots of time outdoors. On my visit in January, I didn’t find the weather particularly cold, except for the nights.

Top things to see in Bruges in Winter

Christmas in Bruges

1. Visit the Bruges Christmas Market

The markets are undoubtedly the best things to do in Bruges in December. The main market square is also the main location of the Xmas market, with stalls lining the side and all the streets that lead outwards. As with all Christmas markets the stalls focus on crafts and clothes, with the bonus of waffles, chocolate and Belgian beer to wash it all down.

Bruges like many European towns and cities transforms into a Christmas wonderland for the month leading up to the main event. For a town that already looks it was the inspiration for the little Christmas houses of my imagination, there is hardly a more apt place to celebrate it.

Bruges Christmas market runs from November 26th until 9th January this year.

Brugge Christmas Market. Photo from Viator.

A nod to global warming

Traditionally Bruges had an ice rink in the centre of the square. However, as a result of global warming, and the huge energy required to create it, the decision has been made to cancel it. The same applies to the Ice Sculpture Festival that was once a huge attraction of the city in winter. A small price to pay for the greater good.

2. Go Ice Skating

Ice skating fans fear not. A new environmentally friendly rink has been built at the Lake of Love aka Minnewater. It’s still an artificial rink, but now in the stunning surroundings of the lake. There is also a winter bar for those with two left skating feet like me.

3. Follow the trail of the Christmas Lights Festival

The christmas lights festival tracks two routes through the city. One leads to Minnewater Park, and the other ends to ‘t Zand, with both starting in Stationsplein. The warm lights lend a Christmas glow to the historical Bruges attractions, and there are several Christmas Trees along the route.

Canals and Lakes

4. Marvel at the Bruges Canals

Bruges unsurprisingly takes its name from the word bridge, and there are a total of 80 that cross the canals linking all parts of the city. The larger canals are on the circumference of the inner city, with smaller more beautiful ones dissecting the centre. The canals are the main selling point of the city, and a walk along any of them will provide no end of beautiful and picturesque sights. There is no right way or wrong way to see the canals and no correct path to take. There are some things and places which do deserve your attention though.

5. Take a Boat Tour of the Canals

Boat tours of the canals run from six locations within the city and a tour costs around €8 and lasts in the region of 40 minutes. The most popular mooring spots are at Boottochten and Rozenhoedkaai. The tours open your mind to parts of the city that simply cannot be seen from the streets. Boat tours may not be in operation however throughout the winter. They predominantly just run at weekends when the weather is amenable.

6. Stare in awe at Rozenhoedkaai

Rozenhoedkaai is the most photographed part of the city and justifiably so. The canal widens and turns on a bend to open up a view to the Belfry. The high medieval tower coupled with the brick buildings to the fore, presents a glorious view. It’s perfect at any time of day or night, by day the location can be a hive of activity, and by night the lights of the buildings twinkle and illuminate the canals below in a perfect reflection.

weekend in Bruges
Images from the Rozenhoedkaai

A walk along Djiver will bring you along one of the most beautiful stretches of the canals and the bridge at the end is another perfect place to come at night for those awe-inspiring reflections.

7. Feel the peacefulness at Wijngaardplein

One place worth visiting and that you will come across if you take my advice and walk the scenic route from the train station, is the Wijngaardplein. This area is the home of a bevy of swans and the houses of the Begijnhof. Be sure to seek out the unusual double horse head drinking fountain in the middle of the nearby street.

Bruges in Winter
The area of Wijngaardplein

8. Grab a shot for instagram at Bonifacius Bridge

Going past the entrance to the Groeninge Museum off Dijver Street will take you into the Arents courtyard. The courtyard has an interesting series of sculptures on the four horsemen of the apocalypse by Rik Poot. On your right is the fairy tale like Heren van Gruuthuse, where if Rapunzel were to appear and let down her hair it wouldn’t surprise you.  

Continue on past this and you will come to another canal in a secluded part of the city. The Bonifacius Bridge spans this canal and is one of Bruges’ most aesthetic. The buildings on the canal side or built in a style long-lost and their individuality makes this area one of Bruges’ most romantic.

9. Stroll along Groenerei Canal and Meestraat bridge

My favourite other stretch of canal was the one that took me to my hotel. The Groenerei canal runs alongside Steenhouwersdijk and again showcases some incredible buildings with step gables. It is also the location of Bruges’ oldest bridge, the historic Meestraat bridge which you will find featured in my gallery below. It’s worth travelling all the routes by day and by night as the lit bridges bring an extra dimension to the city.

10. Relax in Minnewater Park

As soon as I arrived in Bruges I hit the tourist trail. Instead of making for the centre, I turned right shortly after the train station and made towards the Minnewater Park. This one of the more open spaces in the city with a lake, known as the Lake of Love.  The lake is bound on one side by the Minnewater park and walkways on the others. Minnewater Park, accessed via lovers bridge is home to the Kasteel Minnewater which is a glorious backdrop to the lake. It now operates as a restaurant.

To the south, the first thing you will come across is the Powder Tower, a 15th century red brick tower used to store gunpowder. It’s always a good idea to store that away from the city, as several other cities have found out the hard way. The tower isn’t accessible but it is nice to visit. The lakes most northerly feature is the Sashuis, which is a lockhouse that regulates the canals in the city.

Powder Tower
Powder Tower
Minnewater Park
Minnewater Park
Minnewater Park

11. Sample life of a Begijnhuisje at ten Wijngaerde

Passing the swans of the Wijngaardplein, enter the Begijnhuisje. Much like the Begijnhof in Amsterdam, this area was home to the beguines, a community of women who lived a devout life, but never took vows. The area is today inhabited by Benedictine nuns. The Begijnhuisje was founded in the 13th century, but what exists today is from the 17th. It’s a place of reflection and solitude so you are asked to respect that when there. The church within can be visited, but the only house opened on my visit was a gift shop.

Church of the Begijnhuisje

Churches of Bruges

There are many churches and a cathedral littered around and it is advised to visit early if you wish to see the smaller ones. I was selective in my visits only going for the three standouts.

12. Take an art tour at the Church of our Lady Bruges

Locally known as the Onze Lieve Vrouw Kerk, this Church is more than just that. From the exterior it’s dominated by its massive tower, which is the highest in the city of Bruges. At 115 metres tall it still ranks as the second highest brick structure in the world. It’s a commanding sight from anywhere in the city. But it’s in the interior that the church truly excels.

You can expect to pay if you want to take a look around inside. At the time of my visit there were works being carried out, so the entry fee was only €2. This meant some works of art weren’t available to be seen. But there was still a great amount of great art adorning the church walls. Above the altar hangs a painting of the passion of Christ by Bernard Van Orley, the one painting you should seek out.

The church itself was decorated in the 13th century shortly after its construction in 1225. Some of these frescoes are now being excavated and repaired and it’s fascinating to see the art from this time. Tombs from this era can be seen too with colourful internal decorations. But it’s the tombs of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold that the church seems centred on. These 16th century tombs feature beautiful decorations and effigies of their occupiers.

13. Appreciate a masterpiece in Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child

Yet tucked away in the far corner of the church is its prize. Due to the building work what I saw was a replica, or so they say for security. Sometimes I’m never sure if half the art we see is the original. The prize in question is Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, a marble sculpture from 1505. It’s a delicately carved work and the hand of a master can easily be seen.

Michelangelo's Madonna and Child
Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child

14. Visit Bruges main church, Saint Saviour’s Cathedral

Saint Saviour’s Cathedral is the main cathedral of the city. It’s first incarnation was destroyed by fire and the present one was built in 1250. It only becoming the city’s main cathedral when the previous one was demolished by the occupying French. Much of the furnishings were moved here. The centre of the cathedral with its quire and altar is extremely attractive. Tapestries hang all around the walls and are finely decorated by Hendrik Van Susteren.

The rest of the church is a succession of small chapels with Flemish art and sculptures. It’s a very ornate church with much use of marble. I found the entombed sculpture of Jesus particularly startling, and very realistic in its depiction. The stain glass windows are of an amazing standard as you would expect from a European cathedral. Again this is a great place to see 13th century tombs with their artistic interiors. The cathedral can be visited for free and will easily provide a good half hours amusement.

Saint Saviour’s Cathedral
Altar of Saint Saviour’s Cathedral

15. Step into Adventure at the Basilica of the Holy Blood

This is undoubtedly the most interesting of Bruges trivium of main churches. For me, this will forever be known as the Indiana Jones church, owing to its defensive exterior, all golden knights and lions, and of course to its huge (by biblical proportions) possession. The Church of the Holy Blood is famous for the relic it holds, which is said to contain the blood of Jesus Christ.

I can envisage Indiana navigating past those defensive knights, scaling that precarious spiral stairs with its vaulted ceiling, before passing unknown dangers to save the relic from, lets see, Nazis of course who planned to use it to destroy the allies.

Once in the church you can enter the basilica museum to the right, which contains quite some interesting art, tapestries and relics. It also has a reliquary which is used in the annual Procession of the Holy Blood which walks through the streets of Bruges. The reliquary contains 30 kg of gold and silver and over 100 precious stones. The wealth of the Catholic Church never fails to impress me.

Basilica of the Holy Blood
Basilica of the Holy Blood

Chapel of the Holy Blood

Once inside the chapel it occurs to you how dark it is. So please excuse my photos as no flash is allowed either. We are now in the Chapel of the Holy Blood. This chapel was built in 1149, along with Chapel of St Basil on the lower floor. I was particularly impressed by the colourful curved arches which date from the earliest church, the globe shaped pulpit, and the high altar.The painting behind the high altar dates from 1905 and is an incredibly detailed work, depicting Christ on the cross and the journey of the relic to the church.

Which takes us to the relic, which is located in a side chapel. The relic is said to be cloth containing the blood of Christ, which was discovered in Constantinople during the second crusade, and taken to Bruges by Thierry of Alsace. The blood is held in a phial, and dating on it seems to corroborate the story. The clothing has never been examined in modern times, nor has it ever been removed from the phial. Interesting stuff.

Basilica of the Holy Blood

16. Follow the church trail

If you haven’t had your fill of churches by now you could try the Jeruzalemkerk in the north inner city, which is said to have an interesting interior. It was certainly bold on the exterior.

Sint-Jakobskerk is another parish church that is more than its sum parts. Donations from the cityfolk of Flemish art over the centuries, ensure that this small church is now yet another amazing gallery. It is on Sint-Jakobsplein.

Bruges in Winter

Squares of Bruges

17. Walk in the shopping Heart of the city

If Bruges’ soul lies in its canals and houses, then it’s heart lies in its squares. But before I leap head first into the squares, I suggest you take time to stroll the shopping street of Noordzandstraat. It’s the commercial heart of the city and is the ideal route to take to approach Markt. You will find no end of boutiques, high street stores and of course chocolate shops.

18. Find your bearings at the Market Square

The Grote Markt is the heart of the medieval and modern city of Bruges. On Wednesday of each week it aspires to its name and stalls and vans pull up, and the space transforms. The Markt sells flowers, fruit, veg and traditional and local goods. It’s the ideal place to grab a gift. Of course at Christmas, different types of market take centre stage.

The rest of the time it’s a pleasant open space. Largely pedestrianized with only one lane of traffic crossing it, it’s one of Bruges’ most impressive places. Each corner is laden with the most impressive architecture, many of the houses guild houses. The Provincial Palace is the most decorative building of the square, and now serves as the provincial court. Entry is only through inconvenience.

19. Fall in love with the Guild Houses

My favourite of all, and of all the buildings I saw in Belgium, were the row of Guild Houses on the northern side of the square. As fairytale as can be, they appear as if they could be made from gingerbread. All that is missing is the witch and Hansel and Gretel. It’s a great place to return to in the evening too, as the houses are lit in the most beautiful way.

20. Climb the Belfry

But inevitably my most anticipated thing to visit in Bruges was the Belfry. I do adore towers and this is one of the more famed ones. Perhaps only because of the aforementioned movie and the little argy bargy between Ray and some overweight tourists that he dissuaded to climb it.

I certainly wouldn’t be dissuaded. Not by the suggestion that there wasn’t much to see and not by the prospect of 366 steps. The Belfry towers over Bruges’ Markt, and is easily the most impressive building there. Standing since 1240, the bell tower as in most medieval cities played a huge part in everyday life, for warnings, celebrations and to draw crowds for interesting things like executions.

Belfry Bruges
Belfry Bruges

The interior of the Belfry shows us into a market hall which in this day serves little purpose more than a public toilet and as access to the tower. Admission costs €12 and it’s a challenging climb. The stairs are winding so bear in mind there isn’t much space to pass by people. There are welcome breaks inside in what used to be the town treasury and at various levels to see the bells and the clock.

But being a tower the beauty lies in the views from the top. The views don’t disappoint with full 360 degrees of the city, but the safety netting around make it difficult to capture the city well by photo. Which makes the argument that perhaps you are better scaling the smaller tower in the Historium.

21. Relive the Story behind a Painting at the Historium

The Historium is the city museum of Bruges and is in keeping with the modern trend of high-tech interactive museums. Entry isn’t cheap. To access the Historium story and the tower cost me €21 and it would be remiss of me not to question its value. Tickets can be bought online at a discount. I hadn’t because it wasn’t on my agenda, but during a rain shower it suited me perfect. You can also add-on entry to the virtual reality exhibit should you wish.

The exhibition takes you through the story of a time when Bruges was at its most prestigious as a trade city. It tells the story of Flemish artist Jan Van Eyck’s painting “Virgin and Child with Canon van see Paele” through the interactions of a servant and a girl called Anna who would feature in the painting. Through video and sets we see Bruges how it may have been in the 14th century.

It’s a very polished show but you do leave wondering what’s the point. But some of the sets are fun including the bit of gratuitous nudity. The tour takes you out to a panoramic terrace for nice views of Markt, before planting you straight into a Duvel bar. How very Belgian. The Duval chandelier here is very cool.

22. If you have the Energy Climb the Historium Tower

The other side of the Historium I undertook was the tower. The tower was only constructed in 1921 but the whole building looks so in keeping with its medieval counterparts. 145 steps will carry you to the top and again it’s not for those with claustrophobic or vertigo issues. It’s also hard work after the Belfry. But the view from top is unobstructed and Bruges looks more beautiful from this level. It’s not a city you want to reach too far away from so in essence this is perhaps the better tower of the two in the square.

Views from Historium

23. Relax on a Horse Carriage Ride

Yes it’s quite possibly the most touristy thing on this list. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that Bruges is the perfect city to embrace it in. The carriage rides begin at Markt and take a 30 minute tour around the city. Currently they are priced at €55. It’s always a concern how animals are treated in the provision of tours such as this, but thankfully the Bruges horses look magnificent.

Bruges in Winter

24. Visit the Second Square of Bruges- Burg Square

The Burg Square is only marginally less beautiful than its counterpart. A walk through Briedelstraat (where you should stop for waffles) will take you to Burg Square which is one of the oldest parts of Bruges. The square was once a fortress but there are no remains of that. Again it is surrounded by guild houses and some really remarkable buildings in the form of the City Hall and the old Court House.

25. Appreciate Architectural Beauty at the City Hall

The squares most beautiful building and also Bruges’ is the City Hall. This was constructed in 1376 in Gothic style. The facade is absolutely stunning, with a collection of statues of knights and biblical figures.

Bruges City Hall
City Hall of Bruges

But the beauty isn’t restricted to the outside. A €6 entry fee gives you access to the City Hall and the adjoining Court House. The reception seems very average and I nearly didn’t go in. I was glad I give it a chance. Most of the doors were oddly locked on the lower level so I wondered what I was doing there. There was an elegant stairs leading to the first floor, but I simply wasn’t prepared for what awaited beyond.

The Gothic Hall is simply one of the most beautiful rooms I have ever stepped in. The beautiful vaulted ceilings pale in significance to the 19th century murals which decorate very centimetre of wall space. The murals detail Bruges’ past, and the interactions between citizens and government. The room is a masterpiece and needs to be seen as much as anything else in the city. The Historic Hall contains many documents on the history of the city, but I was too distracted by the murals to pay much heed.

Bruges City Hall
Bruges City Hall
Bruges City Hall

26. See the working of Law in Bruges at the Old Court House

With your ticket in your pocket from the Stadhuis make your way next door to the Old Court House. This building is nearly as beautiful as its neighbour with the enchanting Blind Donkey Alley separating them. The building is topped by a statue of Lady Justice showing its stature in the legal sense. The facade is a blend of gold and marble.

The interior appears cluttered on first entry, but again like its neighbour, the Aldermans Hall contained within is its highlight. Here is the chamber where fates were decided. It’s a solemn place and the painting by Van Tilborgh captures the chamber at work. The room is dominated by the fine fireplace from 1528. It is an extravagant mix of oak, marble and alabaster and a great piece of Renaissance art. 

Bruges old court house
Bruges old court house

North of the Centre

It’s worth taking a stroll to the northeast of the city. I did so after breakfast on the morning of the second day there. The streets are mostly deserted besides the odd wandering soul like myself. Here you will find the Jeruzalemkerk as well as the English Convent.

27. Visit 18th century Windmills

I kept pushing out until I reached the outer canal and the two windmills, Sint-Janshuismolen and Boon-Chiere that lie in this area. Both were built in the late 1700’s. They weren’t open in January but they were available to tour from April onwards.

bruges in winter
a weekend in Bruges

28. Enter Bruges as People have done for 600 years at the Kruispoort Gate

The area provided a nice break from the centre and the dragon shaped benches are the perfect place to sit and relax. The rampart here curves down to the Kruispoort Gate. This is the oldest and best preserved of the remaining gates into the city. Constructed in the 15th century it is still an operational access point into the city for vehicles.

12-01-2019 395_edited
Bruges in winter

Museums in Bruges

There are no end of museums in Bruges from museums dedicated to beer, fries, and chocolate, to the more traditional ones dedicated to torture and diamonds. Sorry art and history.

29. Appreciate art at the Groeninge Museum

Located in the Eekhout Abbey the Groeninge Museum is Bruges’ principal museum. Principally dedicated to art, Renaissance, Baroque, Flemish Expressionism and modern day art are all well showcased here. If the Historium tickled your curiosity, then this where you will find the Van Eyck masterpiece. But its rich collection also contains other Flemish artists of note such as Memling, van der Goes, Bosch, and Blondeel.

30. Visit a 12th Century Hospital at Sint-Janshospital

The Sint-Janshospital is a unique museum which pays great detail to its past. A 12th century hospital, it now serves as an art museum. Hans Memling is the artist principally featured here, including his masterpiece the Ursula Shrine. But the museum excels in its showcasing of its medical instruments, and the old hospital pharmacy, all housed in the magnificent medieval building. Entry is €12 for adults.

31. Learn the Story of Chocolate at the Choco-Story Museum

For anyone interested in the history of chocolate this might be the place for you. For those who are more interested in the taste, they do free samples. It’s a win-win. Did you know chocolate is 4000 years old? A demonstration will take you through the deepest darkest secrets of making chocolate too. The chocolate museum is open 7 days a week, costs €9,50, and is on Wijnzakstraat.

Eating and Drinking in Bruges

32. Consume the one thing better than Chocolate

Stop scratching your heads and get this – Chocolate beer!! Yes chocolate beer is a thing in Bruges, available at the Chocolate Kiss bar on Wijngaardstraat. The only place I know where you can get endorphins and get sauced at the same time.

33. Warm up during Bruges in winter at the the Old Chocolate House

The Old Chocolate House is the perfect place to duck in out of the cold. It is located on Mariastraat. Boasting the best hot chocolate in the city, and a has huge selection of gingerbread, cookies or luxurious chocolates to accompany it, while relaxing in the upstairs tearoom.

34. Drink Coffee in one of Bruges’ Oldest Buildings

The cafe at Huis Craenenburg. The building is a historical one dating from the 14th century and has historical connections to Princess Margaretha of York who celebrated her marriage here. The building has great style and the cafe that now inhabits the space is in its third generation. It also means another thing, to dine or wine in this space is an expensive one. I stopped in for a cappuccino which cost me €4.80. At least the drink was good and it was nice to soak up the ambiance and history.

35. Eat the best Waffles in Town

These are found at Chez Albert. The waffles at Chez Albert are reputed to be the best in the city. Which I can attest too is as they were magical and I returned here a number of times during my trip. Somehow my path wandered this way again and again. What a coincidence. I felt no need to go elsewhere, all my waffle ambitions were fulfilled in those fantastic forkfuls. They didn’t serve nutella, but the Belgian milk chocolate was even more delicious. Go here when you are in Bruges, as you will not regret it.

Belgian waffles

36. Indulge in Belgian Chocolates

Belgian Chocolate can be found on every street. When I wasn’t wishing for waffles, I was getting charmed by chocolates. Chocolate is such a passion here, and the selections are enormous. I find some tantalising truffles to take home in Chocoholic, and part of the joy of the city was strolling from shop to shop checking out the handmade delights. Needless to say I sampled a few.

Belgian Chocolates

37. Fill up on the original Belgian Street Food

I’m always on the look out for a quick and easy option for lunch. After quite a search on my second day I found The Olive Str Food on Wollestraat. Faith was on my side and the name even provided the answer to the question I was asking. An extra-large portion of fries served with mayo, and I had my daily dose of Belgian Frites too. Well recommended for a budget stop and they also serve gyros.

Winter in Bruges

38. Tackle a full pot of Moules et Frites at ‘T Walpoortje

I had missed out on this dish when in Brussels so I intended to fix this in Bruges. It’s the Belgian national dish in case you didn’t know. I didn’t plan to eat here, but I was out and about at night and my wanderings took me up Wijngaardplein. I had spotted this restaurant earlier in the day on Walplein. It fit the bill perfectly and I didn’t even bother asking for the menu. Trust me though 1 kg of mussels and a plate of frites is a lot of food. Delicious as they were I couldn’t quite finish it. With a beer the meal cost me €30.

Winter in Bruges
Ideal food for Winter in Bruges

38. Get a Little Tipsy with Beer Tasting at Bruges Beer Museum

I arrived for a tour of the Belgian beer museum a little too late to visit, but luckily the bar hadn’t closed. They do a special offer of 5 beers for €10. Although they are only tasting glasses of 250ml, after five I wasn’t mistaken that I was drinking Belgian beer. There is certainly a great selection with good distinction between blond, amber and red ales, and all with distinct tasting notes. It’s best to give one from each group a go, and I thought the Rodenbach was the best.


39. Take a walking tour

Bruges is the perfect city to take a walk and explore. It’s compact size and glorious architecture lend so well to it.


If you prefer to be led, Get your guide offers a range of guided walking tours through the city, ranging in time and focus.

Bruges without a doubt ranks as one of the city’s I enjoyed visiting most. I simply cannot fault the place, and I suggest that everyone should visit, irrespective of their interests. Don’t pay any heed to Ray from In Bruges, his opinion is not that of the Irish. In short this Irishman says go to Bruges, you owe to yourself.

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