Christmas Shopping In Bruges

Bruges architecture

Bruges at Christmas

Bruges Christmas Market decorations display

On the coach back from our Amsterdam trip, the driver popped In Bruges on the DVD player to get us in the mood for our afternoon stopoff in the town often referred to as ‘The Venice of the North’. And Bruges is not, as Colin Farrell’s Ray would put it, “a shithole” – but in fact, an absolutely bloody beautiful place to visit. Plus there’s loads of beer and chocolate which are TWO OF MY FAVE THINGS. We decided to do some Christmas shopping in Bruges, and pick up some Belgian delights as we explored the city for an afternoon.

Hoegaarden beer in Bruges

Belgian chocolate shopping in Bruges

Despite the sky intermittently deciding we needed a wash (which we probably did after four hours on a coach that was often reminiscent of a sauna – saves money on the spa day I had planned, I guess), we mostly managed to dodge the rain and got to do quite a bit in the five or so hours we had there. First stop was a wander round the Christmas markets which got me all stupidly festive.

Actually, I tell a slight lie – first stop was the first stall of the Christmas markets to pick up some mulled wine and beer to accompany us on our wander. The markets were pretty epic – loads of decorations and Christmassy bits and bobs everywhere. Some of my favourite stalls featured some mildly terrifying Santa models and my one of favourite ever festive drinks, Advocaat. Obviously, we bought both. Who could resist these creepy little faces… #squadgoals

Santa Claus Christmas decorations Bruges market

As well as markets, there were also loads of shops – particularly ones selling chocolate and all kinds of interesting beers. I ended up picking up quite a few to take home, mostly fruit beers to drink in the bath, and spending a lot of time just browsing the huuuuge selections in the bottle shops – including the perfect beer for your friendly neighbourhood goth.

Bruges Belgian Satan Beer

Bruges Belgian Chocolate Teddy bears

The architecture and buildings and, well, EVERYTHING in Bruges is all basically like something out of a fairytale. Seriously. I half expected a long-haired lady to start yelling at me from a tower and blokes to be riding around in tights on their noble steeds in search of fair maidens.

There seemed to be barely any cars, instead horses and carts trotted around, and although ruddy-faced Christmas shoppers seemed to be out in force, the whole town felt very relaxed. I’d go off on one describing how beautiful the whole place is but seriously, just look at the pictures.

Bruges architecture Bruges architecture Bruges architecture

See? Told you. It’s not JUST about the Christmas shopping and beautiful architecture though. While we were walking about, our tour guide bumped into us and mentioned the Bruges Beer Museum – seriously, 48 hours with this guy around and it’s like he knew us. Er, either that, or we’re just really obvious booze fiends. My money’s on the latter, to be honest. We decided to pop our heads into the museum during another sky-cry moment and actually weren’t particularly impressed, aside from enjoying going around doing the quizzes.

It was a pretty dry, stale affair – who knew beautiful beer could be…well, pretty boring? However, the musuem’s saving grace was the tasting bar afterwards, where we picked up some generous-sized beer tasters in a variety of different flavours. With the tour price of €12 including three tasting glasses each, it wasn’t too bad – but for €10, you can JUST do the tasting AND you get five each instead of three. So my tip is to skip the museum and go straight to the tasty stuff.

Before returning to the coach, we couldn’t not pick up an absolute local classic – a Belgian waffle, topped with whipped cream and chocolate. Delicious.

Belgian Nutella Waffle

Christmas shopping in Bruges is a wonderful experience, in such a beautiful city. It has such a magical feeling, especially around Christmastime. It definitely doesn’t come across as party central if that’s your vibe, but it’s easily somewhere manageable as a day trip or stop off when travelling through Belgium. Also, did I mention that they have beer and chocolate?

  • Looks and sounds like you had a great time. That waffle looks delicious!

  • Gosh I love Bruges – I’m going to try to convince the husband we need to go back soon!

    • Do it! I’d love to visit again for a little longer – although I’m not sure how it’ll manage to beat the amazing festive vibes!

  • This sounds like such an amazing trip – I really don’t like any of the Christmas markets London has to offer. I might have to copy your idea and book a trip to Bruges next Christmas!

    Islandbell xxx

    • Yeah, I haven’t really done London’s, they always seem SO RAMMED but Bruges was really quiet and chilled.

  • Romancing the Globe

    Fun! We discovered Bruges in the fall and imagined how glorious it must be at Christmas! Much of The White Queen was filmed there because of the beautiful bridges, churches and historic buildings never marred by war. Very special place!

    • Most definitely – I felt like I was in a fairytale land!

  • Little Sunny Kitchen

    I have to admit that I’m a bit jealous!! Beautiful pictures, and the Christmas shopping looks amazing there! I’ve never been but would love to visit one day x

    • You should totally go – it’s such a nice, welcoming place 🙂

  • I think Bruges looks like an amazing place to visit. From architecture to culture it seems that Bruges has everything. I would like to go.

    • Definitely – for a relatively small place, there’s plenty to enjoy!

  • My mum visited Bruges and she said it was really lovely. I think between the two of you you’ve persuaded me to go. I need to book a trip!

    Also I love the scary Santas, I think they’re quite cute!

    Kayleigh x

    • Yes yes DO IT! The Santas were surprisingly endearing, we actually bought one for Conor’s mum. I think she liked it…

  • I’m always so tempted to go at Christmas. Seriously going to plan it for next year now. And mmmm blaardy love Advocaat!

  • Kirsty

    This place looks beautiful – I love anywhere that has a festive feel to it.
    Plus beer and chocolate – it’s a no brainer really!

    KT xo.

  • Wow that looks like the perfect place to Christmas shop – and what cool buildings to wander among! 🙂

  • Emma Jordan

    Bruges was my first Belgian experience waaaaaay back when on a school trip, and I’ve been in love with Belgium ever since. So unassuming, friendly, gorgeous and chocolate-y. Have you been to Antwerp? The most impressive railway station I’ve ever seen, AND giant hands everywhere. Love random #citytripping!

  • I love Bruges – it’s ages since I’ve been but it is so pretty, and I always think it must be so perfect at Christmas. Hilarious that the driver put In Bruges on to get you in the mood. Really need to make plans for next year I think, and get myself feeling festive (and stock up on chocolate) Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  • Claire Hall

    Christmas sounds like the perfect time to visit Bruges. That waffle is making me hungry!! #citytripping

  • wonderful! I’ve been to Bruges but not at Christmas time #citytripping

  • Sara Elizabeth Urquidez

    Those truffles!! Bruges is on my list. I’ve only been to Brussels (and only for a very short time), but I remember enjoying the food and the architecture – and every city I’ve seen through pictures looks equally as lovely!

  • hilary

    We just loved our visit to Bruges and even picked up an ornament to commemorate our visit. It looks so lovely at Christmas time, what a fairytale! Our only regret during our visit was not eating more chocolate… what were we thinking?! #citytripping