A Festive Weekend in Bruges | Travel Photo Diary

Last week me and my boyfriend took a little mini break to Bruges! For the past few years I've been itching at going away for a couple of days during the festive season to gander around the Christmas markets and just soak in the Christmassy atmosphere that they do so well on the continent! We decided to go on the ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam then a 3 hour coach trip to Bruges. Our whole trip was organised by DFDS and it was pretty much a total shambles, literally no communication between DFDS and the hotel, without common sense I don't think we would've had such a good time! So once we'd arrived we headed straight to the Christmas markets. 

Bruges is quite a small city, it takes about 45 minutes to walk from one end to the other. Our hotel was in a brilliant central area, a 5 minute walk from Burg Square, we stayed in the Novotel Centrum. Here was the bigger Christmas market (there is also a smaller one near) and ice rink with the typical stalls, trinkets, hats, gloves etc and of course food! Vegetarians aren't catered for very well here, so I stuck to some Belgian frites with a huge dollop of mayo, while Steven had some potato, cheese, bacon and onion mash up. Of course we both had a glass of Gluhwein! In terms of markets Bruges is definitely one of the smaller ones, but Bruges itself is just so charming, gorgeous architecture, like being in a fairytale. 

As soon as the sun goes down you really get into the Christmas spirit, the lights are just gorgeous, everywhere has fairy lights, wreaths and mini Christmas trees, they even play Christmas music from speakers into the shopping streets. Speaking of shopping we came back with quite a haul! Just off Burg Square opposite the beer museum is the best Christmas decorations shop, we came back with some beautiful handmade glass ornaments, had to be in the shape of a pretzel and a dog...If you're looking to bring back some Belgian chocolate, stick to chocolatiers away from the main square, we got some gorgeous handmade chocolates in a little shop near our hotel. After all the shopping we made sure to get ourselves a Baileys hot chocolate and watch the ice skaters.  

Our full day in Bruges began with breakfast at the Carpe Diem Tearoom, this was just off from our hotel and was super yummy. As you can see we had the worlds biggest pancakes, they were delicious, but be warned, eating out in Bruges is very expensive! I would recommend a visit for breakfast here though, we found pretty much all the service in Bruges to be great and really friendly, unlike some other cities we've been to (cough cough Prague cough). Also in the middle of our breakfast in trotted at least 20 Miss Belgium contestants wearing their sashes, being followed by a camera crew, safe to say I felt like a potato! 

I think the real appeal of Bruges is just being able to wander around all the lovely side streets, mooching and window shopping, although there are some other places I'd recommend visiting: Be sure to visit the Historic Centre of Bruges and the Basilica of the Holy Blood, where you can see a vial of Jesus' blood (make of that what you will!), even so the architecture is beautiful. Something else fun we did was visit the Beer Museum, it was interactive learning about the beer making process in Belgium, this was Steven's choice but it was still interesting, he got to try 3 different beers in the bar at the end included in the ticket price. Somewhere I'd recommend stopping for lunch has to be the Gingerbread Tearoom, the husband and wife couple who run this are so so nice! Their bagels were out of this world!

After more shopping we also visited the Holy Saviour Cathedral which again was really beautiful. I couldn't coax Steven into going ice skating (maybe one day!). The Christmas market is really bustling at night time, nice to stand and have a chat and a drink! Something else I'd recommend doing is climbing to the top of the Belfort in Burg Square. We went at about 10am when it was quiet, which I'd recommend as the steps are very small and I was freaking out a bit when there wasn't really many people around! I've heard it gets very busy! We climbed the 300+ steps, I almost died, not even kidding, we made it to the top at 11am when the bells went off and it was amazing! Try and get to the top when they chime! The view was brilliant! 

So for our final morning in Bruges before we had to get back for our coach we went for breakfast at a place called Books & Brunch, this was such a lovely laid back cafe with a lovely menu. It's pretty much a bookshop with tables! We both had a breakfast of eggs with a bread basket, jams, butter, chocolate spread etc, orange juice and tea, which as you can see came in a huge mug (amazing) with a knitted mug cosy (even more amazing!). Also everywhere we went the tea and coffee was served with a little piece of this amazing moist orange cake! So after a final browse of the shops our time in Bruges was over. It's probably one of the nicest cities I've ever visited, it's so quaint and very clean, it also doesn't feel scary like some cities can! I'd highly recommend visiting if you ever get the chance!


1 comment

  1. As always your photos are just stunning!

    I went to the Bruges Christmas Market many years ago on an organised coach trip and I'd definitely never do that again. It took us forever to get there and by the time we arrived we were literally running everywhere to try and get it all done - we didn't even get to the markets! We were too busy trying to find time to iceskate, buy chocolate and eat waffles! I've been dying to go back ever since but so far never got around to arranging it!

    I'm very jealous, it looks beautiful!


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