How to Spend a Weekend in Beautiful Bruges

A weekend in beautiful Brugges, Belgium

Bruges in winter. Three words that can conjure up a magical scene of Christmas markets, cosy pubs, platefuls of fries, and romantic horse and carriage rides. Thankfully, that’s exactly what it’s like. Bruges pulls out all the stops to celebrate Christmas, and there’ll be no escaping it. The shops have incredible window displays, the squares focus around towering Christmas trees, and there’s even special Christmas chocolate (my personal favourite aspect)!

Bruges at Christmas

Back when I had dubious ethics, I decided to take a horse and carriage ride around the city to learn more about the layout of the Bruges. The number of horse and carriages outnumber the amount of cars in the city, and it felt incredible romantic to wrap myself up in a blanket and see the city by horse. Now that I’m more aware of animal rights, I’m not sure if this is something I’d do in the future.

The streets of Bruges are cobbled and this didn’t make for the smoothest of journeys. It made it especially hard to try and take any photos along the way!

bruges lake black and white

Bruges is a beautiful, medieval city, especially in winter, and it was fantastic to see the lake completely frozen over. Around the lake, you can also explore some of the canals that Bruges is so famous for. You can take a boat tour of the canal, for a reasonable 50 cents, but while I was there, the canals were mostly frozen over.

Bruges canals

At night, the city becomes even more beautiful.

bruges christmas tree at night

I loved the different colour lights that the shops and restaurants have outside, which give a Christmassy feel to the area. The evenings were also the perfect opportunity to try and sample some of Belgium’s 400 beers.

During the day, I spent my time wandering aimlessly around Bruges, soaking up the atmosphere and buying lots of chocolate.

The clock tower, made famous in the film In Bruges, is the main focal point for the market square and cuts a striking silhouette against the rows of restaurants. You can climb the clock tower, which is something I wish I had done, but I was exhausted after spending five hours walking on cobbles, so I gave it a miss this time.

bruges clock tower

With that, my fleeting glimpse of Bruges was over all too soon, as it was time to pack up my bags and head back on the Eurostar to London. It was a brief stay, but it was more than enough time to see the city, learn about its history and indulge in some of its famous chocolate, beer and fries!

The entrance to the main square bruges

bruges chocolate

Stunning architecture in the market square bruges

Ready to set off for our horse & carriage ride!

Karma Sutra chocolate out the back! I love how it says : "A nice present for your father or friend" !

AMAZING chocolate window display!

A shop selling over 400 varieties of Belgian beer!!

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  1. Scott
    March 7, 2011

    Good Stuff! I was there in early November, but would love to make it back for christmas!

    • March 7, 2011

      Thanks Scott! It really was amazing over Christmas – Such a fantastic atmosphere! :)

  2. Emily
    March 7, 2011

    Love these photos! I have never been to Belgium, but as a chocolate fanatic, I’m dying to go! The architecture looks beautiful.

    • March 8, 2011

      Thanks Emily! The chocolate was amazing, I came home with more bars of chocolate than I had clothes in my bag hahaha!

      It really is a beautiful place.

  3. March 8, 2011

    I couldn’t decide between Bruges, Ghent and Brussels, but I’m glad I went for Bruges!

    400 beers – I tried my best to sample them all in the 2 days I was there but failed miserably! LOL.

  4. November 25, 2013

    I absolutely LOVED Bruges – the most beautiful place I have visited so far :) love your post, I went in February and that was amazing but would love to go back at Christmas!

    • December 10, 2013

      Thanks, Natasha! I’d love to visit during summer to see a different side to the city :-)

  5. claire buckle
    November 4, 2015

    My husband and I have recently come back from Bruges. We did enjoy ourselves but were concerned at the condition of some of the horses pulling the larger carriages of up to about 8 people. Also, sadly, we saw a swan which had earphones trailing from its beak – obviously been dropped in the canal by a tourist on a boat ride. Didn’t know who to inform but hope there is care provided for those majestic birds.

    • November 11, 2015

      Ah, that’s horrible! Sorry to hear that. It’s been a while since I wrote this post and I’m not sure I’d take one of the horse and carriage rides now.

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