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)!
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 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.
At night, the city becomes even more beautiful.
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.
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!