Bruges in one of those cities that somehow becomes even more beautiful in the winter. The cobbled streets, gingerbread-style houses and clip-clop of horse-drawn carriages are so suited the months where you just want to wrap up warm. During winter in Bruges you’ll feel like you’re walking through a scene from a romantic Christmas film, especially if you’re lucky enough to be there for a snowfall. If you’re deciding on where to go for your winter city break in Europe, here are the reasons why Bruges is a magical choice…
See Bruges in Snow
Snow turns the city of Bruges into a true winter wonderland. The fairytale buildings look more inviting than ever and the horse-drawn carts trotting through through snow are picture perfect! Watching the swans glide along the snow-lined canals is one of the most elegant sites in Europe. Snowfall in Bruges can happen at any point during the winter months, and those that get to see the city under its winter blanket are some of the lucky ones, but it’s still well worth booking the trip just to get the chance.
Belgian Hot Chocolates
Belgian chocolate is world famous for good reason - the silky smooth texture and rich and creamy taste is addictively delicious. In Bruges you’ll find local Belgian chocolate shops all over the place. Pop in to sample their specialities and buy a bag to take home, or stop in a cafe for one of the tastiest hot chocolates you’ve ever tried. Many hot chocolate shops in Bruges serve the sweet and creamy drink with a Belgian chocolate on the side, too. The Old Chocolate House is renowned amongst tourists and locals for whipping up the best hot choc in the city - the perfect winter warmer to sit in with or take with you as you carry on your tour of Bruges.
Beer or Gluhwein in Cosy Belgian Pubs
In winter, there’s nothing like cosying up in a local pub, and Bruges is full of quaint spots for just this. Whether you like it or not, there’s no escaping a local Belgian brew on a trip to Bruges. You’ll find many of the places even serve their own home-brewed beer! Sit and enjoy a real local beer, or if that’s not your thing then a hot, wintry gluhwein (hot wine), amongst the setting of a charming old-school Belgian pub. The oldest pub is Bruges is a place called Vlissinghe, with creaky wooden floorboards, narrow corridors and a sweet courtyard outside the back.
Bruges Christmas Market
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, do not miss Bruges Christmas Market when little wooden chalets take over Markt Square. The festive atmosphere around Bruges at this time of year will make you leave feeling more Christmassy than ever in the lead up to the big day. Expect classic Christmas food being cooked up, the smell of spiced drinks filling the streets and craft stalls selling perfect gifts to take home with you. Bruges makes for an idyllic Christmas break in Europe, and the markets and festive decor put the cherry on top.
Real Life Gingerbread Houses
Lining one side of Markt Square you’ll see a row of traditional gabled buildings all painted in different colours. These are the famous colourful houses of Bruges which, especially under a dull winter sky, look just like life-size gingerbread houses. You won’t leave Bruges without spotting the reds, yellows, pinks and greens of these charming houses that resemble something from a fairytale. Walk up the steps of the Belfry Tower opposite to get a high up view of the quaint Brugean buildings.
Winter Walk in Minnewaterpark
Minnewaterpark is one of the most romantic spots in Bruges. Go on a winter stroll through the greenery until you reach Minnewater, aka ‘The Lake of Love’. Find the park on the southern end of Bruges, a little out of the way of the main hustle and bustle of the city making it a wonderfully peaceful escape. Minnewater Bridge, known as ‘Lovers Bridge’, is where the legend of Minna came from who died in the arms of the man she’d fallen in love with. Legend has it, if you walk over the bridge and kiss the person you love, your love will last forever!
Winter Evening glow
Bruges is magical at any time of the day, but be sure to take a stroll after dusk to see the canalside brick houses and Markt Square lit up in an evening winter glow. Walk along the cobbled streets until you reach a corner known as Rozenhoedkaai. Here, you’ll find a willow tree draping over the canal, adorned in lights that give the water a winter glow - it’s one of the prettiest views you can see in Bruges. The bridges and buildings are all lit up across the city, so as you wander around wrapped up from the cold, you still feel cosier than ever.
Waffles and Frites
Waffles and fries are great at any time of year, but is there anything better than tucking into a hot, chocolate smothered waffle when you’re cold? Belgian waffles are famous worldwide, and when in Bruges you won’t be able to escape the deliciously sweet smell of them. Chez Albert is one of the most popular spots for waffles in Bruges. Then there’s Belgian frites! While you might’ve thought fries were an American thing, they actually came from Belgium. In Bruges you’ll be able to see little stalls selling them all over the place, often in a cone and covered in a delicious mayonnaise.