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In Bruges: Christmas

If you have noticed, I have been offline (or shall I say, off blogging) for a while. I have been busy with other things, like launching my brand, but that hasn’t stopped me traveling. In the fall alone, I have been to Dubrovnik, Kyiv, Barcelona, and Bruges. As some of you know, every year I always have few blog posts on Christmas in London and other European locations (like Berlin or Oslo). This time, I want to take you on a quick trip to Bruges, Belgium.

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

So…if you have seen In Bruges movie, you probably already know that it’s a picturesque Belgian medieval town.

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

It’s very pretty and around Christmas, it looks like out of the fairytale. We were there just for two nights with a quick Eurostar journey from London. I am not going to talk about every landmark in Bruges, but instead, I will tell you about three things you will enjoy during your trip there (some are very obvious!).

Christmas markets

Going to Bruges in December is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. The narrow cobbled streets in the city center are nicely decorated leading to the main Christmas market in the Market Square.

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

I have to say, Bruges Christmas markets are not as varied and grand as Berlin ones, for example, but they are still pretty and light up the city during the dark and foggy winter evenings with their warm lights and Christmas trees. When wandering around the city, often we turned the corner and encountered small neighborhood Christmas markets. They all had a choice of food and drink, ranging from hot cocoa and mulled wine to hot dogs, pasta, and Belgian waffles.

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

While wooden chalets sold wooden toys, Christmas decorations, winter clothing accessories and various knick-knacks.

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

And of course, don’t forget to visit Christmas shops. We came across all year around Christmas shop De Witte Pelikan. It’s not to be missed – the two floors are filled with beautiful decorations, lights, candles, and figurines.

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

Chocolate

When in Belgium, do what Belgians do – eat high-quality chocolate! It’s not a secret that Belgian chocolate is one of the finest and in Bruges you get plenty of it. Literally, every other shop is an artisan chocolate shop.

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

Belgian chocolate comes in various flavors and shapes (including some very indecent ones!) and can be purchased as box sets or by weight.

The tip I am going to reveal is based on my experience and will save you money at the end. First, don’t buy chocolate by the weight. Even though 3-4 euros per 100 grams of chocolate seems cheap but trust me, you won’t get much. We picked and chose our sweets and chocolate in one of the shops and there wasn’t much in the box (see below) but the total came almost to 14 euros!

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

So, instead just buy a set of chocolates. Or even better – pick your chocolates at the grocery shop. They are just as good but so much cheaper. For example, I bought a box of chocolate truffles for under 3 euros and they were divine!

Also, when in Bruges, try some pastries. The town is filled with small and cozy patisseries that serve freshly baked bread, pastries, and cakes. They are very affordable and a chocolate mousse will cost you no more than 3.5 euros per piece.

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

And if you have time, make sure to visit Chocolate Museum in Bruges to learn more about the history and chocolate-making process in Belgium.

Beer

Moving on to another yummy topic. I don’t drink but when in Belgium, everyone has to try its locally brewed beers. My husband had a different kind with every meal and we went to the local Beer Museum. The story has it that beer in Bruges has been transported by big trucks down the narrow cobbled streets from the De Halve Maan brewery to the bottling plant adding to already bad traffic. So, the solution came in the form of a beer pipeline, which Bruges locals are proud of! That and other facts about local beer production we found at the Beer Museum, which is well set up and very interactive.

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

With iPad minis in hands, we followed the self-guided tour that takes you from room to room. It took us through the whole process of beer-making, including the opportunity to smell and feel various ingredients, like hops, yeast and various plants used for beer flavoring.

Depending on the ticket, the tour also includes beer tasting in museum’s bar.

Where to stay

If you ever go to Bruges, I highly recommend staying in B&B De Bornedrager. It’s very small (only three bedrooms) and is so homey. Located only 5 mins away from the main square but on the quieter street, it is a perfect balance between convenience and privacy.

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

We loved how chilled, yet stylish and welcoming it was. It had a beautiful sitting room with a fireplace and Christmas tree, honesty bar (drink all you want, just make a note and pay later) and stylish dining area with a small but tasty breakfast bar.

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

Our room was a suite, a very large bedroom with what felt like a super-king bed, comfy and plush chairs, and coffee/tea station. The bathroom was stylish with Rituals bath and body products! It was a home away from home for us and we will definitely stay here next time.

So, I hope you enjoyed my brief overview of Bruges. If you love small and cozy European towns with plenty of history and Christmas markets, I would definitely recommend visiting it. Just follow its winding streets and let the town tell you its long and interesting story…

bruges-belgium-travel-guide-christmas-chocolate-beer

Happy travels xx

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