Memories of Bruges at Christmas

In Belgium, Christmas, Europe, Memories, Mini Breaks, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, Unesco, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

Where it all began & it gave us a taster for more

In 2005 we decided that we would experience our first overseas Christmas market.

A classic view, Bruges, Belgium

The perfect choice for us was Bruges, not only for its lovely architecture and chocolate, but Belgium is also very accessible from the UK, particularly from the south east.

Gary loves to drive, so it's going to be a road trip & mini break all in one.

The journey to Bruges from the Eurotunnel terminal at Calais is only 70 miles (113km), the majority on motorways so you can expect to cover that in under 90 minutes.

So as we had time in hand, and we're on a road trip we decided to pop into Lille in France on the way.

We headed straight for the town centre and entered the underground carpark where the entrance was just off the main square.

The ferris wheel, Lille, France

What we didn’t expect on ascending from the car park, was to be greeted by a huge Ferris wheel.

Was every town entering the festive spirit?

Frosty the snowman, Lille, France

Buoyed by the joyous atmosphere and listening to our Christmas anthems, we headed onto Bruges.
The feeling and memories of our first Christmas market will forever remain, but there are always stand out points on any trip. Here are but a few…


  • Strolling around the market stalls admiring the decorations and handicrafts.

The pleasure of standing in the freezing cold, late into the evening sipping a hot gluhwein.

  • Enjoyment & friendliness of fellow revellers.

Watching children and adults trying to master the art of ice skating.

The Historic centre of Bruges has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2000 and it is easy to see why.

The architecture in the main Market Square is wonderful.


  • Local food and drink from the market stalls, particularly the gluhwein (hot wine). There are non-alcoholic versions of this as well.

Visiting the indoor ice sculpture exhibition and the ice bar.

A bit cold ‘brrrrrr’

These markets aren’t only for children; you see people of all ages are enjoying themselves.

Of an evening the markets are mainly frequented by adults.

The weather isn’t too much of an issue, the mist and cold goes unnoticed, as long as you wrap up warm.

The Belfry at night, Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is in the Flanders region of Belgium and the main language is Dutch (Flemish). Luckily for us their English was fantastic, otherwise there would have been a lot of pointing.

We stayed in a luxury boutique hotel, named Hotel De Orangerie, the hotel was in a fantastic location, extremely central and right next to one of Bruges’s infamous canals.

Additionally, they had car parking facilities which was great for us.

We ate in the Restaurant La Civiere D’Or, in the main square.

The food and the atmosphere was great and the lovely open fireplace made it very cosy.


Hand painted Christmas themed carousel from Käthe Wohlfahrt store.

A Christmas Pyramid, Kathe Wohlfarht

What I would do differently

  • We ate in a couple restaurants in the evenings, before going back and enjoying the late night atmosphere around the ice rink. I think next time I would eat around the market as the food is enjoyable and reasonably priced.

A funny moment

  • The look on Gary’s face when he tried his first Jägermeister.

A slight disappointment

  • In 2005 there were really only 3 main markets, so on a Saturday they became extremely busy, particularly with day trippers.

Point of Note

  • Although our first choice was to take the car to Bruges via Le Shuttle, there are other easy transport options to consider. The Eurostar which takes around 3 hour 30 minutes via Brussels & Lille, or take a flight, which from London is about 45 minutes.

  • You really need to book early as these markets are very popular

  • Dress warm and comfortable.

(These options are provided by GetYouGuide.Com. We will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you if you book through our site)

Have You?

Visited Bruges at Christmas? It is great, and fills you with the spirit of Christmas. What's your hightlight?

Inspired to visit Bruges at Christmas?

Is the magic of this beautiful city calling you?

Why not check out the deals on Booking.Com?
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