Is Bruges the perfect town for a Christmas vacation?
Updated: May 13, 2018
I had heard all the great Christmas stories about Bruges and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were all true
For some reason Bruges is not quite as popular as other fairy tale towns like Prague and Salzburg, so I was expecting a nice small quiet town and it was excactly that and much more. I guess it had to do with the time of year that we visited just after Thanksgiving as it was getting ready to open to all Christmas celebrations.
Small and cozy town so walking is the way to do it, or the only one, just like Venice. Getting lost in the cobblestoned streets and finding all these unique and fairy-tale-looking buildings with shops, restaurants, chocolate makers that just open your apetite and make you want Christmas any time of the year.
Funny enough I had seen the movie In Brugesa few years ago so I couldn’t remember much of the town and right after returning home we watched the movie and it turned out that we stayed at the same hotel where the movie took place. TheBruges Relais Bourgondischis the place to stay, not only because of its location right next to the canal going around town but also as it has the coziest guest rooms, best breakfast menu and you feel like you’re visiting family in town, feels like a big home. Colin Farrell stayed there filming the movie, so I guess that’s a good sign.
They do have a Bruges history museum, Historium Brugge, and some smaller beer museums, you must try the different Belgium beers available in town. Those were the main cultural experiences in town and they were fun to experience. At that time of the year there weren’t too many crowds so getting tickets to these museums was the same day with just a few others doing the same thing. The other cool tour that we did was a boat tour going around town and looking and its architecture from a different point of view, cold and wintery but beautiful.
For sure the best attraction in town is the Christmas Market which opens right after Thanksgiving (last days of November through early January) with many pop-up shops and stands on the main square and spreading to small parks contiguous to the square. They take Christmas affairs very seriously and even though Germans and Austrians do a fantastic job during this season I think Belgians take the celebrations, decorations and just atmosphere to a whole new level.
Food is amazing, like I said, the Bruges Relais Bourgondischhas a great restaurant for breakfast and dinner and many other small businesses in town with local and international cuisine. One of my favorites was Poules Moules, old small building with wooden beams and tiny staircase. I was transported to medieval times and warmed up to soup and mussles.
Of course I had to come back home with nutcrackers, Christmas ornaments and did I mention chocolate? Chocolate is everywhere. It’s a local art. They take a lot of pride on chocolate production and they serve hot chocolate in many places. Seems like everybody is high on chocolate there but with the cold weather it’s indeed the best way to warm up.