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Bruges, its Christmas market and tips for a visit

calibusje

calibusje

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So, the time is almost here again when some of you - or perhaps friends or family - travel to Bruges to enjoy my hometown. Quite right and I will try to give some tips, in general, about everything, loosely structured. I'm not talking about Ghent, Brussels or Antwerp, nor about Charleroi, Namur or Mons. Also nice places with great things to see but for now it's just about Bruges.
No matter how you arrive, by Chunnel or ferry, you will find Bruges and may need to look for a place to stay overnight with your California. This is possible at the only campsite in Bruges: Camping Memling: Veltemweg 109, 8310 Bruges https://camping-memling.be/en/ Next to camping Memling there is a swimming pool for everyone fancy a swim. By the way, taking the bus is a good way to get into town. To the Burg, the center of the city, next to the market: 40 minutes on foot, 10 minutes by bike and also 10 minutes by car and park at the station https://www.interparking.be/nl-BE/ find-parking/Station/ or parking 't Zand https://www.interparking.be/en/find-parking/Centrum-t-Zand/
In the period from 18 to 24 December there is 'De Warmste Week' (the warmest week), a solidarity campaign including live radio from 't Zand. There can be a lot of people there.
At 't Zand you have the teracotta-coloured concert building with a panoramic roof overlooking the entire city. Highly recommended (if it's open).
Then there is also the camper site, just a few minutes' away from the city
Campers are regularly parked (for overnight stays) along the busy outer ring of Bruges near the Coupure, but why would you want to be there. There are a few more spots, maybe you'll find one on some app ;)

If you have parked your Cali in the large parking lot at the station, you can walk to the center via either the 'Koning Albert I park' to 't Zand or take the small bridge about two thirds of the walk and arrive at brasserie Gauthierz and go from there further to the center. Or walk into the Oostmeers and turn right directly over the bridge via the path along the water and arrive at the Poertoren, an old ammunition depot.
If you stay at the camper site, you cross the bridge Bargebrug into the Minnewaterpark - a romantic hotspot they say - along an elongated lake, the Minnewater, and surrounded by the 'vesten, the old walls of the city. North of the Minnewater there is a street with the same name, but more about that later. There are several explanations for the origin of the name Minnewater: 'minne' or water spirit and water devils that haunted the water and lived under the bridges. The most captivating is a small saga about an old sailor with his beautiful daughter Minna.
Be sure to look at the tower 'poertoren', go left over the Minnewater Bridge and turn right at the tower: a little further along the path is a first tip: the winter bar 'Vorst' with its artificial skating rink (24.11.2023 to 07.01.2024). Great place to sit, have a drink or a bite to eat, not quite a Christmas market yet but fun, check it out.

Continue along the path and arrive at the Begijnenvest (and Begijnhof, a quiet place). The Sashuis is there and part of the many swans of Bruges (there is also a legend behind this: https://www.greenparkhotelbrugge.com/en/blog/the-legend-of-the-swans-in-bruges-explained ).
Another way to get here from Minnewaterpark: take the already mentioned street north of the Minnewater with the same name and end up in the Arsenaalstraat and then turn left.
Either way you arrive at Wijngaardplein, where the horses and carriages stop for a rest and where the Beguinage 'Begijnhof' is also located; you are in a beautiful part of Bruges, but there is more. You are probably coming for the Christmas market during this period. Well, there is one (24.11.2023 - 07.01.2024/ Sunday to Thursday from 10 am to 10 pm/ Friday and Saturday from 10.30 am to 11 pm) and - in my humble opinion - it becomes more beautiful, different and cozier every year. But judge for yourself.
After the Wijngaardplein you have the Wijngaardstraat and a little further at the left side: the Walplein with some cozy terraces but also the Brouwerij de Halve Maan. You can take a tour and eat delicious food. https://www.halvemaan.be/en/brewery-visit. Drink the unfiltered blonde Brugse Zot: tastier than elsewhere.
You can eat Flemish throughout Bruges so avoid the restaurants around the market place; they are clearly for tourists. Then you'll be fine. And oh: Bar Rose Red: a surprise with delicious snacks (Cordoeanierstraat 16). Of course wine and other drinks, alcoholic or not, are available in Bruges :thumb
For a very good hamburger (the best?), only a few minutes' walk from the campsite: https://www.hermanusbruges.be/

But: I shouldn't lose sight of the Christmas market :D So on Walplein, turn right, down a small street (Walstraat) and you arrive in Katelijnestraat. Or follow Walstraat to the left, over the bridge and look further up: the bridge you see, are the remains of the road that led directly to the hospital: it was still used until the 1980s. You are now in Zonnekemeers and at the old bridge you can turn left: Wevershof: one of the many 'forts' that arose in Bruges, especially in the 19th century. On 'rear plots', often with only a very narrow connection to the street, series of small houses were built by so-called 'slum landlords' who rented them out to the proletariat.
At the back there is a pedestrian road, which provides access to a series of garages and flows into the Oostmeers and via one of the many shortcut streets you reach the Westmeers and at number 72 there is the brasserie Gauthierz with its beautiful terrace -which will probably be closed- but inside good food (kitchen open from 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-9pm; Closed on Sunday and Monday).
Now, Zonnekemeers also has a fairly large parking lot and is easily accessible with your car via the ring road: at the Buiten Begijnenvest, turn right at the lights into Oostmeers, second right and a little further left into the parking lot. The Oud Sint-Jan site is also located there; I was born there, but in pavilions that were demolished and are now a beautiful park. Go along Sint-Janskaai towards the Sint-Janshospitaal pharmacy (you can visit it) and go through the gate hole : you are now in Mariastraat, straight in front of you is Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk, the Church of Our Lady. A church full of art treasures, with as a highlight Michelangelo's 'Madonna and Child' (featured in the film 'The Monuments Men'). Tickets for museums: Reception Pavilion Musea Brugge, Dijver 17 (Onthaalpaviljoen Musea Brugge). Also in Mariastraat: the Sint-Janshospitaal museum: one of the oldest preserved hospital buildings in Europe with masterpieces by the Flemish primitive Hans Memling (reopening on December 16, 2023 ). And many tourist shops, but also for those who like comics De Striep, Katelijnestraat 42 https://www.brugge.be/booksmusictour-nieuw. This is a bit of a walk back along the Katelijnestraat. Now return and enter Mariastraat: at the end: Simon Stevinplein. Finally: part of the Christmas market ;) When leaving the square, turn right along Steenstraat and a little further on you will arrive at the Markt: the second part of the Christmas market. At 'Duvelorium Belgian Beer Bar', to drink a Duveltje and enjoy the view on the balcony (just know that you paid for it in the price of your Duveltje, you can drink it cheaper elsewhere).
How could you get there also: back at the Church of Our Lady, take the littel street right along the O.-L. Kerkhof Zuid and goes over a cute bridge (Bonifacius Bridge) and enjoy the square you enter (Arentshof). Leave the square and you are on the Dijver: walk along it and be sure to look at the other side of the water just before you reach the Wollestraat: there is the 'Bourgogne des Flandres brewery', when you find the entrance, go there for a drink. Their terrace is lovely. The entrance? Enter Wollestraat and take the first left (Kartuizerinnenstraat). You could also walk a little further along the Dijver (don't go in Wollestraat) and enjoy the view on the left (called Little Venice) and a little further you have the Vismarkt, keep walking and you arrive at the house of my wife's great-grandfather: now a cozy café restaurant 'Punta Est' (Predikherenrei). Now you are a bit far (although, what is far in Bruges, right?) from the Christmas market.
Return along the Groenerei and at the end you are back at the Vismarkt, cross the Blinde-Ezelbrug, Blinde-Ezelstraat and you are at the Burg. Take Breidelstraat and you will see the Christmas market again. In Breidelstraat no. 3: 'Bruges Beer Experience': a beer museum with tasting. Or don't take the tour and just taste; look outside for a nice view of the Market.
And now something else: from November 24 to January 7 there is Winter Gloed: along a 2.5 kilometer winter walk you will enjoy 10 attractive light experience installations (at best in the evening) https://www.visitbruges.be/en/winter-glow/light-experience-trail

What else can I say? I was once a taxi driver at night in the distant past and I really enjoy Bruges in the evening and at night, but also the hustle and bustle during the day. Yes, Bruges is very touristic, that is true. For a quiet relaxed walk, take the narrow streets away from the main streets, there are a lot of them. Then you'll see how many people still live in the old town and you will discover even more lovely buildings, bridges, squares, shops and cafes or restaurants. Also there are the 'vesten' around town which are a beautiful walk. You can start at the 'kruispoort' and walk to 'katelijnebrug'. Or further. This is a lovely piece of the 'vesten'. The 'kruispoort' is also the gate closest to campsite memling.
Some more random tips: The 'Queen Astrid Park': this park shines in Bruges. You can enjoy a nice walk around the kiosk and the pond. There are plenty of benches to take a rest / You can eat the best waffles in 'Lizzie's Wafels', Sint-Jakobsstraat 16 / There is also a cinema in that street: cinema Lumière, for 'alternative film'. Speaking of films: in preparation for your visit to Bruges, watch 'In Bruges'. A powerful film starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson / The 'Bruges Jerusalem Church' (Balstraat 14); A visit to this beautiful private church is well worth it: the unique stained glass windows and the beautiful tower with the Cross of Jerusalem at the top.

People used to say: Bruges is closed on weekends and this was true: nothing was open, but this has changed. There are many shops open on Sundays, but the most are open on the first Sunday of every month. Who is closed on Sundays but not during the end of the year: Brugs Brickhouse, a Lego store at Smedenstraat no. 23 and feast your eyes on the Belfry in lego.
Funny and informative: friet museum http://www.frietmuseum.be/en/ + the chocolate museum: http://choco-story-brugge.be/ENG/
Chocolates.... if you come to Bruges and want to buy delicious pralines, buy them at the specialized shops. Tasteful pralines are made in little factories (some are around Bruges e.g. 'The Chocolate Line'. Unfortunately you cannot visit it; Shop's in town and worth a visit: https://www.thechocolateline.be/en/), they don't make them in their cellar anymore and yes, they are quite expensive. Pralines bought at a warehouse are cheaper and taste... like pralines all over the world (made by bigger companies and sold everywhere). Some more chocolate shops: https://www.brugge.be/chocolattour-nieuw. May I recommend Roose's Chocolate World. Roose's is just outside town, not much more expensive than a warehouse: https://www.chocolate-world.be/
Beer: enjoy it at a local pub (tip: café 'La Trappiste', Kuipersstraat 33, opens at 5pm but also De Garre and also mentioned brewery Bourgogne des Flandres, Kartuizerinnenstraat 6) and maybe try something new/special? There are about 1600 Belgian beer brands. Beer to enjoy at home (or at the campervan) you can buy at a warehouse: same beer, same taste and much cheaper. Are you staying at campsite Memling? Then the carrefour (about 5 min. walk from the campsite) is a cheap one for beer. Or: aldi & lidl, they are along the 'Maalse Steenweg' (straight road to town from the campsite).

There is so much more, but I am not trying to write a tourist guide but to give you some tips for a pleasant stay in Bruges. It can certainly be supplemented and I may do so at some point, but for now there is enough reading material, I think. I hope you found it useful and enjoyed reading it. In any case, I thought it would be great to promote my city to cali enthusiasts in this way.

So, be welcome and enjoy your stay!

Greetings
Calibusje
 
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So, the time is almost here again when some of you - or perhaps friends or family - travel to Bruges to enjoy my hometown. Quite right and I will try to give some tips, in general, about everything, loosely structured. I'm not talking about Ghent, Brussels or Antwerp, nor about Charleroi, Namur or Mon. Also nice places with great things to see but for now it's just about Bruges.
No matter how you arrive, by Chunnel or ferry, you will find Bruges and may need to look for a place to stay overnight with your California. This is possible at the only campsite in Bruges: Camping Memling: Veltemweg 109, 8310 Bruges https://camping-memling.be/en/
To the Burg, the center of the city, next to the market: 40 minutes on foot, 10 minutes by bike and also 10 minutes by car and park at the station https://www.interparking.be/nl-BE/ find-parking/Station/ or parking 't Zand https://www.interparking.be/en/find-parking/Centrum-t-Zand/
Next to camping Memling there is a swimming pool for everyone fancy a swim. By the way, taking the bus is a good way to get into town.
If you are already at the camper site, you are just a few minutes' walk from the city via the Minnewater.
Campers are regularly parked (for overnight stays) along the busy outer ring of Bruges near the Coupure, but why would you want to be there. There are a few more spots, maybe you'll find one on some app ;)
If you stay at the camper site, you cross the bridge Bargebrug into the Minnewaterpark - a romantic hotspot they say - along an elongated lake, the Minnewater, and surrounded by the 'vesten, the old walls of the city. North of the Minnewater there is a street with the same name, but more about that later. There are several explanations for the origin of the name Minnewater: 'minne' or water spirit and water devils that haunted the water and lived under the bridges. The most captivating is a small saga about an old sailor with his beautiful daughter Minna. You can look it up.
Be sure to look at the tower 'poertoren', an old ammunition depot, left over the Minnewater Bridge and turn right at the tower: a little further along the path is a first tip: the winter bar 'Vorst' with its artificial skating rink (24.11.2023 to 07.01.2024). Great place to sit, have a drink or a bite to eat, not quite a Christmas market yet but fun, check it out.

Continue along the path and arrive at the Begijnenvest (and Begijnhof, a quiet place). The Sashuis is there and part of the many swans of Bruges (there is also a legend behind this: https://www.greenparkhotelbrugge.com/en/blog/the-legend-of-the-swans-in-bruges-explained ).
Another way to get here from Minnewaterpark: take the already mentioned street north of the Minnewater with the same name and end up in the Arsenaalstraat and then turn left.
Either way you arrive at Wijngaardplein, where the horses and carriages stop and where the Beguinage 'Begijnhof' is also located; you are in a beautiful part of Bruges, but there is more. You are probably coming for the Christmas market during this period. Well, there is one (24.11.2023 - 07.01.2024/ Sunday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m./ Friday and Saturday from 10.30 a.m. to 11 p.m.) and - in my humble opinion - it becomes more beautiful, different and cozier every year. But judge for yourself.
After the Wijngaardplein you have the Wijngaardstraat and a little further left: the Walplein with some cozy terraces but also the Brouwerij de Halve Maan. You can take a tour and eat delicious food. https://www.halvemaan.be/en/brewery-visit. Drink the unfiltered blonde Brugse Zot: tastier than elsewhere.

But: I shouldn't lose sight of the Christmas market :D So on Walplein, turn right, down a small street (Walstraat) and you arrive in Katelijnestraat. Or follow Walstraat to the left, over the bridge and look further up: the bridge you see are the remains of the road that led directly to the hospital: it was still used until the 1980s. You are now in Zonnekemeers and at the old bridge you can turn left: Wevershof: one of the many 'forts' that arose in Bruges, especially in the 19th century. On 'rear plots', often with only a very narrow connection to the street, series of small houses were built by so-called 'slum landlords' who rented them out to the proletariat.
At the back there is a pedestrian road, which provides access to a series of garages and flows into the Oostmeers and via one of the many shortcut streets you reach the Westmeers and at number 72 there is the brasserie Gauthierz with its beautiful terrace -which will probably be closes- but inside good food.
Now, Zonnekemeers also has a fairly large parking lot and is easily accessible with your car via the ring road: at the Buiten Begijnenvest, turn right at the lights into Oostmeers, second right and a little further left into the parking lot. The Oud Sint-Jan site is also located there (I was born there, but in pavilions that were demolished and are now a beautiful park. Go along Sint-Janskaai towards the Sint-Janshospitaal pharmacy (you can visit it) and go through the gate hole : you are now in Mariastraat, straight in front of you is the Church of Our Lady. A church full of art treasures, with as a highlight Michelangelo's 'Madonna and Child' (watch the film 'The Monuments Men'). Tickets for museums: Reception Pavilion Musea Brugge, Dijver 17 (Onthaalpaviljoen Musea Brugge). Also in Mariastraat: the Sint-Janshospitaal museum: one of the oldest preserved hospital buildings in Europe with masterpieces by the Flemish primitive Hans Memling (reopening on December 16, 2023 ). And many tourist shops, but also for those who like comics De Striep, Katelijnestraat 42 https://www.brugge.be/booksmusictour-nieuw. This is a bit of a walk back along the Katelijnestraat. Now return and enter Mariastraat: at the end: Simon Stevinplein. Finally: part of the Christmas market ;) When leaving the square, turn right along Steenstraat and a little further on you will arrive at the Markt: the second part of the Christmas market.
How could you get there also: back at the Church of Our Lady, take the littel street right along the O.-L. Kerkhof Zuid and goes over a cute bridge (Bonifacius Bridge) and enjoy the square afterwards (Arentshof). Leave the square and you are on the Dijver: walk along it and be sure to look at the other side of the water just before you reach the Wollestraat: there is the 'Bourgogne des Flandres brewery', when you find the entrance, go there for a drink. Their terrace is lovely. The entrance? Enter Wollestraat and take the first left (Kartuizerinnenstraat). You could also walk a little further along the Dijver (don't go in Wollestraat) and enjoy the view on the left (called Little Venice) and a little further you have the Vismarkt, go a little further and you arrive at the house of my wife's great-grandfather: now a cozy café restaurant 'Punta Est' (Predikherenrei). Now you are a bit far (although, what is far in Bruges, right?) from the Christmas market.
Return along the Groenerei and at the end you are back at the Vismarkt, cross the Blinde-Ezelbrug, Blinde-Ezelstraat and you are at the Burg. Take Breidelstraat and you will see the Christmas market again. In Breidelstraat no. 3: 'Bruges Beer Experience': a beer museum with tasting. Or don't take the tour and just taste.
And now something else: from November 24 to January 7 there is Winter Gloed: just do it, a 2.5 kilometer winter walk and enjoy 10 attractive light experience installations https://www.visitbruges.be/en/winter-glow/light-experience-trail

What else can I say? I was once a taxi driver at night in the distant past and I really enjoy Bruges in the evening and at night, but also the hustle and bustle during the day. Yes, Bruges is very touristic, that is true. For a quiet relaxed walk, take the narrow streets away from the main streets, there are a lot of them. Then you'll see how many people still live in the old town and you will discover even more lovely buildings, bridges, squares, shops and cafes or restaurants. Also there are the 'vesten' around town which are a beautiful walk. You can start at the 'kruispoort' and walk to 'katelijnebrug'. Or further. This is a lovely piece of the 'vesten'. The 'kruispoort' is also the gate closest to campsite memling.
Some more random tips: The 'Queen Astrid Park': this park shines in Bruges. You can enjoy a nice walk around the kiosk and the pond. There are plenty of benches to take a rest / You can eat the best waffles in 'Lizzie's Wafels', Sint-Jakobsstraat 16 and there is also a cinema in that street: cinema Lumière, for 'alternative film'. Speaking of films: in preparation for your visit to Bruges, watch 'In Bruges'. A powerful film starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson / The 'Bruges Jerusalem Church' (Balstraat 14); A visit to this beautiful private church is well worth it: the unique stained glass windows and the beautiful tower with the Cross of Jerusalem at the top.

People used to say: Bruges is closed on weekends and this was true: nothing was open, but this has changed. There are many shops open on Sundays, but the most are open on the first Sunday of every month. Who is closed on Sundays but not during the end of the year: Brugs Brickhouse, a Lego store at Smedenstraat no. 23.
Funny and informative: fries museum http://www.frietmuseum.be/en/ + the chocolate museum: http://choco-story-brugge.be/ENG/
Chocolates.... if you come to Bruges and want to buy delicious pralines, buy them at the specialized shops. Tasteful pralines are made in little factories (some are around Bruges e.g. 'The Chocolate Line'. Unfortunately you cannot visit it; Shop's in town and worth a visit: https://www.thechocolateline.be/en/), they don't make them in their cellar anymore and yes, they are quite expensive. Pralines bought at a warehouse are cheaper and taste... like pralines all over the world (made by bigger companies and sold everywhere). Some chocolate shops: https://www.brugge.be/chocolattour-nieuw. May I recommend Roose's Chocolate World. Roose's is just outside town, not much more expensive than a warehouse: https://www.chocolate-world.be/
Beer: enjoy it at a local pub (an advice: café 'La Trappiste', Kuipersstraat 33, opens at 5pm but also De Garre and also mentioned brewery Bourgogne des Flandres, Kartuizerinnenstraat 6) and maybe try something new/special? There are about 1600 Belgian beer brands. And indeed, beer to enjoy at home (or at the campervan) you can buy at a warehouse: same beer, same taste and much cheaper. Are you staying at campsite Memling? Then the carrefour (about 5 min. walk from the campsite) is a cheap one for beer. For all the rest: aldi & lidl, they are along the 'Maalse Steenweg' (straight road to town from the campsite). You can eat Flemish throughout Bruges so avoid the restaurants around the market place; they are clearly for tourists. Then you'll be fine. And oh: Bar Rose Red: a surprise with delicious snacks (Cordoeanierstraat 16). Of course wine and other drinks, alcoholic or not, are available in Bruges :thumb

There is so much more, but I am not trying to write a tourist guide but to give you some tips for a pleasant stay in Bruges. It can certainly be supplemented and I may do so at some point, but for now there is enough reading material, I think. I hope you found it useful and enjoyed reading it. In any case, I thought it would be great to promote my city to cali enthusiasts in this way.

So, be welcome and enjoy your stay!

Greetings
Calibusje
I have been several times for the Christmas Market. As in the film, 'it's like a fairytale'.
The museums are all worth visiting especially the chocolate and art museums, and don't forget the tower.
Great guide ans the swans are still there.
 
Great post thank you.
Will come in handy, as it’s often a stop over for us on the way home.
I like Damme, lovely little place.
 
Brilliant review of a stunning city.
I thoroughly recommend Camping Memling, easy to navigate to and for us a simple 30 minute walk to the centre. The owners are very flexible if you need to change arrangements at short notice and the loos etc are superb.
 
I have been several times for the Christmas Market. As in the film, 'it's like a fairytale'.
The museums are all worth visiting especially the chocolate and art museums, and don't forget the tower.
Great guide ans the swans are still there.
Thanks! yes, indeed the swans are still there :thumb
 
So, the time is almost here again when some of you - or perhaps friends or family - travel to Bruges to enjoy my hometown. Quite right and I will try to give some tips, in general, about everything, loosely structured. I'm not talking about Ghent, Brussels or Antwerp, nor about Charleroi, Namur or Mon. Also nice places with great things to see but for now it's just about Bruges.
No matter how you arrive, by Chunnel or ferry, you will find Bruges and may need to look for a place to stay overnight with your California. This is possible at the only campsite in Bruges: Camping Memling: Veltemweg 109, 8310 Bruges https://camping-memling.be/en/ Next to camping Memling there is a swimming pool for everyone fancy a swim. By the way, taking the bus is a good way to get into town. To the Burg, the center of the city, next to the market: 40 minutes on foot, 10 minutes by bike and also 10 minutes by car and park at the station https://www.interparking.be/nl-BE/ find-parking/Station/ or parking 't Zand https://www.interparking.be/en/find-parking/Centrum-t-Zand/
In the period from 18 to 24 December there is 'De Warmste Week' (the warmest week), a solidarity campaign including live radio from 't Zand. There can be a lot of people there.
At 't Zand you have the teracotta-coloured concert building with a panoramic roof overlooking the entire city. Highly recommended (if it's open).
Then there is also the camper site, just a few minutes' away from the city
Campers are regularly parked (for overnight stays) along the busy outer ring of Bruges near the Coupure, but why would you want to be there. There are a few more spots, maybe you'll find one on some app ;)

If you have parked your Cali in the large parking lot at the station, you can walk to the center via either the 'Koning Albert I park' to 't Zand or take a bridge about two thirds of the walk and arrive at brasserie Gauthierz and go from there further to the center. Or walk into the Oostmeers and turn right directly over the bridge via the path along the water and arrive at the Poertoren, an old ammunition depot.
If you stay at the camper site, you cross the bridge Bargebrug into the Minnewaterpark - a romantic hotspot they say - along an elongated lake, the Minnewater, and surrounded by the 'vesten, the old walls of the city. North of the Minnewater there is a street with the same name, but more about that later. There are several explanations for the origin of the name Minnewater: 'minne' or water spirit and water devils that haunted the water and lived under the bridges. The most captivating is a small saga about an old sailor with his beautiful daughter Minna.
Be sure to look at the tower 'poertoren', go left over the Minnewater Bridge and turn right at the tower: a little further along the path is a first tip: the winter bar 'Vorst' with its artificial skating rink (24.11.2023 to 07.01.2024). Great place to sit, have a drink or a bite to eat, not quite a Christmas market yet but fun, check it out.

Continue along the path and arrive at the Begijnenvest (and Begijnhof, a quiet place). The Sashuis is there and part of the many swans of Bruges (there is also a legend behind this: https://www.greenparkhotelbrugge.com/en/blog/the-legend-of-the-swans-in-bruges-explained ).
Another way to get here from Minnewaterpark: take the already mentioned street north of the Minnewater with the same name and end up in the Arsenaalstraat and then turn left.
Either way you arrive at Wijngaardplein, where the horses and carriages stop for a rest and where the Beguinage 'Begijnhof' is also located; you are in a beautiful part of Bruges, but there is more. You are probably coming for the Christmas market during this period. Well, there is one (24.11.2023 - 07.01.2024/ Sunday to Thursday from 10 am to 10 pm/ Friday and Saturday from 10.30 am to 11 pm) and - in my humble opinion - it becomes more beautiful, different and cozier every year. But judge for yourself.
After the Wijngaardplein you have the Wijngaardstraat and a little further at the left side: the Walplein with some cozy terraces but also the Brouwerij de Halve Maan. You can take a tour and eat delicious food. https://www.halvemaan.be/en/brewery-visit. Drink the unfiltered blonde Brugse Zot: tastier than elsewhere.
You can eat Flemish throughout Bruges so avoid the restaurants around the market place; they are clearly for tourists. Then you'll be fine. And oh: Bar Rose Red: a surprise with delicious snacks (Cordoeanierstraat 16). Of course wine and other drinks, alcoholic or not, are available in Bruges :thumb

But: I shouldn't lose sight of the Christmas market :D So on Walplein, turn right, down a small street (Walstraat) and you arrive in Katelijnestraat. Or follow Walstraat to the left, over the bridge and look further up: the bridge you see, are the remains of the road that led directly to the hospital: it was still used until the 1980s. You are now in Zonnekemeers and at the old bridge you can turn left: Wevershof: one of the many 'forts' that arose in Bruges, especially in the 19th century. On 'rear plots', often with only a very narrow connection to the street, series of small houses were built by so-called 'slum landlords' who rented them out to the proletariat.
At the back there is a pedestrian road, which provides access to a series of garages and flows into the Oostmeers and via one of the many shortcut streets you reach the Westmeers and at number 72 there is the brasserie Gauthierz with its beautiful terrace -which will probably be closed- but inside good food (kitchen open from 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-9pm; Closed on Sunday and Monday).
Now, Zonnekemeers also has a fairly large parking lot and is easily accessible with your car via the ring road: at the Buiten Begijnenvest, turn right at the lights into Oostmeers, second right and a little further left into the parking lot. The Oud Sint-Jan site is also located there; I was born there, but in pavilions that were demolished and are now a beautiful park. Go along Sint-Janskaai towards the Sint-Janshospitaal pharmacy (you can visit it) and go through the gate hole : you are now in Mariastraat, straight in front of you is Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk, the Church of Our Lady. A church full of art treasures, with as a highlight Michelangelo's 'Madonna and Child' (featured in the film 'The Monuments Men'). Tickets for museums: Reception Pavilion Musea Brugge, Dijver 17 (Onthaalpaviljoen Musea Brugge). Also in Mariastraat: the Sint-Janshospitaal museum: one of the oldest preserved hospital buildings in Europe with masterpieces by the Flemish primitive Hans Memling (reopening on December 16, 2023 ). And many tourist shops, but also for those who like comics De Striep, Katelijnestraat 42 https://www.brugge.be/booksmusictour-nieuw. This is a bit of a walk back along the Katelijnestraat. Now return and enter Mariastraat: at the end: Simon Stevinplein. Finally: part of the Christmas market ;) When leaving the square, turn right along Steenstraat and a little further on you will arrive at the Markt: the second part of the Christmas market. At 'Duvelorium Belgian Beer Bar', to drink a Duveltje and enjoy the view on the balcony (just know that you paid for it in the price of your Duveltje, you can drink it cheaper elsewhere).
How could you get there also: back at the Church of Our Lady, take the littel street right along the O.-L. Kerkhof Zuid and goes over a cute bridge (Bonifacius Bridge) and enjoy the square you enter (Arentshof). Leave the square and you are on the Dijver: walk along it and be sure to look at the other side of the water just before you reach the Wollestraat: there is the 'Bourgogne des Flandres brewery', when you find the entrance, go there for a drink. Their terrace is lovely. The entrance? Enter Wollestraat and take the first left (Kartuizerinnenstraat). You could also walk a little further along the Dijver (don't go in Wollestraat) and enjoy the view on the left (called Little Venice) and a little further you have the Vismarkt, keep walking and you arrive at the house of my wife's great-grandfather: now a cozy café restaurant 'Punta Est' (Predikherenrei). Now you are a bit far (although, what is far in Bruges, right?) from the Christmas market.
Return along the Groenerei and at the end you are back at the Vismarkt, cross the Blinde-Ezelbrug, Blinde-Ezelstraat and you are at the Burg. Take Breidelstraat and you will see the Christmas market again. In Breidelstraat no. 3: 'Bruges Beer Experience': a beer museum with tasting. Or don't take the tour and just taste; look outside for a nice view of the Market.
And now something else: from November 24 to January 7 there is Winter Gloed: along a 2.5 kilometer winter walk you will enjoy 10 attractive light experience installations (at best in the evening) https://www.visitbruges.be/en/winter-glow/light-experience-trail

What else can I say? I was once a taxi driver at night in the distant past and I really enjoy Bruges in the evening and at night, but also the hustle and bustle during the day. Yes, Bruges is very touristic, that is true. For a quiet relaxed walk, take the narrow streets away from the main streets, there are a lot of them. Then you'll see how many people still live in the old town and you will discover even more lovely buildings, bridges, squares, shops and cafes or restaurants. Also there are the 'vesten' around town which are a beautiful walk. You can start at the 'kruispoort' and walk to 'katelijnebrug'. Or further. This is a lovely piece of the 'vesten'. The 'kruispoort' is also the gate closest to campsite memling.
Some more random tips: The 'Queen Astrid Park': this park shines in Bruges. You can enjoy a nice walk around the kiosk and the pond. There are plenty of benches to take a rest / You can eat the best waffles in 'Lizzie's Wafels', Sint-Jakobsstraat 16 / There is also a cinema in that street: cinema Lumière, for 'alternative film'. Speaking of films: in preparation for your visit to Bruges, watch 'In Bruges'. A powerful film starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson / The 'Bruges Jerusalem Church' (Balstraat 14); A visit to this beautiful private church is well worth it: the unique stained glass windows and the beautiful tower with the Cross of Jerusalem at the top.

People used to say: Bruges is closed on weekends and this was true: nothing was open, but this has changed. There are many shops open on Sundays, but the most are open on the first Sunday of every month. Who is closed on Sundays but not during the end of the year: Brugs Brickhouse, a Lego store at Smedenstraat no. 23 and feast your eyes on the Belfry in lego.
Funny and informative: friet museum http://www.frietmuseum.be/en/ + the chocolate museum: http://choco-story-brugge.be/ENG/
Chocolates.... if you come to Bruges and want to buy delicious pralines, buy them at the specialized shops. Tasteful pralines are made in little factories (some are around Bruges e.g. 'The Chocolate Line'. Unfortunately you cannot visit it; Shop's in town and worth a visit: https://www.thechocolateline.be/en/), they don't make them in their cellar anymore and yes, they are quite expensive. Pralines bought at a warehouse are cheaper and taste... like pralines all over the world (made by bigger companies and sold everywhere). Some more chocolate shops: https://www.brugge.be/chocolattour-nieuw. May I recommend Roose's Chocolate World. Roose's is just outside town, not much more expensive than a warehouse: https://www.chocolate-world.be/
Beer: enjoy it at a local pub (tip: café 'La Trappiste', Kuipersstraat 33, opens at 5pm but also De Garre and also mentioned brewery Bourgogne des Flandres, Kartuizerinnenstraat 6) and maybe try something new/special? There are about 1600 Belgian beer brands. Beer to enjoy at home (or at the campervan) you can buy at a warehouse: same beer, same taste and much cheaper. Are you staying at campsite Memling? Then the carrefour (about 5 min. walk from the campsite) is a cheap one for beer. Or: aldi & lidl, they are along the 'Maalse Steenweg' (straight road to town from the campsite).

There is so much more, but I am not trying to write a tourist guide but to give you some tips for a pleasant stay in Bruges. It can certainly be supplemented and I may do so at some point, but for now there is enough reading material, I think. I hope you found it useful and enjoyed reading it. In any case, I thought it would be great to promote my city to cali enthusiasts in this way.

So, be welcome and enjoy your stay!

Greetings
Calibusje
Great Post, Bruge is great and definitely worth the visit you can get a cheap 48hr tunnel trip if you time it 2 nights and 1 full day to see the town! Ghent i found as nice but not as busy there is also a nice site within easy reach of town.
 
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