Best Christmas markets in Bruges

Best Christmas markets in Bruges

Bruges was made for Christmas markets. The Belgian city looks like a Christmas card in December – think horse-drawn carriages, cobbled streets and a Medieval market square filled with festive wooden huts. In fact, the main Christmas market here is one of the best in Belgium and it’s just one of several attractions lined up as part of the city’s Winter Glow festival. Factor in a bumper crop of sights, and it’s no surprise that everyone from chocolate addicts to Colin Farrell fans want to be in Bruges – especially at Christmas time.  


The main event: Markt, Market Square  

You’ll find the best Christmas market in Bruges in the market square, Markt. Lined with pavement cafés and ridiculously beautiful buildings, it’s the pedestrianised heart of the city. Put it this way – you won’t find a sightseeing tour that doesn’t stop here. From late November to early January the cobbles are covered with wooden huts selling incredible food and festive finds. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, pick between Belgian chocolates, liege waffles and speculoos cookies. Shopping for souvenirs? Pick up fancy lace mementos and mini nativity scenes. When you’re done, climb the 300-odd steps up the massive Belfry for bird’s-eye views of the whole scene. Or, snap the iconic tower from the other end of the square if that sounds like a little bit too much climbing. 


The arts and crafts one: Simon Stevinplein Square 

The great thing about Bruges’ Christmas festival is that everything’s close together, so there’s no long walk to get from one attraction to the next. There’s an official Winter Glow trail around the city centre that links everything together via a 2.5km light trailMinutes away from the Markt, you’ll find Bruges’ second Christmas market at Simon Stevinplein Square. Crafts are the focus here, so you can stock up on everything from soaps to socks – all handmade by the person you’re buying from. It’s smaller than the Christmas market at Markt, but there are some fun rides and games for kids here plus plenty of food stalls, too. Velvety Belgian hot chocolates all round. 


The one with the ice rink: Minnewater 

It’s not technically a Christmas market, granted, but the ice-skating rink that pops up at the same time as the market is a must. The location changes regularly, but it’s been at Minnewater – AKA the Lake of Love – for the last few years. The setting is as romantic as the name suggests, wrapped in pretty parkland and crossed by a postcard-worthy bridge. But it’s the artificial ice rink – set on a floating pontoon on the lake – that steals the show. Pick up some skates and glide (or fall) beneath a canopy of twinkling fairy lights that glitter off the surface of the water. Then refuel with a hot drink and a bite to eat at the cosy Vorst Winter Bar. It’s right opposite the rink, with a prime view across the water. 


Sold on Bruges’ Christmas markets? 

Check out all our holidays to Belgium. For more inspo, take a look at the best Christmas markets in Brussels or the best Christmas markets in Vienna. 

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Author: Katie Gregory 
Last updated: 23/10/23