It’s that time of the year when Christmas songs are all around us, we’re organising our Christmas shopping, and we might even be thinking about travelling somewhere magical for a Christmas market. Christmas is my favourite season. I love a city break and visiting different markets across the UK, and as I’ve never been to a European Christmas market before, I thought right I’ve got to go! So, that’s what I did… I dashed across to Bruges and spent just 90 minutes wandering around this beautiful city.
Bruges had everything that I expected from a festive Christmas market. I’m so glad that I chose this fantastic city as my first place to visit. I’m even excited now thinking about all the amazing Christmassy events, stalls and places to explore. I spent most of my time wandering around, experiencing and browsing all that Bruges had to offer. There was a fantastic ice skating rink with a charming ice tree centrepiece, places to buy Christmas presents for the whole family and cosy winter clothes that were a great little treat. You’ll also find traditional toys for the little ones, warming mulled cider and my personal favourite, sparkly and unique baubles to hang on the tree at home. There was even snow on the ground when I was travelling here, which perfectly topped off the Christmas atmosphere.
Holidays are about adventures, and this was a city break full of firsts; as well as it being my first time at a Christmas market outside of the UK, it was also my first experience on the Eurostar. I was that cliché passenger on the Eurostar, I had no idea what to expect, and as a frequent flyer, I thought that this just wouldn’t compete. Oh, how wrong I was. I found myself saying over and over again, “I can’t believe how quick this is” and “I can’t believe we’re over the channel and in France within an hour.” In two hours, I’d arrived in Belgium, so by midday, I’d already been in or through three different countries. It was fantastic! The Eurostar’s final stop was Brussels and then I needed to catch another train to get into Bruges, but this was an adventure in itself. I’d seen double-decker trains in films I’ve watched but never in real life. When the train pulled up, I was very excited that I was going to be able to travel in one. I know what you’re thinking… It’s the simple things in life that count though, right?
Once I’d hopped off the local train from Brussels to Bruges, the Christmas market was so close to the train station. You can jump on a bus for a quick five to ten-minute journey, or you can take a walk down the quaint Belgian streets for around 20 minutes to get into the centre. The square in itself is full of restaurants and cafés, where you can enjoy a bite to eat or grab a drink; what I did was sit outside with a hot chocolate and watch the other tourists shop and browse in this amazing winter wonderland of a market. Off the square, there are also lots of little-cobbled streets to explore. A great tip is to not spend all of your time looking at what is around you on the street level, but to glance up and take in the beautiful buildings. There are some brilliant sights to see here.
What makes a city break perfect for me is the shopping. I found lots of places to spend my holiday money, including UK high street favourites such as New Look, so don’t worry if you’ve left an outfit essential at home, as you can easily pick something up. Or, if you have a sweet tooth like me, this is a perfect destination for you to visit. The centre is full of places to grab delicious waffles and traditional Belgian chocolates, whether you take these home or enjoy in Bruges, you won’t be disappointed. The mouth-watering strawberry and cream-covered waffle that I tucked into from a little shop just around the corner from the market is still making me hungry, even when I think about it now.
I’ve definitely had a taste for a Christmas market; I just want to explore and return to this beautiful city to see more of the canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings. Plus, I’ll need to get some more delicious Belgian chocolates. What better excuse to go on holiday, than to stock up my cupboard with yummy treats?
Let’s continue the festive spirit. Comment below and let me know where your favourite Christmas market is.