Visiting the Christmas Markets in Bruges is a popular trip during the festive season, particularly for cruise ship passengers from the port of Zeebrugge. The charming Belgian city is nicknamed Venice of the North thanks to its numerous canals that navigate their way around the cobbled streets.
Traveling to Bruges from Zeebrugge
The cruise ship port of Zeebrugge is around 10 miles north of Bruges so walking into the city isn’t feasible. Your cruise line will often organise various tours to Bruges, Ghent or Brussels with transportation included. These organised tours can be a more expensive option, but they often come with the reassurance of guaranteeing to get you back to the ship before the sail away.
If you’d like to visit Bruges by yourself from Zeebrugge, you can get there by bus, taxi or train.
Most cruise ships will offer passengers a free or cheap shuttle out of the port of Zeebrugge to Blankenberge, around ten minutes by coach west of Zeebrugge. Here you’ll be dropped off by a Church next to the train station and across the road from the bus terminals.
Zeebrugge to Bruges by train (via Blankenberge)
Depending on when you visit, the train typically runs once an hour both ways from Blankenberge to Bruges. Simply purchase a ticket from the Blankenberge train station, board your train and you’ll be in Bruges in around 13 minutes.
Visiting Bruges from Blankenberge by bus
The number 33 bus from Blankenberge to Bruges normally departs once an hour in December and takes around half an hour.
Visiting Bruges from Zeebrugge by taxi
If you’d rather be dropped off right in the heart of Bruges you could pick up or order a local taxi from the exit of Zeebrugge port. This may be more expensive than taking a busy or train, but if you’re travelling in a group then you could spread the cost.
The overcast skies on this particular visit emphasised the amazing Gothic architecture that Bruges is famous for. The moody weather also made the idea of indulging in waffles, triple cooked fries and hot chocolate all the more appealing.
Just off the main square of Bruges you’ll find Chez Albert, a lovely spot for freshly toasted waffles with warm Belgian chocolate and whipped cream. Nearby is Kerstbrugge, a wonderful Christmas shop selling carved ornaments and intricate decorations.
Bruges Christmas Markets
The Bruges Christmas Markets line the open squares like Grote Markt where you’ll find an ice rink and wooden chalets. The stalls offered all the usual festive goodies like mulled wine, ornaments and knitted clothing.
To warm up inside there’s plenty of cafes and restaurants along the market square, including De Carré, a contemporary, yet cosy restaurant.
Taste the best hot chocolate in Bruges
Hot chocolate lovers should make a beeline for The Old Chocolate House in Bruges that tempts you in with its ‘taste the best hot chocolate’ sign. It’s a superb little gem with a cosy team room and delicious range of truffles and pralines that are hand picked and sealed in a box with red ribbon.
You can also explore more Christmas market stalls along Simon Stevinplein, or see the city sights from the water on a Bruges canal cruise.
Updated: October 2020