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.

Bruges Grote Markt Christmas

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.

Blankenberge Belgium buildings

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.

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Blankenberge Church

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.

Blankenberge to Bruges Bus Stop

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.

Bruges gothic architecture

Bruges canals

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.

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Typical street in Bruges during Christmastime Chez Albert Waffles in Bruges

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.

Grote Markt in BrugesSimon Stevinplein Christmas Market StallsHat stall at Grote Markt Christmas Market

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.

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Red brick buildings in Bruges

To warm up inside there’s plenty of cafes and restaurants along the market square, including De Carré, a contemporary, yet cosy restaurant.

De Carre Cafe in Bruges

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.

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The Old Chocolate House in Bruges

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 

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