Bruges is all about amazing atmosphere and winter romance. The window displays are decked out in all their Christmas finery, as are the streets and squares of Bruges.
Without a doubt the most beautiful winter venue is St. John’s Hospital! Every year Magical Winter Moments is organised in this medieval hospital, with stunning flower decorations adorning this historical site. Prepare for an amazing spectacle from 22 November until 1 December.
Not wintery enough? Then why not replace the gorgeous flower arrangements with snow and ice sculptures? Head over to the square in front of Bruges’ railway station, where you can explore an enchanting ice world. From 22 November until 5 January the Snow & Ice Sculpture Festival will bring the fantastic world of the Disney film Frozen to life. Breathtakingly beautiful but also bound to make you catch your breath because of the cold. So make sure to bundle up adequately!
Are you walking from one winter venue to the other? Then make sure to find a bench or terrace near the Belfry around 11 a.m. for the belfry concerts on Wednesday,Saturday and Sunday. Celestial sounds which are bound to transport you to higher dimensions. By the end of November the stalls of the charming Christmas marketare in place and the lights of the ice-skating rink are beckoning. They both are definitely worth visiting.
Every year Bruges’ retailers outdo themselves with even more amazing window displays. During the holiday months I love walking past the various squares to admire the Christmas lights. Do you want to avoid the Christmas crowds like I do? Then shop on weekdays! And because there is nothing like that warm Christmas glow, do take the time for a crisp waffle, a heart-warming cup of glühwein or a steaming mug of hot chocolate.”
Shop Käthe Wohlfahrt
Think Christmas and you immediately think of the Christmas decorations, Father Christmas and gifts. Or of that one-stop shop for all of the above and more called Käthe Wohlfahrt, because this family-owned shop is simply teaming with Christmas items. Handmade wooden Christmas figurines, ornaments and lights for the tree as well as original nutcrackers. This is the place to go for all of your Christmas decorations or to find a gift for someone special.
International December Dance festival
Every year internationally renowned dancers and choreographers flock to Bruges’ Concert Hall for December Dance. This year the art director is the leading Belgian choreographer Wim Vandekeybus. From 4 until 15 December he will add a sequel to his own festive year (his company Ultima Vez recently celebrated its 25th anniversary). And yet he will not only be hosting a retrospective of his own work. In December he will also invite (inter)national talent.
Compagnie Marie Chouinard
Treat yourself to an early Christmas gift with tickets for the Belgian premiere of the dance performance by Marie Chouinard. On 23 November eleven of her dancers will perform a special ballet to the sounds of Erik Satie’s Gymnopédies. For her second choreography Chouinard drew inspiration from the book Mouvement by the Belgian surrealist, Henri Michaux. Ten mysterious dancers will leave you dazzled after their psychedelic trip.
Belgian Swing Jazz Orchestra
For a few weeks the jazz tunes in the Hotel Navarra bar will be replaced with traditional Christmas carols. But who says that you have to miss your usual portion of jazz? Because the Belgian Swing Jazz Orchestra invites you to join them in the Stadsschouwburg on 24 November where they will treat you to a concert of some legendary Belgian jazz from the period between the two World Wars. Stirringly beautiful.
Looking for a stay?
Hotel Navarra prepares for Christmas. “It is an annual tradition in the hotel. By the end of November it starts decorating for Christmas. And it plays Christmas carols instead of the usual jazz music. At this point it is completely ready for Christmas. And so are guests because often Bruges is their number one destination for Christmas shopping. This hotel is the perfect place if you want a taste of the Christmas atmosphere and go and find some Christmas gifts.
Most people inevitably associate Christmas with good food! Restaurant La Porta serves festive food every day of the year. Gourmets will enjoy the tasty, Italian creations which chefs Jess Wittevrongel and Steven Verriest conjure onto your plates. Delectable food for an equally delicious price!