A Winter break to Bruges and Ghent, Belgium
I got a rather awesome present for my birthday this year, Paul bought us a winter break to Belgium! I’ve done a good amount of travel this year, but Paul and I hadn’t actually done a trip of just us. We do always try and do one a year and I was sad we hadn’t managed to this year. Luckily all was sorted after my birthday!
So at the beginning of December, we took a Friday off work and jumped on a plane. We flew from Heathrow into Gatwick and then got a train. You can do the Eurostar all the way there (or drive!) but there were good deals on flights.
The trains in Belgium were great! Really easy to use and to get tickets. It took about 90 minutes from Brussels to Bruges, and Ghent is roughy in the middle.
Christmas markets in Bruges
Of course, one of the benefits of going to Belgium in December was all the Christmas markets! The weather wasn’t great when were there – lots of rain but we did manage to get some good breaks in between.
We managed to get to Bruges by about 2pm on Friday. It was literally pouring down and I was desperate for some food so we popped into Ellis Gourmet Burger. I mean, it wasn’t traditional Belgian food but they did do a really good burger and it was just what I needed.
We then did a proper run around of all the markets. They were definitely better than some I’ve been to in the UK – a good mix of crafts and good food. Plus they weren’t totally rammed (likely because it was a rainy Friday – they definitely seemed busier the next day). Bruges in itself is so beautiful – it has gorgeous architecture, traditional cobbled streets and looks beautiful dressed up for Christmas.
We headed to find our air BnB before then heading out for drinks and dinner. As we had late burgers, we decided to pick up some food market snacks before going to a traditional Belgian bar. I’d like to tell you that I really enjoyed the beer, but I just cannot get into beer. Paul did enjoy his beer paddle though – a taster of 5 different beers. Ideal.
On Saturday we got up early and went on a giant walk around Bruges. As we didn’t have much time there, we decided to skip on any museums / tours etc and just explore! We popped to Tatties for breakfast where I had a proper European breakfast of huge amounts of bread and cheese. Ideal. We then did a big walk out to where all the windmills dot the river before winding our way back through to the centre.
Halfway through the day we jumped on the train to Ghent. It was only about 30 minutes before we arrived – and the train was practically empty! Ghent is a bit bigger than Bruges – like a proper city. That said, it’s still a gorgeous place and I definitely got the same feeling from both places – festive and cozy.
We dropped our stuff in the air BnB before heading out on a big walk – the rain was due to start later so we wanted to make the most of it! Ghent was also full of Christmas markets – a little busier, but it was a Saturday and very enjoyable to wander through. I grabbed a cone of frites to scoff as we walked.
We then had to run home to get out of the rain but did venture out later on to eat and drink away the evening. I have to say that the wine was good in Belgium! That said, the gin was so expensive that I didn’t have it at all! Beer and wine was clearly the way forward.
On Sunday we wrapped up and headed for breakfast. I was determined to find a hot chocolate and a chocolate shop to tick off all of the food things I needed to eat. I ended up having a white chocolate lotus hot chocolate. It was all kinds of amazing! We then had a good wander trying out a load of chocolate and fries.
Overall, we had such a great trip. It wasn’t one filled with activities so I feel like this isn’t a particularly great guide. But if you want to go somewhere where you can spend lots of time wandering around beautiful areas, drinking beer and eating a lot of good food, then Belgium is the place to be!
Have you been to Belgium? What did you think?
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