8 x winter in Bruges
During the cold, dark winter months a winter low is lurking just around the corner, but not in Bruges! The seasonal city is twinkling and delightful. Once the mysterious mist has lifted over the Bruges canals, the winter sun enhances the historic buildings and contemporary hotspots, and when evening comes, extra lights add a cosy ‘Winter Glow’. A winter-season celebration, restored works of art, gorgeous gifts, culinary delights, time for reflection… When you visit Bruges this winter, you will leave the city with a warm heart.
1. Winter Glow featuring a new Light trail
The 4th edition of this winter celebration will once again include two Christmas markets, a unique ice-skating decor on the Lake of Love, the cosy Vorst Winter Bar, delightful year-end shopping during the shopping days, and a historic city centre filled with festive lights and Christmas decoration. Once again, the Light experience trail, based on the theme ‘Awakening’, will add seasonal sparkle in Bruges. This diverse route - along greenery, water, parks and squares - passes 8 light installations, which bring the city to life as darkness falls. Numerous extra winter events contribute to the extraordinary city experience.
Winter Glow: 25 Nov 2022 - 08 Jan 2023
Read more on www.visitbruges/winter and Follow us on wintergloedbrugge
2. Restored works of art
Following intense restoration, the painting ‘The Death of the Virgin’ by Hugo van der Goes is more magnificent than ever in the exhibition ‘Face to face with Death’. Featuring alongside a series of other amazing works, not forgetting the new acquisition ‘Man van Smarten’ (Albrecht Bouts), this masterpiece will remain on display in Sint-Janshospitaal (St John’s Hospital ) until 5 February 2023. Discover the exhibition with a museum guide during one of the introduction tours on a Sunday (Dutch only) or with your personal museum guide. The public programme ‘Music is my medicine’ immerses you in the matters of saying goodbye, grieving and the healing powers of art.
More info here >
The mausoleum of Anselm Adornes and his wife Margaretha van der Banck have also undergone intense, structural renovation. You can rediscover the glory of this 600-year-old monumental tomb, made from Tournai stone, in the Jerusalem Chapel on the authentic Adornes estate.
More info here >
3. Luxury and bling-bling trail
The heyday in 15th-century Bruges is the highlight in the ‘Burgundian Splendour’ trail, one of the four interesting routes in the Oooh! Bruges walking guide. Follow in the footsteps of rich noblemen and powerful merchants. During your adventures, pop into the luxurious Gruuthuse city palace and admire the magnificent colours in the paintings by the Flemish primitives in Groeningemuseum. The fact that Bruges owes its prosperity to its ‘connection with the sea’ is emphasised in a visit to the fully renovated historic gallery in Bruges City Hall.
4. Illuminating gift ideas
Now that the shop windows are bursting with seasonal spirit, shopping in the historic centre is even more of a delight. Besides the extensive offer in specialist stores and surprising boutiques, you will also find sustainable, handcrafted creations by local producers: a unique piece of jewellery from the Diamond House, KinGin, The Silver Hand, Els Gadeyne or Jonas Maes; glass art from ArtinGlass, Herbert Monsieur, Pia Burrick, Annemie De Vadder and Birgit Verplancke – including glass clouds. For these local and handmade gifts, you can go directly to one of the certificate holders or pop into the Sashuis, as the new home of ‘Handmade in Brugge’. On top of that, this historic location beside the Lake of Love is the start of a walking trail that guides you past several creative producers in the heart of the city, and includes a programme of exhibitions, workshops and lectures.
5. December Dance: movement, sound and colour
During the 15th edition of December Dance, Concertgebouw Brugge and Cultuurcentrum Brugge are keeping up tradition and combining forces for a series of unforgettable dance performances. Exceptional (inter)national known and new talent will be on show during this celebration of contemporary dance. The festival will open with a bang on 8 December with the Belgian premiere of Carcass, the new creation by Marco da Silva Ferreira from Portugal, and end in style with Promise me, a family performance by LaGeste.
More action on www.dansinbrugge.be >
6. Time for reflection
Do you dare to press pause? Are you open to surprises? Then pop into BIBLIA, the interactive experience centre that opened recently in the historic buildings of the Major Seminary in Bruges. You will take a trip through the world of the Bible. Saint Magdalene's Church is also a place for reflection. Since 2002, the church has been converted into a hospitable space, where a wide audience is welcome with all kinds of existential questions. Taking in inspiring, towering works of art as you sway through the church on a swing brings tranquillity and pure meditation.
More religious heritage >
7. The warmest chefs and atmospheric bars
Several chefs from Bruges decided to put their pans to good use for the Warmste Week (Warmest Week). Each day, on their food stand at the Christmas market (Simon Stevin Square – 25/11- 8/01), a different participating chef or student from the culinary school will serve a dish displaying their particular style. The profits are for charity.
Info: Warmste Chefs by Flavourite Bruges >
After enjoying a heart-warming dish, you can top off the evening with a drink in one of the many traditional pubs, contemporary cafés, trendy wine and cocktail bars or festively clad hotel bars, such as Café Rose Red, Café Marcel or De Goezeput. There's plenty of choice.
More suggestions of bars and café’s >
8. Starry starry night
If you want to get the most out of Bruges in winter, it is best to stay a night or two. Once the lights are out and the moon and stars are the only illumination left in the sky, it is wonderful to enjoy some sweet dreams in a perfectly made hotel bed. A warm welcome awaits you in Bruges' hotels, guest rooms, youth hostels and holiday homes!
See the full range of accommodation here >