It always amazed me how such a quaint city in Belgium can have so much to see and do. The city is choc-full of unbelievably beautiful architecture, giving the ultimate medieval vibe. Whether it is a museum or just a city square you want to hang out in, this place has it all. Apart from all the sightseeing in and around the city, you can set yourself up for some interesting shopping and entertainment.
Shopping in Bruges
Shopping in Bruges mainly focuses on exotic chocolates, laces and beer. The chocolates are expensive but then they are really good. There are also beer boutiques. A number of art and craft shops dot the streets along with souvenir shops. Laces are plenty but am not sure whether they are actually made there. Also, it’s better to check various shops before purchase since the rates seem to differ amongst the shops- this is something I have noted throughout the tourist spots of Western Europe. The supermarket is a good option for buying much of the chocolates and beer. There are numerous cafes and restaurants, especially with outside seating.
Chocolates are ubiquitous in Bruges. It is everywhere. Some of the obvious ones are mentioned here. On Wijngaardstraat the shops which sell chocolates include Detavernier-Carpe Diem, Charlène’s Place, The Chocolate Corner, ‘t Begijntje; on Katelijnestraat they include Belfry, Pralinique De Bruges, Moeder Babelutte, Sukerbuyc, Candy Shop on Zuidzandstraat, Barr-Choc on Zilverpand, Arti-Choc on Geldmuntstraat, Alexamèr on Rijselstraat and many more!
The variety of chocolates is mind-boggling. They have fruits, nuts dipped in chocolate, sweets made of nut pastes, chocolate, spices et al. My favorite was a perfect disk-shaped sun-dried orange sliver dipped in creamy chocolate. Chocolates are not only used in desserts/sweets but also used in various main course recipes combined with different wines/beers.
Bruges and beer– need to be mentioned in a single breath! Beer is, shall we say, more omnipresent than water. The pubs also carry home-brewed ones; one can select from more than a hundred different varieties of draught and bottled beers.
Belgium is famous for lace production since medieval times. Bruges in particular is known for the bobbin lace. The handmade laces in Bruges are quite expensive (naturally!). Both Belgian handmade laces and also cheaper versions imported from mass production bases in Asia are available here. Some of the lace shops in Bruges are ‘t Apostelientje ;Lauwers (Of Pickery family);Venice in Bruges;Lace Jewel ;K Pickery ;The Little Lace Shop ;The Lace Garden; ‘t Kanthuisje ; Lace Paradise ;Claeys Antiques; Irma in Bruges; A Pickery. There are also a number of lace museums and exhibitions around the city. The notable ones are the Kant centrum, Brandewyn Museum (Dijver 16), Arendshuis Museum (on Dijver), and Begijnhof (a small lace exhibit).
Belgium is known for its diamond-cutting industry. In Bruges, diamond shopping is also possible. There is a Diamond Museum that traces the history of diamonds in Bruges, Belgium.
Beer pubs and breweries in Bruges, Belgium
With over 450 varieties of beer, Belgium is a specialist in this liquid. Each beer is served in its own appropriate beer glass i.e. different beers have different types of beer glasses.
The amazing variety of beer makes this country a beeraholic’s love interest. These include the white beer (wheat beer), gauze beer (blend of two or more Lambic beer), chocolate beer, kriek (lambic beer further fermented with cherries/berries), brown beers, golden beers, red beers, faro, Trappist beer (made by monks in monasteries in centuries old methods), Abbey beers et al. The most famous of Belgian Beers is the Lambic beer, a non malted wheat beer that is dry, tart and naturally effervescent drink that is better aged.
Each of these varieties has a number of choices under them.
The breweries in Bruges include De Halve Maan (since 1856. Famous for Bruges Zot), De Gouden Boom Brewery museum (since 1455. Brews Brugge Tripel and Blond, Steenbrugge Dubbel & Steenbrugge Tripel). A noted beer museum is the National Hops Museum located where earlier hops were inspected and stored.
A lot of bars close on one or more days of the week. Also the timings when they open vary – some open at 4 pm, some at 5 pm and some are open from morning. It is better to check before heading for them. Many might need some amount of searching and walking for first time visitors.
SOME BEER PUBS/BARS/RESTAURANTS IN BRUGES
1) ‘t Brugs Beertje in Kemelstraat – Normally crowded, small smoky place with a total pub feel and an unthinkable variety of beer. Beer lovers’ paradise. Look of the interiors – old.
Address – Kemelstraat 5, 8000 Bruges, Ph. + 32 50 33 96 16
Open from 4pm daily except Wednesday. Weedays – open till 1am; Weekends – open till 2 am.
Closed on – Wednesdays.
2) Den Dyver on Dijver– Restaurant great for full course dinner combined with the appropriate beer/wine. Better to reserve before hand. Not a place for a quick drink. Look of the interiors – modern.
Address- Dijver 5, 8000 Bruges, Ph. +32 50 33 60 69
Closed on – Wednesday, Thursday noon.
3) Cambrinus Restaurant in Philipstockkstraat
Open on all days from 11am to 11pm.
Weekends open till early hours.
4) Staminee De Garre– Small and smoky. Good for pub crawlers – real pub feel. Lesser
number of beer variety compared to other bars here. Each order of beer comes with a side of cheese. Look of the interiors – old.
Address- De Garre 1, 8000 Bruges, Ph. +32 50 34 10 29
5) Brasserie Erasmus on Wollestraat – Good selection of beer especially drafts. Look of the interiors – modern.
Address- Wollestraat 35, 8000 Bruges, Ph. +32 50 33 57 81
6) Herberg Vlissinghe – Supposed to be the oldest bar/pub in the city (early 16th century). That is really old ! The innards of the pub look it too. There’s an enclosed garden for people to sit outside. Selection of beer is less. Normally not crowded. But the experience of sitting in such an old watering hole could provide a good kick.
Address- 2 Blekersstraat, 8000 Bruges, Ph. +32 50 34 37 37
7) De Zolder Keldercafe on Vlamingstraat – A cellar bar open from 5 pm. Located further away from the crowded tourist spots – hence a good walk required. Good selection of bottled and draft. Look of the interiors – old.
Address -Vlamingstraat 53, 8000 Bruges, Ph. +32 477 24 49 05
Open on – Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 5 pm.
Closed on – Monday, Tuesday and Sunday.
Some of the Beer Stores/shops where beer is sold in Bruges include-
• Bacchus Cornelius – Academiestraat 17
• Bierpaleis – Katelijnestraat 25-27, Bruges
• Schutyser Dranken Legeweg
• Smatch in Langestraat
• Missault in Braambergstraat
• Pittoresk in Wijngaardstraat
• Punjeb in Vlamingstraat
• Message in a bottle in Sint-Amandsstraat
• De Prol in Kerklaan
• De Regenboog Astridlaan
• Lang Leve Brugge in Hoogstraat
• Brugs Whiskyhuis in Cordoeaniersstraat
• Charlène’s Place in Wijngaardstraat
• De Bierboom in Langestraat
• Bierwinkel in Academiestraat
• Het Bierpaleis in Katelijnestraat
• De Bier Tempel – Philipstockstraat
• The Bottle Shop – Wollestraat 13
The Concertgebouw (Concert Building), Bruges, Belgium
The Concertgebouw (Concert Building) in Bruges is a new building – absolutely striking in difference to the medieval part of the city. It is a centre meant for performances in music, dance along with events on other cultural fields like art, literature, architecture etc.
It also rents out space for events like the Concert Hall, the Chamber Music Hall and a number of other reception rooms. Outside the Concert Building are number of restaurants where one can sit outside and grab a bite.
The Bruges tourist centre is located here. One can get all details and help on tour at the tourist centre.
The Concertgebouw Address:
Concertgebouw Brugge vzw
‘t Zand 34, 8000 Brugge
Phone: +32 50 47 69 99
For tourism office:
In&uit – Toerisme Brugge
The Concert Hall
Concertgebouw Brugge vzw
‘t Zand 34, 8000 Brugge
Phone: +32 50 44 46 46
Timings: Daily 10am – 6pm; Thursdays till 8pm.