Bruges Christmas market are usually open in the period from around November 25 to January 2 each year, with a short pause on the Christmas day. The entrance is free to all, except there’s a small fee for the ones who would like to enjoy ice-skating on the ice rink.
The main market is in Grote Markt, with its pretty, wooden chalets surrounding a glittering ice rink, where skaters swish and stumble in the shadow of the 83m-high belfry. If you can face the 366 steps to the bells at the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the chocolate-box city below.
There’s another market in smaller, tree-lined Simon Stevinplein but, with no shortage of tempting chocolatiers and cosy cafés en route, the short walk might take longer than you’d expect.
If you’ve over-indulged, a brisk walk in nearby Minnewater will help blow away the cobwebs and work up an appetite for the next course: a plate of warm, crisp kroketten made with shrimp or gorgeously oozing cheese. Perfect for a quick pit-stop before the serious business of shopping begins.