If you like to shop when you travel, Bruges is the ideal place to visit. You could spend hours browsing the city’s chocolate shops, gift shops and beer shops, as there are so many of them scattered throughout the city centre. Bruges is a relatively small city and it’s not full of world-renowned tourist attractions like Paris or Rome. It’s entirely pedestrianised and although there are museums to visit and extravagant buildings to go inside, Bruges is definitely more of a laid-back, wander-as-you-please city break destination. With it being so close to Canterbury, I see a weekend in Bruges more as a shopping and foodie weekend, rather than a busy, sightseeing weekend. When you’re in Bruges, especially if you’ve driven over there, I highly recommend picking up some food, beer and souvenirs. Belgium is known for it’s cuisine and lovely local goods, so in today’s post I’m going to be sharing some ideas of authentic Belgian items to pick up in Bruges.
1. Belgian chocolate from a local store.
There are so many chocolatiers in Bruges and often you can purchase individual chocolates pick ‘n’ mix style or you can buy beautifully wrapped bags of chocolate that you can only purchase in Bruges. Bruges is a chocoholic’s heaven and you can find all sorts of flavours there, which aren’t available elsewhere in the world. When you’re in Bruges, I highly recommend putting some money aside for fancy chocolate. It’ll be both delicious and nostalgic – as it’ll remind you of all of the amazing chocolate stores you visited on your trip to Bruges.
2. Craft beer.
Now I don’t drink beer and I don’t ever really plan to, but Belgium is known for its high quality craft beer. Whilst we were in Bruges, my boyfriend Stuart really enjoyed wandering around the local stores, picking out new beers to try. Something I learnt from Stuart and worth sharing with you is that there are Carrefour Express’ scattered throughout Bruges city centre. Carrefour sells lots of the craft beer at incredibly cheap prices, so don’t be fooled into buying the authentic beer at souvenir stores or beer shops, you can get much more for your money in the Carrefour mini supermarkets.
3. Waffle kits.
In most chocolate stores or bakeries, you can purchase Belgian waffle kits to take home with you. Going for waffles is an absolute must-do in Bruges and the waffles in Belgium are nothing like anywhere else in the world. Go to a waffle shop whilst you’re in Bruges and if you really enjoy them, why not buy a waffle kit to take back to the UK? Then you can bring the essence of Belgium to your own kitchen at home.
There are lace shops everywhere in Bruges, as it’s the lace capital of the world, so if you fancy taking something home that is ‘truly Bruges’, you can find lace fabric or lace-related decorations for your home on almost every street in Bruges.
5. Teddy bears.
Bruges has lots of teddy bear and toy shops. The ‘Bear Necessities’ store is absolutely adorable and full to the brim with classic teddy bears. The bears are different to what you find in toy stores in the UK, they’re somewhat vintage and probably aimed more towards adults, but they’d definitely make a perfect gift for somebody who likes plush toys.
Bruges has lots of lovely items to purchase, so it’s definitely worth saving a few pennies before you go. It’s my favourite European city to visit for shopping and at some point I’d love to go back just before Christmas, so that I can purchase presents for my family and friends there.