When you visit Bruges in the summer, and want to stretch your legs after walking the small streets, a picnic in one of the parks is an excellent alternative. Especially this year when the city of Bruges has placed 25 picnic tables and numerous (green) chairs on 8 spots in the city centre.
If you didn’t bring a picnic with you, you will find bakeries in almost every street, as well as drinks, fruits and cold cut in the small supermarkets or vegetable and fruit stores across town.
One of my favourite spots for a picnic (since it is close to my house), is the area around the windmills. You can find them on the old city ramparts between the “Kruispoort” (old fortified town gate 1402) and the “Dampoort”. There are three windmills in total, but only the one in the middle, the Sint-Janshuismolen, can be visited from May first to the end of August daily from 9.30 to 12.30 and 13.15 to 17:00, except on Mondays, the miller will shows you around. But because of corona the windmill is not open for visitors yet. The windmill which used to be a bakery mill, still grounds grain. The windmill closest to the town gate is named “Bonne Chiere” is an old oil-mill, and the third one is named “De Nieuwe Papegaai” and is an old wooden stilt-mill (1888), both of them are out of use. In between the windmills are big patches of grass, where it is great to sit or lie down when the weather allows.
The windmills are on your left when you stand in front of the town gate with your back to the city centre. On your right (as well as on your left) is a walking path next to the canal. The bridges which open and close when boats have to pass are an attraction for tourists, but annoying for locals, since it often screws with our schedule to get somewhere in time! (although it also forces us to slow down)
If you need to buy stuff for your picnic you can find a bakery, a butcher and a small supermarket in the street that leads from the centre up to the town gate: Langestraat (translated as “long street”).
The bakery is just 50 meters away from the gate. Commeine bakery on Langestraat 142 closes on Sundays and Mondays. There is a butcher’s shop where they sell filled sandwiches (on French bread), or prepared meat to eat with bread. De Leeuwenbrug, Langestraat 61 closes on Sundays and is closed at lunch time between 1 an 2 PM. A bit further in the direction of the centre you find the city supermarket Smatch, Langestraat 55 which is closed on Sunday afternoon but open till 7:30 PM.
If you are looking for some action you can visit several small museums nearby. The Guido Gezelle house is located in the cobblestone street just in front of the Sint-Janshuismolen windmill, Rolweg nr.64. Guido Gezelle was a famous Flemish poet, and his birth house has a wonderful tranquil garden. Both museum and garden are free of charge. You need to make reservations for the museum but the garden can be visited without prior reservations. When you continue in de Rolweg you will find the museum of Folk life in the second street on your left. In the same street you find the Lace centre and museum and the most authentic lace shop of Bruges: ’t Appostelientje. At the end of the street you find the small but beautiful Jerusalem Chapel and Adornes domain. The chapel is built in the 15th century after the church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It is a very charming and beautiful old church. Here you walk the small cobblestone streets lined with stepped gable houses far away from the masses.
Just one note: there are many trash cans located in the park, so please do not leave anything behind and keep our green areas clean!
If you want to discover Bruges by bike: “Hidden Gems in Bruges – Discover Bruges by bike 1“
Best tearooms and pubs in Bruges: “Best tearooms and pubs in Bruges“