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 in the many parcs of 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 cuts in the small supermarkets or vegetable and fruit stores across town.
Bruges has many beautiful spots to have a picnic or a rest. In the middle of the city, close to the fish market, you find the Astridpark, with a small lake in the middle, many benches and a small kiosk where you find shelter from the rain of sun. The park is a green lung in the centre (the locals call it “De botanieken hof” (the botanical garden) between Pandreitje, the Minderbroederstraat and the Schaarstraat .
It’s a romantic spot with swans on the lake and beautiful big trees that offer shade. During summer the city organizes some small festivals in the park but this year they are cancelled due to corona. At one end of the park is a white building where a radio station, Villa Bota an internet radio, is located run by youngsters from Bruges, at the other end you find a large playground with wooden play-toys.
The parc is close to the Market place, the Burg and the fish market, the three main central squares. Although you find many stores in the centre, there are actually three smaller local shops at one side of the park where you can find all your necessities for a great picnic. A bakery, an butcher and a vegetable and fruit shop. All three shops are of high quality and well known to the locals. All three shops close on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday, but are open on Sundays. The bakery (Schaeverbeke), sells great breakfast rolls, cookies and pastries, next to a great range of specialty breads. They also sell scooped ice cream if you are looking for a dessert. On the other corner you find “Jan en Lucrece” (named after the owners), a shop that sells vegetables and fruits, one of the best in the city. Here you also find fruit juices, ready made salads, fruit salads, sliced cheese, butter, yoghurt… On the third corner is a butcher (Maertens) where you find cold meats, ready made dishes (if you stay in an appartment, you can buy a dish to reheat), grilled chicken, filled French bread, pancakes. This triangle is sometimes called the golden triangle by locals in Bruges, because of the popularity of the shops. On a Sunday you will often have to stand in line in all three shops. If you did not find what you need here there is a newly opened supermarket at the other end of the parc.
At the south side of the park you find the Magdalena church, also worth a short visit. The church offers a self service coffee and tea corner.
Don’t miss the wonderfull wooden facade at the left side of the park (when facing the pond and kiosk).
After your picnic you can visit the Fish Market (1820) where they still sell fresh fish and seafood every day from Wednesday till Saturday from 06.00 am to 01.00 pm. Connected by a bridge and the Blinde Ezelstraat (look up when you walk through) you walk to the Burg where you find beautiful historical buildings like the City Hall (14th century) and the famous Basilica of the Holy Blood (12th century). Through the Breidelstraat you reach the Markt or main square. Here you can visit the Belfry.
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 love biking: “Hidden Gems in Bruges – Discover Bruges by bike 1“