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.
A third all time favourite for a picnic is the Minnewaterpark, next to the Minnewater, also known as the Lake of Love. It is close to the Bargeplein, where many tourists disembark from the bus. The park used to be part of castle gardens hence the somewhat formal design. You can walk from the Bargeplein (bus stop) over an arched modern red bridge, through the park to the Lake of Love and the beguinage. At one side of the park stands a tower that used to be a munition depot. In summer the park also serves as grounds for music festivals like “Feest in ’t Park” and Cactus festival which are canceled this year due to corona.
If you come from the train station, you can buy stuff at the train station where you have a Panos (bread, sandwiches, breadrolls), coffee and tea at ATM, a Starbuck, and on the square in front of the station a small supermarket, Carrefour Express. Or you can walk over to the Katelijnestraat that runs from the Bargeplein to the centre of the town. Here you will bakery shops, take away shops and a supermarket. Or you can picnic on a box of famous Belgian chocolates!
The beguinage is a very special place boasting a quiet inner court surounded by whitewashed houses where nuns and single women still live today. Sometimes you can spot the nuns cross the garden in their black en white robes and caps. Around Easter the courtyard is filled with blooming yellow dafodills, an idyllic sight. The entrance is free of charge, and is open every day from 6:30 AM till 6:30 PM. You find the iconic swans of Bruges on the lake just outside the beguinage. From the beguinage it is a five minute walk to the Our Lady Cathedral where a small statue by Michelangelo attracts many tourists. Just in front of the church entrance is the entrance to the 800 year-old Saint John hospital (Sint-Jans hospitaal), where an exhibition on Memling (Flemish primitive painter) is really worth the visit.
Just one note: there are many trashcans located in the park, so please do not leave anything behind and keep our green areas clean!
If you like to bike: “Hidden Gems in Bruges – Discover Bruges by bike 1“