Known as the Venice of the North, Bruges' medieval picture postcard streets make the perfect setting for a spot of shopping. The Belgian city was built on the back of commerce and its traditional lace shops and chocolatiers remain a must-visit. This heritage of craftsmanship and care continues today with boutiques selling chic and unusual accessories and decorations for your home, beautiful textiles and delicious food and drink.
And of course, Bruges hosts the most atmospheric of all traditional Christmas markets from November 24 to January 2, a magical setting to pick perfect presents for family and friends back home. You'll find the main market in Grote Markt, with its pretty, wooden chalets festooned with twinkling fairy lights surrounding the glittering ice rink. There's another market in smaller, tree-lined Simon Stevinplein too. When you need a pick-me-up, follow the delicious aromas and put your feet up in a cosy cafe with a freshly made waffle and hot chocolate.
When you've shopped until you could drop, hop on a horse-drawn traditional carriage and sit back with your bags for a romantic ride through the cobbled streets.
It's well worth downloading the Handmade in Bruges app, which has a map showing contemporary craftspeople and designers and celebrate the city's rich crafts heritage. Handmade in Bruges awards makers who produce their wares by hand and locally. Look out for the logo on shop windows too.
Here are our suggestions for unmissable shops to explore in Bruges.