Shopping in Bruges mainly focuses on exotic chocolates, laces and beer. The chocolates are expensive but then they are really good. There are also beer boutiques. A number of art and craft shops dot the streets along with souvenir shops. Laces are plenty but am not sure whether they are actually made there. Also it’s better to check various shops before purchase since the rates seem to differ amongst the shops- this is something I have noted throughout the tourist spots of Western Europe. The supermarket is a good option for buying much of the chocolates and beer. There are numerous cafes and restaurants especially with outside seating.
Chocolates are ubiquitous in Bruges. It is everywhere. Some of the obvious ones are mentioned here. On Wijngaardstraat the shops which sell chocolates include Detavernier-Carpe Diem, Charlène’s Place, The Chocolate Corner, ‘t Begijntje; on Katelijnestraat they include Belfry, Pralinique De Bruges, Moeder Babelutte, Sukerbuyc, Candy Shop on Zuidzandstraat, Barr-Choc on Zilverpand, Arti-Choc on Geldmuntstraat, Alexamèr on Rijselstraat and many more!
The variety of chocolates is mind-boggling. They have fruits, nuts dipped in chocolate, sweets made of nut pastes, chocolate, spices et al. My favourite was a perfectly disk shaped sun-dried orange sliver dipped in creamy chocolate. Chocolates are not only used in desserts/sweets but also used in various main course recipes combined with different wines/beer.
Bruges and beer – need to be mentioned in a single breath! Beer is, shall we say, more omnipresent than water. The pubs also carry home brewed ones; one can select from more than hundred different varieties of draught and bottled beers.
Belgium is famous for lace production since the medieval times. Bruges in particular is known for the bobbin lace. The handmade laces in Bruges are quite expensive (naturally!). Both Belgian handmade laces and also cheaper versions imported from mass production bases in Asia are available here. Some of the lace shops in Bruges are ‘t Apostelientje ;Lauwers (Of Pickery family);Venice in Bruges;Lace Jewel ;K Pickery ;The Little Lace Shop ;The Lace Garden;’t Kanthuisje ;Lace Paradise ;Claeys Antiques;Irma in Bruges; A Pickery. There are also a number of lace museums and exhibitions around the city. The notable ones being the Kant centrum, Brandewyn Museum (Dijver 16), Arendshuis Museum (on Dijver), Begijnhof (a small lace exhibit).
Belgium is known for its diamond cutting industry. In Bruges diamond shopping is also possible. There is a Diamond Museum which traces the history of diamonds in Bruges, Belgium.