Cobbled lanes and elegant squares, atmospheric churches and romantic canals. Walking through Bruges is like stepping into the pages of a fairytale.
This is a supremely beautiful city, often compared to
Amsterdam because of its canals and genteel architecture. Perfect for a romantic treat or refined city break, Bruges never fails to impress.
Bruges is very easy to get to. Sail to France from Dover and the city is just 47 miles from our port in Dunkirk, or 72 miles from Calais. If you’re travelling from the north of England or Scotland then you can save yourself a drive by taking our Newcastle-Amsterdam route. When you drive off our ship in Holland, Bruges is less than three hours away by car.
Why visit Bruges?
Bruges is often visited as a day trip from
Brussels, but there are lots of reasons to make this your base for a few days away. The city is absolutely beautiful at night, when the canals and elegant Flemish architecture are floodlit to dramatic and magical effect.
The shopping is wonderful, particularly if you like chocolate, lace or beer! Bruges is the self-proclaimed world capital of chocolate and with its chocolate shops, chocolate museum and even a chocolate trail, you could dedicate an entire weekend to your favourite sweet treat.
Bruges is a real treat for food lovers too. Its elegant buildings and stately squares accommodate a profusion of restaurants, bistros and cafes.
Whether you seek Michelin-star quality or simple local cuisine, you won't be disappointed.
What to see
Everything in Bruges centres on the Markt, an open square flanked by gabled guild houses and bustling with people, open-air restaurants and horse-drawn carriages.
Beautiful medieval style buildings skirt the square, but towering 83m above it soars the magnificent Belfry. Take the 366-steps to the top and you'll be rewarded with wonderful views over the UNESCO World Heritage listed city centre, with its red tiled roofs and wistful spires.
Canal cruises are a popular way to see the centre of Bruges. You get a different perspective from the water - it's easy to imagine how the city must have looked centuries ago to the merchants who came here to buy and sell their wares.
Bruges has a diverse collection of museums dedicated to everything from fine art to lace, diamonds to windmills. Its most celebrated gallery is the Groeningemuseum, which houses a rich collection of Flemish Primitive and Renaissance art.
Where to stay
Our partner Booking.com offers a selection of great value accommodation for you to choose from, no matter what your budget is. Restaurant and tearoom with seating by the canal, serving traditional Flemish food and ice cream.
Things to do and see in Bruges
Bruges offers a wide variety of attractions and activities. Here are some highlights:
A canal boat tour is a great way to relax and see the city. Originally used by commercial vessels to transport goods into Bruges, the canals are now exclusively used by tourist boats.
With its whitewashed buildings, beautiful gardens and museum, the Beguinage is a haven of tranquillity in the middle of the city. Today the Beguinage is used as a monastery for Benedictine nuns.
The Bruggesmuseum is a general title, referring to five different museums and galleries. Between them, they hold a wealth of art works and each collection tells the history of Bruges from a different point of view.
Choco-Story follows the history of one of Belgium's most famous exports. Journey from the world of the ancient Mayans and Aztecs through to the modern day production of truffles, bars and hollow figures. One for the chocoholics!
The centre of Bruge is home to many different festivals over the course of the year, from the world music sounds of the Bruges festival to the film experience of Cinema Novo.
Shopping in Bruges
Bruges is home to many shops, offering a wide range of goods in the unique atmosphere of the city centre.
The main highlight of Bruges's shopping facilities is its devotion to Belgium's most famous export - chocoholics will find 49 Belgian chocolate boutiques in which to browse and indulge. De Kaarsengieterij is also popular with visitors - a candle shop selling handmade candles with the option to order personalized candles for gifts or souvenirs.
The city centre also offers several shopping malls including Zilverpand and Alberthal, and there are also regular market days including a fish market and a flea market.
Eating out in Bruges
Bruges offers a wide variety of bistros, cafes and restaurants. Here are some of the highlights of what's on offer:
Friendly tea-room and bistro offering home-cooked food.
Elegant haute cuisine restaurant serving fine food and wines.
Tavern and restaurant based in the cellar of a 16th century house. Serves freshly cooked meat and fish dishes as well as a wide selection of beers and wines.
Restaurant and tearoom with seating by the canal, serving traditional Flemish food and ice cream.
Prices are subject to availability. Credit card & telephone booking fees apply. Terms & Conditions apply.
WE'RE AWARD WINNING
It’s always a proud moment when you’re recognised for your good work, we’re honoured to have been named as ‘World’s Leading Ferry Operator’ in the 2014 World Travel Awards. We've won this award for 4 years running.