Port of Brugge (Bruges)
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Never mind that Brugge's medieval appearance is largely a recent recreation. The city was rediscovered by 19th century tourists, mostly from England, heading to the site of the battle of Waterloo. Its growing popularity generated an interest to fix up the city following its downfall from one of the Hanseatic League's most important trading cities. Cloth had been the main commodity; the English wool came by ship directly to Brugge until the waterways silted up in the 15th century. The city fell into disrepair as much of the population drifted away, but in the 19th and early 20th century, Brugge was rebuilt in the traditional styles.
From the two squares, lanes fan out to wonderful commercial and residential streetscapes, and many of the canals have fringing walkways. Perhaps one of the best views of the city is from a canal boat looking up at the historic buildings and stone bridges. The further you go from the center -- and you don't have to venture more than a few blocks -- the more serene the city becomes. All you need is a walking tour map and alert senses to come away enchanted with Brugge as millions have before you.
Top Brugge (Bruges) Itineraries
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Where You're Docked
Ships dock at the commercial port of Zeebrugge, about a 20-minute ride from Brugge, or at Antwerp, a one hour 45 minutes' drive. From Zeebrugge, most lines provide a transfer to Brugge for independent touring or a drop-off at Blankenberg station where trains run hourly to Brugge (travel times is 10 minutes). The roundtrip fare is 5 euros. Trains then continue on to Ghent and Brussels. Trains run hourly from Antwerp Central Station to Brugge taking one hour 20 minutes.
There are absolutely no services within walking distance of the Zeebrugge cruise terminal. At Antwerp, it's a few minutes' walk into the city center.
Once you have arrived at Brugge's yellow brick station, it is an easy walk into the center of town and the main squares, Markt and Berg. Central Brugge is largely pedestrian-only, so walking is the way to go. Besides hoofing it, you can hop a canal boat for sightseeing tours. Both taxis and buses are available at the train station.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
The euro is the official currency of Belgium. You'll find plenty of ATM's and exchange bureaus in Brugge. Even if you plan to mostly pay with credit cards, it's wise to have some local currency as small purchases will need to be made in cash.
Flemish and French are the principal languages; however, many people speak basic to good English as well.
Belgian chocolate and handmade Belgian lace are the best souvenirs.