Brugge (Bruges) (Photo:Kanuman/Shutterstock)
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Cruise Critic Staff

Port of Brugge (Bruges)

Brugge (in Flemish -- it's Bruges in French) is one of the most visited cities in Europe and is the number one destination for passengers on cruise ships calling at Zeebrugge. Visitors flock here, not for a specific museum or historical location, but to wander amidst the city's stunning examples of Flemish and Renaissance architecture and immerse themselves in the vitality of the two main squares -- Markt and Berg. There is always so much going on in Brugges -- from flower and produce markets to rides for children, bustling cafes and restaurants and old-fashioned people watching.

About Brugge (Bruges)


Pro

Historic attractions, charming cafes plus Belgian beer and chocolate are just some of the highlights

Con

Most ships dock in Antwerp, Ghent or Zeebrugge, necessitating a bus ride to Brugge itself

Bottom Line

Worth the trek to get a taste of Belgian food and culture


Find a Cruise to Brugge (Bruges)



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.

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.

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.

Language

Flemish and French are the principal languages; however, many people speak basic to good English as well.

Shopping

Belgian chocolate and handmade Belgian lace are the best souvenirs.