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Zeebrugge is really a major cruise port in Flanders, and connects Belgium's intricate railway and canal transportation systems. Although not much bigger in dimensions compared to condition of Maryland, Belgium is considered the most densely populated nations in Europe. Encircled by France, Germany, Luxembourg and also the Netherlands, Belgium lies in the crossroads from the region. Inside the limitations of the nation would be the artifacts of the colorful past, along with a promising future. Excellent ports and couple of natural defences have lengthy made Belgium an all natural battleground. Throughout both World Wars, the nation was the scene of fierce battles, nevertheless its recovery was quick and prosperous. Zeebrugge is known for its museums, quaint coffee shops, and unruffled vibe. 

Internal cultural variations between your northern Flemish provinces and also the southern Walloon provinces have led to a unique language situation. Nederlander may be the predominant language within the north French is spoken within the south.

For cruise ships, Zeebrugge mainly works as a gateway to Bruges and Ghent, both highly-popular locations for his or her Medieval atmosphere, architectural beauty and art treasures.

Brugge (in Flemish -- it's Bruges in French) is among the favorite metropolitan areas in Europe and it is the main place to go for people on luxury cruise ships calling at Zeebrugge. Site visitors flock here, not for any specific museum or historic location, but to wander amongst the city's stunning good examples of Flemish and Renaissance architecture and immerse themselves within the vitality of these two primary squares -- Markt and Berg. There's always a lot happening in Brugges -- from flower and convey marketplaces to rides for kids, busy coffee shops, bookstores and restaurants and old-fashioned watching people.

Let alone that Brugge's medieval appearance is basically a current entertainment. The town was discovered by 1800s vacationers, mostly from England, going to the website from the fight of Waterloo. Its growing recognition produced a pursuit to repair in the city following its downfall from among the Hanseatic League's most significant buying and selling metropolitan areas.The town fell into disrepair because the populace drifted away, however in the 19th and early twentieth century, Brugge was reconstructed within the traditional styles.

In the two squares, lanes fan to wonderful residential and commercial street scapes, and most of the waterways have fringing pathways. Possibly among the best sights from the city comes from a canal boat searching for in the historic structures and stone bridges. The further you decide to go in the center -- and it's not necessary to venture greater than a couple of blocks -- the greater peaceful the town becomes. You just need a walking tour map and alert senses in the future away enchanted with Brugge as millions have before you decide to.

Where You are Docked
Ships pier in the commercial port of Zeebrugge, in regards to a 20-minute ride from Brugge, or at Antwerp, a 1 hour 45 minutes' drive. From Zeebrugge, most lines give a transfer to Brugge for independent touring or perhaps a drop-off at Blankenberg station where trains run hourly to Brugge (travel occasions is ten minutes). The roundtrip fare is 5 pounds. Trains then continue onto Ghent and The city. Trains run hourly from Antwerp Central Station to Brugge taking 1 hour twenty minutes. From Zeebrugge toone hour to Ghent and 2 hrs each method to The city. Taxis are usually offered at the doorway towards the port.

Hanging Out

You will find simply no services within easy reach from the Zeebrugge cruise terminal. At Antwerp, it is a couple of minutes' enter the town center.

Should you fancy doing a bit of exploring by yourself, rent a motorcycle and choose a ride across the moat.

Making Your Way Around
After you have showed up at Brugge's yellow brick station, it's an easy enter the middle of town and also the primary squares, Markt and Berg. Central Brugge is basically pedestrian-only, so walking is what you want. Besides hoofing it, you are able to hop a canal boat for sightseeing tours.
 

Bruges is 11 km (7 miles) from Zeebrugge, where cruise passengers typically disembark; 29 km (18 miles) from Ostend, 106 km (66 miles) from Antwerp; and 100 km (62 miles) from Brussels.
There are regular trains from Zeebrugge to the city centre, otherwise consider a taxi.
Public transport: Bruges’s a bus network, operated by De Lijn (www.delijn.be), links the centre to outlying areas. But note that Bruges is small: it takes only 25 minutes or so to walk right across the centre (which is bounded by an egg-shaped ring canals and roads that follow the path of the old city walls).
Bruges is on the mainline rail network, with good connections. For timetables see: www.b-rail.be. The station is 1 km (0.6 miles) from the centre, and connected by bus.
Note that Bruges is spelled Brugge in Dutch.
 
Attractions
Markt and Belfort
The outstanding feature of the central market square, the Markt, is the towering Belfort (belfry, open daily), built in stages between the 13th and 15th  centuries, and symbol of Bruges’s civic pride. Climb the 366 steps for wonderful views over the medieval cityscape, amid bells that play carillon tunes to sound the hours.
 
Burg and Stadhuis
This pretty little square is flanked by various historic civic buildings, including the Stadhuis (town hall, open daily), one the finest in Belgium. Completed originally in 1375, it has been embellished by neo-Gothic restoration, notably in the soaring Gothic Hall inside. Next door is the 12th-century Romanesque St Basil’s chapel and, up the stairs, the Heilig Bloed Basiliek, a beautiful neo-Gothicchurch housing the precious relic of the Holy Blood.
 
Groeninge Museum
The main art museum of Bruges is small, but exceedingly rich. It houses an outstanding collection of early Flemish art, including work by Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling, but also makes a quick tour of Belgian art history, through to Paul Delvaux and René Magritte (closed Mon).
 
Historic Points of interest: The whole city seems like an art gallery, however a couple of sites really stick out for history, culture and art. Markt (Market Square) is really a grand plaza encircled with gabled houses and also the 14th century Belfort (Belfry) it is a great central meeting place, and you may climb the 350-step Belfry for any great city view. Plenty of restaurants and coffee shops, bookstores line the perimeter, then when the ft say stop, possess a chair watching the crowds. The neogothic Provinciaal Hof houses the publish office as well as an ATM.
 
The Berg, just steps away, includes a beautiful stadhuis (city hall) -- among the best in Europe. It is a gorgeous lat-14th/early-15th century Medieval building with plenty of turrets along with a facade decorated with statues of Flemish counts and countesses. A most colorful flower market happens there on the regular schedule.

The Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk "Chapel in our Lady" (Mariastraat, open daily from 10 a.m. - noon and 2 to 5 p.m., closed Sunday morning), circa thirteenth century, is really a draw for Medieval aficionados. It is also among the couple of places outdoors Italia to possess a sculpture by Michelangelo: "Our Lady and also the Child Jesus." Next door may be the Museum St. Janshospitaal (St. John's Hospital Museum), having a restored chapel housing functions by Hendes Memling portrayed on colored sections (opening hrs are Tuesday - Sunday 9:30 - 5 p.m.). A restored 17th century apotheek (pharmacy) that accustomed to serve a healthcare facility is nearby and liberated to enter.

Five minutes' walk in the station is Begijnhof, a peaceful courtyard lined with whitewashed houses which are the place to find about 50 single women. The compound is really a making it through illustration of housing for any Catholic order (Begijnen or Beguines) of spiritual women whose husbands passed away in wars and also the Crusades. They stuck to chastity and vows of behavior training although not poverty, so in this way they differed from nuns. 100s of those towns accustomed to exist up to the start of the twentieth century. Now you will find however a handful and many, for example that one, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In spring, the eco-friendly is really a carpet of daffodils. Site visitors may freely go into the courtyard.

Bruges Museums
Frequent train service works between Zeebrugge's Blankenberge station and Bruges. Cruise Line offer passenger bus takes visitors towards the Blankenberge Stop. Bruges has excellent museums, such as the Groeninge Museum, featuring an excellent assortment of Flemish Primitive artists, and also the Gruuthuse Museum, that is located within the 15th-century structure from the Lords of Gruuthuse. Several works of art by famous Flemish painter Hendes Memling are displayed within the Chapel from the Old St. John's Hospital and also the adjoining Cornelius Chapel.

Brugge consists of several interesting museums. Arentshuis Museum (Dijver 16, open daily from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.) showcases an accumulation of antique lace. Gruuthuse Museum (Dijver 17, Wednesday - Monday from 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.) is located inside a 15th century structure, and is renowned for its collections of tapestries, Baroque- and Renaissance-era art, and weaponry. Groeninge Museum (Dijver 12, Wednesday - Monday 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.) includes a fabulous assortment of works of art through the Flemish and Nederlander masters.
 
Hospitaalmuseum
This is indeed what the name suggests: a hospital museum, evoking vividly the life and times of the St-Janshospitaal, founded here in the 12th century, and in use until 1976. But it also contains six sumptuous and priceless works by the German-born painter Hans Memling (c.1433–94), who painted them for the hospital chapel (closed Mon).
 
Walking Tour: If you wish to stretch your legs, we recommend the next walking tour, that ought to take about two hrs or fewer, if you do not dally much. Start by departing the Markt at its southeast quarter and following Wollestraat to mix the canal, then turn left to parallel it. You go through a square lined with attractive restaurants after which stumble upon the Vismarkt (seafood market). Stick to the canal because it arcs left and revel in sights to the city's skyline. At St. Annakerkstraat, walk towards the 15th century chapel of the identical title. The off-the-beaten-track St. Anna quarter has a few of the most attractive and many varied Flemish-style town houses in most of Belgium. Go back to the canal and also at the 2nd bridge, turn remaining the canal onto Genthof. You pass near to a statue of Flemish artist Hendes Memling and are available to Jan Van Eyckplein, a handsome square in which the commercial canal motorboats accustomed to gather for moving goods towards the Markt. That old toll house remains an imposing structure. Came from here stick to the roads to the Markt.

Sailing the Waterways: Think Venice however with a Medieval feel (and, alas, no gondoliers or singing tenors). Numerous motorboat operators ply Brugge's waters you are able to board these tour motorboats at an array of very apparent landings through the city (we boarded at Katelijnestraat 4, an alternative choice may be the Rozenhoedkaai) price is 5.20 pounds to have an roughly 30-minute ride.

The Coffee shop Scene: Among the best reasons for Brugge is, once you have worn yourself too much exploring historic and cultural sites, you are able to spend time having a restorative Belgian beer in a coffee shop at among the city's number of excellent plazas. Of course, the coffee shops, bookstores are mainly oriented to vacationers however the atmosphere is really enjoyable. Most of the city's best restaurants are open for supper, but be careful for highly irregular summer time operating hrs. Le Grand Coffee shop Belfort (Markt 25 or Eiermarkt 16, from 11:30 a.m.) is really a terrific spot to enjoy huge individual stockpots of steamed mussels (you may choose how you would like them cooked: inside a cream sauce or with garlic clove, beer or wine) together with a plate of crisp fries (known as "poker chips"). Menus are published outdoors.

The Verdi tea room (Vlamingstraat 5), a basic retreat in the pedestrian crowds, serves foods, light snacks along with a proper mid-day tea attended by local ladies. It's a great place to test Belgian waffles with chocolate sauce or various jams. A croquet-monsieur (grilled pork and cheese on bread) is yet another sensible choice for any light lunch.

Frietmuseum, Choco-Story, Lumina Domestica
This group of museums is a monument to the passions of single-minded collectors. The first is a museum dedicated to the history of that great Belgian culinary triumph: the perfection of the potato chip (friet/frite). The second is museum devoted to chocolate, another area of Belgian excellence. The third is a collection of 6,500 domestic lamps, from across all of human history (open daily; www.frietmuseum.be).
Kantcentrum and Jeruzalemkerk
Handmade lace (kant) was a major cottage industry in Bruges from the 16th century on. The Lace Centre, occupying a set 14th-century almshouses in eastern Bruges, keeps the tradition alive, with practical demonstrations (summer afternoons), an exhibition of historic lace, and a shop. Next door is the extraordinary 15th-century Jerusalem Church, reconstructing the sites of Christ’s crucifixion (closed Sun; www.kantcentrum.eu).
Museum voor Volkskunde
This excellent folk museum explores the realities of life in Bruges and Flanders up to about a century ago, through artifacts, paintings, photographs and reconstructions (closed Mon).
 
Local Experiences 
The city: If you have together with Brugge, mind to The city during the day (trains leave every hour around the half-hour from Blankenberg Station, and roundtrip tickets cost 23 pounds). The city is split in to the Lower Town and also the Upper Town. Begin in the low Town, which dates in the Dark Ages towards the 1700s and it has plenty of Medieval-, Baroque- and Renaissance-era structures. One of the highlights: The Grand Place, an attractive cobbled square in the centre from the Lower town the imposing 15th century cathedral Notre Dame p la Chappele (Rue des Ursulines 4, open from 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) and also the flea market in position du Jeude (7 a.m. - 2 p.m., best days are Thursday and Sunday). The neo-Renaissance Galeries St. Hubert (Rue p Bouchers, open daily) was Europe's first shopping arcade. The Museum from the Caricature (20 rue des Sables, Tuesday - Sunday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.) is really a hoot, featuring from Tintin towards the Smurfs. For supper, rue des Bouchers has pavement coffee shops, bookstores featuring a multitude of worldwide menus and, yes, it's touristy but nonetheless fun.

Top Of The Town is terrific for museum- and structure-hopping. Begin with the Quartier Royal, the area's most distinctive and attractive plaza, encircled by 18th and 1800s palaces and also the gorgeous Parc p Bruxelles. The Palais Royal (Place des Palais, open This summer - September only, from 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Tuesday - Sunday) may be the official residence of Belgium's monarchy. Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts and Musee d'art Ancien (Rue p la Regence 3, Tuesday - Sunday from 10 a.m. - noon and one to five p.m.) would be the city's prominent art museums the previous houses works of art from contemporary eras as the latter concentrates on classical pieces.
 
Canal trip
The canals (created using the waters of the River Reie) were the chief arteries of Bruges’s medieval fortunes, linking the city to the entrepôt town of Damme and the North Sea. Tour boats depart from the canal behind the Stadhuis and around Rozenhoedkaai and Dijver, giving thirty-minute trips through the network of waterways.
Gruuthusemuseum
Bruges was built on wealth of trading families, and this museum, in a 15th-century mansion, shows how they spent it – an intriguing collection of domestic artifacts, furniture, paintings, clocks, tableware, lace, paintings, musical instruments and more (closed Mon).
Onthaalkerk Onze-Lieve-Vrouw
The Church of Our Lady is Bruges’s most beautiful church, built over two centuries, beginning in 1220. Its outstanding treasure is a Madonna and Child by Michelangelo, the only piece of his sculpture to leave Italy during his lifetime.
 
Begijnhof
A begijnhof (béguinage in French) was a refuge for single women, a religious foundation but not a nunnery, and typically an enclave of cottages set around garden – an oasis of calm that was a feature of many towns and cities of the Low Countries. The idea developed out of the gender imbalance created by the Crusades. Bruges’s begijnhof is one of the most charming: founded in 1244, most of the buildings today date from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Beaching: Mind for that beach in Zeebrugge. Visible in the terminal (but, alas, needing taxis ride) is really a gorgeous whitened sand beach stretching across the North Ocean. Zeebrugge itself includes a charming boardwalk fronted by coffee shops, bookstores.

Alternative Locations: From Zeebrugge and Antwerp, luxury cruise ships offer city tours to a number of metropolitan areas (Brugge, Ghent, Ypres, etc.) instead of multiple types of tours within the same area. If you have visited Brugge, you might like to tour Ghent or Ypres rather. Ghent is bigger and -- based on some -- more authentic than Brugge. A walking tour covers a number of hooking up squares and places of worship, and could incorporate a canal boat ride. Ghent is really a 45-minute drive from either Zeebrugge or Antwerp.

Ypres is among Europe's most well-known fight sites. The town was caught between your evolving Allied and German armies in WWI and largely destroyed. An excursion from the enjoyable provincial city (reconstructed because the war) typically includes a vacation to the Flanders Fields Museum, which represents the existence from the regular people caught within the crossfire. Ypres is definitely an hour's drive south from Zeebrugge.

Shoreline Excursions
For that First Timer: Most lines provide a standard trip which will incorporate a 90-minute walking tour from the medieval city center, some spare time to walk and shop, along with a visit a chocolate factory to determine raw chocolate made or in a place which makes Belgian waffles while offering samples. The drive from Zeebrugge takes twenty minutes and from Antwerp, 1 hour forty-five minutes.
 
Dining Out
Encircled by other nations recognized for their haute cuisine, Belgium has handled to produce a cuisine that's unmistakably its very own. The sandy Mechelen region produces wonderful asparagus, pork originates from the Ardennes, and mussels are specifically good in The city and across the coast. Sausage is available in many types, and sea food specialties are almost always scrumptious. Beer-enthusiasts can decide on 200 types of ales. Visitors searching to savor meals ashore will discover lots of restaurants to select from in Bruges.
 
Patrick Devos -- A house dating back to the 14th-century called ‘De Zilveren Pauw’ (The Silver Peacock), now decorated in belle époque and Art Deco styles, provides the elegant setting for refined French cuisine, noted for the deft judgement of chef Patrick Devos, and matched by his excellent cellar. It has a garden terrace for summer dining. Location: Zilverstraat 41, 8000 Brugge Contact: (050) 335566; www.patrickdevos.be
Prices: Lunch and dinner €50–€90
Opening times: Kitchen open 12–1:30pm and 7–9pm; closed Sat lunch and all Sun
Kok au Vin
There’s a real buzz about food in this agreeable little restaurant, serving traditional Flemish dishes tweaked by inspired touches of innovation. The day’s specials, chalked up on the board, are worth particular consideration. Location: 21 Ezelstraat, 8000 Brugge Contact: (050) 339521; www.kok-au-vin.be
Prices: Lunch from €20, dinner €40–€60
Opening times: Kitchen open 11:45am–2pm and 6:30–10pm; closed Sun and Mon.
Cafe ’t Brugs Beertje
This cheery and busy pub, with walls pasted with beer memorabilia, is a place of pilgrimage – a ‘beer academy’ serving some 300 brands of Belgian beer, as well as traditional bar snacks. Guest beers are on tap: if in doubt about what to choose, the staff are happy to diagnose your thirst and advise.
Location: 5 Kemelstraat, 8000 Brugge Contact: (050) 339616; www.brugsbeertje.be Opening times: 4pm–1am (to 2am at weekends); closed Wed
 
Shopping
Belgium is renowned for lace, chocolates, ceramics, very, linen, and pewter. Shopping possibilities in Zeebrugge are extremely limited, but abound in Bruges. The neighborhood currency may be the euro.
 
Shopping in Brugge has various boutique-style shops selling jewellery, fashion and art however the best stops have been in the various chocolateries. The primary commercial street is Steenstraat, however the city is really compact and it is numerous winding walkways and boulevards so compelling, you'll find plenty of neat breakthroughs past the primary drag. Most shops (except really touristy ones) close for supper between noon - 2 p.m.
 
The main shopping streets are to the west of the Markt, in and around Steenstraat, Zuidzandstraat, Noordzandstraat and Geldmuntstraat. Here you will find high-street chains as well as fashion boutiques, chocolate shops, delicatessens (good for picnics) and gift shops. There are markets on the Markt on Wednesday morning, and on ’t Zand square on Saturday morning.



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