Bruges – a day visit from the Scenic Jasper river cruise

The founders of Brugge Chocolate, Lace and Beer. If those three things whet your appetite then Belgium and in particular Bruges should be on your ‘must do’ list. Bruges is situated in the northwest of the country and is the capital and largest city in the province of West Flanders. I was lucky enough to visit here thanks to a day trip arranged whilst I was travelling on the beautiful Scenic Jasper, Scenic’s newest river cruise ship.  Berthed in Antwerp and then transported by coach on the 90 minute journey to Bruges, a city that has something for everyone, architecture, history, good restaurants, lots to see and friendly people.

Our guide was excellent and made sure that we saw the best of the city. For those interested in history and the occupation of Belgium during WW1 the photographic exhibition situated on the 1st floor of the Belfry Tower is a must. Vivid photographs depicting various scenes from WW1, some original, some re-enacted. Whilst there the Triumph Bell in the tower begins to ring its deep mesmerizing sound that adds to the occasion. Many church bells were taken by the Germans during the war, smelted down and the metals used for weapons and ammunition. The ground floor houses the historical part of the exhibition.

Markt Square Moving further down the street the next stop has to be taking a trip on one of the many canal boats offering an excellent way to view the city without expending any energy.  The tour of 30 minutes takes in many of the famous buildings and monuments including the Hospital of St. John and the Alms Houses. Passing water side cafes, hotels, street stalls and beautiful canal swans. Continuing our walking tour we pass the ‘Church of Our Lady’ with its magnificent spire that reaches over 400 feet to the sky, through gardens and narrow streets, under the gold decorated ‘Donkey Arch’ finally to reach the Burg Square where the town hall is situated. The square features several styles of architecture. The beautiful town hall built in the gothic style is in my opinion one of the most beautiful looking buildings in Bruges. Situated next door is the renaissance styled Old Civic Registry whilst in the corner is the entrance to the Basilius church and the Chapel of the Holy Blood built in the 12th century as the chapel residence for the Count of Flanders.

Marzipan Bruges is a city with two main squares and next stop is the “Markt of Brugge”, (Market Square) an area housing the Provincial Court, Salvador Dhal exhibition, the Belfort (Belfry of Bruges) and several large restaurants. The Belfort stands 83 metres high, housing the Triumph Bell, made in 1680 and weighing 12.295 lbs (5.48 tons) accompanied by a carillon of 47 silver toned bells that play different tunes. Climbing the 366 steps to the top gives panoramic views across the city. In the center of the market stands the statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck who had a passion for the Flemish identity. The statue has stood there since 1887.

Basilica of the Holy Blood Here our guide leaves us for free time to do shopping. Some of us move off to explore the shops, shops with their window displays of handmade chocolates. Dark, milk and white chocolate made into all manner of objects and figures. With Easter fast approaching chocolate Eggs and Bunnies are in abundance. My personal favorite is Het Chocoladehuisje at Wollestraat 15. Most shops sell chocolates by weight so you select your own mix and amount. One shop is dipping Strawberries in chocolate and the length of the queue to purchase them says it all. Belgium Beer is known the world over and there is no shortage of shops selling it, the beer list is vast. It is said the 180 breweries in Belgium produce nearly 1,200 different types of beer. Chocolate The Beer Wall in Wollestraat displays many beers and its bar makes an ideal stop to rest the legs. Beware though, some of the beers can be as high as 9% and can cause the legs to stop working!! If you want a souvenir that is a little different try Belgium Lace. Bruges has been famous for its lace as long as anyone can remember and is known throughout the world for its beauty and quality. Everything from a small bookmark or handkerchief up to a large table cloth or even a dress.

The buildings can only be described as magnificent. There is so much to see in this beautiful city that a day visit is not nearly enough. Now time to sit in the sun with a coffee, well a glass of wine actually, and take in the beautiful surroundings of a city that has become one of my favourites. Oh dear, time to board the coach and say goodbye, until the next time.

Silver Travel recommends Scenic Tours

You may also find interesting:

•  Hoorn – a day visit from the Scenic Jasper river cruise
•  Amsterdam – a day visit from the Scenic Jasper river cruise

•  River cruising in luxury and style in the Netherlands

328 people found this helpful
17978

Share Article:

Alan Fairfax

Travel writer & cruise journalist

Leave a comment

*

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Mark Nicholls visits Austria’s snowiest ski resort and stumbles across a chapter of pop history….

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.