Market Square, Bruges as Seen From the Top of the Belfry Tower
Language and Currency
What is Zeebrugge Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
A passport is required, but no visa is required for stays less than 90 days.
The official language of Belgium is both Dutch and French, however most Belgians speak English as well. The official currency for Belgium is the euro. Dollars are rarely accepted, but there are ATMs and many currency exchange places
Bruges as Seen from the Canal
Zeebrugge is really just an industrial port, but Blankenberg is a quiet little town that is a beachside community and vacation spot for locals. There is a long boardwalk and a wide sandy beach, but there is a good amount of wind to go with it. The real reason to port in Zeebrugge is to visit Zeebrugge's neighbor Bruges some 10 miles away.
Zeebrugge can be on the cool side with temperatures in the 60s, however the wind makes it feel somewhat cooler. Rain is also a possibility year around, so be sure to bring an umbrella just in case.
The ship docks in the Port of Bruges-Zeebrugge, an industrial port with some passenger ship facilities. The ship is at least a mile from the town of Blankenberg. If you choose to walk it, be aware of the roads you took as getting back can be tricky. Also, there may be taxis at the ship, but there are few in Blankenberg itself.
There is limited shopping in Blankenberg, but Bruges offers excellent shopping opportunities.
Everything Belgian. Lace table clothes, curtains, doilies, wall hangings and many other lace products. chocolate items of every description, ceramic art, curios and souvenirs.
First, if you plan to stay the day in Blankenberg, take a walk along the beachfront boardwalk to the very end. You will pass several outdoor restaurants and bars that look like they would be great fun. If you happen to be there when it is nice and warm, then a beach day in Blankenberg would be an excellent choice.
The Interior of the Belfry (Bruges 13th Century Cathedral)
To experience Bruges you will need to get from Zeebrugge (or Blankenberg) to Bruges. Your ship will undoubtedly offer both a tour of Bruges and a motor coach transfer. Be aware however, that the motor coaches park a good distance from the main part of Bruges and it is a very difficult walk if you have any disabilities whatsoever. On one trip, I walked into Blankenberg and took the local bus to Bruges. On another trip, I took the train from the main station in Blankenberg. Both are reasonable alternatives to taking a shore excursion transfer and are much more reasonable. Be aware though, there are two train stations in Blankenberg and you should make sure you are on the right train.
Bruges From One of the Canal Boats
Once you are in Bruges, just walking around the town is an experience not to be missed. Its quaint 18th century environment is captivating. Everywhere you look, there are wonderful little shops, boutiques and markets. Restaurants offering Belgium cuisine are everywhere. Belgium specialty foods are outstanding and you should take the time to try them all.
One of the Side Canals in Bruges
Be sure to take a canal tour of Bruges. You can see the entire village from the water's edge for a totally different perspective than you would get from walking its streets. The canal tour is inexpensive and well worth it. For a great overview of Bruges, climb the 360 steps of the Belfry (the historic 13th century cathedral on Market Square) and don't forget to bring your camera.
Don't miss having a traditional Belgium lunch at one of the outdoor cafes that populate the city. Try Belgium mussels, Belgium beer, Belgium fries and a Belgium waffel for desert. Then, make sure you stop by a Belgium chocolate shop for a final dessert of the best chocolate on Earth.
Yes, don't miss the canal tour in Brugtes, it is wonderful.
There are so many great restaurants in Bruges, it is hared to recommend just on of them. Just give one of the sidewalk cafes a chance to please you.