Zeebrugge

Beautiful Bruges
Waffles and chocolates
Lace and ceramics

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Zeebrugge/Bruges

The charming medieval city

Crowds tend to overwhelm Bruges nowadays – its reputation as a perfectly preserved medieval city has made it the most popular tourist destination in Belgium – but you’d be mad to come to Flanders.
With an MSC Northern Europe cruise and miss it: Bruges’ museums hold some of the country’s finest collections of Flemish art, and its intimate, winding streets, woven around a skein of narrow canals and lined with gorgeous ancient buildings, live up to even the most inflated tourist hype.

When you step ashore from your MSC cruise, the obvious start to an exploration of the city is the two principal squares: the Markt, overlooked by the mighty belfry, and the Burg, flanked by the city’s most impressive architectural ensemble. Almost within shouting distance are the three main museums, among which the Groeninge offers a wonderful sample of early Flemish art.

Another short hop brings you to St-Janshospitaal and the important paintings of the fifteenth-century artist Hans Memling, as well as Bruges’ most impressive churches, the Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk and St-Salvatorskathedraal. Further afield, the gentle canals and maze-like cobbled streets of eastern Bruges – stretching out from Jan van Eyckplein – are extraordinarily pretty.

The most characteristic architectural feature is the crow-step gable, popular from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century and revived by the restorers of the 1880s, but there are also expansive Georgian-style mansions and humble, homely cottages.

Time and again the eye is surprised by the sober and subtle variety of the cityscape, featuring everything from intimate arched doorways and bendy tiled roofs to wonky chimneys and a bevy of discreet shrines and miniature statues.

Must see places in Zeebrugge

Discover our excursions

8 results found

  • BRUGES ON YOUR OWN

    CITY TOUR

    ZEE11

    Except for the fact that Bruges very much exists and thrives in the modern world, the historical beauty of the Belgian city is such that any visitor would be excused for thinking – even if only for a moment – that they had fetched up in a living museum dedicated to showcasing life in medieval times. After boarding your coach at the pier, no more than a 30-minute drive separates you from your drop-off point in the city centre: Walplein Square. You will be informed about when and where to pick up your coach again, but after that, it’s down to you alone how you spend your time in town. Keep your camera within easy reach since the gorgeous old buildings, a testament to Bruges’ heyday as a prominent member of the 13th- to 17th-century merchant confederation known as the Hanseatic League, are likely to get your snapshot finger twitching. But this is also just the spot to try or shop for other traditionally Belgian treats such as waffles and chocolate, artisan beers and fries – a truly Belgian creation – as well as lace and tapestries. The coach ride back to Zeebrugge and your ship ultimately brings the outing to a close. Please note: as the tour involves longer periods of walking on cobblestones and uneven ground, it is unsuitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair.
    • Long route by bus

    • Shooting videos and/or taking pictures is not allowed or subject to fee

    • No guide available

    • Duration
      6 h

    • Adults£42.00Price per person

    • Children£32.00Price per person

  • BRUSSELS

    CITY TOUR

    ZEE04

    Enjoy a day out to discover the beauties of Brussels. An approximate 1.5 hours drive will take to Brussels where skyscrapers and hotels have modernized the skyline of this French and Flemish speaking city. Brussels is today an important banking and trade centre as well as the headquarters for NATO and the European Community. You will discover the city’s important monuments during an orientation coach tour that will lead you past the exhibition halls of the Centenaire, the Atomium – a gigantic representation of an iron molecule built for the 1958 World’s Fair – the Chinese Pavillion, Japanese Tower and the King’s Castle in Laeken. In the city centre, you will view the Royal Palace before leaving the coach and begin a guided walking tour through St. Hubert Gallery to the ‘Rue des Bouchers’, which is the centre of the gastronomical district of the city. Your guide will lead you to the ‘Grand Place’, one of Europe’s most beautiful squares. The extraordinary ensemble of baroque façades was built on the very spot where Brussels first inhabitants held their market in the 12th century, the heart of the community in the Middle Ages. Admire the remarkable building overlooking the square such as the 15th century Gothic City Hall and the Guild Houses. A short walk from the ‘Grand Place’ stands the 17th century bronze statue by Jerome Duquesn, ‘Manneken Pis’, of a small boy that is the city’s official mascot. Enjoy free time to have lunch (not included) or to search for souvenirs in one of the many lace and chocolate shops. Return to the port. Please note: this tour includes periods of walking on cobblestones and uneven ground; it is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties Gests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made. Limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only.
      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        7 h

      • Adults£62.00Price per person

      • Children£45.00Price per person

    • MEDIEVAL GHENT

      CULTURE AND HISTORY

      ZEE01

      Ghent is home to one of the world’s greatest oil paintings, Van Eyck’s ‘Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’. This dynamic modern city has a centre straight out of the Middle Ages; it was the weavers from Ghent, joined by others from Bruges, who took up arms to defeat the French in 1302. An hour coach drive will transfer you to Ghent where for a pleasant walking tour. Your exploration will begin at St. Michael’s Bridge with its view of Ghent’s three glorious medieval steeples, the closest one is that of the early Gothic St. Nicholas Church. Your guide will point out key monuments such as the Meat House and the City Hall. During your visit to St. Bavo’s Cathedral you will see the ornate wooden pulpit and the world famous oil painting of ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ by the Van Eyck brothers. After the visit a little free time is scheduled to browse around the historic district or to look for souvenirs in the many lace and chocolate shops. Return to Zeebrugge. Please note: this tour includes periods of walking on cobblestones and uneven ground; it is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair. Limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. Conservative attire is recommended for visiting sites of religious importance.
      • Limited seats

      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        4:30 h

      • Adults£59.00Price per person

      • Children£42.00Price per person

    • A JOURNEY BACK IN TIME THROUGH FETCHING FLANDERS

      SCENIC ROUTE

      ZEE07

      Thanks to its bucolic landscape and immaculately preserved medieval towns, travelling through Flanders is a little like stepping back in time. The first call on your time-warping tour is Damme, a quaint little town of numerous book shops that you can spend some time exploring – and photographing – at your own pace. A stretch by coach will then take you through the outskirts of the historical town of Bruges for glorious views of windmills and the impressive medieval city walls. A stop at one of the largest chocolate shops in Bruges – another speciality for which the Belgians are known – will give you a chance to indulge your sweet tooth with some premium-quality treats, following which you will head south to the mid-19th-century Loppem Castle. A more romantic spot you could not wish for: amid beautiful landscaped grounds with a lake, mature trees and a maze stands the remarkably well preserved castle in all its neo-Gothic splendour, complete with a richly decorated and exquisitely furnished interior. You will have some time to spend as you please before you begin your scenic journey back to the port and your ship. Please note: the tour is unsuitable for guests using a wheelchair. The number of guides in languages other than English is limited. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only.
      • Shopping

      • Limited seats

      • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Easy

      • Duration
        4 h

      • Adults£52.00Price per person

      • Children£39.00Price per person

    • AN INTRODUCTION TO BRUGES AND ITS CANALS

      SCENIC ROUTE

      ZEE03

      Leave the port and enjoy a 30-minute drive to Bruges, an exquisitely preserved medieval town and a leading member of the Hanseatic League in the 13th century. Upon arrival in Bruges a guided walking tour through the historic district will introduce you to this beautiful, romantic city. Your guide will point out the major sites such as the Market Square with its Guild houses, the Belfry Tower and Burg Square. This square is the focal point of ancient Bruges, on the lift is the Provost House built in 1655 and across the square is a row of magnificent buildings. The Stadhuis, or Town Hall, dates back to the 14th century and has a wonderfully ornate façade covered with statues and the Oude Griffe, the former Recorder’s House from the 1530’s, is ornamented with impressive windows. Next you will enjoy a 30-minute guided canal boat cruise to see the beauty of medieval Bruges from a different perspective from the canals and the waterways of the city. Free time is scheduled around Walplein Square to search for the perfect souvenir in the many lace and chocolates shops. Return to the port. Please note: this tour includes periods of walking on cobblestones and uneven ground; it is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair. Limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only.
      • Limited seats

      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        4:30 h

      • Adults£69.00Price per person

      • Children£52.00Price per person

    • A JOURNEY BACK TO 15TH-CENTURY BRUGES: HISTORIUM EXPERIENCE

      SOMETHING SPECIAL

      ZEE10

      Perhaps best known for the entirely fictional Poirot, the moustachioed Belgian detective created by Agatha Christie, Belgium’s real-life charms include exquisite lace and tapestries, delicious fries (a Belgian invention!), delectable chocolates, fluffy waffles, numerous types of beer and one of Europe’s most beautiful medieval cities, Bruges. The fact that Bruges was once a major player in the confederation of merchant guilds called the Hanseatic League, which existed from the 13th to 17th century, is reflected in the beauty of its splendid buildings. After a 30-minute coach drive from the port, you will get to stroll through the appealing cobbled streets en route to your first stop: the Historium Museum. In a truly immersive manner, this amazing exhibition tells a multisensory love story, played out in a number of rooms that are all meticulously staged with special effects and music to evoke the year 1435. And to ensure you can follow the story to the very end, you will have use of an audio guide in your language. Next up is the museum’s Grand Beer Café, where you’ll both get to sample three speciality Belgian beers and enjoy stunning views of the town square. Time will then be yours to explore Bruges on your own, after which your guide will take you past the romantic “Lake of Love” en route to the coach for the drive back to Zeebrugge and your ship. Please note: as the tour involves longer periods of walking, it is unsuitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair. Guests must be 18 years old to participate in the beer tasting session: soft drinks only will be served to all guests under 18 years of age. Comfortable shoes recommended; only cameras without a flash allowed inside the Museum.
      • Long route by bus

      • Tasting included

      • Limited seats

      • Duration
        5 h

      • Adults£79.00Price per person

      • Children£55.00Price per person

    • BECOME A CONNOISSEUR OF BEER – IN BRUGES

      SOMETHING SPECIAL

      ZEE08

      Boasting a brewing tradition of almost 1,000 years and currently producing almost 450 distinct varieties, there can be no doubt that beer is writ large in Belgium’s culture and customs. A tipple that began life merely as a safer alternative to the pestilent water of the day has evolved into a sophisticated drink whose traditional brewing methods are now enhanced by modern technology to yield a range of beers that knows no equal in taste, variety and character. The setting for your venture into the world of beer is the medieval town of Bruges and its meticulously preserved 12th- to 15th-century buildings, only a 30-minute coach journey from the port. A guided walk will take you through cobbled lanes and tree-lined canals to reach the bustling marketplace, belfry tower, town hall and the 12th-century Basilica of the Holy Blood. The beer-appreciation session that then follows will inform and delight your palate – aided by your knowledgeable guide –with the delicious flavours of 4 different beers. Cheers, everyone! Time will also be set aside for you to delve into the many delights of Bruges on your own. The variety of shops selling fine Belgian beer, chocolate and lace make this picturesque town a joy to explore and a great place to pick up a truly original memento. The short return drive to your ship then brings your mellow Belgian experience to a close. Please note: the tour is unsuitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair. The number of guides in languages other than English is limited. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. Guests must be 18 years old to participate in the beer-appreciation session.
      • Tasting included

      • Limited seats

      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        00 m

      • Adults£72.00Price per person

      • Children£52.00Price per person

    • BRUGES & BELGIAN CHOCOLATE

      SOMETHING SPECIAL

      ZEE02

      Combine a few hours out to marvel at the beauties of Bruges and to learn Belgium’s finest export product: chocolate. A 30-minute coach drive will take you to Bruges (Brugge in Flemish), an exquisitely preserved medieval town and a leading member of the Hanseatic League in the 13th century. Upon arrival in Bruges a guided walking tour through the historic district will introduce you to this beautiful, romantic city. Your guide will point out the major sites such as the Market Square with its Guild houses, the Belfry Tower and Burg Square. This square is the focal point of ancient Bruges, on the lift is the Provost House built in 1655 and across the square is a row of magnificent buildings. The Stadhuis, or Town Hall, dates back to the 14th century and has a wonderfully ornate façade covered with statues and the Oude Griffe, the former Recorder’s House from the 1530’s, is ornamented with impressive windows. Next stop will be at a Belgian chocolatier’s workshop to see how raw chocolate bars re made into the fine Belgian chocolates using only the freshest and best ingredients. At the end of the demonstration you will have time to purchase some Belgian chocolates and to pay a brief, independent visit to the Chocolate Museum. After some free time to search for the perfect souvenir in the many lace and chocolates shops, your guide will lead you past the romantic Lake of Love and back to your coach. Please note: this tour includes periods of walking on cobblestones and uneven ground; it is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair. Limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. This tour is available only during your cruise.
      • No guide available

      • Tasting included

      • Limited seats

      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        5 h

      • Adults£59.00Price per person

      • Children£42.00Price per person

    The excursions in the programme above are intended to provide MSC Cruises guests with an idea of the different tours which can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
    Shore excursions programmes and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
     
    Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

    Belgium

    Discovering the Flemish culture
    Discovering the Flemish culture

    A federal country with three official languages and an ongoing rivalry between its two main groups – Dutch-speaking Flemish and French-speaking Walloons – Belgium’s dull reputation is definitely misleading.
    A cruise to Belgium will show you lively and cultured cities in the predominantly urban north, beautiful forests and rugged hills in the south. A holiday to Belgium is a pleasure: factor in the Belgians’ enthusiasm for beer and fine cuisine, and all the ingredients for a truly memorable trip are in place. With Europe’s finest cliff-top city, neighbouring Luxembourg certainly does its bit too.

    Roughly in the middle of Belgium lies the capital, Brussels, the heart of the EU and a genuinely vibrant and multicultural city. North of here stretch the flat landscapes of Flemish Belgium, whose main city, Antwerp, is a bustling old port with doses of fine art, cutting-edge fashion, and twice as many bars as Amsterdam.

    Further west, also in the Flemish zone, are the charismatic cities of Bruges and Ghent, each with a stunning concentration of medieval architecture. To the south of Brussels, Belgium’s most scenic region, the Ardennes in Wallonia, has deep, wooded valleys, high elevations and dark caverns, with the town of Namur the obvious gateway.