3 nights from: $595 Single Supplement: FREE
Watch travelers on a canal tour of Bruges and visiting a local lace-maker shop on their optional extension.
Originally a ninth-century fortress built to protect the Flemish coast from marauding Vikings, Bruges today retains its reputation as one of Europe's best-preserved Old-World cities. Bruges’s centuries-old canal system, which was essential to its once thriving textile industry, has beckoned tourists to meander its narrow, winding streets in search of art, history, and fine chocolates for nearly two centuries.
- It's Included:
- Accommodations for 3 nights
- All breakfasts
- Included tour: Bruges
- Dedicated services of a local Program Director
- Gratuities for local guides and motorcoach drivers
- All transfers
Leave the U.S. today on your flight to Brussels, Belgium. Please refer to your personal air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times.
Arrive this morning or afternoon in Brussels. A Grand Circle representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer to your hotel in Bruges.
The balance of the day is at leisure to relax after your overseas flight. You are invited to join an orientation walk that will acquaint you with both the neighborhood around your hotel and your travel companions.
Join your fellow travelers and Program Director this evening for a Welcome Drink and briefing. Dinner tonight is on your own; your Program Director can offer advice about local restaurants.
It is often said that the best way to see Bruges—where almost every street is lined with historic buildings—is on foot. So after breakfast, you’ll set off on a walking tour of this city of canals, the former capital of West Flanders, and Europe’s best-preserved medieval city. From the 13th to the 15th centuries (until the Zwin River silted over), Bruges was northern Europe's leading trade center, owing its prominence largely to thriving wool and textile industries. You’ll see signs of this mercantile history in the beautiful houses built by the wealthy textile merchants.
Your walking tour takes you to the Church of Our Lady and to Market Square, with its distinctive belfry tower and carillon of 47 bells. You’ll also see the Holy Blood Chapel, containing relics from the Crusades.
You then have a chance to see Bruges from another perspective—from onboard a boat navigating the city’s winding canals. Back on terra firma, your tour continues with a visit to a local lace shop, where you'll learn about the artistry and craft involved in this traditional creation of Belgium. Lace-making has a long history but came into its own in the 15th century. Belgium soon gained a peerless reputation for fine lacework, and Bruges became a world center for lace.
After the morning tour, you have the remainder of the day at leisure. If you like, you can remain in town for shopping and independent exploration. Perhaps you'll spend some of your time taking part in one of the pleasurable pursuits of travel—finding an enticing restaurant for local cuisine. Seek out interesting spots to dine on your own for lunch and dinner today.
Enjoy the day in Bruges to spend as you please. No other European city has the medieval look and feel of Bruges. Even its 19th-century neo-Gothic restorations add to the ambiance of the Middle Ages.
This afternoon, choose to join an optional Flanders Fields tour to visit Ypres, the site of three great battles of World War I, and the World War I Memorial Museum.
This morning is yours to relax and explore at your own pace.
Or, join us for an optional Scenic Belgium tour. Travel to the coastal region and the town of Raversijde, where you’ll tour the remnants of the Atlantikwal, the fortifications Germany set up to protect its western front. The Atlantikwal ran effectively from coastal France to Norway's most northernmost city. You'll find some of the best-preserved examples of bunkers and buildings here, often restored with period furniture and equipment.
Continue by bus through Western Flanders’ flat fields and low-lying canals, past villages nestled among clusters of poplars, and we arrive in the former fishing village of Damme. In the 13th century this was the region’s busiest port; but like Bruges, its fate was sealed when the Zwin silted up. Along Kerkstraat, you'll find the main sights of this medieval town: the Gothic Town Hall and the twelfth-century Our Lady’s Church. After a leisurely stroll, you'll board the local barge De Lamme Goedzak and enjoy a 40-minute cruise past the poplar-lined Damse Vaart, a canal linking Damme with Bruges. While cruising, you'll even savor one of Belgium's magnificent locally brewed beers.
This afternoon to Antwerp, where you'll board your ship on Day 2 of your Holland & Belgium in Springtime River Cruise.
Please note: This extension may not be available on all departures. Ask our Travel Counselors for details. Call 1-800-221-2610.