3 nights from: $795 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. The city'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
- Daily breakfasts
- Included tours: Bruges • Ghent
- 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. 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 relax or join an orientation walk that will acquaint you with both the neighborhood around your hotel and your travel companions.
Gather with 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.
After breakfast, set off with us on a walking tour of Bruges, capital of Flanders and a city still defined by its canals. Dating from the 13th century, Bruges is a living museum and a treasure trove of fine architecture. From the 13th to the 15th centuries, Bruges was the most important trading center of northern Europe, based largely on its thriving wool and textile industries. You'll see signs of this mercantile history in the beautiful houses built by wealthy textile merchants.
Your walking tour takes you to Church of Our Lady and to Market Square, with its distinctive belfry tower and carillon of 47 bells. You also see the Holy Blood Chapel. Your tour continues with a look at Bruges from another vantage point—a tour aboard a canal boat. Then you'll visit a lace shop to see some of the world's finest lacemakers at work. You'll enjoy some free time to have lunch on your own and to explore independently.
After the tour, return to the hotel and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. If you like, you can remain in town for shopping and independent explorations.
Or, join us this afternoon and evening for an optional excursion to Flanders Field, a museum commemorating World War I. You’ll travel to the city of Ypres, now known as the “City of Peace,” and visit the interactive Flanders Field Museum, where you'll learn about the Great War and then tour the battlefields. After dinner at a local restaurant, you'll visit the Menin Gate Memorial and listen to the buglers from the local fire brigade who play there every night in remembrance of those lost in the war. The cost of this optional excursion includes dinner.
Spend your evening at leisure in Bruges. There are many fine restaurants in the area and your Program Director can help you pick a good one.
Enjoy the day at leisure in Bruges. Or, join an optional half-day tour of Scenic Belgium, featuring an excursion to the Flanders countryside. First, you'll take an included audio-guided tour of the Atlantikwall—an unfinished steel and concrete wall constructed by Germans during World War II to block England from invading German-occupied territory and to protect some of Hitler's weapons. From this landmark, you'll venture to Damme, a former fishing village on the Zwin River, to embark the boat that will transport you back to Bruges. As you cruise, you'll sample some of the quality beers for which Belgium is known.
Please note: Visit to Damme and boat ride are not available before April 1 and after October 1. Instead, travelers will sample artisanal beers during an excursion to a local craft brewery, and return via motorcoach.
You check out of your Bruges hotel after breakfast this morning. En route to Antwerp, you'll stop to explore Ghent, known as "the Jewel of Flanders." Originally the site of two abbeys founded in the seventh century at the confluence of the Schelde and Leie rivers, the city grew slowly into a commercial center especially known for its textiles. It was here in the city's Pacification Hall that the Treaty of Ghent was signed in 1814, ending the War of 1812 between the U.S. and Britain. Historic Ghent boasts many beautiful buildings dating from medieval times.
During a walking tour of the city, you'll see the imposing St. Bavo's Cathedral, where the painting “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb,” by the Van Eyck brothers, resides. You also see the 800-year-old Castle of the Counts in the town center. From here, the Counts of Flanders ruled over the proud and sometimes rebellious Ghent people. Marvel at wonderful old guild houses, and admire the Gothic Town Hall and Belfry Tower.
This afternoon, you'll transfer to Antwerp to embark on your Romance of the Rhine & Mosel River Cruise. The balance of the day proceeds as described in Day 2 of the main itinerary.
Please note: This extension may not be available for all departures. Additional taxes and fees will apply. Ask our Travel Counselors for details. Call 1-800-221-2610. Bruges is a pre-trip extension on the Antwerp to Basel itinerary and a post-trip extension on the Basel to Antwerp itinerary.