It’s practically law that every visitor to Bruges should take a boat cruise around the city canals. There are five landing stages, the most convenient for tourists being the two along Dijver, but all are marked with an anchor icon on maps available at the tourist office . These open-top canal boats can be scorching in hot weather and bracing in cold, but they only last 30 minutes, they are free with the Brugge City Card , the commentary is multi-lingual, and they reveal a uniquely satisfying view of the city. They operate March to November daily 10am to 6pm, with weather-dependent departures between December and February. A half-hour cruise is 7.60€ for adults, and 3.40€ for children 4 to 11 when accompanied by an adult.
Wherever you are in Bruges, you’ll hear the clip-clop of horses’ hooves, so if you fancy a tour of the city by horse-drawn carriage (caleche in Flemish), the departure point is on the Markt between March and November, carriages are stationed on the Markt (in the Burg on Wed mornings) between 9am and 6pm. The 35-minute ride is 39€ per carriage for up to five people; there’s a jumping off point for you and a resting point for the horses at the Beguinage ; see if you can spot the fountain nearby that’s adorned with two horses’ heads.
If you’d appreciate a little help uncovering the secrets of Bruges, hire a local guide. The tourist office runs walking tours from April through September costing 9€ (free for kids 11 and under) for a 2 1/2-hour schlep through the pretty streets to all the main sights. Tours depart at 2:30pm daily from the Concertgebouw , with Sunday kick off at 10:30pm in July and August. During October the tours only run on the weekend, leaving at 2:30pm.
For more information on all the tours mentioned above, check out the tourist office website visitbruges.be.
Tuesday through Saturday between March and September, eco-friendly scooters can be hired from Electric Scooters (Gentpoortstraat 62; tel 050/000-000; www.electric-scooters.be) for a potter around the streets of the city or out to Damme . Prices start at 35€ for 2 hours, with a reduction of 25 percent for holders of the Brugge City Card .
International tour companies such as Viator (tel 888/651-9785 in the U.S.; www.viator.com) offer comprehensive guided day tours of Bruges from Ghent , Brussels, and Amsterdam as well as out to the battlefields of Flanders .
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.