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 10€ for adults, and 6€ 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 50€ 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. Guides can be found on such marketplaces sites as ToursByLocals.com, Airbnb.com/Experiences and Viator.com. The tourist office runs informative walking tours from April through September costing 12.50€ (free for kids 11 and under) for a 2-hour stroll through the pretty streets to all the main sights plus a trip up to the Concertgebouw rooftop for panoramic city views. Tours depart at 2:30pm daily from the Concertgebouw (see below), with Sunday kick off at 10:30pm in July and August. During October the tours only run on the weekend, leaving at 2:30pm.
Guided day tours of Bruges from Brussels are offered by Sandemans New Europe (www.neweuropetours.eu; tel. 49/305-105-0030), leaving daily during the high season and every day except Tuesday and Thursday in the winter season; the trip (40€) includes round-trip transportation by train and a guided tour of the city but not food or drinks. Also departing from Brussels, Bravo Discovery (www.bravodiscovery.com; [tel] 32/470-60-3505) offers guided day trips (30€) on Friday and Saturday (and Wednesday and Thursday in July and August); it includes round-trip train tickets and a guided tour of the city but not food or drinks. Bravo Discovery also offers a combination Bruges/Ghent day tour (45€) from Brussels on Sunday.
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.