One of the best ways to see Brugge is on a 30 minute canal tour. You can pick up a canal boat at several departure points across the town and all cost 7 euros for the trip. (2013 prices).
The boats all take the same route and this is a nice way to see the town from the canals. Commentary is in Dutch, French, English and German.
There are several small companies in Brugge offering canal cruises in small boats. You can just go over to the Quay of the Rosary (where Hugues Viane lived in Bruges-la-Morte) and buy a ticket.
Usually the cruise takes half an hour, and includes explanations in several languages. The cost in 2012 was € 7.60 for adults, € 3.40 for accompanied children.
I neglected to take a canal cruise in Brugge, but took a similar one in the nearby city of Ghent a few days later.
It may be cheesy but it's a must do. It's a good way to orientate yourself, and the guide will give you an interesting overview of the old town. Lasts about half an hour, which is plenty. Tours leave from behind the Belfry Tower or near the Church of Our Lady and cost about 7 or 8 euros, unless you have the city card, then it's free.
“We entered Bruges by a long gently-winding street, and were so animated with pleasure in our hasty course that it seemed we too soon reached the inn. W. and Mr M. walked out immediately, eager to view the city in the warm light of the setting sun.”
— from the 13.July.1822 journal entry by Dorothy Wordsworth, poet William’s sister
An open boat ride on the canals of Brugge is about a 30-minute affair. Your boat ride will wind through the major parts of the city. Because you are seated during the entire the ride use this time to relaxed and recover from the walking you will do around Brugge.
You will find that you look up much of the time (see photos #2 & #4)!
The views of monuments and centuries-old buildings are fantastic. The boat captain also serves as tour guide and stand-up comic; on our canal boat ride that was the case (see photo #5). Tours are narrated in English, Flemish, French, Spanish or Japanese.
When I was in Brugge I had just some hours to visit the city and I have to say this was, very much, the thing one should do in this situation. The tour covers most of the city in half an hour and you get a lot of information about the city from the boat driver (that you probably wouldn’t get otherwise).
It was an enjoyable and worthy experience!
The canals of Brugge are essential to the lasting image of the city that most visitors will leave with. Taking a cruise on the canals is a great way to see a slightly different aspect of the city although it is of course extremely touristy. But in Brugge, what isn't extremely touristy?
There seemed to be quite a few different canal cruise outfits as we walked around the city, I don't know if there is any real difference between them but our cruise lasted about 35 to 40 minutes and the guide seemed to speak quite a few languages as he found out what all the passengers spoke first and then delivered commentary in English, French, German, Dutch and Russian!
Despite the poor weather on the one day we had in Brugge, we really enjoyed our short time on the canals.
2nd canal trip September 2011
Yes, it's touristy, but you are after all a tourist and you can't really leave Brugge until you've done a canal tour. Besides it's a good way to rest your feet for a 1/2 hour and you get a different perspective from the water than you do by walking.
I think all of the canal trips are fairly similar, they all seem to cost 6.90€, they all last about 30 minutes, the boats are all similar sizes, the guides are multilingual. Our guide seemed to enjoy his job and while the four or five different languages cuts down on what they says in your language, you're certain to learn a little something while on it while enjoying the scenery.
We walked right on a cruise but when we got back there was quite the queue, if you walk a little past the Markt Square, you'll probably find less lines as most people probably just get on the 1st one they see. If you are staying in Brugges, ask your hotel for a discount card and you can save 1.10€
Everyone thinks of Amsterdam's canals but Bruges has canals too, quite a few and you can take boat rides along the canals. It was a different experience from Amsterdam whose boats are large, glass topped and expensive. The boats that are used in Bruges are smaller, open, more intimate. I wasn't sure i would like them. I thought they were all small seats crowded in the middle of the small open boats but when then i could see one that was waiting to be filled and there were bench type seats around the outer edges of the boat, with a few single seats up the centre and i knew i would be a bit more comfortable on the bench seats. The price was pretty good too, less than 7 euro per adult for a 30 minute cruise given in several languages including English. The only thing that was a disadvantage to sitting on the sides is that you are twisting your body around to see what's behind you!
The views were less "large" than in Amsterdam, the bridges lower and the houses right up to the canals where in Amsterdam, there are roads and cars parked between the canals and the buildings. There are parks and church steeples, old and new, tall and small. There are swans in the canals when you come around near one of the parks. You could almost reach out and touch them from the boat. We went on a sunny afternoon and it was a lovely way to spend about a half hour.
The guide was good as well, but unfortunately I don't remember much in particular about what he was saying about the buildings and history. The boat company is just on that side of a stone bridge. You have to go down stairs to get to the boat and step over and down into the boat so if you have mobility problems, it might not be for you.
See the travelogue on this page for more photos from the canal tour we took.
By boat from DAMME to BRUGGE and DAMME again! or the other way round...or you buy a one-way ticket!
You then wil float on the canal where we go skating in winter, from Sluis in The Netherlands to BRUGGE in Belgium and back!
The cosy city of SAMME is only half an hour away from BRUGGE by the S.W. LAMME GOEDZAK (name of the boat!).
You wil discover a wonderful flat landscape and arriving in DAMME, a charming small city with numerous delightfool RESTAURANTS, surrounded by MEDIEVAL buildings such as the TOWNHALL, the CHURCH of OUR LADY and the St. JOHNS hospital.
The "Lamme Goedzak" can take 170 persons on board and you will enjoy the bar!
Landing place in BRUGGE: Noorweegsekaai 31 (Dampoort).
A one-way trip takes some 35 minutes.
Departure from BRUGGE: 10AM 12AM 14PM 16PM 18PM
Departure from DAMME: 9.15AM 11AM 13PM 15PPM and 17.20PM
A BONUS: IN DAMME IS AN EXTREMELY LARGE QUANTITY OF BOOKSHOPS !!!
For the romantic, or anybody for that matter, you can take a Horse & Carriage ride through Brugge's medieval centre. The carriage driver gives a commentary on what you see.
In July & August, late night trips are available also.
DEPARTURE; Markt Square
COST : 35 Euro PER CARRIAGE (Maximum of 5 Adults) so good value if you a have
Tour : About 35 minutes.
A Canal Boat Tour through the Canals in this city was excellent. The guide gives the commentary in the Language that most people are in the boat. Its an open air boat, so the views are good, and you can also stand up and take photos if you want. From the water, it was so pretty, you get a different view. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and think its a MUST DO in Brugge. The tour lasts half hour.
My only complaint was, it would have been nicer if the Boat had gone a little slower.
I saw several points where you could get on.
Boats leave daily from March to November, from 10 - 6 pm, approx every half hour.
Cost is (2009) approx 6 .7 euro
There are 5 places to get on the boats. The excursion is about an half an hour, and shows you the most beautiful places in Bruges.
They go every day from 10 till 18.00 (during the winter season (december - february) only during the weekends and holiday periods end festivities.
€ 5,70/individual person
€ 4,80/Groups @ 20 Persons
€ 2,80/children between 4 and 11 years
free for children till 3 years
If you stay in a hotel in Bruges, they might give you a Welcome@Bruges card, which gives you a discount on several attractions - like for the boats you get a 16% discount (4,80 instead of 5.70 euro)
- Michielssens, Huidenvettersplein 13
- Coudenys, Rozenhoedkaai
- De Meulemeester, Wollestraat 32
- Gruuthuse, Nieuwstraat 11
- Stael, Katelijnestraat 4
Tours usually last about 30 minutes and leave every 20 -30 minutes from Rozenhoedkaai & Dijver (although I am sure there are many other jetties south of the Burg). The canal boats start at about 10am and keep going until around 6pm, costing somewhere in the region of 6 Euros.
You'll go along the Spiegelrei and you'll get a great view of the city. It's definitely worth complimenting a walking tour with one of these little boat trips & kids love gentle water trips like this so it makes a good rest bite for all.
I know it's a bit of a cliche, but if I had only a day to spend in Bruges, this is what I'd choose to do. We spent around 40 minutes cruising around the canals of Bruges, just relaxing and taking the place and deciding which bits we would return to later. There are great photo opportunities at every point, so don't forget to take your camera. There are commentaries in all languages available for thos on the trip (and if you want to hear them don't do what we did and sit at the back of the boat - you won't hear a thing over the sound of the engine!)
The cost in April 2007 was 5 euros 70.
You're in Brugge, why not join the throng and jump on a launch? Your experience will vary, oftern depending on which particular guide you get.
Relaxing in a boat listening to the guide and the lap of water on the bows is not the worst thing to do in Brugge.
Tours lasts for around half an hour and, for some, it's quite romantic. I just have a problem with crowds generally and you'll be lucky to find a boat with an empty seat.
Open: tours are run every day, from 10 am through 6 pm (March - November) PRICE Individual : € 5,70 Children (4-11 year old) accompanied by an adult : € 2,80 Children (-4 year old) : FREE
Where to catch them:
1. Michielssens, Huidenvettersplein 13, 8000 Brugge, tel. 050/33.00.41
2. Coudenys,Rozenhoedkaai, 8000 Brugge, tel. 050/33.13.75
3. De Meulemeester, Wollestraat 32, 8000 brugge, tel. 050/33.41.20
4. Gruuthuse, Nieuwstraat 11, 8000 Brugge, tel. 050/33.32.93
5. Stael, Katelijnestraat 4, 8000 Brugge, tel. 050/33.27.71