5. From Brussels: Bruges & Ghent Full-Day Trip
Discover the highlights of Bruges and Ghent, Belgium's most attractive cities, with round trip by train from Brussels. Tour two of the most fascinating medieval cities in Europe with an English/Spanish or French-speaking guide on a 10-hour guided day trip. Depart from the Grand Place at 09:30 only on Sunday. Upon arrival at the central station of Bruges, begin with a 2.5-hour walking tour and 2-hours of free time for eating, souvenirs and a boat trip. Scheduled return to Brussels will be at 18:00 and arrival at 19:00 with your guide.
Program in Bruges:
In the ancient city wall park, the ‘Lake of Love’ is one of the main water reservoirs nourishing the canal system of the Venice of the North. Visit the Beguinage, one of the best-preserved examples of medieval gated communities in which only women could live. Brewery ‘De Halve Maan’ is the only brewery still operating in the city center. Afterwards, Old St. John’s Hospital is one of the oldest hospitals in Europe, where you can appreciate 800 years of European architecture, learn about its history and visit the museum of Hans Memling (optional). Head on to Our Lady of Bruges is one of the oldest churches in the city. Admire its impressive tower that is still one of the tallest brickwork towers in the world, and take a look to its art treasures, including Michelangelo’s Madonna with the Child (optional). Stop by the VisMarkt (fishmarket) and the Tanners’ Square, two of the oldest squares in Bruges with their beautiful guildhalls and lovely cafés and restaurants. You will also visit Groeninge Museum, Burg Square and Markt Square, the 10th century city market that has been for a millennium the economic heart of Bruges. Admire its imposing guildhalls and its bellfort tower, which is one of the most famous Gothic buildings in Belgium. At the end, have an optional canal tour (8 EUR per person, pay while embarking on the boat), which is one of the best ways to see Bruges.
Program in Ghent:
Journey to the port city of Ghent, located at the scenic confluence of the Leie and Scheldt Rivers. Start your tour of the historic city at Saint Bavo Cathedral and admire the spectacular Gothic church and Baroque ornamentations. Step into the marble choir and private chapels, appreciate the painting of “Saint Bavo Enters the Convent at Ghent” by Rubens and the beauty of the Rococo pulpit. Look at the stunning frescoes of the Romanesque crypt. Then, opt to visit the altarpiece of "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" by the Van Eyck brothers and admire one of the most important works of art from the Middle Ages for a small extra fee. Then, go to City Hall to see its extraordinary mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Continue to Market Hall to look at the Belfort Tower and covered market. Marvel at the nearby churches of Saint Nicholas, Saint James and Saint Michael, serving as reminders of Ghent’s medieval past. Proceed to the old port of Graslei for beautiful views of the river Leie and the old guildhalls. Then, head to the medieval castle of Gravensteen, where the counts of Flanders used to live. Explore the picturesque district of Patershol and see charming buildings of brick facades where restaurants and cafes offer the best of Flemish cuisine. Go to the 15th century Great Butchers' Hall to discover one of Europe's oldest meat markets.