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Bruges

A UNESCO World Heritage City, and the capital of West Flanders.

Bruges has been said to capture the heart of all who visit and has been a metropolis for centuries.

Famous Flemish art on display in many galleries and museums, enough to satisfy the most ardent art lover.

A trip to the De Halve Maan brewery to sample the local Brugse Zot will satisfy most beer lovers and those with a sweet tooth should not miss the Chocolate Museum.

 

Those with a head for heights can enjoy amazing views from the top of the Belfort and everyone can marvel at the architectural beauty of the Basiliek van het Heilig-Bloed.

 

If you crave close contact with the water you can take a leisurely canal trip and get a different perspective on this beautiful city. After all, it is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North!’ Trips are usually around 30 minutes and the service operates 7 days a week between March and end October, and weekends only in winter.

 

Bruges is very well connected by road to the rest of the country and further afield.

Go to Zeebrugge and take the ‘Kusttram’ - coastal tram.

The longest in the world at 68km, this public transport tram runs along the West Flanders coastline between De Panne near the French border to Knokke-Heist.

https://www.delijn.be/en/kusttram/

 

From Bruges you can also take the Flixbus to see more of Belgium.

https://www.flixbus.co.uk/coach/bruges

 

 

Brussels

Brussels is the bustling capital of 500 million Europeans and consequently has a very cosmopolitan atmosphere combining culture from past and present and from near and far.

 

From the Parlamentarium for budding Euro MPs – explaining the workings of the EU - to the iguanadons in the Natural Science Museum, there is something for everyone.

 

The Belgian chocolate village will satisfy any sweet tooth and a photo in front of the ‘Manneken Pis’ is practically mandatory.

 

With museums of every description from cars to fine art and a culinary spectrum from great street food to world class eateries, and great entertainment, Brussels has so much to offer.

 

Brussels and Belgium have a lot to shout about, well known examples include Belgian Chocolates, Lace, Belgian Beers, Grand Platz and European Justice.

Charleroi

Charleroi has the second biggest airport in Belgium and may well be used by some of you before or after the cruise.

 

Named after Carlos II of Spain in the 17th century, but conquered by the French a year later, it hosted Napoleon on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo.

 

There are a handful of museums and you will come across statues of the odd cartoon character like Lucky Luke dotted around the city as they had their origins here.

 

Liege

Liège is a daughter of the Meuse, and the river has shaped the face of the city as much as it has seeped into the character of its inhabitants.

 

Place Saint-Lambert square is the historical and traditional heart of Liège and a mix of various architectural styles with remains dating back to the middle Palaeolithic era (approximately 50.000 years ago)!

 

Today it houses the Palace of the Prince Bishops.

 

It’s often said to have the countryside in the city with numerous public parks and gardens.

 

Like many Belgian cities, it is steeped in history and culture with many museums to keep any visitor busy, the latest the Boverie a fine art museum working in conjunction with the Louvre, Paris. There are few cities with 200,000 inhabitants that can boast a university and graduate colleges, a permanent opera troop, a world-renowned philharmonic orchestra, almost a dozen theatres hosting international modern dance performances and plays, two-yearly poetry, photography and engraving festivals…

 

Liège is also the land of jazz, with its clubs, its international festival and, one of its kind, a jazz centre (the Maison du Jazz).

 

Liège is also a city with atmosphere, reflected in its local shops and markets and flea markets, without forgetting the La Batte market on the banks of the Meuse River on Sunday morning, the longest market in Europe selling fruit, flowers and vegetables.

Namur

Namur, the capital of Wallonia is approximately 60km upstream from Liège and also boasts a host of world class attractions.

 

Its’ Citadel dating back to the middle ages, with beautiful gardens and an unusual huge bronze sculpture of a giant turtle, enjoys a spectacular location perched on a hillside over looking the confluence of the Mosa and Sambre rivers.

 

Shelter form the summer heat exploring it’s many subterranean passageways, which lead to Napolean naming the fortress Europe’s Termite Mound!

 

Alternatively explore Namur on two wheels and stop off at one of the cafes or restaurants on offer before heading to the local museums or art galleries, or maybe the shops.