Bruges in northwestern Belgium is one of northern Europe's most picturesque old cities. Admire its ancient churches including the Chapel of the Holy Blood (14th-16th century), Cathedral of St. Salvator (12th-16th century), the Church of Notre Dame and the Church of Jerusalem (1428). Start with its main squares - The Markt is dominated by the 260ft 14th century Belfry (climb for panoramic views) and gabled merchants' houses while The Burg is surrounded by the Gothic Town Hall (1376-1420), ornate 13th century guild halls, cobbled streets and peaceful canals. Shop for Bruges lace and Belgian chocolates - and check out the many tempting restaurants and cafes. If you prefer museums see the collections of Flemish art and history in the Memling Museum in the 12th-century Hospital of St. John, the Groeninge Museum or the 15th-century Gruuthuse Mansion.
The ancient prosperity of Bruges was founded on the cloth trade and the city prospered until the 15th century. The Zwin River, that connected Bruges with the North Sea, slowly began to narrow as sand built up clogging the waterway and prevented ships from passing. This marked the end of the city's great trade period, but over the centuries the city's medieval architecture has remained remarkably well-preserved.
The following 3 cruises call at Bruges.
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