Beautiful Bruges
Waffles and chocolates
Lace and ceramics

Find Northern Europe Cruises


The charming medieval city

Crowds tend to overwhelm Bruges nowadays – its reputation as a perfectly preserved medieval city has made it the most popular tourist destination in Belgium – but you’d be mad to come to Flanders.
With an MSC Northern Europe cruise and miss it: Bruges’ museums hold some of the country’s finest collections of Flemish art, and its intimate, winding streets, woven around a skein of narrow canals and lined with gorgeous ancient buildings, live up to even the most inflated tourist hype.

When you step ashore from your MSC cruise, the obvious start to an exploration of the city is the two principal squares: the Markt, overlooked by the mighty belfry, and the Burg, flanked by the city’s most impressive architectural ensemble. Almost within shouting distance are the three main museums, among which the Groeninge offers a wonderful sample of early Flemish art.

Another short hop brings you to St-Janshospitaal and the important paintings of the fifteenth-century artist Hans Memling, as well as Bruges’ most impressive churches, the Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk and St-Salvatorskathedraal. Further afield, the gentle canals and maze-like cobbled streets of eastern Bruges – stretching out from Jan van Eyckplein – are extraordinarily pretty.

The most characteristic architectural feature is the crow-step gable, popular from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century and revived by the restorers of the 1880s, but there are also expansive Georgian-style mansions and humble, homely cottages.

Time and again the eye is surprised by the sober and subtle variety of the cityscape, featuring everything from intimate arched doorways and bendy tiled roofs to wonky chimneys and a bevy of discreet shrines and miniature statues.

Must see places in Zeebrugge

Discover our excursions

4 results found


    • Long route by bus

    • Shooting videos and/or taking pictures is not allowed or subject to fee

    • No guide available

    • Duration
      6 h

    • AdultsR859Price per person

    • ChildrenR615Price per person


    Except for the fact that Bruges very much exists and thrives in the modern world, the historical beauty of the Belgian city is such that any visitor would be excused for thinking – even if only for a moment – that they had fetched up in a living museum dedicated to showcasing life in medieval times. After boarding your coach at the pier, no more than a 30-minute drive separates you from your drop-off point in the city centre: Walplein Square. You will be informed about when and where to pick up your coach again, but after that, it’s down to you alone how you spend your time in town. Keep your camera within easy reach since the gorgeous old buildings, a testament to Bruges’ heyday as a prominent member of the 13th- to 17th-century merchant confederation known as the Hanseatic League, are likely to get your snapshot finger twitching. But this is also just the spot to try or shop for other traditionally Belgian treats such as waffles and chocolate, artisan beers and fries – a truly Belgian creation – as well as lace and tapestries. The coach ride back to Zeebrugge and your ship ultimately brings the outing to a close. Please note: as the tour involves longer periods of walking on cobblestones and uneven ground, it is unsuitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair.
  • Medieval Ghent

    • Shooting videos and/or taking pictures is not allowed or subject to fee

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level

    • Duration
      5 h

    • AdultsR1139Price per person

    • ChildrenR859Price per person


    Medieval Ghent

    • Shopping

    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level

    • Duration
      4 h

    • AdultsR1035Price per person

    • ChildrenR735Price per person


    Thanks to its bucolic landscape and immaculately preserved medieval towns, travelling through Flanders is a little like stepping back in time. The first call on your time-warping tour is Damme, a quaint little town of numerous book shops that you can spend some time exploring – and photographing – at your own pace. A stretch by coach will then take you through the outskirts of the historical town of Bruges for glorious views of windmills and the impressive medieval city walls. A stop at one of the largest chocolate shops in Bruges – another speciality for which the Belgians are known – will give you a chance to indulge your sweet tooth with some premium-quality treats, following which you will head south to the mid-19th-century Loppem Castle. A more romantic spot you could not wish for: amid beautiful landscaped grounds with a lake, mature trees and a maze stands the remarkably well preserved castle in all its neo-Gothic splendour, complete with a richly decorated and exquisitely furnished interior. You will have some time to spend as you please before you begin your scenic journey back to the port and your ship. Please note: the tour is unsuitable for guests using a wheelchair. The number of guides in languages other than English is limited. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only.
  • Bruges & Belgian Chocolotate

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level

    • Duration
      5 h

    • AdultsR1262Price per person

    • ChildrenR912Price per person


    Bruges & Belgian Chocolotate

The excursions in the programme above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.


Discovering the Flemish culture
Discovering the Flemish culture

A federal country with three official languages and an ongoing rivalry between its two main groups – Dutch-speaking Flemish and French-speaking Walloons – Belgium’s dull reputation is definitely misleading.
A cruise to Belgium will show you lively and cultured cities in the predominantly urban north, beautiful forests and rugged hills in the south. A holiday to Belgium is a pleasure: factor in the Belgians’ enthusiasm for beer and fine cuisine, and all the ingredients for a truly memorable trip are in place. With Europe’s finest cliff-top city, neighbouring Luxembourg certainly does its bit too.

Roughly in the middle of Belgium lies the capital, Brussels, the heart of the EU and a genuinely vibrant and multicultural city. North of here stretch the flat landscapes of Flemish Belgium, whose main city, Antwerp, is a bustling old port with doses of fine art, cutting-edge fashion, and twice as many bars as Amsterdam.

Further west, also in the Flemish zone, are the charismatic cities of Bruges and Ghent, each with a stunning concentration of medieval architecture. To the south of Brussels, Belgium’s most scenic region, the Ardennes in Wallonia, has deep, wooded valleys, high elevations and dark caverns, with the town of Namur the obvious gateway.