Bruges, Belgium

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Cruising to Bruges (Zeebrugge)

Europe's fairytale city

Located in the Flanders region of northern Belgium, Bruges is the closest thing you're likely to find in the real world to a fairytale city. Famous for its old cobbled streets, charming market squares, peaceful canals and Gothic towers, it's one of the most picturesque destinations in Europe, and well worth a visit while on a cruise.

The focal point of the town is Grote Markt, a large medieval square overlooked by the most perfect belfry you'll ever see. Climbing to the top of the tower and gazing out over the rooftop is a fantastic way to take in Bruges's full splendour, while Grote Markt is also a good place to hail a horse-drawn carriage for a tour of the city.

The streets around Grote Markt are packed with quaint restaurants and cafes, and one thing that all visitors to Bruges must do is indulge in some famous Belgian chocolate. A great place to do so is at Bar Choc, which can be found in the Zilverpand courtyard and specialises in nothing but desserts, including around 45 different types of chocolate drinks, both hot and cold.

For those with a really sweet tooth, it's possible to turn your entire visit to Bruges into a chocolate-fuelled adventure, with the Choco-Story museum being something of a paradise for chocoholics. The exhibits here tell the history of the cocoa bean, and how it first rose to prominence in the ancient Aztec civilisation before becoming a key ingredient in Belgian desserts.

Bruges is also home to a number of fascinating art and history museums, with the Groeninge Museum being one of the best. Laid out over 11 rooms, it contains a wealth of masterpieces that tell the story of life in the city over period of six centuries, giving an insight into Bruges's former glory as the seat of the counts of Flanders.

Bruges (Zeebrugge)

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