Bruges is renowned for being one of the most picture-perfect towns in Europe, propelled to the spotlight by the dark comedy starring Colin Farrell. Winding canals, atmospheric cobbled streets, an array of wonderful cuisine and famed art collections make this town a destination that will make you want to revisit time and again, and in our opinion, it's ideal for anyone travelling alone for the first time.
This captivating city is famous for its artisan chocolate, smooth Belgian beers, and classic chips with mayonnaise - but there is far more to savour beyond that, and there will be plenty of opportunities to sample some of the delicious cuisine on offer at the numerous excellent restaurants and cafes that dot the city. Bruges is also home to some significant cultural artefacts, including the paintings of Rembrandt and Van Eyck, as well as Michelangelo's beautiful sculpture of Madonna and Child. Bruges is a wonderful choice for a tour, whether it's your first time or if you're one of the many returning visitors who fill its bustling streets.
An early afternoon Eurostar train takes us from St Pancras to Lille (approximately 1hr 30mins), then we travel by coach to the four-star Hotel Academie in the heart of Bruges (transfer approximately 1hr). This evening we will gather with our tour manager for the short walk to our restaurant for a lovely welcome dinner, where you will get a chance to meet other travellers joining the tour on their own.
We will enjoy continental breakfast in our hotel this morning before joining our tour manager on a walking tour of charming Bruges. Although compact, the town is packed with sights, sounds, smells and an ambience all its own. The 13th century belfry dominates the town, and those who wish to take the 366 steps to the top will be amply rewarded with remarkable views of the maze of streets and canals below. We will also take in the popular sights, including the City Hall, the old Law Courts and the Basilica of the Holy Blood, which is so-called because it houses a vial claimed to contain the blood of Jesus, brought back from the Holy Land. We’ll also see the Notre Dame Church, where Michelangelo’s masterpiece, Madonna and Child, is housed. Bruges is, of course, synonymous with fine Belgian beers, and many bars dedicate entire menus to the vast array of options available. Those who would like to know more about Bruges’ brewing heritage may choose to take a short stroll to the Halve Maan Brewery Museum, where there is also a chance to unwind with a beer tasting. Later this afternoon, you have the option to take a boat trip on Bruges’ canals, providing an alternative perspective of the picturesque town.
This morning, you can choose to explore Bruges at leisure, or take an optional included excursion that visits the locations made famous during World War I – Ypres, the centre of British activity in Belgium and home of the Menin Gate, a moving memorial to the missing. The excursion also takes us to the Passchendaele Museum for an insightful recreation of life in the trenches, and concludes with a poignant visit to Tyne Cot Cemetery. We will return to Bruges, where there will be an opportunity to gather with our travelling companions for a final evening sampling some of the wonderful Flemish food.
No visit to Bruges would be complete without a chance to enjoy the art of the chocolatier. We will visit one of the few establishments using traditional methods for a demonstration, as well as a chance to sample the sweet delights for yourself. Afterwards, we will take a coach back to Lille, where we board our Eurostar train home to London St Pancras.
Outstanding tour managers, friendly local guides, meticulously crafted itineraries, personalised experiences and honest pricing policy are just some of the reasons to book an escorted tour with Riviera Travel. Boasting an award-winning reputation, the brand has been delighting travellers for 35 years and is proud to currently hold two Which? Recommended Provider awards, including Escorted Tour Provider and River Cruise Provider. Riviera Travel is also consistently recognised by customers and the industry for excellent service and value for money and has recently been awarded ‘Best Value for Money’ by Travel Weekly.
When you choose a Riviera Travel holiday, every detail of your river cruise or escorted tour is personally considered by travel specialists. The experts behind the brand go to great lengths to curate each holiday, ensuring you can enjoy the very best of your chosen destination and have plenty of free time to explore at your own pace. What’s more, Riviera Travel is fully bonded by ABTA and ATOL and you can fully relax with the brand’s no surcharge guarantee.
Riviera Travel offers a wide range of thrilling escorted tour itineraries for every type of traveller. Whether you want to see the iconic sites of Prague, go on a solo traveller adventure in Paris or relax with a soak in Iceland’s famous geothermal spa, Riviera Travel promises to give you the best European tour experience possible. The brand also offers amazing worldwide escorted tours, which means you can voyage to Antarctica, stay in the heart of New York City or even go on a guided safari in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. And remember, insightful guided tours and visits are all included in the price and you can enjoy scheduled flights from a choice of UK airports or Eurostar travel.
When it comes to the local guides and tour managers, Riviera Travel chooses specialists that are not only extremely friendly and knowledgeable but also have flair for engaging audiences and sharing eye-opening insights. Ancient ruins, historic towns and unfamiliar landscapes all come to life when you’re in the company of one of the guides or managers, and each one will make you feel as though you’re travelling with a friend who knows the best secrets of every destination.
Once you’ve booked your Riviera Travel escorted tour, you can rest assured that the cost of your holiday will not increase as there are no hidden costs at all. As Riviera Travel’s pricing is transparent, clear and includes essentials such as taxes and fuel supplements, you can book with confidence knowing that your holiday offers exceptional value. You do, however, have the option to upgrade and add hand-picked highlights to your itinerary to make your trip extra special. And if you choose a solo tour, all prices are fully inclusive with no single supplement to be added and you’ll still have a room all to yourself.