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Zeebrugge to Bruges: How to Spend One Day in Port

Updated: 4 days ago

For many, Bruges means one thing - beer. OR, perhaps, waffles. In either case, any beer-soaked waffle noshing day in Bruges is a good day.

If you're coming from the cruise ship port in Zeebrugge, you'll need a little advanced know-how before you begin your wander through the streets of Bruges.

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Cruises to Bruges

First, you'll need to book your cruise. Learn how to book a cruise here.

Whether you book a round-trip shuttle service through Viator in advance for some cost savings, or just throw the money down for a taxi, I suggest taking the time to go into old town Bruges while you are in the charming Belgian cruise port. Let me share with you a few things from my experience that may help you for your day in port.

Are you disembarking in Bruges? Check out luggage storage options near you, should the need arise.

a cobbled square in bruges full of people

One Day In Bruges (Zeebrugge)

With charm oozing out of every orifice, Bruges is best taken in as a meandering tourist. Have a couple ideas up your sleeve on where to eat and drink, but other than that, just roam on foot and enjoy the day in port.

In this article you will find brief summaries on:

Where You'll Dock

Learn more about the port location here.

This link will take you to the port information page.

Red brick Belgian buildings

How To Get Around

There is no clear-cut, fast and easy way from the ship into Bruges, in my opinion.

What are my Public Transportation options from Zeebrugge to Bruges?

You can attempt to take the train, but the walk to the train is long and then the train drops you off outside of the downtown area. Meaning, more walking, or there is a free shuttle bus once you've arrived at the Bruges station, but that means waiting further. (Who wants to delay the fun!?).

There is a bus (line 92) that makes its way to the center of Bruges for about $8 round trip, but it is also lengthy and meandering.

a woman stands in front of a canal

How much would a taxi cost from ZeeBrugge cruise port to Bruges?

From the ship, expect a very short line of taxis to choose from. If you are lucky to see one, my advice is to pay for the taxi. This will cost you roughly $80-100 round trip depending how many people you have. Consider getting the cab driver's number for the return, especially if you are a larger group.

Is there Uber in Bruges?

Uber is an option, but cars do not wait in the main squares due to restrictions. The taxi was our easiest option as a group of five people.

Is there a shuttle from the Cruise Terminal to Bruges?

The ship offers buses and shuttles at every port, but at a per person charge, the rates never seemed like a bargain compared to door to door taxis.

Consider round-trip shuttle service from the port (booked in advance here) or just get off the ship and wing it.

How long is the ride from ZeeBrugge to Bruges?

Average about 1 hour of traveling into your plans for the day, with plenty of time in port. It's generally about 30 minutes to the center of town if you are going directly by taxi, but if you are going by public transport expect that time to double each way.

No matter the method you take to get into historic Bruges from the Zeebrugge cruise port, rest assured you'll have a lovely day.

What To Do In Town

Start at the Market Square with its guild houses, the Belfry Tower, and the Burg Square.

Ask the taxi man to drop you in the middle of town you'll instantly be greeted with adorable crow-stepped gable roof buildings (I had to look up this term). The square at Christmas time was full of market wares and waffle huts, and horses and carriages clippity clopped past.

a horse and buggy in a belgian square

It kind of felt like something Disney had built.

We roamed street corners, popped into lace shops, and gawked at sex toys in shop windows before stopping for a nice lunch.

With so much to see, do, and taste you may be wondering if one day in Bruges is enough - are you seeing enough? For me, the reason I cruise is to get a sample of a place so I know what to expect and if I'd like to return. With only one day in Bruges (Zeebrugge) you'll get the full Belgian experience in a matter of hours, with plenty to return for on another trip.

So is one day in Bruges enough? For the cruise passenger, yes absolutely. If you choose to stay longer on another trip, by all means there is plenty more to do, especially if you have a car. But for the purposes of this post, yes you can definitely get the Bruges experience in one day.

shopping street in bruges

While there, you may also consider taking a canal boat ride or one of many wonderful options for private tours, below, to round out your experience.

a canal in bruges

Suggested Private Tours

Where To Eat and Drink

ornate interiors in a dining room

This gorgeous hotel and restaurant sits upon a canal overlooking canal boats, while the front facade overlooks a quaint square. Order familiar french-influenced cuisine and of course, some Belgian beer.

The mussels were served in huge portions, but the simplicity of cooking in 'white wine' left them nearly flavorless. I strongly suggest the cream-based version of this dish. The mussels were plump and perfect, so you should not be disappointed.

a big black pot of mussels

They also offer a menu of the day, with fixed prices for a starter, main and dessert.

Enjoy the beautiful surrounds and a couple bottles of wine (or goblets of beer) and you'll be set to mosey back to the ship mid-day.

Other great options:

A cozy chic space for drinks.

The brewery offers self-guided tours for 15 euros and includes a free drink, or you can choose to do a flight sampler for 37 euros. Kids are free, and can play a 'mole search' game where if they find enough moles, they get a prize! Tours do not require prior reservation.

two belgian beers in glasses

Probably already on your list- this 'gem' with 11% Belgian triple beers, serves them with cheese and probably some disclaimers about how many you can have before switching to water. Beer drinkers rejoice!

The very quaint, very old - in fact the oldest pub or cafe in Bruges, this place serves families and beer drinkers alike. Try the onion soup and meat snacks.

A good old fashioned pub, where kids are welcome, cozy corners wait, and beer comes accompanied with great cheese and meat snacks.

Belgian Chocolate and Waffles

Belgian waffle topped with chocolate

Remember that Bruges is heralded also for their Belgian chocolate and their waffles, both easily found in market spaces or brick and mortar store fronts. Just follow your nose!

One such such shop (of many!) to stop in is called La Belgique Gourmande.

ornate chocolate shop

Browse the many delicious treats and be sure to take some home for loved ones or for snacking on the ship when you return!


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