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.
Selected departures March to October 2017
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.
This morning, you have the option to take a boat trip on Bruges’ canals, providing an alternative perspective of the picturesque town. After that, 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.
Visiting Bruges is like stepping back in time to a simpler and more tranquil time. Within moments of arriving you’ll see why UNESCO designated the town a protected World Heritage Site. The intricate network of canals criss-cross their way past soaring belfry towers, ancient cathedrals and vast squares. The ambience is enhanced further by the sound of horse and carriages trotting along the medieval cobbled streets.
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.
The price of this holiday is per person, based on one person in a double/twin room for sole occupancy. The price includes return standard class seat on Eurostar, coach transfer from Lille to your hotel in Bruges (approximate transfer time one hour), walking tour of Bruges, three nights accommodation with breakfast, welcome dinner, chocolate making demonstration and a visit to First World War battlefields and the services of a Riviera tour manager.
Not included: entrance to ‘Halve Maan’ brewery museum €7.5, boat trip €6.40, Flanders Field museum €7,Passchendaele Memorial Museum €7 (2016 dates Hill 62 €5), approximate costs, payable locally.
Please note there is a £10, £20, £30 or £50 supplement for certain regional stations. If your preferred station is not available, please contact the office, as we may be able to request it for you.
In order to enjoy your Eurostar experience to the full, you may upgrade to Standard Premier Class from only £139 return, subject to availability. This price includes a complimentary light meal, offered from a selection of sweet and savoury cold snacks and includes and a drink appropriate to the time of day, served at your seat while you relax in the spacious comfort of Standard Premier Class.
UK Regional Train Connections
You may upgrade to First Class for only £47 per person, subject to availability. This price excludes departures from Bournemouth, Portsmouth Harbour, Salisbury, Southampton, Winchester and Brighton.
To enquire further or request an upgrade please contact the Reservations Department.
Please note there is a £10, £20 or £50 supplement for certain regional stations. If your preferred station is not available, please contact the office, as we may be able to request it for you.
Mr & Mrs Derry
This was our 5th escorted tour with Riviera and was as excellent as ever. Our tour manager, was superb and went out of her way to help and advise in all matters. Both local guides in India and Nepal were excellent with maybe the N...
Thanks to our lovely local tour guide Victoria who provided a varied, interesting and often heart felt account of the wonderful islands of Malta and Gozo....