What I didn’t tell you was how to go from the cruise terminal in Zeebrugge (meaning Sea Brugge) to the city of Bruges (AKA Brugge), a distance of only about 8.5 miles as the crow flies.
Here are a few options about how to cover that seemingly short distance:
1. Sign up for a cruise ship tour or transport. Our least favorite for this port since it is so easy to see Bruges on your own and all cruise ships charge too much. Oceania, for example, charges $89 per person just to give you a ride on a bus.
2. Take a taxi. There are not too many at the dock if you are on a large ship. So, you should make advanced reservations. One company is “Brugse Taxi Service” email firstname.lastname@example.org Attn. Koen Keereman.
He charges 45 euros one way, meets you at the dock and will take you back later in the day for another 45 euros. Let him know in advance how many in your group. He can handle up to eight people for the same price. I am also trying to make contact with another taxi service to see if the price is about right and will post that info later.
3. Take the train.
Before I go any further, let me mention that public transportation in Europe is fast, safe and very economical. Americans are just not used to it and always shy away from taking a bus or train. Too bad. If you want to be a bit braver, consider the following options:
a. From the cruise ship terminal walk to the train station in the little town of Blankenberge. It is a long walk of about 2.5 miles due west along the coastal road “Kustlaan”. From there an eleven minute train ride takes to the starting point of the afore mentioned walking tour in Bruges.
b. If you’d rather not walk that far, take the coastal tram from Zeebrugge to Blankenberge. The tram costs you one euro per person. The train is four euros for seniors and five euros if you are not. So, for six euros or less you can be there and back (round trip).
Here are a few more details and schedules for the summer of 2008:
There is a direct train from Blankenberge to Bruges that leaves at 8:10, then 9:10 etc every hour. If you should miss that by a few minutes you can also take a bus right outside the station. Bus 33 goes to almost the same place and leaves at 8:20 for example. I don’t know if the fare is the same.
The tram from Zeebrugge to Blankenberge goes every ten minutes, so you can time yourselves from that. To catch the tram, walk outside the harbor area, go to the main road (Kustlaan) and turn west. In front of the little beach village of Strandwijk is one of the tram stops. It is a couple hundred yards walk. Ask anyone. Then tell the tram conductor that you want to go to the train station in Blankenberg. He will throw you off at the right place.
You might want to get some euros at an ATM in Blankenberge. There are three banks close near the railroad station. You will find that most people speak enough English to show you where to go. (No pun intended).
To go back the same way I suggest you consult the schedules that are posted at the train station. There is one website, but it is in Dutch, and I don’t want to translate all the instructions here.
Every cruise ship has its own schedule and everyone is afraid that they will miss it. However, It is quite doable to go back from the station in Bruges to the ship within an hour. When in doubt, you can still take a cab back if you can find one.
Oh, there is one more way to cover the 8.5 miles. You might find a bicycle rental place in Strandwijk and ride along the canal that connects Zeebrugge to Bruges. We have not tried that.