To Hull (& Europe) and Back: Part I

This 10 night itinerary covering six cities in Europe begins in Hull and takes you over to Zeebrugge, returning via Rotterdam.  With Zeebrugge being such a wonderful gateway to Europe, the options are endless and so this itinerary is just one of the many adventures you could have.

Day 1 – Crossing the North Sea

The ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge leaves in the evening and so you can sleep on through the night ready for your city break adventure.  If you can, upgrade to the Club room which offers far more comfort.  If you don’t want to pay the price in advance, always check on the day immediately when boarding just in case there are any rooms available in Club… may get a steal!

Bruges at night. Photo by artorusrex.

Day 2 – Bruges

Arrive early into Zeebrugge and head to Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage City, to explore the chocolate box centre.  As you will be arriving early, stop for breakfast at Ginger Bread where you can indulge in the Prestige breakfast which includes some very delicious pastries.  There is also a shop on site stocked full of delicious treat including breads, pastries, cakes and quiches that you may find it hard to leave without a little souvenir for later.

After breakfast head to Basilica of the Holy Blood, which looks to be a small and yet beautifully ornate church tucked away in the corner of a square.  It’s quite dark inside, giving away its 12th Century build.  It claims to have the blood of Christ in a vial which you can see between 11:30-12pm (or 2 – 4pm) and even better, if you are there in May, you can witness the procession around Bruges.  Whether religious or not, this is a lovely little church to see and entrance is free.

holy blood
Basilica of the Holy Blood.  Photo by Chris Brown.

For lunch, why not indulge in a compulsory Belgian Waffle at the Carpe-diem Tearoom.  You will then need to burn off at least part of that heavenly lunch stop and so we recommend you head to the Belfry……sadly not a golf course but gladly, a wonderful view over Bruges once you have climbed the 366 steps.

Spend the night at Martin’s Relais Oud Huis which overlooks the canal or the luxurious Grand Hotel Casselbergh.

Day 3 – Bruges

Begin your day with a trip on the canal.  Boats operate between March and November and the first trip sails at 10am.  Each boat company offers the same 30 minute tour and price (just shy of €10 pp) and so no need to shop around.

After this gentle start to the morning, it’s time to get moving and work up an appetite for your late lunch.  Enjoy a free walking tour or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, try a segway tour of the city which lasts between 1 and 2 hours with prices starting from €40 pp.  For those of you who are feeling more active, skip the morning canal trip and take a cycling tour of the city which departs at 10am for 2.5 hours and costs €30 pp.  Upon your return, consider that restful canal trip before taking lunch.

Segway on Bruges.  Photo by Michela Simoncini.

As you are in Belgium, build in a lunch stop at De Halve Mann brewery where you can enjoy 3 courses for €27 pp.  After lunch, take a tour lasting 40 minutes and be rewarded with a pint at the end, all for just €12 pp.

Make sure you stop at possibly the best chocolate shop in town, Dumon.  Set in a 400 year old brick building, you really will feel spoiled by the choice it offers.  If you have time and you really do love chocolate, visit the Chocolate Museum which will take about an hour.  If you want to take it a step further, take a workshop where you can make your own chocolates and take them home with you!

Chocolate treats from Dumon. Photo by Cody & Maureen.

Click to read Part II

To Hull (& Europe) and Back: Part I

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