Zeebrugge is a major port in Flanders, and connects Belgium's intricate railway and canal transportation systems. Although it is not much larger in size than the state of Maryland, Belgium is among the most densely populated nations in Europe. Surrounded by France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, Belgium lies at the crossroads of the continent. Within the boundaries of the country are the relics of a colourful past, and a promising future. Excellent ports and few natural defences have long made Belgium a natural battleground. During both World Wars, the country was the scene of fierce battles, but its recovery was swift and prosperous.
Internal cultural differences between the northern Flemish provinces and the southern Walloon provinces have resulted in an unusual language situation. Dutch is the predominant language in the north; French is spoken in the south.
For cruise vessels, Zeebrugge mainly serves as a gateway to Bruges and Ghent, both highly-popular destinations for their Medieval atmosphere, architectural splendour and art treasures.
Going Ashore in Zeebrugge
The ship is scheduled to dock at the Port of Zeebrugge. The town is a 15-minute drive from the port. To follow are the driving times from Zeebrugge to major attractions: 30 minutes to Bruges by car and 10 minutes by train, one hour to Ghent and two hours each way to Brussels.
Belgium is known for lace, chocolates, ceramics, crystal, linen, and pewter. Shopping opportunities in Zeebrugge are very limited, but abound in Bruges. The local currency is the euro.
Surrounded by other countries known for their haute cuisine, Belgium has managed to create a cuisine that is unmistakably its own. The sandy Mechelen region produces wonderful asparagus, ham comes from the Ardennes, and mussels are especially good in Brussels and along the coast. Sausage comes in many varieties, and seafood specialities are invariably delicious. Beer-lovers can choose from 200 varieties of beers. Guests looking to enjoy a meal ashore will find plenty of restaurants to choose from in Bruges.
There are few sights of interest for visitors to Zeebrugge.
Frequent train service operates between Zeebrugge's Blankenberge station and Bruges. The Silversea shuttle bus takes guests to the Blankenberge Train Station. Bruges has excellent museums, including the Groeninge Museum, which features a fine collection of Flemish Primitive painters, and the Gruuthuse Museum, which is housed in the 15th-century palace of the Lords of Gruuthuse. Several masterpieces by famous Flemish painter Hans Memling are displayed in the Church of the Old St. John's Hospital and the adjoining Cornelius Chapel.
For those guests interested in touring at your leisure, we are pleased to offer Silver Shore Privato - both half-day and full-day private arrangements by private car or van. You may book this in advance at silversea.com or it may be purchased on board, subject to availability. Other private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Shore Concierge Office on board.