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Bruges and the Sea, thematic visits and walking tours, excursions, guided walks in the city of Bruges, fascinating guided tours

Thematic walk ‘Unveiling Maritime Bruges’

The best of Bruges, guided tour, maritime Bruges, touristic walking tours, unveiling Bruges and the Sea

The port of Bruges was at its peak between the 12th and 15th century. The connection with the sea has made this Flemish city the most important financial centre of northwestern Europe. Although Bruges was still one of the most important ports at the end of the 15th century, Antwerp took over as a metropolis at the North Sea. During the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648) the ports of Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp lost their access to the sea. Our country then experienced many mishaps due to religious conflicts and the combined effects of French and English expansion, Dutch protectionism, privateers, the bankruptcy of Spain and the plague. Remarkably, during these difficult times, important economic developments were achieved, such as the digging of canals to the sea, the founding of a new stock exchange, the accommodation of whalers and the fishing rights granted by the English king Charles II to Bruges’ fishermen. The waterways leading to Bruges were once the main transportation routes for wool, food supply and luxury goods to the interior of the country while also allowing the export of high value–added products. The closure of these waterways, because of the religious wars, forced the inhabitants of Bruges to find practical solutions.

Embleem godhuis de Schiptjes
Duinenbrug langsheen de Langerei
Godshuis de Schiptjes
Almshouse de Schiptjes
The port of Bruges in 1664, Hendrik van Minderhout
The harbour of Bruges in 1665

Throughout the tour, our guides will explain these solutions and their maritime consequences. They will discuss the epic of the Flemish Admiralty and share their knowledge about, among other things, the whaler Keyzer Maximilian, Admiral Spinola, the commercial port and herring. This unique walk will allow you to discover lesser–known parts of Bruges, along the banks of the canals, the remnants of the historical link of Bruges to the sea.

Practical information

Maritime Bruges, guided walking tours of Bruges, guide of the surroundings of Bruges, The best of Bruges

You can start the guided walking tour at several locations in Bruges.
The walk consists of two parts that you can book as one or separately.
The complete visit takes 3,5 to 4 hours. We usually have a break halfway.

The first part goes from the Dampoort to the square Jan Van Eyck. It includes the visit of the Notre–Dame de la Potterie church and Saint–Giles’ church.
The second part is limited to downtown.
You can book this thematic walk via the following link: Hello Bruges or by email via Follow the Guide

Thematic guided walks, Bruges and the Sea, guided walking tour, Bryggja

Discover the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bruges with a guide.

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