Calling all sofa explorers: discover Northern Europe through the eyes of a local


From the buzz of cities such as Amsterdam to the quieter charms of picturesque Bruges, a northern Europe cruise gives you the chance to experience the ultimate city escape. 

Bruges* : Gothic beauty and traditional treats

Beautiful and historic Bruges is like a gem from the Middle Ages. Wherever you walk in this city you’ll find examples of impressive Gothic architecture, along with 17km of canals and large cobbled squares. But the city has more to offer than its major landmarks. Until we can embark on a Bruges cruise holiday again, look forward to wandering down a quiet side street to find one of Bruges’s best-known cafés, serving two kinds of traditional Belgium waffle – a Bruges delicacy – with a variety of delicious sweet toppings. Also well-known for its beer culture, the locals will tell you that Bruges has some of the best bars in the world for beer tasting. And don’t forget to pay a visit to one of the many incredible chocolate shops or take a class in chocolate-making yourself.

* Bruges (from Zeebrugge)

Ghent*: stunning architecture and fun adventures

A lively university city, there’s always lots going on in gorgeous Ghent. Visit Ghent on a day trip during your Cruise to Belgium and do as the locals suggest; hire a kayak to paddle around the city, weaving your way around Gravensteen, a medieval castle at the centre of the city. The food scene in Ghent is impressive and varied. Imagine dining inside a former travel agent office, where you can sample cuisine from all over the world, or simply strolling the picturesque streets: pick a pretty outdoor restaurant and soak up the atmosphere, the way the locals do.

* Ghent (from Zeebrugge)

Amsterdam*: colourful spaces and cultural places

All the flowers in the world travel through Holland before they reach their ultimate destination, and Amsterdam’s location close to Holland’s famous flower auction means that the city is full of beautiful blooms all year round. A diverse city with vast squares and green parks, a world-class museum quarter and a stunning network of canals, Amsterdam is the perfect place to potter around – stopping for refreshments in one of the many excellent cafés and restaurants or taking it all in with a canal cruise. Locals suggest hiring a bike to explore the best of Amsterdam when you next return on your Amsterdam cruise holiday. The city is flat with lots of cycle lanes so cycling in this buzzing city is easy, safe and pleasant.

* Amsterdam (from IJmuiden)

Rotterdam: bold visions and historic charms

Having been destroyed in the Second World War, Rotterdam rose from the ashes to become a showcase of modern city planning and visionary architecture. The Cube Houses in Rotterdam are an iconic architectural landmark that needs to be seen to be believed. On your next Rotterdam cruise holiday, our locals recommend taking a tour inside these curiously shaped houses before heading to a local eatery to try a stroopwafel, a local delicacy with a decadent caramel filling. Rotterdam’s porcelain industry – you may recognise the intricate blue designs of the Royal delft porcelain factory, which has been based in the city since 1653 – is alive and well. The museum and workshop dedicated to it is the perfect place to get a sense of the city’s rich history. 

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