Bruges (tours from Zeebrugge), Belgium

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Sometimes called the Venice of the North because of the picturesque criss-crossing canals on which you can enjoy fascinating and romantic boat rides, Bruges actually has a character all its own. Although it has all the facilities of a modern city - smart shops, restaurants, bars and hotels - these are all found behind the centuries-old facades and weathered gables of the historic buildings at the city's heart. Bruges is rightly famous for its exquisite lacework, tasty chocolate and huge range of local beers while, from Zeebrugge, you can also visit another historic city, Ghent, the capital Brussels, and historic battlefield sites such as Waterloo and Ypres.