Bruges Canal Tour: the best way to explore Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium is also known as the Venice of the North, referring to the numerous canals and bridges. A visit to Bruges isn’t complete without a boat tour on its canals. A Bruges canal tour allows you to appreciate the most noteworthy delights of the city from a completely different angle. In this post I will share some photos and tips for the famous Bruges canal tour with you. Enjoy!

Bruges Canal Tour

If you have visited Amsterdam and walked along the canals, you might be surprised when seeing the canals in Bruges. Here, the canals are relatively inaccessible. There are just a few places where you can actually walk along the canals. To really explore the canals, secret gardens, picturesque bridges and beautiful architecture, you should explore Bruges by boat! It is quite fun driving through all the small canals of the city and you get to see many things in a short time. The views of monuments and centuries-old buildings are fantastic!

Boat landing stages

The canal tours leave from a couple of departure points in the city, but due to legislation only 20 boats are on the canal at once. There are five landing stages along the canals. The routes and prices are all the same. It’s only the start and end point that will vary.

  •  Michielssens, Huidenvettersplein 13
  •  Coudenys, Rozenhoedkaai
  •  De Meulemeester, Wollestraat 32
  •  Gruuthuse, Nieuwstraat 11
  •  Stael, Katelijnestraat 4

Seating and photographing

The boats have a row of single seats that run down the middle, which would be the worst place to make photos. Make sure to get a seat at the very front or very back to make unobstructed photos. It may be worth waiting until the next boat to come along if only middle seats are available. The boats are not covered, but umbrellas are provided for rainy weather. Because you are seated during the entire ride, you can use this time to relax and recover from any walking you might have done around Brugge.

Audio guides or the old fashioned way

Some boat tours provide recorded audio guides and others are doing it the old fashioned way; commentary from the boat driver. I personally prefer the second one. Our boat driver spoke in English and pointed out sights along the way (French, German and Dutch were also possible). He gave us a well worth overview of the local history and was really lovely and funny.

Costs of a canal tour in Bruges

A boat tour in Bruges is relatively inexpensive. You pay about € 12,00 per person for a 30 minutes trip at the dock. Children up to 11 years old pay around € 10,00, Bruges residents around € 9,00 and children up to 3 years can go along for free. Make sure to reserve your spot online, as tickets get sold out quickly.

Tip: you may want to bring some cash along to tip your driver.

Organized canal tour in Bruges

There are several organized tours available that include a Bruges canal tour. You can for example combine a canal tour with a guided walking tour, scavenger hunt or a canal tour in Ghent. I think this is a very fun way to see the most of Bruges in a short time.

Bruges canal tour duration

The boats typically run every 15 or 20 minutes. Sometimes it takes a bit longer, because the boats wait till they’re full or nearly full before departing. A boat tour takes about 30 minutes and you will see beautiful places that you can only see by boat. The boats usually operate daily between March and mid-November from 10.00am till 18.00pm (last boat leaves at 5:30pm). Early morning is a good time to avoid the queues. The boat can be a bit cold, but you get a unique view. Plan your boat trip and Bruges itinerary accordingly!


In Bruges, a canal tour is a must for a different perspective on the city and to see hidden gems that are only accessible by boat. Witness secret gardens, charming bridges and historical architecture from the comfort of a boat. Choose a front or back seat for unobstructed photos and enjoy insightful commentary from the boat driver. The cost is reasonable and reservations are recommended. Be mindful of operating hours to avoid crowds and for a more comprehensive experience, opt for an organized tour.

Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below and I’ll try my best to answer them. Safe travels and enjoy exploring Bruges by boat!

Author: Daphne

This article is part of the GPSmyCity iOS app. You can download it, read this article offline and obtain travel directions (by foot, car or bicycle) to the places mentioned in this article. Click here to download it.

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  • Stuart

    Hi, I see that there are a lot of free walking tours in Bruges. Have you had any experience with walking tours (free or paid)? If so, do you have any recommendations? Will be in Bruges late June.

    • Girlswanderlust

      Hi Stuart, unfortunately I don’t have any experience with a free/paid walking tour in Bruges. I believe some tours start at the ‘Grote Markt’. When searching online, you can find different walking tour options like historical, medieval or night tours. Sounds fun! Enjoy Bruges and don’t skip the Bruges Canal Tour 😁

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