Exploring Belgium by Boat

Exploring Belgium by BoatAlthough most visitors to Belgium tend to arrive by plane these days, sailing is a great way to travel to the country. Of course, the pace of travel is sure to be slower, but this only gives visitors more time to soak up the scenery along the way.

Albeit small in size, Belgium contains a diversity of culture, language, and tradition that entrances every visitor. Even this small country is regionally divided between the Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia community. Brussels, the capital, is also the center of activity for the European parliament, giving it an overwhelming diplomatic character.

Zeebrugge boasts departures of approximately 10,000 ships and has a cargo volume exceeding 32 million tons annually, becoming one of Europe’s fastest growing ports. P&O North Sea Ferries operates the Zeebrugge to Hull route, once daily, with a sailing time of 12 ½ hours. Passengers must check-in 90 minutes prior to sailing, in order to keep their cabin bookings. Superfast Ferries operates the Zeebrugge to Rosyth route. This is the only direct link between Scotland and Continental Europe. This route is serviced once daily, with a journey time of 16 ½ hours.

Ostend is one of Belgium’s oldest and most important ports, with a large fishing industry and is still a very popular passenger destination with its sandy beaches, casino, and many historic sites. The high-speed Hoverspeed catamarans cross from Oostende to Dover daily, with a journey time of just under two hours.

Outside of Brussels, the Belgian countryside offers a vast array of beautiful and quaint areas for the visitor to explore. Of these, Bruges is considered Europe’s best-preserved medieval city and Belgium’s most popular tourist destination. Rich in history, it often seems unchanged in seven centuries, were it not for the many people and modern conveniences tucked away. Blessed with two medieval cores, the Markt and the Burg, the city is also loaded with art collections, especially at The Groeninge Museum and the 14th century Stadhuis.