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Georges Depoorter - Private Guide in Bruges

 Member Since 2015 

The Cultural cities of Flanders (from a half day to several days)

Culture and History tour in Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Brussels, Leuven, Mechelen

Tour Price : €250-750 Duration : 1-3 days Languages: English, Dutch, French, German

“I like the chime in your ancient cities O old land, keeper of your domestic traditions..”Victor Hugo Brussels, Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, Mechelen, Leuven… these are the beautiful cultural cities of Flanders. Visiting all these historical places in one day is impossible. The client has therefore a choice between a combination visit of cities in a half day, full day or several days.

Brussels: Capital of Belgium and of Europe. We start our visit to Brussels with a sightseeing tour passing the Atomium, the Royal Palace of Laeken, the European Parliament and the European quarter, the Jubilee Arch, the Belgian Parliament and the Royal Palace in the City. After that we do a short walking tour of the old medieval centre ending at the astonishing Market square. Bruges Since Roman times, Bruges development reached its apogee as the largest Port in Medieval Europe in the 15th century. Then the access to the North Sea silted up and Bruges lost its Harbour. At the end of the 15 th century, merchant men, traders, bankers, ship owners and diamond merchants emigrated to Antwerp.

Bruges became a dormant City, which was a blessing in disguise, because this saved the beautiful medieval outlook of the city, preserving it for posterity. We stroll along the canals and through the typical medieval streets of Bruges, admiring the majestic belfry, symbol of the strengths of the free inhabitants of the City and the beautiful Gothic Town Hall. Also a visit to the impressive Church of our Lady with its famous Michelangelo’s “Madonna and child” is a must. And why not end this visit with a boat tour on the canals? It shows you this romantic city from another angle.

Ghent - Ghent and Bruges were known as the “sister cities”: they developed in a parallel way, producing both the world renown cloth, so their relation was that of competitors and depending on the political situation, that of allies or enemies. Although Ghent is much larger than Bruges, for a short visit, we restrict ourselves to the old medieval centre. From the Saint Michaels’s Bridge we not only overlook the old port, with its beautiful Guild houses and old grain warehouse but the roofs of the gabled houses are dominated by the massive Dungeon of the Count’s Castle - Gravensteen. A visit to the meat hall is compulsory. Passing the large town hall and the belfry, we arrive at the Saint Bavo’s cathedral, where we will find this world renown painting of Jan and Hubert Van Eyck: “The Mystic Lamb”.

Antwerp: Now the 4th largest port in the World, Antwerp also had its “Golden Age” in the 16th century. Of this and of the following periods, a large number of buildings in Renaissance and Baroque style remain as witnesses. First we start with a drive around Antwerp, admiring the Central Station and passing the eclectic buildings of the “Meir”, the Jewish quarter, the “Belle époque” neighbourhood with its special architecture ending at the Schelde quay in front of the “Steen”, the Medieval Castle, watching over the old City. There we continue on foot: We visit the market square with its impressive Renaissance Town Hall and the Majestic Gothic Cathedral with several paintings of Rubens. During our walk through the city we also pass the numerous terraces, where people sip from their coffee of refresh themselves with a good “Bolleke” the local amber coloured beer of Antwerp.

We finally use the escalators to the panoramic terrace (62m high) of the MAS-Building (MAS= Museum at the Stream) to overlook this cosmopolitan city, where more than 100 Nationalities live together in peace and harmony. Note: a visit to the Red Star Line Museum, from where more than a million emigrated to the US and Canada, is possible upon reservation only. Mechelen The city developed along the banks of the Dyle river. Remains of Roman Villa’s and Roman Roads are proof of the importance of this place in Roman times. Malines received city rights in 1303 from the Duke of Brabant. This caused rivalry between Malines and Antwerp, because the latter lost profitable staple rights (rights as first seller) for oats, salt and especially wool from England to Malines. In the 16th century for a short period, Malines became the capital of the Low Countries (in those days Belgium, the north of France, the Netherlands and Luxemburg) under Archduchess Margareta of Austria, daughter of Maximillian Of Austria and Mary of Burgundy. During our walking tour through Malines we visit her Palace (where also Anne Boleyn was educated), the Cathedral and the market square encountering several remarkable building on the way (The city has the second highest number of listed buildings of Flanders, including four UNESCO listings).

Other points of interest that can be seen: The former Palace of Margaret of York, the house of Lodewijk Van Beethoven (Beethoven’s Grandfather), the Jewish Museum of deportation and resistance in the Dossin Casern and the Breendonck concentration camp (15 Km from Malines). Leuven Already mentioned in publications in 884 as “Lovanium” Louvain. Although Brussels became Capital of the Duchy of Brabant, Louvain remained more important. The loss of importance was compensated in 1425 with the foundation of the University. At the beginning of the First World War, the Universiry library, containing numerous priceless old books and document, was destroyed by fire. Rebuilt in 1928 with U.S. funding, it was again destroyed by German artillery fire and bombs. When walking through the city we pass the beautiful Town Hall, the Saint Peter’s Church, the “Tabelround” a gothic hall built in 1480.

Additional information

Tour information:
Tour Price: €250-750
Duration: 1-3 days
Group Size: 2-40 tourists
Languages: English, Dutch, French, German
Tour package includes:
Airport Transfer :YES
Hotel pick-up:YES
Drop-off :YES
Tour Transportation (car, van, limo, boat, etc…):YES
Food and Drinks :NO
Other services (fees apply):
Attraction tickets (concerts, theater, museum, circus...) :NO
Translation services :NO
Reservations (hotels, restaurants, airline) :NO
Visa support :NO
Additional information:
This tour must be booked at least 7 days in advance of your travel date :YES
Tour groups must include a minimum of 2 passengers :YES
Tour prices are flexible and based on your requirements :YES
This Tour is Kid Friendly :YES