Bruges is sometimes called "Venice of the North" because of the many canals and waterways. One of the best ways to see the town is by boat and there are a number of companies that offer tours.
To get to the boat, you walk down a flight of stone stairs to where a number of large, open boats are lined up. Each boat seats 30-40 people and during the busy tourist season, they are always full. The guides speak a number of different languages and point out many of Bruge's historic buildings and sights.
One of the major points of interest is the Old St. John's Hospital, parts of which date from the 13th century. Part of the building juts out over the waterand these sections were known as plague houses because it is where the wealthy people were quarantined. The many angles and sections of the hospital make for a great photo opportunity. The building is now a museum and also houses work by the painter Hans Memling.
We passed by the Church of Our Lady where Michaelangelo's "Madonna and Child" is housed. The church tower is approximately 400 feet high but seen from the water, it appeared much higher.
The boat wandered along many canals and under stone bridges, one of which was so low that we all had to duck to avoid getting our head bumped.
The tour runs daily from 10 am until 6 pm, lasts about 1/2 hour and the price is 190BF per person.
This was a very relaxing way to see Brauges and it was easy to imagine myself back in time when boats were the main mode of transportation here.