Arrivals and departures
Zeebrugge is the ideal tourist gateway to Flanders. As such, it is a popular port of call for cruise ships with a route in Western Europe, or for mini-cruises from the UK or in transit to the Norwegian fjords and the Baltic Sea.
The port welcomes around 150 cruise ships and nearly 400,000 passengers each year.
The main berth for cruise ships in Zeebrugge is the 'Zweedse' (Swedish) Quay (quay 702-703), along the Kustlaan, just before the Pierre Vandamme lock. If there is a lot of shipping traffic, vessels are often diverted to the Westerhoofd (quay 205-206) in the western outer port.
Cruise terminal ABC Tower
On the Rederskaai stands the eight-story ABC Tower, a reference to "Artes-Brugge-Cruise". The two lower floors serve as the reception and embarkation areas for cruise passengers. Visitors can meet up with family, friends or acquaintances who are passengers on a cruise ship calling at Zeebrugge. Everyone on board the cruise ship can take the free shuttle bus up to the cruise building. Visitors can park cars outside the terminal.
On the top floor, travellers and visitors can enjoy stunning views at the rooftop restaurant Njord. The building also houses a visitors' centre, a knowledge centre of the Provincial Development Corporation (POM) and the headquarters of the contractors Artes Depret.
Cruise ship spotting
At the start of the Zweedse Quay, just next to the entrance to the Vandamme Lock, you get the best view of the big cruise ships, from the roof of an expo container. For security reasons and out of respect for the passengers on board, it is not possible to visit a cruise ship.
An area for short stay parking is provided in the car park of the cruise building. As a visitor, you can park your car for free near the marina. There are always plenty of available spaces along the Rederskaai and the Graaf Jansdijk.
In addition to beautiful Bruges, which is a hotspot for cruise tourists just 20 minutes from Zeebrugge, there are a wide range of options for day-trippers to explore Flanders.
Just think of historic cities like Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp, charming seaside resorts like Ostend and Knokke or the rich war history in Ypres or picturesque places including Damme and Lissewege.
Planning a tourist excursion
To go on a day trip as a cruise tourist, you can book an excursion directly with the shipping company. The excursion bus will be waiting for you at the ship, you will be accompanied by a guide during the excursion and brought back to the ship in time.
You can also organise your own excursion. A free shuttle bus will take you from the ship to the terminal exit where you can choose public transport (tram and train) or a taxi. Many shipping companies organise a shuttle service (paid or complimentary) to Blankenberge station. From here, trains leave every half hour for Bruges, Ghent and Brussels.
From Zeebrugge, there are numerous possibilities to discover the rest of Flanders by private or public transport.
Zeebrugge has excellent connections to the network of European motorways via the N31, the A11 and the E40. As such, the main tourist destinations are easily and quickly accessible.
Journey times from Zeebrugge by road:
- Blankenberge, Knokke: 10 minutes
- Bruges, Damme: 20 minutes
- Ostend: 35 minutes
- Ypres (Flanders Fields): 40 minutes
- Ghent: 55 minutes
- Brussels: 75 minutes
- Antwerp: 80 minutes
The coastal tram provides frequent connections (six every hour in summer, three every hour in winter) with other coastal towns including Blankenberge, Knokke, Ostend and De Haan.
Journey times from stop 'Zeebrugge Kerk' via the coastal tram:
- Blankenberge (station): 12 minutes
- Knokke (station): 13 minutes
- De Haan (by the sea): 28 minutes
- Ostend (station): 40 minutes
Train or Bus
The main regional train connections are Zeebrugge-Bruges (one train every hour) and Blankenberge-Bruges (two trains every hour). Most shipping companies offer a shuttle service to Blankenberge station. From Bruges, trains leave every half hour for Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp. Eight times a day, a bus operates between Lille HST station and Bruges station.
Train journey times:
- Zeebrugge - Bruges: 20 minutes
- Blankenberge - Bruges: 13 minutes
- Blankenberge- Ghent: 53 minutes
- Blankenberge - Brussels: 1 hour, 33 minutes
- Blankenberge - Antwerp: 2 hours, 12 minutes
Cruise terminal Antwerp
More and more cruise ships and tourists are visiting Antwerp. The cruise ships dock in the city centre, 200 meters from the cathedral.
The cruise terminal at Steenplein is a five-minute walk from the historic city centre, the main shopping streets and a wide range of cafes and restaurants. From the raised promenade, you have an excellent view of the docked ships, and watching a ship set sail is a great experience.