I decided to spend the afternoon in Bruges after first visiting in May 1974. It still looks pretty much the same except there are a lot more chocolate stores! The old town is an UNESCO World Heritage Site which should not be missed. The easiest way to get there is to take the train from Brussels; you can get a map at the Tourist Office next to the station. Just start walking and exploring the canals, bridges, cafes, and squares ending in the main square which is a small version of the Grand Place in Brussels. You will find amazing architecture and some great cafes and restaurants along the way. Just be prepared for a large number of tourists.
The Historic Center of Bruges “is an outstanding example of a medieval historic settlement, which has maintained its historic fabric as this has evolved over the centuries, and where original Gothic constructions form part of the town’s identity. As one of the commercial and cultural capitals of Europe, Bruges developed cultural links to different parts of the world. It is closely associated with the school of Flemish Primitive painting”.
For chocolate, I really enjoyed the hand-made chocolates by Dumon Artisanale Chocolatier at Chantal, Walstraat #6, and also those by Marie de Bruges at Walstraat #16-18.
Check out the restaurant Hertog Jan when it re-opens. The award-winning chef comes highly recommended. Bistro Bruut gets good reviews as well. De Jonkman is a Michelin Starred restaurant with a lovely outdoor patio. De Karmeliet is also a Michelin starred restaurant. Den Gouden Harync in the museum district of town is also recommended as is Auberge de Herbonist.
Friends got back and loved the Guesthouse Canal Deluxe Bed & Breakfast. It looks stunning and I will stay there on my next trip. They thought the breakfasts were outstanding in addition to the rooms.
I also just read about Guesthouse Nuit Blanche, which looks like a charming B&B. For other guesthouses and apartments make sure to check out the White Rooms.
Cote Canal B&B also gets good reviews as a great spot to stay as does La Suite Sans Cravate B&B. Their restaurant Sans Cravate is a Michelin starred restaurant, so you can get a package for dinner, room and breakfast. Sounds perfect!