LAST UPDATED:  7th December 2013 at 11:50am

What is it about canals and romance? Another watery city 1,000 or so kilometres north of Venice (and a mere hop south from Amsterdam), Bruges's canals and cobbled streets ooze romance… and chocolate shops.

You want to sleep in a palace? Then you'll love the Dukes Palace, which comes with a Rapunzel-esque turret and princess-worthy suites. Play out your own fairytale romance when you check into one of the historic rooms with 15th-century frescoes (the Madame de Pompadour suite), timber beams (Isabella Van Portugal suite), majestic stained-glass window (Graaf van Vlaanderen suite) and marble bathrooms.

Start the day in regal style with a hearty breakfast of eggs Florentine, shrimps and champagne before a horse-drawn city tour - just stop short of the royal wave as you pass crowds of tourists outside the 13th-century belfry.

WOW FACTOR: Check out the contemporary sculpture exhibition in the gardens.

TRAVEL TIME: 4 hours by train.
GO: Double rooms cost from £185, B&B while Eurostar to Bruges starts at £80 return.

LAST UPDATED:  1st November 2012 at 2:35pm

All chocolate, cobbles and canals, the medieval city of Bruges is romantic enough before you even factor in staying in a former palace.

Fairytale it might be but there's nothing Disney-esque about Dukes' Palace. Play princess in one of the grand suites with heritage-listed features such as frescos (Filips de Schone Suite, pictured), timber beams (Isabella Van Portugal Suite) and stained-glass window (Graaf van Vlaanderen Suite).

Take a horse and cart through the streets to boost the romance factor even further and sample at least some of Belgium's 700-plus beers and the national speciality - moules frites.

WOW FACTOR: Try and time your visit to coincide with one of the classical concerts in the hotel's gorgeous chapel.


GO: Doubles from £142 ( Eurostar ( from £80 return.