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Extensive travel and tourism guide for Belgium, Europe

Belgium Hotels & Reservation Guide

When most people think of Belgium, they think of chocolate. So do we. We don't hesitate to sample its various forms each time we visit: sipping oh-so-rich hot chocolate while people-watching at sidewalk cafes; strolling down cobbled streets to window-shop with a chocolate ice-cream cone in hand (the ice cream contains wonderfully thick chocolate shavings); or buying a gaufre (waffle) slathered with melted chocolate sauce from a street vendor for an afternoon snack. And that's before we've even stepped foot in our favorite chocolatier.

In any form, we've found Belgian chocolate to be the ideal pick-me-up after a day of museum hopping. The country's collections are first rate. But don't spend too much time indoors admiring the work of Flemish masters when you could be experiencing Belgian life in other ways -- especially partaking of what we consider some of the best food and drink (chocolate or not) on the continent.

Belgium makes a perfect introduction to Europe. It's especially good for first-timers who might be overwhelmed by all there is to see in larger European countries. While there are plenty of attractions to keep visitors happily occupied for a couple of weeks, its size is quite managable and getting around is easy. In fact, Brussels could be used as a base for exploring the entire country, though some local flavor would be missed. The people are friendly and helpful -- even to visitors who speak only English.

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