Bruges is small and beautiful city, you can enjoy walking there.
Some people feel bad about boat and the carriage ride (from negative comment), it is true. So if you avoid the boat and carriage ride, and choose to use your own foot, you will fall in love with this really...really beautiful city.
In my opinion Brugge is not a Tourist trap, The City attracks millions of people a year (3 i believe) so it is as busy as let's say Disney World or Niagara Falls, (by comparisson), but I did not see the selling craze of everything under the roof like in Niagara Falls
or Disney. I found Brugge (Bruges), a charming city with an incredible wealth of architecture and and historic buidings.
Unique Suggestions: So I suggest you go there and see for your
self if Brugge is a Tourist trap.
If you want to do some shopping this can be done in the 'Steenstraat', the 'Zuidzandstraat' and the 'Katelijnestraat' if you want to buy some Belgian chocolate or very nice beers typical for Belgium! These are very nice places but make sure you see more of Bruges than only shopping!
Taking the canal boat tour of the town felt a little like a ride at Disneyland. But, we tried to take tours of the towns we visited to get a sense of where we were. The canal boat tour just replaced the bus tour of other places. We did enjoy it. So, you can decide whether or not to consider it a 'trap'.
I don't really have any 'Tourist Traps' to warn you of in the lovely country of Belgium but, I do have some advice re; getting accommodation. Usually what I do is make a reservation for one night for my next destination city if it is the weekend or some festival going on. I check my main bag in a locker at the train station taking only basics in carry-on while I find either my intended location or start looking for a place to stay. What you read re; a location and what you find when you actually arrive are often two different things. Don't be shy about asking to see the room. I'm not - anymore! One or two bad experiences will cure you of shyness. I have found this little routine to really work for me in finding what I refer to as happy accommodation. Of course if time is of the essence - skip it and take cab! For me however, it really gets me off to a good/relaxed start. Who wants to cloud your exciting arrival in new location with aching back and feet, possible frustration of lugging a heavy bag all over town while trying to read a map, etc, etc. We've all been there. I'll just do absolutely ANYTHING to avoid it! So, there's my tip of the day!
Just a word of caution, please don't think you can possibly stay in Brugge and eat them out of Chocolate.
The tourist trap here is that you're be back for more wonderful Chocolate delights. :-)
The canal tours could be considered a 'tourist trap,' however, I did enjoy the one I took very much. I have posted a travelogue with more photos.