You don't want to miss this unique beer and bicycling opportunity - the only tour of Belgium that mixes excellent bicycling, lodging, food, plus visits to some of the important Belgian breweries. Starting near the capital of Belgium, we'll pedal through West Flanders (the Flemish part of Belgium) and along the French border in the region of Wallonia, the French speaking part. This tour concentrates on three important beer regions: the Lambic region just south of Brussels, famous for its wild yeast fermentation method which results in a sour beer, the breweries around Bruges (or Brugge in Flemish), a mix of Trappist (monk-brewed) breweries as well as historical breweries such as DeCam, and finally, Wallonia where the Chimay and Orval breweries are located. Two night stays at the beginning and middle of this trip means less packing, and more beer and bicycling! You'll also bicycle through important WWI battleground sites such as Waterloo and Ieper. Gentle cycling terrain makes this a great tour for everyone; in fact the only "requirement" is that you enjoy good beer and fun!
If this sounds great but you'd like a shorter tour, check out our Bicycling Belgium's Best Breweries tour, which features the first 8 days of this itinerary.***
Day 1: Arrive in Waterloo
Highlights: Gothic and Medieval architecture, Belgian wafflesWe start our tour just south of Brussels in the town of Waterloo, famous worldwide for the 1815 defeat of French Emperor Napoleon by an Anglo-Allied army in the "Battle of Waterloo". You might choose to arrive a few days early in Brussels to explore the Belgian capital. Brussels hosts a variety of fascinating architectural sites - from medieval architecture to post-modern European Union buildings. Stroll through town where Belgian waffles and "moules frites", or mussels served with French fries abound and "brasseries" or "salon de thés" are aplenty. Meet this afternoon for a bike fitting and test ride to the Lion Mound, the site of the infamous battle. Welcome drinks and dinner together to celebrate the beginning of our Belgian bike and beer tour!
Test ride: 13 km (8 miles)
Lodging: Hotel La Cote Verte
Day 2: Flanders Cycling
Highlights: Lambic beer, DeCam BreweryOur ride takes us through Lambic region today as we head West into the upper Ardennes and the heart of Flanders. We'll pass the region known for its Lambic beer and we'll have a chance to visit a small brewery en route to taste some of this unique beer made with natural yeasts. Our destination today is one of the oldest towns in Flanders, Geraardsbergen. We'll have dinner together this evening.
Daily Mileage: 60 km (37 mi)
Lodging: Hotel Grupello
Day 3: Ride to Oudenaarde
Highlights: Cycling through picturesque Flemish towns and countryside, Oudenaarde, Tour de Flanders RegionWe pedal west today past lush fields along the gentle hills of Flanders - we're pedalling along the hills racers ride during the Tour de Flanders before continuing to our home for the night, Oudenaarde, a small Flemish town known once for its thriving tapestry economy. Today Oudenaarde is home to the museum of the Tour de Flanders that features the heroes of Flemish cycling, including Eddy Merkcx. Dinner is on your own this evening.
Daily Mileage: 43 km (26 miles).
Lodging: La Pomme d'Or
Day 4: Cycling from Oudenaarde to Bruges
Highlights: UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bruges, Flemish art museums, Flemish "primitives", beer bar visit and tastingWe bike to one of Belgium's most impressive cities today, Bruges (Brugge in Flemish). A quiet bike route takes us through farmland to reach the center of Bruges and our hotel. Settle in and plan to visit Flemish art museums or just stroll along the canals that were once main arteries in the city. The imposing medieval square and City Hall combined with the fantastic architecture characterize this unique city. Bruges' city richness in history and architecture is well displayed in its stepped gable houses, the market square with the belfort, in unique historic neighborhoods such as the "Beguinage", a community of lay women from the 13th Century, or through the almshouses that dot the city's ramparts from the Middle Ages. We'll regroup for a happy hour in one of Bruges' popular beer bars.
Daily Mileage: 70 km (44 miles).
Lodging: Martin's Relais
Day 5: Guided city visit, optional ride from Bruges to Oostende
Highlights: City tour, Canalside bicycle paths, beer bar visit and tastingWe'll have a guided visit around the city of Bruges mid-morning and then the rest of the day is yours to visit the chocolate museum, diamond museum or even the Belgian fry museum! Alternatively, take a gentle bike path to the seaside town of Oostende. Enjoy some seafood or "moules et frites" before returning to Bruges. Continue your exploration of Bruges--there are tranquil abbeys, convents and hamlets to see, or perhaps you are interested in the diamond museum since Bruges is Europe's oldest diamond center.
Daily Mileage: Optional, 48 km (30 mi)
Lodging: Martin's Relais
Day 6: Bicycling Belgium's Countryside
Highlights: Westvleteren home to the world's highest ranking beers, Ieper and Flanders Field MuseumFrom Bruges we pedal southwest directly through the West Flanders region, passing by the town of Esen (famous for its "mad brewers" brewery). Serious beer connoisseurs may want to wait for the afternoon guided tour, but we have several miles still ahead of us, so most will pedal on to our quick lunch stop before reaching another important beer stop. Westvleteren is one of only 6 authentic Trappist beers in Belgium (made by Trappist monks, a branch of Cistercian monks) and one of which is continually ranked amongst the top beers in the world. The 16th Century St. Sixtus Abbey is not open to the public, but you can still enjoy the world's highest ranking beers from the In de Vrede café across the street before continuing on to the town of Ieper, home to a fascinating museum that starkly documents WWI's impact on the region. Dinner on your own tonight.
Daily Mileage: 83 km (52 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Ariane
Day 7: Wallonia and French Belgium
Highlights: Bicycling into Wallonia, Tournai, Gothic and Romanesque Tournai's cathedralWe leave the Flemish part of Belgium today to enter Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium. Wallonia or "Wallonie," as the French call it, makes up 55% of the geographic area of Belgium. Once the first industrialized region of all of continental Europe due to important coal and iron reserves, today Wallonia is famous for its Trappist beers (Chimay and Orval are both here) as well as some industry, services, and tourism. We bicycle to the town of Tournai, the oldest city in Belgium. Incredibly rich in the Middle Ages thanks to its textile industry, Tournai still preserves important Romanesque and Gothic churches and private houses which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Dinner together tonight.
Daily Mileage: 65 km (40 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Alcantara
Day 8: Pedal near the French-Belgian border to Mons
Highlights: Canal ride, cheese tasting and lunch, WWI battle sitesWe'll head toward the French border today, stopping along the way to a rural "gite" that produces cheeses and will provide us with a light lunch. We're deep in Wallonia here as we pedal through the former industrial backbone of Belgium between the Sambre and Meuse river valleys. Today this area is mostly forests and agricultural fields, no longer the rich industrial area it was in the 1800s. Our destination is the small town of Mons, important since Roman times and also the site of important battles in World War I. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Daily Mileage: 68 km (42 miles).
Lodging: St. James Hotel
Day 9: Bicycle from Mons to Chimay
Highlights: Biking through forested hills, Lobbes and oldest Collegial Church, Chimay beer tastingWe're cycling through hills and forested area on the edge of the Ardenne region of Belgium (the Ardennes Mountains extends east from here across southern Belgium and into Luxembourg and France). Rolling hills bring us to the small town of Chimay, which we'll bypass to head straight to the Chimay Abbey, where our small country inn awaits. The brewery is not a very interesting visit as you can't see the monks brewing, but take a walk around the abbey, see the gardens and then meet back in our hotel for a beer tasting and dinner together.
Daily Mileage:90 km (56 miles)
Lodging: Auberge de Poteaupré
Day 10: Chimay to Bouillon
Highlights: Forested ride, French town of Rocroi, pedalling along the Semois canyon, Bouillon and the ducal strongholdWe've saved some of the best for last as we pedal between two of the most famous Belgian breweries -- Chimay and Orval (2 of the 6 Trappist breweries, "Trappist" because they are still brewed by monks). One of the most beautiful rides of the trip as we pedal along the Samois river, we'll enter France for a bit as we pedal country lanes through forested hills and small villages (check out the center of Rocroi but don't blink or you'll miss it!). Our lodging for the night is in Bouillon, dominated by the medieval castle built by Godfrey of Bouillon (leader of the first crusade). We'll have a special farewell dinner with our delightful hosts in Bouillon.
Daily Mileage: 102 km (63 miles)
Day 11: Tour ends, Orval Visit, shuttle to Brussels
Highlights: Visit Orval RuinsWe'll leave Bouillon this morning to return to Brussels, stopping first to stroll through the ruins of Orval. We'll plan to be in Brussels early afternoon. Thanks for joining us on this beer and bike adventure! Bon voyage and Goede Reis!
HighlightsPedal quiet roads, bicycle paths, UNESCO World Heritage sites of Bruges and Tournai, Waterloo, Belgium, WWI battle and historical sites, Best breweries in the world, Flanders Field Museum, Riding briefly in France, Lambic beer, 3 Trappist breweries, Historic hotels
Includes"The Usual" plus... Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 11 days, 10 nights accommodation; 10 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 6 dinners; 2 guided brewery visits; 'beer bar" in Bruges, 1 tasting; shuttle to and from Brussels
Begin/EndBrussels / Brussels
Arrive/DepartBrussels Int'l Airport (BRU) / Brussels Int'l Airport (or Luxembourg-Findel Int'l Airport (LUX))
Total Distance594-642 kms (369-399 miles)
Daily Distance43 - 102 kms (27-63 miles)
What to ExpectFantastic rides and the opportunity to sample and learn more about beer. Wonderful accommodations.
Flat riding on small roads and paths. Some days may include shorter hill climbs of around 1 - 3 miles and some longer days towards the end.
|Sep 03 - 13, 2013||$4595||$600||Three More to Confirm||Book It|
|*We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.|