In the historical town of Ypres, your journey through the Westhoek region begins. Along the way, you will make a short incursion over the border into France to visit the buzzing city of Lille. Then you will stay the night in Watou at Sint Bernardus brewery where you can do some tasting. Finally, you will cycle to a number of WWI battlefields and cemeteries before ending the tour back in Ypres.
Make your own way to Ypres. Explore the lovely town centre and admire the Lakenhalle, the Cloth Markte Hall. Discover 'In Flanders Fields', a museum with a mission. When evening falls, make your way to the 'Menen gate' to join the ceremony to remember the fallen soldiers. Buglers sound the 'Last Post' every evening at 20.00 hrs which is followed by a minute of silence.
The first part of this route is marked by flat, narrow and lonely roads through a wide-open West Flemish landscape. Along the way you will pass some typical West Flemish agricultural hamlets, each with a least one cafe. After about 20 km, choose whether to take the shortest route to Wervik or to make an extra loop towards Menin. We recommend the latter as the Market Square of Menin is a great place to lunch. The cross the border and cycle along the French side of the River Leie (Lys in French) to Wervik, once a thriving centre of of tobacco: farming, industry, trade and smuggling. Through the Northern French countryside, you will reach Lille, known by many as the first place in France on your way to Paris. But it is so much more: a city with a rich history: a beautiful, compact, historical center; and a modern, buzzing, cultural scene!
Follow the River Deûle out of Lille on a fast and comfortable cycling path away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Then travers the Northern French countryside back to the Leie and then back to West-Flanders. Very gradually, the landscape will become less flat. You will encounter small villages such as Ploegsteert and Dranouter. The shortest route follows the Belgian border (the right side of the road is Belgian, the left part is French) but a small detour brings you into Poperinge, 'the capital city of the good life'. In Poperinge you can look at some gothic buildings or visit the Hop Museum. Then you can hop back onto your bike and make straight for the brewery of Sint Bernardus in Watou, where you will find not only a beer but also your bed for the night, in the guesthouse next door. In the evening, enjoy a 'tasting menu' in which ou can sample several beers in combination with the traditional Flemish stew and chips.
Today's route is dedicated to beer and history, exactly what the Westhoek region is known for. Before long, you will reach the abbey of St.-Sixtus, where Westvleteren Trappist is brewed by monks. You cannot visit the brewey itself, but you can taste the Trappist in the café acros the road. A little further on, in Reninge, the Vandewalle brewery use 100% hop from Poperinge for their beer. Don't drink too much because further on you will cycle along the Ieperlee and IJzer canals. In the afternoon, you will arrive in the part of the Westhoek region that is known for the WWI battlefields. The Trench of Death, a last remnant of preserved trench system, is now a memorial site. For four years, Belgian and German soldiers manned these trenches, sometimes only a few meters apart. Many thousands lost their lives. When you have seen enough, resume your journey to Diksmuide. If you still have the energy, we recommend Stadslink, a 3-km walking tour of the prettiest places in town.
A last beautiful bike ride through the Westhoek region, on country lanes wiht wonderful views of the rolling landscape. A 10-km stretch of the route follows the Vrijbos trail trail. Further on, you will come to the WWI cemetries and the impressive Passchendaele Memorial Museum. At the end of the day, enter Ypres through the famous 'Menen-Gate'.
After breakfast, your holiday will come to an end. It’s time to return home.
Wednesdays from April 1 until September 23
|Double room, breakfast||499.00|
|Single room, breakfast||739.00|
|Bike theft insurance||€ 3.00 x 5||15.00|
|E-bike theft insurance||€ 6.00 x 5||30.00|
Ieper - Flanders Lodge***
Lille - Hôtel L'Arbre Voyageur****
Watou - Guesthouse Brouwershuis
Diksmuide - Hotel Pax***
5 nights included
3/4 star hotels
Breakfast included, diner in Watou with beer tasting is included too
Tourist information on all the places of interest
The possibility of renting our bikes
7-days a week service hotline
Luggage transport to your next hotel
Parking possibilities at the hotel
Any ferry crossings are not included