On this one-way cycling holiday, follow the Flemish Masters to the most beautiful towns in Belgium and admire their artworks in the Old Masters Museum in Brussels, St. Bavo Cathedral in Ghent, KMKSA and Rubens House in Antwerp, St. John’s Church in Mechelen and Groeninge Museum in Bruges.
In between towns, you will ride your bike through many different regions, often cycling alongside a river, following a signposted route.
Organize your own journey to Bruges. Try to arrive early to make the most of your time in this wonderfully harmonious town with a consistently medieval look. Cobblestones under your feet; swans in the lake; stone archways and bridges; pretty houses reflected in the canals… everything is picture-perfect.
Follow the canal out of town. The Ghent-Bruges Canal dates to the 14th century and is one of the oldest in the country. Together with its towpaths, it forms a green corridor that has proved valuable for biodiversity. Past quiet villages such as Moerbrugge, Maria-Aalter and Knesselare, you will cycle through the flat Flemish countryside to Maldegem. If you are still in for a walk, explore Maldegemveld nature reserve which has some interesting flora, the product of sandy soil (low in nutrients; acidic) and superficial, waterlogged clay deposits. In the evening, put your feet up in Maldegem.
Today you traverse the rural Meetjesland region, a cycling paradise with woods, meadowland and vast cropfields. Enjoy the play of light as you ride your bike through the woods of Het Leen and Drongengoed. Subsequently, it is easy-pedalling through the flat landscape to Eeklo, a small town known for its many sculptures. Then proceed to Ghent. The Old Town of Ghent is like an open-air museum. It is also a UNESCO Creative City of Music. The music scene here is thriving. Festivals, music institutions, the carillon, concerts, students of music having a singsong on the quays… music is everywhere. After dark, the ambiance is magical, thanks to the town’s ingenious light plan.
For the main part of the day, the River Scheldt will be your guide. Follow it upstream past a string of Flemish villages and towns. A 13th-century castle is a real eyecatcher in the village of Laarne: a great place for a break. Also stop off in Dendermonde for a look at the Town Hall & Belfry and visit the Church of Our Lady boasting a baptismal font from the 11th century. End the day in Dendermonde, where some delicious beers are brewed.
Quickly make your way back to the Scheldt and cycle atop the river dike towards Antwerp. A delightful interlude: De Zilverreiger, a regional museum focused on preserving knowledge about trades and crafts that once flourished locally: basket weaving, river fishery, cooperage (barrel making), flax processing and clog making. After crossing the Scheldt by ferry, you will reach Kruibeke, home to Wissekerk Castle. In the 10th century this was a so-called water castle and part of the defense line of Antwerp along the river. Crown your day in Antwerp, a city with a long beer tradition and countless cafes. Discover the beautiful Old Town or go shopping for antiques and curio’s, home deco, vintage fashion finds or diamonds!
It’s only a short trip today so you have time to look around Antwerp some more, or visit a museum, before setting off towards Mechelen. If you are into military heritage, stop off in Mortsel to visit Fort no. 4 of the originally eight Brialmont Forts (1860-1864) that made up the defensive line of Antwerp. It is built in brick with sandstone decorations and stands on an island surrounded by a ditch and glacis. Then continue along quiet country lanes and alongside the River Nete to Duffel. And, yes! This is actually the town where “duffel” originated from: the heavy, woolly material used initially for bags and later for duffle coats, made popular by the British Royal Navy and still trendy today. In the 15th century, duffel was produced here and exported all over Europe: a profitable business for then-prosperous Duffel. In the town of Sint-Kathelijne-Waver, at the Ursuline Institute, a boarding school run by nuns, an exquisite surprise awaits. The convent/school complex, Our Lady of Wavre, is a successful blend of art nouveau, neo-Gothic, neo-Empire and art deco. Best of all: the winter garden! Feast your eyes on a masterpiece of art nouveau, an ode to nature, springtime and light! Top off your day in Mechelen, small but attractive.
Ride your bike on tree-lined country lanes, past a series of ponds, along a river, around a wood and through meadows and cropfields to Brussels. Along the way, pass Grimbergen, known for its lovely abbey church, a baroque basilica. In Brussels, you will find a mix of cultures, as can be seen in the streets, menus and people’s appearance. Head for the Grande Place and go for a walk. Not only does Brussels have Manneken Pis, it also has the most delicious waffles, chocolates and pints. This is a city where culture vultures, shopaholics, and gourmets & gourmands make merry!
One last hotel breakfast buffet and your cycling holiday will come to an end. Make your own way home.
Thursdays from April 2nd till September 23rd.
|Double room, breakfast||695.00|
|Single room, breakfast||1,010.00|
|Extra night (breakfast only)||75.00|
|Bike theft insurance||€ 3.00 x 7||21.00|
|E-bike theft insurance||€ 6.00 x 7||42.00|
Brugge - Hotel Velotel****
Maldegem - Amaryllis Hotel**
Gent - Europahotel***
Dendermonde - Abalona****
Antwerpen - Hampton Antwerp***
Mechelen - Mercure Hotel Vé****
Brussel - NH Brussels Grand Place Arenberg****
7 nights included
3/4 star hotels
Breakfast included, halfboard optional
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