Two beautiful routes along the Meuse River and the Vennbahn Rail Trail are the basis for a “Tour d’Europe” starting and finishing in Maastricht, the town where the foundations were laid for the European Union with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. The International Meuse Route is a bicycle route along the meandering River Meuse (or Maas as it is known in Dutch) between Maastricht in the Netherlands and the French town of Sedan which boasts Europe’s largest castle. The route is over 200 km long and incorporates the RAVeL in Belgium and the in France. It is a promise of four days of highly enjoyable cycling through the valley of the River Meuse, past castles, forts and pretty villages, surrounded by breath-taking natural beauty. On our bicycle holiday you will cycle the entire International Meuse Route, staying the night in Liège and Namur in Belgium and in the picturesque village of Haybes and Charleville-Mézières in France.
Leaving the Meuse Route behind, you will continue on a connecting route to the Vennbahn which starts in the Walloon region in the south of Belgium. The connecting route follows country roads past rolling cropfields and pastures on a high plateau.
Your trip starts in Maastricht (the oldest town in the Netherlands) or nearby in Lanaken, depending on availability. Free parking at the start hotel. By way of a welcome we have arranged for coffee/tea and Limburg pie for you, to get your energy up for the trip ahead. When you’re ready, set off on the first leg of your bike tour: from Maastricht to Liège, aka the “fiery city”. On the way to Belgium you will follow the River Jeker (which flows into the River Meuse at Maastricht) to the picturesque village of Kanne. Shortly after, take a look at the boats going through the locks at Ternaaien/ Lanaye, 225 m long and 25 m wide. From here, follow the RAVeL trail, via the friendly town of Visé, to Liège (or Luik, as it is called in Dutch). The last kilometres take you past tall cranes, rusty boats and old but busy industrial zones.
Taking you right through the centre of Liège, the safe cycling path along the Meuse is very pleasant. Next, follow the John Cockerill railway to make your way out of the built-up area of Liège. Follow the signs for RAVeL . Seen up close, the blast furnaces of Seraing are awe-inspiring. If you like decorative glass, opt to stop off at the Val St. Lambert crystal factory shop. Next, ride your bike on quiet back-roads, past typical Walloon villages, never far from the river, towards Huy. Just before Huy, briefly switch to the bike track along the Meuse where the Tihange nuclear reactor is another very striking industrial complex. The Grande Place in Huy is the ideal spot for a lunch break. On the route along the Meuse to Namur, nature gradually prevails over industry.
If the full 80 km are a daunting prospect to you, take a train from Namur to Dinant, complete with views of the Meuse. If you want to take up the 80 km challenge, you’ll quickly find yourself back on the banks of the Meuse. Follow RAVeL to Dinant. You will pass the village of Wépion, famous for strawberries; and the Gardens of Annevoie, well worth a visit. In Dinant take your time to enjoy the town and riverside cafes. After Dinant, you will reach the lovely Chateau Freyr. Then continue on for several kilometres on the former railway from Hastière to Mariembourg. Cross the border into France and the first town you’ll encounter is Givet with its imposing Charlemont citadel.
Shortly after Givet, you will arrive in Haybes. Continue all day on Voie Verte Trans-Ardennes, along the Meuse River. One of the day’s highlights is a visit to the charming town of Monthermé. Your destination is Charleville- Mézières, known for its lovely historical town centre.
In September 2015, an extension of the Voie Verte Trans-Ardennes was opened. It now stretches along the Meuse till past the town of Sedan in northern France. Through a picturesque landscape you will cycle to Sedan, famous for its castle, the largest in Europe. This is where you leave the International Meuse Route. After a lunch break you will set off on the first leg of the that bridges the end of the Meuse Route and the beginning of the Vennbahn route. On the French side, a quiet road climbs gradually (average incline 3%) to the border. After crossing the border back into Belgium there’s a delightful descent to your hotel in Bouillon. Opt to visit the impressive castle-fortress of Godfried of Bouillon.
Make your way up and out of the pretty town of Bouillon by way of a narrow, climbing road and proceed on our through the south of Belgium. After a few kilometres you will find yourself pedalling on country roads flanked by farmland, on a rolling plateau. You will pass many characteristic villages apparently untouched by time. Enjoy the great views! In the town of Libramont-Chevigny, you can make a half-way stop for lunch. At the end of this leg of the route you will follow another stretch of the RAVeL-route (on former railway line 163 from Libramont via Bastogne to Gouvy). In halting place Bastogne you’ll find many monuments that remember the Battle of the Ardennes at the end of WWII.
From “Gare du Sud” railway station, follow RAVeL 163 in a northerly direction on one of the most beautiful bike tracks in the RAVeL network. South of Gouvy, at the end of this RAVeL route, head east to the border with Luxembourg. Shortly after, cycle through a slightly undulating Luxembourg landscape on peaceful roads to the Vennbahn route. In Huldange, the highest point in Luxembourg (558.5 m N.A.P.) you will reach the Vennbahn. A little later on, you will cross the border back into Belgium. Through a beautiful landscape the route takes you to the ruins of Burg Reuland, towering high above the village. Then you continue to Hemmeres, a German enclave, and finally to Sankt-Vith, this day’s destination.
Progress is easy on the newly asphalted bike track between Sankt-Vith and Waimes. Zoom on towards Belgian-German Ardennes-Eiffel Nature Park. Stop off in Montenau (and an Ardennes ham smokery) and in Sourbrodt (former station along the Vennbahn railway) and in Kalterherberg where you will find several possibilities for a tasty lunch. Further on, you will leave the Vennbahn to make a detour to Monschau where you will stay the night. Quaint and enchanting, this Eifel town boasts lovely half-timbered houses, enticing shops, friendly roadside cafes and good restaurants.
On your final cycling day, head back from the centre of Monschau to the Vennbahn rail trail. A visit to the monumental town of Kornelimünster is a must. After a long descent you will reach the town of Aachen, once the centre of Charlemagne’s empire. From Aachen, it’s only a few kilometres to the border with the Netherlands and the Dutch town of Kerkrade. That is where you get on a train to Maastricht; and relax and enjoy while the hills of scenic southern Limburg glide by like a protracted panorama.
After a hotel breakfast, your holiday with Belgian Bike Tours has come to an end. It’s time to make your own way home.
Start Wednesdays: 18/05, 01/06, 15/06, 29/06, 06/07*, 13/07*, 20/07, 27/07, 03/08, 10/08, 17/08, 07/09
* Start in 's-Gravenvoeren
|Double room, breakfast||860.00|
|Single room, breakfast||1,220.00|
|Extra night double room, breakfast only||85.00|
|Bike theft insurance||€ 3.00 x 9||27.00|
|E-bike theft insurance||€ 6.00 x 9||54.00|
|Bike helmet||per piece||12.50|
Maastricht of 's-Gravenvoeren
The hotels on this trip have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite. A list of the hotels we work with appears below. If a certain accommodation is unable to confirm due to lack of availability, we will request a comparable alternative.
Our hybrid bikes are Giant Aero RS2 or similar bikes
Assembly: with Shimano Deore (24 gears)
Brakes: Shimano rimbrakes (hand brakes)
Pedals: Flat pedals
Weight: ca. 16,5 kg
The e-bikes have a small electric engine and battery, which can be charged at the hotels. You still have to pedal: it just makes pedaling much easier. Some experience with e-bikes is recommended, as the bikes accelerate faster and are heavier than regular bikes because of the electric engine.
The e-bikes are Kalkhoff 2.0 Impulse or similar with 7 gears
They have a Bosch 500 Wh middle engine with a range of approx. 100km (normal use)
Pedals: Flat pedals
Weight: ca. 27 kilo.
Our childbikes are Giant, Merida or Golden Lion (aluminium)
Assembly: Shimano 7 gears
Brakes: Shimano (handbrakes)
Pedals: Flat pedals
Weight: ca. 14kg
Our roadbikes are Carbon Giant TCR/Defy, or Merida Reacto or similar
Assembly: Shimano 105 or Ultegra 20 gears
Brakes: Shimano 105 or Ultegra rim brakes
Pedals: We can provide flat pedals, toeclips, SPD, SPD-SL, Look or Keo pedals
Weight: depends on model and type but from 8,5 - 10 kg
Attention: If you rent a roadbike, those won't be provided with panniers
All our adult bikes come with hand brakes.
All our adult bikes come with hand brakes.
For children up to 30 months old (max. 15 KG) it is possible to rent a front child seat. This is not possible with e-bikes, due to the display.
For children older than 30 months (max. 22KG) it is possible to rent a rear child seat. This is also possible with e-bikes.
Helmets are not mandatory in Belgium, but can be rented. Most of the helmets are Lazer Compact helmets or Polisport
Available sizes: M, L and XL and also child helmets
All our bikes come with both front- and rear lights. You need to push the button on the lamp and it will flash three times. This means that the lights will automatically start working when it gets dark.
When you push again, the lamp will flash one time and the lights will be turned off.
All our bikes have locks on the bikes and we also provide one extra chain lock per couple of bikes.
Our e-bikes come with a defender lock with plug in chain (cable lock that is attached to the regular lock, see picture).
You need to turn the key a bit, take out the pin from the cable lock and attach it to a pole/other bike/fence etc.
When you push the pin back into the regular lock, you need to lock the regular lock as you always do, and both locks will be secured.
1 pannier is included at the 'standard' bikes and the e-bikes.
Height: 42 cm
Depth front to the side: 17 cm
Wide top: 32 cm
Wide down: 23 cm
Volume: 20 liters
It has an easy click-on/click-off system. The panniers are water resistant, so everything will stay dry.
The rental bikes come with regular pedals, so no click-in/SPD pedals or toe-clips.
All our bikes come with a quick release system, which makes it very easy to adjust the height of the saddle and the handle bars.
All bike are provided with a small repairkit including an extra inner tube, chain rivet extractor and hand pump. There is also one First Aid Kit per couple of bikes. Please leave this always in the bike after your tour!
Saddles can be adjusted in height without using any tools, see ‘Quick Release’.
Our saddles don’t come with a gel cover.
Belgian Biketours does not provide water bottles. We can also not guarantee that there are bottle holders on the bikes. You will always receive 1x pannier, so you can always store your water bottle in your pannier.
Our tandems are Multicycle, Sparta or Gazelle (all aluminium)
Assembly: Shimano Deore LX or Deore XT
Brakes: rim brakes Shimano Deore
Pedals: Flat pedals
Weight: ca. 30 kg
For a hybrid bike: € 3,00 per day per bicycle.
For an electric bicycle: € 6,00 per day per bicycle.
Please see the General Terms and Conditions for Bicycle Hire and Insurance.
Article 1 Bike Rental Price
The bike rental price is determined by the rates mentioned on the Belgian Bike Tours website at the time of the booking; or as subsequently agreed.
Article 2 Payment
a. The rental price and any other due sums regarding the rental agreement must be paid before the bike is handed over to you.
b. If, for whatever reason, you cannot make use of the bike(s) you have rented, Belgian Bike Tours will not be held responsible for any resulting expenses or damage.
c. In the case of the article 2b, the client remains obliged to pay the full rental price and any other amounts mentioned in the invoice, in accordance with our General Terms and Conditions of Booking, unless the client can prove that his not being able to use the bike was the consequence of a defect that was already present at the beginning of the rental period.
Article 3 Rental Period
a. The rental period runs from the morning of the first cycling day (day 2) to the end of the holiday (the day before departure day), as stated in the booking confirmation.
b. Extension of the rental period is possible only after approval by us and according to the (extension) rates as mentioned in article 1.
c. No refunds are possible after the rental period begins. If you return the bike(s) to us before the end of your holiday, the rental agreement will automatically be terminated and you will not get any of your money back.
d. At the end of the last cycling day of your holiday, the bike(s) must be returned to the hotel from where it was/they were issued, no later than the time stated in the booking confirmation.
If you book a one way tour tour you can leave the bike at the last hotel of the trip.
e. If the bike(s) is /are not returned by the return time stated in the booking confirmation, we will continue to charge you rent until such time as the bike(s) is/are returned to us or is/are received by us. In the event of late return, the rates as mentioned in article 1 will continue to apply, plus a fine of €25 per day. We also reserve the right to demand payment for any costs and/or damages suffered by us due to late return of our rental bike(s).
f. Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, in the event of late return of our rental bikes, we reserve the right to dissolve the rental agreement without judicial intervention and immediately claim back our bicycles where ever they may be and from whomever has them. Belgian Bike Tours also holds this right in the event that the client does not comply with any of the other conditions stated in this rental agreement.
Article 4 Improper Use
a. The bicycle(s) may only be used for its/their intended purpose and only by the cyclists listed in the rental agreement.
b. The bike(s) must be returned to us in the same (clean!) state in which you received it/them.
c. You must take excellent care of the bicycle(s), as if it/they were your own. You must take every precaution against damage, loss or theft.
d. The bicycle may not be used on the beach; or on sandy paths in the dunes unless a paved path is unavailable.
Article 5 Damage, Loss and Theft
The renter will be held responsible for damages to or loss of the bicycle(s) or parts of it, as well as bicycle keys and chains and locks, for such an amount as is determined by us according to standard market prices. You must understand that you are not insured for damage to the bicycle(s) or for any damages to third parties.
Article 6 Theft Insurance
It is possible to purchase Bicycle Theft Insurance. Covered are: damages arising out of the theft of the bicycle; and damages to the bicycle as a consequence of the theft. Not covered are: theft of bicycle parts; and damages arising out of attempted theft.
Article 7 Theft Insurance Premium
a. The premium for Bicycle Theft Insurance is € 3,00 per day per bicycle. For an electric bicycle € 6,00.
The number of insurance days is the same as the number of cycling days as stated in our booking confirmation.
Article 8 Liability in the Event of Theft
a. If you did not purchase Bicycle Theft Insurance from us before the start of the holiday, you will be held fully accountable for the sum determined by us according to standard prices.
b. If you did purchase Bicycle Theft Insurance from us, but you failed to lock the wheel lock and failed to produce the original wheel lock key and failed to produce an official theft report drawn up by the police, you will still be held fully accountable for the sum determined by us according to standard prices.
Article 9 Costs During the Rental Period
Any charges and taxes regarding the rental bicycle(s), such as fines and ferry tickets, are to be paid by you. You will also be required to pay all costs ensuing from the use of the bicycle(s) such as parking fees, maintenance and repairs.
9 Nights included
3/4 Star Hotels
Tourist tax included
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
Free parking at the first hotel
Any ferry crossings are not included
Nearest airport is Brussels Airport (BRU).
The train journey from Brussels to Maastricht takes approximately 1 hour 45 minutes.
Your hotel in Maastricht is within walking distance of Maastricht-Randwyck station.
To get to your hotel in 's-Gravenvoeren the easiest way would be to take a taxi from Maastricht station.
Or if you have brought your own bicycles, you can cycle to your hotel (approx. 14 km from Maastricht-Randwyck station).
Timetable / tickets: train.