Located in the in the center of Bruges, this 17th century hotel is the former palace of the Spanish Ambassador. It has a lovely spa, pool and indoor garden.
There is nothing quite like biking through Belgium’s contrasting landscape of flatlands in Flanders and the rolling hills in French speaking Wallonia. It is truly a cyclist’s dream, and home to arguably the most scenic cycling in Europe. There are miles of bicycle paths that zig zag along romantic canals and wind their way between quaint towns, charming castles, outdoor cafés and incredible restaurants. This combination of bicycle infrastructure, gorgeous scenery, delicious food and varied culture help explain why cycling is the country’s national sport. For pedaling aficionados, Belgium is a bicycling, foodie and craft beer mecca to include on your Bicycle Vacation Bucket List.
In Belgium, the beer culture is at a level of refinement, depth and complexity that easily rivals any renown wine region. There are 1,130+ beers brewed in Belgium. In addition to six Trappist ales and other abbey beers, it churns out lagers such as Stella Artois and Jupiler. Tipplers can also choose from an array of wheat beers, brown ales, red beers, golden ales, saison beers based on old farmhouse recipes, and any number of regional brews. Our new Belgium bike tour gives you access to more boutique breweries than any other European bicycle tour. This is a dream cycling vacation!
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Welcome! Meet us at 12:30 pm for introductions and a light lunch. We start with a warm-up ride in the cozy village of Clervaux in Luxembourg. Clervaux was once destroyed by allied bombs in WWII but now the castle hosts a photography museum known as the Family of Man. Top photographers such as Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Ansel Adams are featured, and is the perfect start to an action-packed journey.
After breakfast we begin our first ride across the border into Belgium. We'll ride across the Ardennes, where the landscape alternates between forests and lush farmlands, see several WWII memorials and tiny villages like Achouffe, known for the La Chouffe brewery. La Roche en Ardenne is a nice tiny village with an impressive medieval fortress, war museum, many shops and bars for a tasty libation.
Today we ride further into the Belgian countryside. The village of Celles is considered to be one of the most charming villages of Wallonie with its massive Romanesque church and ancient stone buildings. The day's highlight is Dinant, a town between the river Meuse and cliffs, featuring a magnificent overhanging citadel. It is also the home of the Leffe Abbey.
Today we enter the Flemish region of Belgium. Toward the end of our ride the road signs will change from French to Flemish and the landscape becomes more flat. Namur, with its Citadel and historic town center is a must see along the way. Hoegaarden is a small village that has always been an important brewing center. Leuven is a prominent historical and cultural Flemish center with its amazing gothic city hall and monuments.
This is a mostly flat ride on a bike path along channels and riversides. We’ll ride along the Dijle to the charming Mechelen, a gem of a city that blends Flemish character and unique architecture. An optional extra loop adds 22 miles to the Flemish town of Lier, famous for its astronomical clock.
Today’s ride once again makes use of beautiful bike paths. The short extra loop starts from the Flemish market square in Geraardsbergen to the most iconic "muur" (wall) made important by the road cycling race, the Tour of Flanders or the Kapelmuur. Our destination is Oudenaarde which has an amazing main square with several monumental buildings. Here, we'll visit one of the most important cycling museums in Belgium!
The first part of our ride today offers an optional loop on the final circuit of Tour of Flanders, featuring iconic cobblestone climbs such as Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. We end today in Belgium's most popular UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic center of Bruges where we'll meet a local guide for a tour. There will be a special toast tonight on one of the best-kept secrets in Bruges!
On our final day of riding we cycle along the ancient canals that connect Bruges with the North Sea. We'll enter the Netherlands in an area known for its dunes, windmills and polders, riding along the sea. We will visit the historical village of Damme and ride along the picturesque channels surrounding Bruges. And to top it all off, we'll visit the city's oldest active brewery, still in operation.
After breakfast around 9 am we part ways. Taxis are available to the Bruges Train station or perhaps another night or 2 in Bruges would be more desirable.
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