Hotel De Tuilerieen
Hotel De Tuilerieen is an elegant patrician house from the 15th century that has been transformed into a luxurious, contemporary hotel. All rooms combine modern comfort with authentic charm.
Voted one of Bicycle Magazine’s “World’s Coolest Bike Tours” in 2015.
There is nothing quite like biking through Belgium’s contrasting landscape of flatlands in Flanders and the rolling hills in French-speaking Wallonia. It’s truly a cyclist’s dream and home to arguably the most scenic cycling in Europe. There are miles of bicycle paths that zigzag 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 biking bucket list!
The Outside Magazine award-winning addition to our “Bike Across” tour collection.
In Belgium, the beer culture is at a level of refinement, depth, and complexity that easily rivals any renowned wine region. There are 1,100+ 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! Our meeting will be at 12:30 pm at the hotel restaurant for a welcome toast and intro lunch. After lunch we’ll meet again for our first short ride in the Ardenne hills around town. Clervaux, Luxembourg is a nice old village dominated by his monastery and castle. The castle hosts some permanent exhibitions: “The Family of Man”, a collection of 503 photographs by 273 artists from 68 countries created by Edward Steichen for the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); and a museum about the local events involving the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.
After breakfast, we begin our first ride across the border into Belgium. We ride across the Ardennes—where the landscape alternates between forests and lush farmlands—see several WWII memorials and tiny villages, such as Achouffe, the site of the renowned La Chouffe brewery. La Roche en Ardenne is a nice tiny village with an impressive medieval fortress, war museum, and many shops and bars for a tasty libation.
Today we ride further into the Belgian countryside. The mountains become more round and the creeks become smaller. The roads are quiet as we pass through many historical WWII sites. The village of Celles is considered one of the most charming villages. Our destination for the day is Dinant, a town between the river Meuse and cliffs, features a magnificent overhanging citadel and is the home to the Leffe Abbey and birthplace of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone.
Today you will notice the road signs change from French to Flemish as we cross into Flanders, the Flemish part of Belgium. You’ll also notice that the landscape becomes flatter. More than half of today’s ride is on a bike path built on an ancient railway, or along Meuse river.
Along the way, we will pass Namur, with its Citadel and historic town center. Hoegaarden is a small village that has always been an important brewing center famous for its “wit” beer, where we will stop for tasting and lunch. After lunch, we will end our ride to the center of Leuven, a prominent historical and cultural Flemish center with a visit to its amazing gothic city hall.
This is a mostly flat ride on bike paths along canals and riversides, a relaxing ride after more challenging days. We’ll ride along the Dijle river to the charming Mechelen, a gem of a city that blends Flemish character and unique architecture represented by his stunning bell tower, open to visitors. An optional extra loop adds 23 more miles to the Flemish town of Lier, which is known for its astronomical clock tower. Tonight we will walk along the city canal to the ancient brewery Het Anker for a guided visit, a beer tasting, and dinner inside the brewery.
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 Tour of Flanders: the Kapelmuur. Our destination town of Oudenaarde has a traditional Flemish main square with several monumental buildings and cycling museums about Tour of Flanders, which we will visit.
The first part of our ride today offers an optional loop on the final circuit of Tour of Flanders, featuring more iconic cobblestone climbs such as Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. The rest of the day is a quiet ride along channels, bike paths and Flemish countryside ending in Belgium’s most popular UNESCO World Heritage site, the historic center of Bruges where we’ll meet a local guide for a tour.
On our final day of riding, we cycle along the ancient canals that connect Bruges with the North Sea. Around midway through we enter the Netherlands through the town of Sluis in an area known for its dunes, windmills, and polders, riding along the sea. We will visit the historical village of Damme (optional lunch), his windmill, and ride along the picturesque canals surrounding Bruges. Faster riders can opt to ride back to Bruges and have a late lunch there. There will be a special final toast tonight in one of the best-kept secrets in Bruges!
After breakfast, we part ways. From our hotel, taxis are available to Bruges train station, or within a reasonable walking distance. Why not stay in Bruges for another night, or stop for one more visit to the cities of Ghent or Brussels along your way back?