Highlights of Flanders: Belgium’s History, Art, Nature & Cuisine

5/5 (3)
8 nights
28 miles/day
Self guided from EUR € 2185
Bike tour in Belgium and Holland
Rider Level: Recreational Electric bike tours

Highlights of Flanders: Belgium’s History, Art, Nature & Cuisine

5/5 (3)

Rider Level: Recreational Electric bike tours

8 nights
28 miles/day

Self guided from EUR € 2185
Bike tour in Belgium and Holland

Tap above to jump to different sections of this tour

  • Highlights of Flanders

    This cycling tour through Flanders shows you the major highlights of Belgium. This is the perfect ride for anyone interested in the rich Belgium history, art, nature, and cuisine. The Flemish art cities of Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Mechelen, Leuven, and Brussels are the most famous and favorite cities of Belgium.

    This unique trip combines these vibrant historic towns together with the smaller shopping, fashion and food cities of Hasselt and Maastricht. The bike ride in between these lovely towns will show you the variety of landscapes of the northern part of Belgium.

    • Brussels, West Flanders, Belgium. Najib Samatar@Unsplash
    • Mussels & Beer in Bruges, Belgium. Alana Harris@Unsplash
    • Leuven, Flemish Brabant, Belgium. Kevin Liebens@Unsplash
    • Gravensteen, Ghent, Belgium. Flop@Unsplash
    • Bruges, West Flanders, Belgium. CC:Ajay Suresth
    • Belgium Beer! Quientin Bounias@Unsplash
    • Antwerp City Hall at the Grote Markt, Flanders, Belgium. Maros@Flickr
    • Bruges, West Flanders, Belgium. Chris Curry@Unsplash

    View more photos

    Highlights

    • Historic towns of Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Mechelen, Brussels, Leuven, Hasselt and Maastricht
    • The smaller historic towns of Lokeren and Diest
    • The Basilica of Scherpenheuvel
    • Historic castles
    • The Schelde, Maas and Dijle river
    • Beer breweries

    Learn More

    Learn more about self-guided tours.


  • Highlights of Flanders

     Tour Description Daily Program 

  • Daily program

    Day 1: Arrival in Bruges
    Exploration on foot to the town center. Bruges is one of the most scenic towns in Europe and the so-called ‘Venice of the north’.

    Day 2: Bruges – Ghent (30 miles/48 km)
    The tour starts in the morning with a ‘group’ bike fitting and a thorough explanation of your tour. After this ‘group’ instruction you will start your self guided tour.

    Pedal out of the UNESCO World Heritage medieval city center, with its bell tower rising up over the wide-open market. The ride on this first day is mainly along the canal Ghent – Bruges. A nice quiet bike lane guides you through farmland and some lovely forest areas. Have your first coffee stop in Beernem or Sint Joris before heading on to Aalter. In Aalter you can decide to make a small detour to the city center to go for lunch, but you can also continue your trip, as along the route you will find a lot of lovely spots where you can enjoy your own prepared picnic. The van Vlaenderens mill in Vinderhoute is a clear landmark just before you enter the historic town of Ghent.

    In 2020, don’t miss the chance to admire the world-famous masterpiece the Mystic Lamb by the Van Eyck brothers or just simply enjoy the great atmosphere this town offers and explore the small labyrinth of charming cobblestone streets, the Gravensteen castle, the Graslei, and the bell tower.

    Day 3: Ghent – Antwerp (28-43 miles/45-70 km)
    After breakfast, take a nice bike lane out of the historic town. Today’s ride is a long one but if you are worried about the distance, you can also opt to take the train to Lokeren which will reduce the ride by 15 miles/25 km. Lokeren is one of those small hidden gems with a friendly central square where you just have to sit down for a while.

    From Lokeren onwards you will ride along lovely lakes, along one of the side arms of the river Schelde, the Durme, up to the Schelde, Flanders’ major river. Along the Schelde, you will encounter the cozy villages of Temse (with some small hills), Rupelmonde with its tide mill and Bazel with the castle Wissekerke.

    From Bazel, it’s just a short ride to Antwerp. Antwerp is a good-looking city, with its range of medieval buildings in the central square and with numerous Art Nouveau gems in between. The access to this town is easy as you can reach the center by a 572-meter long foot and bike tunnel, 31 meters below the surface.

    Day 4: Antwerp – Mechelen (24 miles/39 km)
    Today’s ride is a short one giving you the opportunity to include an early morning visit to one of the museums in Antwerp. The ride today, as on the first day, is once again totally flat. Along the Schelde, the bike ride goes south out of town to Hemiksem, where you will find an interesting abbey. Near Niel, you will leave the Schelde and will join the Rupel, another lovely river, where you will find an interesting brickwork museum. This museum gives you a complete picture of ordinary brickwork in all its aspects.

    In Boom, you have to take a ferry to cross the Rupel. As the ferry only runs a few times every hour, the restaurant nearby is a perfect lunch stop. By the maze of waterways, bridges, and sluices you will enter the city of Mechelen along the Dijle river. Mechelen is a small and picturesque city that is big on charm and history, thriving with quaint shops, car-free areas, and pleasant little squares. Your hotel is a brewery as well, a brewery tour and a good Belgian beer at dinner are a wonderful way to finish the evening!

    Day 5: Mechelen (optional visit to Brussels by train)
    In Mechelen, you will have a rest day. If you didn't enjoy the tour last night, why not start the morning with a brewery tour before taking the 30-minute train ride to Brussels. As the headquarters of the European Union and NATO, this metropolis is often referred to as the Capital of Europe. While it is certainly international, it offers more than government buildings. With over 75 museums and rich history, culture is easily accessible. Just think of ‘Manneken-Pis’, the Grand Place, the famous chocolates, the high-quality restaurants, and the nightlife scene. Finally, take a train back to Mechelen where you will stay for a second night.

    Please, note the train tickets are not included and cost approximately €11 per person/way. You can see time tables and purchase tickets from Mechelen to Brussels central at www.nmbs.be.

    Day 6: Mechelen – Leuven (22 miles/36 km)
    The first part of the ride will be along the winding Dijle river up to the father Damien statue near Tremelo. Pass Werchter (known for its yearly musical festival with over 150,000 fans) with its rock museum and finally cycle on to Leuven, a vibrant student town. The University of Leuven is one of the most important and oldest universities in Europe. Leuven is also Belgium’s reigning brewing capital with the headquarters of Inbev, the second largest brewery in the world. Together with the beautiful historic city center, it makes Leuven a great place for the curious traveler!

    Day 7: Leuven – Hasselt (27-44 miles/44-72 km)
    In the town of Leuven, you will pass two lovely abbeys before heading out of town. Enjoy the lovely ride along rolling quiet streets and the forest areas near castle van Horst before heading to Scherpenheuvel. The basilica of Scherpenheuvel – the place of pilgrimage in Belgium – is the oldest dome church in the low countries, inaugurated in 1627 and with both Renaissance and Baroque characteristics. From Scherpenheuvel it’s just a short ride to the lovely historic town of Diest, with its beautiful and picturesque beguinage at the edge of the historic city center.

    From Deist, you can take the train to reduce the ride by 17 miles/28 km. If you continue biking, the final part of the ride will be through mostly forested areas up to the Albert canal. This canal connects Antwerp with the river Maas. Hasselt, the capital of the Limburg province, is also situated along this canal and offers you an interesting stay for the night.

    Day 8: Hasselt – Maastricht (33-40 miles/53-65 km)
    The final day adds yet another great memory to your bike tour. Before leaving the town, you can admire the largest authentic Japanese garden in Europe. Cycle on along the Albert Canal to the area near Genk. As you are riding through lovely forests you will have no idea you are close to the third most significant economical city of Flanders. After leaving the forests and heathlands you will join Oud-Rekem, just a small village but one which has one of the most authentic preserved village centers of Belgium. The castle, city gate and other parts of the city walls have also been preserved. At this point, there are two options for your ride up to Maastricht. Either a beautiful ride along the Albert canal deeply sheltered in between steep hills with caves, or a short ride by crossing the Maas. Maastricht in the Netherlands is the final destination of your tour and maybe one of the most scenic Dutch towns with a rich history. In Maastricht, your tour will end and you will meet a representative to pick up the bike equipment in the late afternoon.

    Day 9: Maastricht
    The tour finishes after breakfast. The train station in Maastricht has perfect connections to all parts of the country.

    Surface and terrain

    This tour is mostly easy cycling in flat terrain. On the final 2 days of biking the ride is a bit more challenging due to some more hilly parts. But the ride will never be strenuous. This tour is appropriate for standard touring bikes.


    Hotels

    These are sample hotels and may vary based on availability.

    Martin’s Brugge, Bruges
    www.martinshotels.com

    Hotel Onderbergen, Ghent
    www.hotelonderbergen.be

    Hampton by Hilton Antwerp Central Station, Antwerp
    www.hilton.com

    Hotel het Anker, Mechelen
    www.hetanker.be

    Begijnhof hotel Leuven
    www.bchotel.be

    Hotel Hemelhuys, Hasselt
    www.hemelhuys.com

    Hotel Les Charmes, Maastricht
    www.charmes.nl


    How to get there

    Tour start
    Nearest airport: Oostende or Brussels, Belgium
    Nearest train station: Bruges, Belgium

    Tour end
    Nearest airport: Maastricht-Aachen, Holland or Liege, Belgien
    Nearest train station: Maastricht, Holland

    Tips on getting to and from your tour


    Highlights of Flanders

     Tour Photos Dates & Prices 

  • Dates

    Daily, except Saturdays: May 12 - Sep 27, 2024

    Prices

    Tour package

    Per person, double occupancy €2185
    Single use room (1 person/1 room) €3165
    Solo traveler (1 person in party with single use room) €3990

    Bike Rentals

    Standard touring bike Included
    E-bike €185

    Extra nights

    Bruges Maastricht
    Per person, double occupancy €90 €100

    Included services

    • 8 nights in double rooms in 3-star hotels
    • Breakfast/breakfast buffet
    • Luggage transfer from hotel to hotel
    • Pre-tour documentation (tourist and route info)
    • Breakdown assistance
    • Top-class aluminum standard multi-speed bicycle with handlebar bag
    • GPS with itinerary (1 per group)
    • Laminated cycling maps
    • Equipment delivery and tour briefing in Bruges; pick up in Maastricht
    • Brewery tour (reservation required)

    Please note the brewery tour requires reservations. If you would like to attend the brewery tour, please note this in your booking request.

    In the period around the Dutch Grand Prix pricing on this tour will be adjusted. Please inquire for pricing for these travel dates.


    Bike rentals

    Bikes available and included in the cost of the tour (reserved at the time of booking):

    • Koga 8-speed standard touring bikes

    Bikes available to rent (reserved at the time of booking):

    • Electric bikes*

    *More about electrically-assisted bikes >

    Additional bikes available upon request: tandems, and road bikes.

    All bikes are equipped with a route package including:

    • Repair kit
    • Pump
    • Water bottle
    • Cable lock

    Additional equipment available upon request for an additional charge:

    • Saddlebags
    • Helmet
    • Poncho

    Bike Protection:
    Bike protection can be purchased at the time of booking. You can read more about that HERE.

    Pedals:
    The bikes will have flat pedals. If you want to bring your own pedals, please bring your own shoes and also the necessary equipment to change the pedals.

    Helmets:
    Helmets are not mandatory on this tour, but available upon request for an additional charge. We recommend that you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene purposes.


    Tour Company


    Highlights of Flanders

     Daily program Tour Reviews 

    • Vincent Pouliot 6 months ago

      Superbe Belgique !

      Très belle façon de découvrir la Belgique et ses petits trésors de jours en jours sur deux roues !

      What was the date of your tour?
      Août 2023
      How many tours have you completed?
      3
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      As expected
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      First-time bike tourists, Families with teens
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • 4/5 Value
      • 5/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Hotels or boat
      • 5/5 Scenery
      • 5/5 Ease of navigation
      • 4/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 4/5 Route selection
    • Amy Smith September 26, 2022

      Great way to explore Belgium!

      We enjoyed this tour greatly. Peter Fos, who owns the company, welcomed us in Bruges and gave us great bikes for the week. The tour included a Garmin Oregon 700, which is necessary to follow the route's many turns and bridges. One thing we really enjoyed was that each day's route ended at our hotel, which has not been the case on other tours. We appreciated the opportunity to shorten a couple of days by train. Hotels were nice, especially in Mechelen and Hasselt. All were located near the city center - not always the case on other self-guided tours. Be sure to request the brewery tour of Het Anker - it was one of our favorite parts of the trip and others on the tour who had not previously booked were unable to purchase tickets (sold out). We chose this tour in early September, which was a blessing and curse. Temperatures were comfortable, but there were several days with rain, although not the full day.

      What was the date of your tour?
      September 4, 2022
      How many tours have you completed?
      7
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      As expected
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      First-time bike tourists, Solo travelers, Families with teens
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • 5/5 Value
      • 4/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 4/5 Hotels or boat
      • 4/5 Scenery
      • 4/5 Ease of navigation
      • 3/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 5/5 Route selection
    • Roberta King September 25, 2022

      A Splendid Ride

      This was a great, straightforward ride across Belgium.
      We arrived in Brugge a day early to enjoy the town and met with Peter to get our bikes and gear for the ride.

      The navigation tool (a GPS) proved to be problematic, it was quite small and for us to read as we ride and was hard to follow and the paper map provided was not detailed enough to use for navigation.

      We picked up a local bike map in Ghent and then a map book in Antwerp. With the map book we ditched the GPS and designed our own route on Belgium’s super amazing cycling network.

      The bike network in Belgium is fantastic and we ride on dedicated roads, two tracks and canals to the Netherlands.

      The bikes were great, belt drives instead of chains, which took some getting used to, but were comfortable and easy to use.

      The hotels were super charming , unique and for the most part easy to find with help from google maps. Breakfasts were excellent on all stops.

      Memorable moment is taking our bikes down and up two escalators to ride the river tunnel into Antwerp, slightly terrifying as we’d never done that before (and hope to not repeat).

      The terrain was mostly flat with a few hills on the last day. The towns are lovely and we had fun exploring them.

      Highly recommend this adventure, but secure the maps or books before you go.

      What was the date of your tour?
      August 2022
      How many tours have you completed?
      Five
      Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
      As expected
      Who is this tour suitable for?
      First-time bike tourists
      Do you recommend this tour?
      Yes
      • 5/5 Value
      • 5/5 Included meals
      • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
      • 5/5 Hotels or boat
      • 5/5 Scenery
      • 3/5 Ease of navigation
      • 1/5 Tour documents
      • 5/5 Local tour company services
      • 3/5 Route selection

    Highlights of Flanders

     Dates & Prices Book This Tour 

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