Bicycling Belgium's Best Breweries Plus!

  • Itinerary Summary

    You don't want to miss this unique beer and bicycling opportunity - the only tour of Belgium that mixes excellent bicycling, lodging, food, plus visits to some of the important Belgian breweries. Starting near the capital of Belgium, we'll pedal through West Flanders (the Flemish part of Belgium) and along the French border in the region of Wallonia, the French speaking part. This tour concentrates on the cultural influences behind each style of beer. You'll discover Lambic which is famous for its wild yeast fermentation method which results in a sour beer; the breweries around Bruges (or Brugge in Flemish); and a mix of Trappist (monk-brewed) breweries; as well as historical breweries such as DeCam, and finally, Wallonia where the Chimay and Orval breweries are located. You'll also bicycle through important WWI battleground sites. Gentle cycling terrain makes this a great tour for everyone; in fact the only "requirement" is that you enjoy good beer and fun!

    If this sounds great but you'd like a shorter tour, check out our Bicycling Belgium's Best Breweries tour, which features the first 8 days of this itinerary.***

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    1. Day 1: Arrive in Waterloo

      Highlights: Gothic and Medieval architecture, Belgian waffles

      We start our tour just south of Brussels in the town of Waterloo, famous worldwide for the 1815 defeat of French Emperor Napoleon by an Anglo-Allied army in the "Battle of Waterloo". You might choose to arrive a few days early in Brussels to explore the Belgian capital. Brussels hosts a variety of fascinating architectural sites - from medieval architecture to post-modern European Union buildings. Stroll through town where Belgian waffles and "moules frites", or mussels served with French fries abound and "brasseries" or "salon de thés" are aplenty. Meet this afternoon for a bike fitting and test ride to the Lion Mound, the site of the infamous battle. Welcome drinks and dinner together to celebrate the beginning of our Belgian bike and beer tour!

      Test ride: 13 km (8 miles). Meals: D

      Lodging: Hotel Le Coté Vert

    2. Day 2: Flanders Cycling

      Highlights: Lambic beer, DeCam Brewery

      Our ride takes us through Lambic region today as we head West into the upper Ardennes and the heart of Flanders. We'll pass the region known for its Lambic beer and we'll have a chance to visit a small brewery en route to taste some of this unique beer made with natural yeasts. Our destination today is one of the oldest towns in Flanders, Geraardsbergen.

      Distance: 60 km (37 mi). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Geeraard

    3. Day 3: Ride to Oudenaarde

      Highlights: Cycling through picturesque Flemish towns and countryside, Oudenaarde, Tour de Flanders Region

      We pedal west today past lush fields along the gentle hills of Flanders - we're pedalling along the hills racers ride during the Tour de Flanders before continuing to our home for the night, Oudenaarde, a small Flemish town known once for its thriving tapestry economy. Today Oudenaarde is home to the museum of the Tour de Flanders that features the heroes of Flemish cycling, including Eddy Merkcx.

      Distance: 43 km (27 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: La Pomme d'Or

    4. Day 4: Cycling from Oudenaarde to Bruges

      Highlights: UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bruges, Flemish art museums, Flemish "primitives"

      We bike to one of Belgium's most impressive cities today, Bruges (Brugge in Flemish). A quiet bike route takes us through farmland to reach the center of Bruges and our hotel. Settle in and plan to visit Flemish art museums or just stroll along the canals that were once main arteries in the city. The imposing medieval square and City Hall combined with the fantastic architecture characterize this unique city. Bruges' city richness in history and architecture is well displayed in its stepped gable houses, the market square with the belfort, in unique historic neighborhoods such as the "Beguinage", a community of lay women from the 13th Century, or through the almshouses that dot the city's ramparts from the Middle Ages.

      Distance: 69 km (43 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging:Martin's Relais

    5. Day 5: Rest Day - Guided city visit

      Highlights: City tour, beer bar visit and tasting

      Enjoy a guided visit around the city of Bruges mid-morning after which you can decide to visit the chocolate museum, diamond museum or even the Belgian fry museum! Enjoy this fabulous city but be sure to save some energy to join us at Bruges' famous beer bar late this afternoon for samples! And remember if climbing up Bruges' famous belfry isn't enough exercise for you, a Tour Leader would be delighted to pedal to the North Sea and back with you!

      Distance: Optional Ride 48 km (30 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Martin's Relais

    6. Day 6: Bicycling Belgium's Countryside

      Highlights: Westvleteren home to the world's highest ranking beers, Ieper and Flanders Field Museum

      From Bruges we pedal southwest directly through the West Flanders region, passing by the town of Esen (famous for its "mad brewers" brewery). Serious beer connoisseurs may want to wait for the afternoon guided tour, but we have several miles still ahead of us, so most will pedal on to our quick lunch stop before reaching another important beer stop. Westvleteren is one of only 6 authentic Trappist beers in Belgium (made by Trappist monks, a branch of Cistercian monks) and one of which is continually ranked amongst the top beers in the world. The 16th Century St. Sixtus Abbey is not open to the public, but you can still enjoy the world's highest ranking beers from the In de Vrede café across the street before continuing on to the town of Ieper, home to a fascinating museum that starkly documents WWI's impact on the region.

      Distance: 82 km (52 miles). Meals: B, L

      Lodging: Hotel Ariane

    7. Day 7: Wallonia and French Belgium

      Highlights: Bicycling into Wallonia, Tournai, Gothic and Romanesque Tournai's cathedral

      We leave the Flemish part of Belgium today to enter Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium. Wallonia or "Wallonie," as the French call it, makes up 55% of the geographic area of Belgium. Once the first industrialized region of all of continental Europe due to important coal and iron reserves, today Wallonia is famous for its Trappist beers (Chimay and Orval are both here) as well as some industry, services, and tourism. We bicycle to the town of Tournai, the oldest city in Belgium. Incredibly rich in the Middle Ages thanks to its textile industry, Tournai still preserves important Romanesque and Gothic churches and private houses which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

      Distance: 65 km (40 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Alcantara

    8. Day 8: Pedal near the French-Belgian border to Mons

      Highlights: Canal ride, WWI battle sites

      Today you'll head toward the French border and deep into Wallonia as you pedal through the former industrial backbone of Belgium between the Sambre and Meuse river valleys. Now mostly forests and agricultural fields, it is no longer the rich industrial area it was in the 1800s. Our destination is the small town of Mons, significant since Roman times and also the site of important battles in World War I.

      Distance: 71 km (44 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: St. James Hotel

    9. Day 9: Bicycle from Mons to Chimay

      Highlights: Biking through forested hills, Lobbes and oldest Collegial Church, Chimay beer tasting

      We're cycling through hills and forested area on the edge of the Ardenne region of Belgium (the Ardennes Mountains extends east from here across southern Belgium and into Luxembourg and France). Rolling hills bring us to the small town of Chimay, which we'll bypass to head straight to the Chimay Abbey, where our small country inn awaits. The brewery is not a very interesting visit as you can't see the monks brewing, but take a walk around the abbey, see the gardens and then meet back in our hotel for a beer tasting.

      Distance: 87 km (54 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Auberge de Poteaupré

    10. Day 10: Chimay to Bouillon

      Highlights: Forested ride, French town of Rocroi, pedalling along the Semois canyon, Bouillon and the ducal stronghold

      We've saved some of the best for last as we pedal between two of the most famous Belgian breweries -- Chimay and Orval (2 of the 6 Trappist breweries, "Trappist" because they are still brewed by monks). One of the most beautiful rides of the trip as we pedal along the Samois river, we'll enter France for a bit as we pedal country lanes through forested hills and small villages (check out the center of Rocroi but don't blink or you'll miss it!). Our lodging for the night is in Bouillon, dominated by the medieval castle built by Godfrey of Bouillon (leader of the first crusade). We'll have a special farewell dinner with our delightful hosts in Bouillon.

      Distance: 102 km (63 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: La Ferronniere

    11. Day 11: Tour ends, Orval Visit, shuttle to Brussels

      Highlights: Visit Orval Ruins

      We'll leave Bouillon this morning to return to Brussels, stopping first to visit the Orval Abbey, ruins and Trappist brewery. We'll plan to be in Brussels early afternoon. Thanks for joining us on this beer and bike adventure! Bon voyage and Goede Reis!

      Meals: B

    • Highlights

      Pedal quiet roads, bicycle paths, UNESCO World Heritage sites of Bruges and Tournai, Waterloo, Belgium, WWI battle and historical sites, Unique breweries , Flanders Field Museum, Riding briefly in France, 2 Trappist beer tastings, Historic hotels
    • Includes

      11 days, 10 nights accommodation; 10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 6 dinners; 3 Trappist beer tastings; shuttle to and from Brussels plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

    • Begin/End

      Brussels / Brussels
    • Arrive/Depart

      Brussels Int'l Airport (BRU) / Brussels Int'l Airport (or Luxembourg-Findel Int'l Airport (LUX))
    • Total Distance

      640 km - 48 km (30 miles) optional ride possible
    • Daily Distance

      Average per riding day 64 km (40 miles)
    • Rating

      201-301 Flat riding on small roads and paths. Some days may include shorter hill climbs of around 1 - 3 miles and some longer days towards the end.
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes

    * We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • Meals on Your Bicycle Tour

      Information on how meals work on ExperiencePlus! Bicycle tours

    • Belgian Waffles

      From National Geographic Traveler comes an article about a century-old waffle house in Antwerp, Belgium

    • Brewed Force

      An article from The Economist: How a small, unremarkable country came to dominate the world of beermaking

    • Tapping the Essence of Belgium

      AFAR Magazine investigates the nuances and cultural elements of Belgium's internationally renowned brews

    • Interesting routes, wonderful scenery, quaint hotels, exquisite food, endless heart stopping fantastic beer. All of these things would have been impossible for me to experience on my own.

      Elizabeth M., Littleton, CO
    • A great tour - everything I put in my mouth was incredible. I loved the pastries, the chocolate, the mussels, the waffles, the pomme frites, and of course the beer. The country is beautiful. Bruges was fascinating. The guides were also wonderful.

      Lyn P., Fort Collins, CO
    • Wonderful tour of Belgium. A must for beer lovers!

      Jeff C., Pace, FL
    • I had a great time - the cycling and beers were excellent, good company on the trip, mostly good weather, really good guides, well organized and lots of great experiences. I have done lots of cycling tours with different companies in different parts of the world, ExperiencePlus! is up there with the best. I can''t really say more than that.

      Mary M., East Hawthorne, Australia
    • I look forward to my trip every year, you guys are top notch and very professional

      Mike T., West Caldwell, NJ
    • Excellent guides, generous with meals and drinks, fun group. Would recommend to friends.

      Ethel D., Scottsdale, AZ
    • Culturally fascinating--beer tasting, mussels, WW I history, medieval prominence (Bruges)/Abbeys, Monasteriesm, French fries, CHOCOLATE, immaculate towns and country side, politics. There''s a lot to say!

      Jill W., Rochester, MN
    • This is a really fun tour for beer drinkers and non-drinkers alike. The riding and routes made for a different experience every day. Loved the walking tour in Bruges and the break from riding for a day. Also impressed with the WW I museum in Ypres and the American cemetery in Flanders.

      Anne R., Glenbrook, NV
    • the last 3 days, the "plus" extension, of the trip should not be missed, they were beautiful.

      Nancy A., Punta Gorda, FL
    • An excellent tour, great roads, breweries were fun, the historical tour of Brugge was great.

      Peter K., Williston, VT
    • A lot of fun, good routes. Great total experience.

      Rick S., Revere, MA
    • Beautiful scenery, interesting historical sites, great chocolate!

      Carol W., New York, NY
    • Fun, fantastic....would do it again. Thanks for a great time.

      Kimberly B., Phoenix, AZ
    • I loved everything-especially the tour leaders. We are hooked - we'll definitely be doing more ExperiencePlus! tours in the future.

      Susan C., Brookeville, MD

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