Bicycling Belgium's Best Breweries

Bicycling Belgium's Best Breweries

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 finish in Tournai in the region of Wallonia where French is spoken. This tour concentrates on two important beer regions (to add a third, join our 11-day tour!), the Lambic region just south of Brussels, famous for its wild yeast fermentation method which results in a sour beer, and the breweries around Bruges (or Brugge in Flemish), a mix of Trappist (monk-brewed) breweries as well as historical breweries such as DeCam. Two night stays at the beginning and middle of this trip means less packing, and more beer and bicycling! 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 longer tour, check out our Bicycling Belgium's Best Breweries Plus! tour, which extends this itinerary by 3 days.***

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Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 8 Days
  • Total Distance / 321 km - with the option for 48 more (198 km with 30 extra)
  • Avg. Distance / Average per riding day 54 kms (34 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level / 1.0
  • Countries / Belgium
  • Begin/End / Brussels / Tournai
  • Price / From USD$3395
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    • Cycling quiet roads and paths
    • ,
    • Waterloo
    • ,
    • Flanders Field Museum
    • ,
    • Lambic beer
    • ,
    • Historic hotels
    • ,
    • Guided brewery visits
    • ,
    • WWI battle and historical sites
    • ,
    • 1 Trappist brewery

    Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

    You will ride on a number of bike paths that offer uneven terrain. There are also cobblestones in most towns.
  • Includes
    8 days, 7 nights accommodation; 7 breakfasts, 4 dinners, 1 lunch; 3 guided brewery visits; 'beer bar" in Bruges, 1 tastings with dinner; shuttle from and to Brussels

    The Usual (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)

    • Superb tour leaders who are fun, bilingual and avid cyclists.
    • Help with flights, trains and starting/and or ending hotel reservations.
    • Comfortable lodging in 3-4 star hotels. 
    • All breakfasts and at least half of your dinners.
    • Use of a high quality Titanium road bike, hybrid, or tandem (aluminum road bikes or hybrid bikes in South America) geared specifically to cruise the flats and help ease you over the mountain. Our bikes come with an odometer so you can track your miles, an expandable rear rack pack to carry your stuff, and one water bottle that is yours to keep.
    • Full van support to carry luggage – and tired cyclists, too! 
    • Special events such as wine tastings or cultural visits as described in the trip itinerary.
    • All tips and gratuities at tour hotels and group meals.
    • Unique routes, marked with our famous chalk dust arrows.
    • Daily mileage options on tour.
    • Detailed route map for each day's ride.

    What's not included:

    • Transportation to and from the bicycling tour including airfare, or train travel
    • Helmets - we ask that you bring your own to ensure the best fit
    • Meals not listed in the itinerary
    • Tour Leader gratuity

    See the complete list of what's included with every ExperiencePlus! Tour.

  • Arrive / Depart
    Brussels Int'l Airport (BRU) / Brussels Int'l Airport
  • Overall Tour Level
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    **Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8

    Tour Level Note: Flat rides on small roads and bike paths. Some short hills in Flanders on Day 2 and 3.

    **We use Ride With GPS (ridewithgps.com) to calculate elevation and mileage information. Due to variance between mapping technologies, totals may differ slightly across devices and applications

Terrain Legend

Mostly flat Mostly flat

Rolling hills Rolling

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary

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!

Distance: Test Ride. Meals: D

Lodging: Hotel Le Coté Vert

  • Meals: Dinner

DAY 2: Flanders Cycling

Highlights: Lambic beer, visit to 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 miles). Meals: B, D

Lodging: Hotel Geeraard

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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.

Daily Mileage: 44 km (27 miles). Meals: B

Lodging:La Pomme d'Or

  • Meals: Breakfast

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 (44 miles). Meals: B, D

Lodging: Martin's Relais

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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 48 km (30 miles). Meals B

Lodging: Martin's Relais

  • Meals: Breakfast

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: 83 km (52 miles). Meals: B, L

Lodging: Hotel Ariane

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 7: Bicycling 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

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8: Our tour ends today

Highlights: Complimentary shuttle to Brussels

Thanks for joining us on this beer and bike adventure! From Tournai, we'll shuttle you to our Meeting Hotel or airport in Brussels arriving late morning. Bon voyage and Goede Reis!

Meals: B

***If this sounds great but you'd like a longer tour, check out our Bicycling Belgium's Best Breweries Plus! tour, which extends this itinerary by 3 days.***

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

What's Included

For a full list of what's included before, during and after your bike tour, visit our What's Included page.

Keep in Mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

You will ride on a number of bike paths that offer uneven terrain. There are also cobblestones in most towns.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Check the online itinerary of your trip and review the arrival and departure information under the "Travel Information" tab to see meeting place and time, if a reservation on a complimentary ExperiencePlus! Shuttle (if applicable) is required, and other important information to help you plan your arrival and departure.
  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights.
  • Begin your chosen training program: https://www.experienceplus.com/blog/travel-planning/bicycle-tour-training/
  • Final payment is due 90 days (120 days for Bike & Barge/Boat tours) prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Bicycles

Your bike will be equipped with: a men's or women's saddle, a quick release style seat post adjustment, rear rack and expandable pack, pump, patch kit, spare tube, cable lock, cyclometer, rear lights, a water bottle cage (or two), one water bottle , and a bell. If you would like to bring your own pedals and shoes we recommend doing so—your tour leaders will install them during the bike fitting. We have flat pedals with or without cages available. For safety and hygiene reasons you are responsible for bringing a helmet.

Daysheets

Each day you'll receive a daysheet with information on the day's activities, meals and ride. These also include Tour Leader phone numbers, hotel information and interesting historical and cultural information about sites that you may want to stop and see along the route. Your Tour Leaders will also post daily announcements in the hotel lobby with information about sightseeing in town or restaurant recommendations for dinners on your own as well as important information about breakfast, luggage down and "arrows down" time.

Navigating on Tour

Each day we will provide you with a route map with the day's ride highlighted route. Of course, we also mark the route every day with our signature chalk dust arrows. Our arrows make navigating very easy—you may never need to look at the map! The arrows also allow you to ride at your own pace. There is no need to "keep up" with the group—this is your ride!

But what if it rains? What happens to the arrows? In a light rain, the arrows actually "set up" and become more permanent. In a heavy rain, they do wash away. If that happens, we'll re-group to cycle together for those who want to continue cycling while those who prefer to stay dry can shuttle.

For the tech-loving riders out there we offer the opportunity to download GPS tracks of most tour routes to your personal GPS device using RideWithGPS.com.

Van Support

The van carries luggage and supports cyclists. It also has water, fruit and snacks. Though the van has snacks, we encourage you to stop and enjoy markets and find your own favorite local specialty.

Hotels

We have carefully chosen all of our accommodations for their charm and location. They are typically small, family run hotels that offer you a glimpse into the local culture.

We prefer hotels near interesting sites in the center of town located along the best cycling route in the area. Because many of the hotels are small not all of the rooms will be exactly the same. We keep this in mind and do our best to distribute rooms fairly by the end of the tour. Our itinerary lists our primary hotels. On rare occasions, listed hotels are subject to change.

Meals and Restaurants

Breakfasts: we work hard to arrange complete breakfasts but some hotels still serve continental style breakfasts; cycling is energy intensive so we do recommend you plan for a morning or mid-morning snack on the road at a local café or market.

Water is OK in almost all hotels and in country fountains; if there is a problem, we will advise you.

We'll recommend lunch locations en route and most itineraries include a few group picnics. We limit the number of picnics so you don't feel pressured to be at a certain place in the middle of your ride.

Dinners together are often pre-planned and pre-ordered. We'll ask you prior to your trip if you have special dietary requirements. Preplanned meals allow us to provide a variety of regional specialties and facilitate efficient service. Water, wine and beer are included.

Tipping Your Tour Leader Team

If you feel your tour leader team has demonstrated great expertise and service, common practice within the travel industry is to tip. Tipping is voluntary and greatly appreciated, and gratuity amounts vary widely. Should you decide to leave a tip, as a guideline, we suggest 5% of the tour cost per traveler – this for the entire tour leader team, not each Tour Leader. If you’d like to show your gratitude for your Tour Leaders’ excellent service you can give the tip to any member of the tour leader team, as they share it evenly. In order to avoid social tensions, we encourage you to tip as individuals and not as a group. If you feel your Tour Leaders did not quite meet your expectations, then we would like to know about it. You will also have the opportunity to leave your comments in our evaluation survey which we email to you after your trip.

Photos

By reserving space on tour, you agree that ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours may use, re-use and reproduce any images, photos or videos that you send to us, or that are taken by our guides and/or other travelers of you individually or in a group, in any medium, including but not limited to print, electronic media, or Internet, free of charge and without your right to inspection, for promoting and publicizing our travel products and services worldwide. If you do not want us to use any images of you that are taken by us or other participants during the tour, you must inform us or your tour leader in writing at the start of the tour.

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