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Duration
8 days
Activities
  • self guided cycle
Accommodation
  • 7 nights hotels
Meals
  • 7 Breakfasts

Price

$1350USD

Walk and cycle Europe with confidence

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Overview

Trip Code: BGB

Trip highlights


  • Learning about the origins of Belgium's best beers
  • Sampling a wide variety of beers and ales in atmospheric cafes and bars
  • Exploring Antwerp and touring De Koninck, an active brewery since 1838
  • Cycling past the famous Achelse Kluis abbey and a visit to the De Koninck Brewery
  • Visiting the welcoming university town of Leuven
  • Discovering quaint Belgian towns off the beaten track

Belgium is renowned for its fine chocolate, delicious waffles, and arguably above all, wonderful beer. Belgian brewing traditions date back to the Middle Ages and are still in use today, with abbey-dwelling monks still producing some of the world's most refreshing and flavoursome brews. Pay your respects to the land of great beer with this self guided cycling itinerary that showcases Belgium's beautiful countryside and endearing villages with a focus on local breweries and traditional beer practices. Embrace the cyclist-friendly attitudes and flat terrain of Belgium that make riding from town to town a joy. This is a nation that welcomes cycling culture and you'll appreciate this everywhere you go, from pedalling the streets of cosmopolitan Antwerp to riding through the Campine woods that are teeming with nature. Ride to Bocholt, home to Europe's largest beer brewery museum, and learn the intricate process of pouring the perfect pint. Take a break from cycling at St Benedict's Abbey and sample a well-earned Trappist beer fresh from the keg. Explore rural towns along the route and discover local quirks: undiscovered Turnhout is one of the world's largest playing card producers; beautiful Diest has ties to the Belgian royalty; and witness the WWII military forts at Mortsel. Savour it all on this unforgettable cycling trip across Belgium.

Trip Grading

moderate to challenging

More info about grading system

Please make your way to Genk and your hotel situated in the delightful Molenvijver Park. Genk has a fairly recent industrial (mining) past - don't miss visiting C-Mine: the former Winterslag coal mine has been converted into a sprawling cultural sight, and the modern art gallery Labiomista.

Meals:  Nil

On your first cycle day you'll ride along quiet roads to Bocholt, home to Europe’s largest beer brewery museum. Here you will discover the whole procedure leading up to a perfectly poured pint. Continue past Hamont to Beverbeekse Heide nature reserve, with its wetland, woods and patches of heath. Make a stop at Achelse Kluis: St Benedict’s Abbey and adjacent brewery, shop, gallery and inn. The brewery, closed to the public, is one of the few places in the world where Trappist beer is still brewed, now under the supervision of two remaining monks, Cistercians of the Strict Observance or Trappists. After a well-earned Tripel proceed through Leenderbossen woods to the villages of Leende and Heeze (across the border in The Netherlands). In the evening, you can take a pleasant walk on the grounds of Heeze Castle.

Meals:  B

On today’s route you will traverse the Brabant Campine / Kempen region. Enjoy woods and fields of heather (come in August to see the heather in flower!) as yiou make your way the Brabant towns of Valkenswaard and Bergeijk. Back in Belgium, the route takes you to Postel Abbey where beer has been brewed since 1611. Have a break in Arendonk, and end the day in Turnhout, a town historically linked to the production of playing-cards. Check out the museum!

Meals:  B

Your first stop is picturesque Merksplas, where you can pop in at the visitors’ centre to find out all about the former Merksplas-Kolonie, a corrective institution where able-bodied vagrants and beggars were taught farming skills and made to work the fields. Later on you pass Oostmalle and Malle on the way to Westmalle, where you will find a Trappist abbey. A Trappist beer is not a type of beer: It is beer made by or under the supervision of Trappist monks. The “Trappist order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance” originated in a monastery in the French town of La Trappe - hence the name. Trappist monks and nuns follow the Rule of St Benedict. They do not go out into the community to serve the poor and the sick, instead their number one business is continual prayer. But their monasteries must be self-sufficient, and so they perform manual labour while they pray, and live off the fruits of their labour (bread, cheese, beer, soap, candles etc.) which are sold in abbey shops. The proceeds feed the monks and nuns, and go to the upkeep of the abbeys or to charity. Indulge in a well-deserved Trappist beer at the café across the road from the abbey, before continuing on your way to the cosmopolitan city of Antwerp.

Meals:  B

Leaving Antwerp, your surroundings will become progressively quieter and greener. If you are into military heritage, stop off in Mortsel to visit Fort four of the originally eight Brialmont Forts (1860-1864) that made up the defensive line of Antwerp. It is built in brick with sandstone decorations and stands on an island surrounded by a ditch and glacis. Cycling towards Leuven you will pass the festival grounds of Rock Werchter, an annual four-day festival held at the end of June / beginning of July. The Rock Werchter Experience Centre can be found in the village of Rotselaar. Approaching Leuven you will encounter some gentle slopes. Leuven is a friendly and attractive university town. In the evening, have your taste of the good life alongside the local bon vivants. You can admire the lovely architecture of the Town Hall and library and go for a walk through the quarter known as Groot Begijnhof, a beguinage.

Meals:  B

This wonderful leg of the tour takes you to Diest. In Tielt-Winge you will find Vlooybergtoren, a viewpoint with a difference: a rusty flight of stairs that ends in mid-air and looks like it will topple over at any minute. A little further on, you will find Haksberg Castle amid 3.6 hectares of vineyards. Their wines are named after birds that can be found in the local Hageland region. Your next stop is Belgium’s most important pilgrimage site, Scherpenheuvel, which boasts the oldest central-plan domed church in the Low Countries. Crown your day in beautiful Diest, a town that has ties to the Royal House of Orange. As yet undiscovered by mass tourism, it will probably be your biggest surprise on this holiday. Have a look around the courtyard beguinage, one of the oldest, most beautiful and best preserved in the Low Countries. Amble along the River Demer which flows through town once again, after having been covered up since the 1960s. A boardwalk, a cycling path, steps and seating invite the townspeople to spend time by the water.

Meals:  B

The last leg of the trip takes you to several special and unique places. Cycling on today’s flat roads won’t leave you breathless, but the landscape surely will. Firstly, you will cycle to Schulermeer lake, which offers an array of water sports. Continue to De Weijers, also known as Land of 1001 Ponds. Wind your way around the man-made fishing ponds, marvelling at the colourful vegetation and keeping an eye out for special species of amphibians and birds. Your next stop is in Bokrijk, an open-air museum which covers country life from 1910 to the 1960s, offering workshops in all kinds of historical skills and crafts. Towards the end of the day, get ready for the most bizarre experience of this holiday: cycling on a path that runs for 200m through a natural lake. You will be at eye level with the surface of the water, moving in total harmony with the ducks.

Meals:  B

Trip arrangements conclude after breakfast. We can assist with booking an extra night if you'd like to further explore Genk.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts: Breakfasts are continental style and will usually consist of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices
  • 7 nights in 3-4 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • Information pack including route notes, maps, tourist information per room booked. (GPS tracks are available on request)
  • Emergency hotline
  • Luggage transfer between hotels - limited to 1 piece of luggage per person weighing a max 20kg - excess charge for extra luggage items to be booked and paid before departure. Please note that small bags cannot be attached to the main luggage. They will be charged as separate pieces of luggage.
  • 24 speed bike rental with pannier, helmet and repair kit (bike insurance, e-bikes bikes available - supplement applies)

  • Travel to and from Genk
  • All drinks, lunches and dinners. A dinner package can be booked which includes a 3 course dinner each night - supplement applies
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees
  • Guide - this is a self guided tour
  • Transfers
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Excess luggage - supplement applies. Each piece of extra luggage will be charged a supplement. Luggage cannot be heavier than 20kgs due to work safety rules.

Bike information


Grading

moderate to challenging  

During the 6 days of cycling a total of approximately 373km/231mi is covered with daily routes of between between 44 and 75km / 27 and 46.5mi per day, The route has hilly stretches with lots of small ascents, mostly along quiet rural roads, sometimes along forest and agricultural tracks. In order to prepare for this trip you will need to be comfortable cycling for extended periods, sometimes with traffic around you (sometimes unavoidable going in to and leaving towns). Your luggage is transported for you between hotels. The trip is graded moderate to challenging, you will need a good level of cycling fitness to participate fully in this adventure *For safety reasons, we insist that cycle helmets be included as a compulsory item on your equipment list and we do provide one for each client.


Departure dates

Every Saturday from 3 Apr to 25 Sep

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$1350USD

Options & Supplements*
  • e-bike supplementUSD$110
  • single supplementUSD$470
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

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