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

Price

$1370USD

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Overview

Trip Code: BCB

Trip highlights


  • Discovering the Art cities of Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels
  • Sampling the exquisite chocolates, waffles and beer in atmospheric cafes and bars
  • Exploring the picturesque, quiet Flemish countryside
  • Cycling at your own pace on a relaxed self guided itinerary

“Flemish Masters 2018-2021” is a special event in Belgium with a spotlight on the art cities of Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Mechelen and Brussels. The event showcases the three painters: Jan Van Eyck 1390–1441, Pieter Bruegel 1525-1569 and P.P. Rubens 1577-1640, who had connections to these art cities. During this week long cycle holiday, follow the Flemish Masters to the most beautiful towns in Belgium and admire their artworks in the Old Masters Museum in Brussels, St. Bavo Cathedral in Ghent, KMKSA and Rubens House in Antwerp, St. John’s Church in Mechelen and Groeninge Museum in Bruges. In between towns, there will be ample opportunity to explore the special pockets of this enchanting country. Much of the mainly flat route is alongside a river, past fields and through woods. At the end of the cycling day, stay in comfortable hotels and explore charming cities where local specialities such as beer, mussels and chocolate are waiting to be sampled

Trip Grading

moderate

More info about grading system

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Bruges is known as the pearl of Flanders. It’s a truly enchanting town that has been welcoming tourists for about 150 years. With most of its medieval architecture intact, it remains exceptionally well preserved and can really give you a sense of times gone by when it was at the centre of the European wool and cloth trade. After checking in to your hotel, we recommend heading to the Markt for some delicious waffles, chocolates or beer.

Meals:  Nil

This morning you begin your cycle by following the canal out of town. The Ghent-Bruges Canal dates from the 14th century and is one of the oldest in the country. Together with its towpaths, it forms a green corridor that has proved valuable for biodiversity. Past quiet villages such as Moerbrugge, Maria-Aalter and Knesselare, you will cycle through the flat Flemish countryside to Maldegem. In the evening, put your feet up in Maldegem.

Meals:  B

Today you traverse the rural Meetjesland region, a cycling paradise with woods, meadowland and vast cropfields. Enjoy the play of light as you ride your bike through the woods of Het Leen and Drongengoed. After, it is easy-pedalling through the flat landscape to Eeklo, a small town known for its many sculptures. Then proceed to Ghent. The Old Town of Ghent is like an open-air museum. It is also a UNESCO Creative City of Music. The music scene here is thriving. Festivals, music institutions, the carillon, concerts, students of music having a singsong on the quays… music is everywhere. After dark, the ambiance is magical, thanks to the town’s ingenious light plan.

Meals:  B

For the main part of the day, the River Scheldt will be your guide. Follow it upstream past a string of Flemish villages and towns. A 13th-century castle is a real eyecatcher in the village of Laarne: a great place for a break. End the day in Dendermonde with its impressive Town Hall & Belfry. After checking in to your hotel, take some time to visit the Church of Our Lady boasting a baptismal font from the 11th century.

Meals:  B

This morning you make your way back to the Scheldt and cycle atop the river dike towards Antwerp. A delightful interlude: De Zilverreiger, a regional museum focused on preserving knowledge about trades and crafts that once flourished locally: basket weaving, river fishery, cooperage (barrel making), flax processing and clog making. After crossing the Scheldt by ferry, you will reach Kruibeke, home to Wissekerk Castle. In the 10th century this was a so-called water castle and part of the defense line of Antwerp along the river. Finish your day in Antwerp, a city with a long beer tradition and countless cafes. Discover the beautiful Old Town or go shopping for antiques and curio’s, home deco, vintage fashion finds or diamonds.

Meals:  B

It’s only a short trip today so you have time to look around Antwerp some more, or visit a museum, before setting off towards Mechelen. If you are into military heritage, stop off in Mortsel to visit Fort no. 4 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. Then continue along quiet country lanes and alongside the River Nete to Duffel. And, yes! This is actually the town where “duffel” originated from: the heavy, woolly material used initially for bags and later for duffle coats, made popular by the British Royal Navy and still trendy today. In the 15th century, duffel was produced here and exported all over Europe: a profitable business for then-prosperous Duffel. In the town of Sint-Kathelijne-Waver, at the Ursuline Institute, a boarding school run by nuns, an exquisite surprise awaits. The convent/ school complex, Our Lady of Wavre, is a successful blend of art nouveau, neo-Gothic, neo-Empire and art deco. Best of all: the winter garden! Feast your eyes on a masterpiece of art nouveau, an ode to nature, springtime and light. Top off your day in Mechelen, small but attractive.

Meals:  B

Cycle today on tree-lined country lanes, past a series of ponds, along a river, around a wood and through meadows and cropfields to Brussels. Along the way you'll pass Tervuren, known the Royal Africa Museum. In Brussels you will find a mix of cultures, as can be seen in the streets, menus and people. Head for the Grote Markt with its opulent guildhalls and town hall. Not only does Brussels have the landmark Manneken Pis, it also has delicious waffles, chocolates and beer. It's a city where culture vultures, shopaholics and gourmands make merry.

Meals:  B

The trip concludes this morning in Brussels. Arrangements end after breakfast.

Meals:  B

Expand all | Collapse all

Bruges is known as the pearl of Flanders. It’s a truly enchanting town that has been welcoming tourists for about 150 years. With most of its medieval architecture intact, it remains exceptionally well preserved and can really give you a sense of times gone by when it was at the centre of the European wool and cloth trade. After checking in to your hotel, we recommend heading to the Markt for some delicious waffles, chocolates or beer.

Meals:  Nil

After a hearty breakfast, hit the tracks and pedal to the charming little town of Damme on the banks of the Damse Vaart. Then continue to the border and enter Zeeland, a Dutch province marked by light, wind, water and lots of space. It is mostly made up of islands so bridges and ferries will be taking you across the waters as you drift north east. Picture-book towns with ancient houses and cobbled streets are lined up for the coming days. But first you will pass through Zeelandic Flanders with its winding country roads, pollard willows, wet meadows and scattered villages. At the end of the day, hop on a ferry boat to the maritime town of Vlissingen. Cruising further north, you will discover the nostalgic splendour of the city of Middelburg, capital of Zeeland. In the 16th and 17th centuries it was one of the most important centres of trade in the Netherlands.

Meals:  B

Discover the charming village of Veere. From 1541 everything that was exported to Holland from Scotland (mainly wool) came ashore in and was distributed from Veere. This contract brought the town not only prosperity but also a very lively Scottish expat community that stayed for 300 years. Walk in their footsteps as you take a tour of the sights. A wander down the narrow streets of Zierikzee is an absolute delight. Quaint little old houses take you back in time to the town's glory days when ships set sail for the Baltic and Mediterranean to sell salt, wool, fish, grain and red dye.

Meals:  B

Enjoying your last day in Zeeland, traverse a patchwork landscape of vast polders, idyllic countryside, rolling dunes and golden sand flats. Round off the day in Willemstad, a fortified town shaped like a seven-point star.

Meals:  B

The result of a major flood in 1421, Biesbosch is one of the few remaining wetland habitats in Europe where the ecosystem has adapted both to saltwater coming in from the sea through tidal creeks, and to freshwater coming down in the rivers. It’s an ever-changing labyrinth of creeks and riverlets encompassing countless little islands of willow woods and reeds, a paradise for birds. Pedalling on, you will reach one of the oldest towns in Holland: Dordrecht, completely surrounded by water. The area around the marina is a true gem. This oldest part of town counts over a thousand historical buildings and three nostalgic canals. The hotel is in Papendrecht, but if you would like to stay in Dordrecht you can upgrade to ****Hotel Bellevue Groothoofd, right in the old center and on the crossroads of 2 major rivers. Supplement applies and must be advised at time of booking.

Meals:  B

Hit the trail once again and set off for the village of Kinderdijk where nineteen majestic windmills present a unique spectacle. They were used to drain excess water out of the low-lying polder up into the River Lek. As you ride your bike towards Gouda, cruising at about two meters below sea level, enjoy pastoral countryside and wonderful cloudscapes. For centuries, people flocked from far and wide to buy horses, cows, meat, turf, seed, cheese etc, at weekly and annual markets in Gouda. We recommend a stroll around the old part of town to soak up the yesteryear atmosphere. Walk all the way around St. John’s church and the market square boasting a 15th-century town hall and a Weighing House (“Waag”).

Meals:  B

Plunge into the “Groene Hart” (green heart), a pleasant rural area of low-lying polders with peat meadows and grazing cattle. It’s a flat, open, spacious landscape where church spires and windmills touch the horizon and clouds are reflected in lakes and canals. Your route will end in the popular commuter town of Woerden. Overnight in Woerden.

Meals:  B

Continue through an increasingly urban landscape towards the capital. Your cycle journey ends in Amsterdam, famous for its gorgeous 400-year-old canal district. This city is brimming with things to see and do. As always, street artists and performers draw crowds on Dam, Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. A new attraction is “Het Grachtenhuis” (Museum of the Canals). Have you been to the renovated Rijksmuseum and Maritime Museum?

Meals:  B

The trip concludes this morning in Amsterdam. Arrangements end after breakfast.

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 rental bike with pannier, helmet, repair kit and lock (e-bikes available - supplement applies)
  • Tourist tax

  • Travel to and from Bruges /Brussels
  • All drinks, lunches and dinners. A dinner package can be booked which includes a 3 course dinner each night except in Brussels and Dendermonde - supplement applies
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees
  • Guide - this is a self guided tour
  • Transfers
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Ferries - allow 1 to 4 EUR per ferry
  • 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  

This trip involves 6 days cycling between 34 and 65km / 21 and 40mi per day, usually along paved cycle paths and quiet county roads across generally flat terrain. The well-posted cycle route is generally low traffic and often car-free. In and out of the cities there will be some traffic. You need only carry your camera/rain gear and water bottle. Your luggage is transported for you between hotels/inns. The trip is graded moderate and is considered suitable for competent cyclists with a good level of fitness. *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 Thursday from 1 Apr to 23 Sep

Notes

DN1
For a reverse itinerary beginning in Brussels see utracks.com/BUB

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

$1370USD

Options & Supplements*
  • E-Bike SupplementUSD$90
  • 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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