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Duration
10 days
Activities
  • self guided cycle
Accommodation
  • 9 nights hotels
Meals
  • 9 Breakfasts

Price

$1490USD

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Overview

Trip Code: 5CC

Trip highlights


  • enjoy your own Tour d'Europe through five countries on mainly dedicated cycle paths
  • discover Europe's largest castle, pretty villages, forts and a wealth of history as you pedal
  • experience the different cuisines and beverages as you cross borders
  • stay in comfortable hotels

Cycle your own mini 'Tour de Europe' on this diverse ride following the Meuse River and Vennbahn Rail Trail through The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Germany. The trip includes a ride along the entire International Meuse Route, a 200km bike path along the meandering Meuse River between the Dutch town of Maastricht and Sedan in France, which boasts Europe's largest castle. The route passes many other castles as well as forts and pretty villages and is surrounded by sublime natural beauty. Leaving the Meuse Route behind, you will connect with the 125km Vennbahn Rail Trail, which travels through three countries. The Vennbahn follows country roads past rolling fields of crops and pastures on a high plateau and where imposing farmhouses dot this prosperous agricultural region. You'll stop for the night in some of the region's most charming and historically rich villages including Bouillon and the town of Bastogne, known for the Ardennes counteroffensive near the end of WWII. The range of experiences, and mainly flat terrain, makes this the ideal cycling trip for those seeking a rich active European experience in a short amount of time.

Trip Grading

moderate

More info about grading system

Traveller Rating

 

Make your own way to the meeting point, a hotel in Maastricht, before 1pm, ready to cycle. (At times the meeting point is in ‘s-Gravenvoeren, approx. 20km from Maastricht, across the border in Belgium. This will be advised on confirmation). At the meeting point you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and some Limburg pie, a local specialty (included), to get your energy up for your ride. Leave your luggage at the hotel no later than 1pm for collection and transfer. When you're ready, set off to Liege (in Belgium). Cycle alongside the river Jeker to the picturesque village of Kanne and soon after pass the locks at Ternaaien / Lanaye. From here, follow the RAVeL International Meuse Route cycle path via Vise to Liege (Luik in Dutch). The last few kilometres take you past tall cranes, rusty boats and old but busy industrial zones. Straddling the Meuse River (or Maas as it is known in Dutch), Liège is in Belgium’s French-speaking Wallonia region and dates from medieval times evidenced by St Bartholomew, a Romanesque church. Its cultural legacy is demonstrated by the opera house, Opéra Royal de Wallonie, which has been the home of opera since the early 1800's. After settling into your hotel, take some time to explore the historic centre or wander through the parks and boulevards lining the river. Overnight in Liege.

Meals:  Nil

Taking you right through the centre of Liege, the cycle path along the Meuse is very pleasant and safe. Follow the John Cockerill railway as you make your way out of the city, following the signs for RAVeL International Meuse Route, and past the blast furnaces of Seraing, which are awe-inspiring up close. If you like decorative glass, you can stop at the Val St Lambert crystal factory shop. Continue along the quiet backroads, past typical Walloon villages and never far from the river, towards Huy. Just before Huy, switch to the bike track, where the Tihange nuclear reactor is another striking industrial complex. The Grande Place in Huy is an ideal spot for a lunch break. On the way to Namur, enjoy the change of scenery as nature gradually prevails over industry. Reaching Namur, at the confluence of the Sambre and Meuse rivers, a stunning medieval fortress has a commanding position above the river. Take time to explore some of the 7km of underground passages of the Citadel de Namur and drink in the views from the gardens. Overnight Namur.

Meals:  B

Today you will follow the river along the Meuse route to Dinant, passing through the village of Wepion, famous for strawberries, and the Gardens of Annevoie, which are well worth a visit. In Dinant take your time exploring and enjoy its riverside cafes. After Dinant, you will reach the lovely Chateau Freyr, once the summer house of the Dukes of Beaufort-Spontin. For the next several kilometres you'll cycle on the former railway line that went from Hastiere to Mariembourg, before crossing the border into France and the town of Givet with its imposing Charlemont citadel. Overnight in Givet.

Meals:  B

Today you will cycle on the 'Voie Verte Trans-Ardennes' following the Meuse. One of today's highlights is a visit to the charming town of Montherme, best known for its religious monuments, the Abbey of Laval Dieu and the Church of Saint-Leger. Your destination is Charleville-Mézières, with its lovely historic town centre. If the full 83km is a little daunting, you can take a train from Givet to Charleville-Mézières, or at various points along the way, to shorten the stage. The train mostly follows the Meuse route.

Meals:  B

Today you will continue on the Voie Verte Trans-Ardennes through a picturesque landscape to Sedan, famous for its castle. At Sedan, you leave the International Meuse Route. After a break for lunch, set off on the first leg of the connecting route that bridges the end of the Meuse route and the start of the Vennbahn. On the French side, a quiet road climbs gradually (average 3% incline) to the border. After crossing back into Belgium, there's a delightful descent to Bouillon and your hotel. The town has an impressive castle-fortress, once the residence of Godfrey of Bouillon, the French nobleman and pre-eminent leader of the First Crusade.

Meals:  B

Leave Bouillon this morning by way of a narrow, climbing road and proceed along the route through the south of Belgium. After a few kilometres you'll be pedaling on country roads flanked by farmland, on a rolling plateau, passing characteristic villages seemingly untouched by time. The views are lovely. A good place to stop for lunch is the town of Libramont-Chevigny, home to the Museum of the Celts, or if open, at La Ferme du Grand Enclos Grandvoir (a local farm). At the end of this section, follow another stretch of the RAVeL route, on the former railway line (163), to Bastogne. Bastogne has many monuments remembering the Battle of the Ardennes at the end of WWII.

Meals:  B

From the 'Gare du Sud' railway station, follow RAVeL 163 in a northerly direction on one of the most beautiful bike tracks in the RAVeL network. South of Gouvy, at the end of this RAVeL route, head east to the border with Luxembourg. Shortly afterwards you cycle through a slightly undulating Luxembourg landscape on peaceful roads to the Vennbahn route. In Huldange, the highest point in Luxembourg (at 558.5m) you will reach the Vennbahn, then a little later cross back into Belgium. Through a beautiful landscape the route takes you to the ruins of Burg Reuland, towering high above the village. Continue to Hemmeres, a German enclave, and finally to Sankt-Vith.

Meals:  B

Progress is easy on the new bike track between Sankt-Vith and Waimes, as you pedal towards Belgian-German Ardennes-Eiffel Nature Park. Stop off in Montenau (and an Ardennes ham smoke house), in Sourbrodt, a former station on the Vennbahn railway, and in Kalterherberg, where there are several place to choose from for a tasty lunch. Further on you will leave the Vennbahn to make a detour to Monschau, where you stay tonight. Quaint and enchanting, this small resort town in the Eifel region boasts lovely half-timbered houses, enticing shops, friendly cafes and good restaurants.

Meals:  B

Leave Monschau and head back to the Vennbahn rail trail. A visit to the monumental town of Kornelimünster is a must. After a long descent you will reach the town of Aachen. Once a royal residence of the emperor Charlemagne, it served as the principal coronation site of Holy Roman emperors and of German kings from the Middle Ages to the Reformation. After your visit to this historic town, continue to Kerkade, from where you take the train to Maastricht (35km, ticket included). Relax and enjoy as the hills of the scenic southern Limburg glide by. Overnight in Maastricht (NL) or ‘s-Gravenvoeren (B).

Meals:  B

The trip concludes after breakfast.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 9 breakfasts
  • 9 nights in 3-4 star hotels on a twin share basis with private facilities
  • Information pack including route notes & maps per room booked
  • GPS tracks available on request
  • 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.
  • Emergency hotline
  • 24 speed bike rental with pannier, helmet and repair kit (electric bike available on request - supplement applies)
  • Train ticket (including bike) Kerkrade to Maastricht Randwyck
  • Coffee/tea and cake/pie on days 1 and 6

  • Travel to/from Maastricht
  • Lunches, dinners & beverages. A dinner package can be booked which includes a 3 course dinner each night - supplement applies
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees
  • Tour guide – this is a self guided cycling trip
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Transfers
  • 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  

Moderate - grade 3 Daily cycles are between 36 and 83km / 21.5 and 51.5mi on flat to undulating terrain. There are opportunities to shorten the cycling by taking the train on occasion. The cycling is on a combination of dedicated cycle paths and low traffic roads, including into towns. The accent is on keeping a relaxed pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. If you are concerned about your overall cycling fitness, we recommend you consider an e-bike.


Departure dates


Notes

1
Trip begins in 's-Gravenvoeren in Belgium, approximately 20km from Maastricht (also on other dates when Maastricht is booked out).

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

$1490USD

Options & Supplements*
  • E-Bike supplementUSD$70
  • Optional 9 dinners - supplementUSD$390
  • single supplementUSD$530
*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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