Duration
13 days
Activities
  • self guided cycle
Accommodation
  • 12 nights hotels
Meals
  • 11 Dinners
  • 12 Breakfasts

Price

USD

 
 

Overview

Trip Code: SOG6707

Trip highlights


  • enjoy your own Tour d'Europe through five countries
  • 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 and enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow travellers

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

25 Aug - Make your own way to Maastricht and the meeting hotel: Hotel van der Valk. See the PDI document for joining instructions - there is a welcome meeting is at 9am. Here you will hand over your luggage to be transferred and collect your travel documents and bikes, and when you're ready, set off on the first stage of your cycle trip, to Liege in Belgium. You'll cycle along the river Jeker to the picturesque village of Kanne and soon after pass the locks at Ternaaien / Lanaye. From here, follow the International Meuse Route cycle trail via the town of Vise to Liege (known as Luik in Dutch). The last few kilometres take you past tall cranes, rusty boats and old but busy industrial zones. Straddling the Meuse River, Liège is in Belgium’s French-speaking Wallonia region and dates from medieval times. Its cultural legacy is also evident: the Opéra Royal de Wallonie 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. Intended hotel: Mercure Hotel Liège City Centre *Own pre-tour accommodation Maastricht.

Meals:  D

26 Aug - Taking you through the centre of Liege, the cycling path along the Meuse is very pleasant and safe. You'll follow the John Cockerill railway to make your way out of the city, continuing 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 along the Meuse, where the Tihange nuclear reactor is another striking industrial complex. The Grande Place in Huy is an ideal spot for a lunch break. Continuing on the trail, enjoy the changing scenery as nature gradually prevails over industry. Reach Namur, capital of Belgium's Wallonia region. Here you can explore the town, including the citadel with its 7km of underground passages and drink in the views from the gardens. Overnight Namur. Intended hotel: Hotel les Tanneurs

Meals:  B,D

27 Aug - 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 to explore the town and enjoy its riverside cafes. After Dinant, you will reach the lovely Chateau Freyr, once the summerhouse 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 on to Givet, with its imposing Charlemont citadel. Overnight Givet. Intended hotel: Ibis Budget Givet Dinner is not included tonight, own arrangements.

Meals:  B

28 Aug - Today you will cycle on the Voie Verte Trans-Ardennes, along the Meuse river. One of the 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 80km is a little daunting, you can take a train from Givet to Charleville-Mézières, or at various points along the way to shorten this stage as much or as little as you like as the train mostly follows the Meuse route. Intended hotel: Kyriad Hotel

Meals:  B,D

29 Aug - Located on the banks of the Meuse, Charleville-Mézières is the birthplace of the poet Arthur Rimbaud, and is also known for its biennial festival of Puppet Theatres. Its main square, Place Ducale, is an architectural gem, built between 1612 and 1628 by the architect Clément Métezeau. Don't miss the Basilica of Our Lady of Hope, with its stained glass windows made between 1955 and 1979 by René Dürrbach, a friend of Picasso. Intended hotel: Kyriad Hotel (Mary joins today)

Meals:  B,D

30 Aug - The cycle continues through a picturesque landscape to Sedan, famous for its castle, the largest in Europe. At Sedan, you leave the International Meuse Route. After lunch, set off on the first leg of the connecting route that bridges the end of the Meuse river and the start of the Vennbahn route. On the French side, a quiet road climbs gradually to the border (average 3% incline). After crossing back into Belgium, there's a delightful descent to Bouillon and your hotel. The town is overlooked by the impressive castle-fortress, once the residence of crusader Godfrey of Bouillon. Intended hotel: Hotel de la Poste (Mary: e-bike collection at Hotel le Chateau Fort, Sedan)

Meals:  B,D

31 Aug - You make your way from Bouillon this morning along a narrow, climbing road. There are two steep hills before you reach the village of Cugnon. To reward your efforts, you can stop at Hotel des Roches and enjoy their home cooked apple cake. After this well earned break, pedal on country roads flanked by farmland on a rolling plateau and past many characteristic villages untouched by time, enjoying the views as you go. In the town of Libramont-Chevigny, you can take a half-way stop for lunch. At the end of this section, follow another stretch of the RAVel along a former railway line to Bastogne. Intended hotel: Hotel Leo at Home

Meals:  B,D

1 Sep - Bastogne has many monuments remembering the Battle of the Ardennes at the end of WWII. There is a lot to see and do around the battlefields, and the Bastogne War Museum is worth a half day visit. Intended hotel: Hotel Leo at Home

Meals:  B,D

2 Sep - From Bastogne the cycle trail this morning takes you from 'Gare du Sud' station in a northerly direction on one of the most beautiful bike tracks in the RAVel network. From the south of Gouvy, at the end of this RAVel route, you'll head east to the border with Luxembourg and shortly afterwards, cycle through a slightly undulating Luxembourg landscape on peaceful roads to the Vennbahn route. In Huldange, the highest point in Luxembourg (558.5m), you will reach the Vennbahn, and soon after cross the border 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. Intended hotel: Hotel Steineweiher

Meals:  B,D

3 Sep - Progress is easy on the bike track between Sankt-Vith and Waimes, as you pedal towards the Belgian-German Ardennes-Eiffel Nature Park. Stop off in Montenau (and an Ardennes ham smokehouse), in Sourbrodt (a former station along the Vennbahn railway) and in Kalterherberg, where there are several places to choose from for a tasty lunch. Further on, you 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 roadside cafes and good restaurants. Intended hotel: Hotel de Lange Man

Meals:  B,D

4 Sep - Today you head from the centre of Monschau 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 the centre of Charlemagne’s empire. It is Germany's most westerly city and has a population of 250,000, including more than 50,000 students. The local universities have a strong Applied Sciences focus. You can visit the cathedral (the first monument in Germany to be listed by UNESCO Cultural Heritage) and Gothic City Hall, where 32 German kings celebrated their coronations. Aachen is also known for its wells and baths over the hottest natural springs in Europe. Intended hotel: Mercure Hotel Europaplatz

Meals:  B,D

5 Sep - Your last day on the bike, ride Aachen to Maastricht. Farewell dinner at the hotel. Intended hotel: van der Valk Maastricht

Meals:  B,D

6 Sep - The trip concludes after breakfast. Own onward arrangements.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 12 breakfasts, 11 dinners (not in Givet)
  • 12 nights in 3-4 star hotels on a twin share basis with private facilities (a single supplement will apply for single rooms)
  • Information pack including route notes & maps
  • GPS tracks available (in final documents)
  • Luggage transfer
  • Emergency hotline
  • 24 speed hybrid bike rental with pannier and repair kit (electric bike available on request - supplement applies)
  • Escorted by Dennis
  • Pie in Cugnon (day 7)

  • Travel to/from Maastricht
  • Lunches, dinner in Givet, beverages
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees
  • Tour guide – this is a self guided cycling trip
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Any transfers not listed as included
  • Optional bike theft insurance - supplement applies
  • Helmet rental - please bring your own well fitting helmet from home

Bike information


Grading

moderate  

Moderate - grade 3 Daily cycles are between 36 and 83km 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.


Departure dates


Notes

BP

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Priceper person from

USD


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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.

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