Total tour distance: 200 miles
Daily tour distance: 33 miles
Difficulty: 60 / 100
A tour of Flanders from Bruges to discover four authentic Flemish towns of northern Belgium, this “self-guided” tour offers you the opportunity to discover the western part of North Belgium at your own pace. We welcome you in our cyclist friendly, comfortable hotel in Bruges, “the Venice of the North” and one of Europe’s most visited historical cities. This mainly flat 260 km long bike loop connects famous and authentic Flemish towns. Additionally we propose you to cycle two 50 km long extra bike loops: one through the scenic polder landscape and one through the more challenging Flemish Ardennes. Quiet, paved country roads and a combination of former tow/dike paths and train beds allow you to enjoy varied landscapes in a safe way. Signposts make maps unnecessary; however we provide you with clear road descriptions and maps. Charming taverns will welcome you with a cool local beer, typical farm dishes or pancake.
Day 1 | Arrival Day:
Installation in your hotel - orientation with Willy who will deliver the rental bikes, give an explanation of the road book, map material, bike routes info. With free time, you can visit the medieval historical city centre of Bruges: a short city walk will show you the Markt (Market square) with Belfry and Halles, Oude Burg (Burg Square) with Basilica of the Holy Blood and City Hall, Church of Our Lady (Notre Dame) and Cathedral. During a roundtrip by boat on the city canals (preferably at night), a horse-drawn cab or minicoach you will discover a rich architecture. Superior 3 star hotel Center Brugge, dinner on your own.
Day 2 | 52 km ride with options
Maerlant Route. The countryside between Bruges, the North Sea and Dutch Zeeland is a flat polderlandscape. Dike routes, former tow-paths and bicycle tracks along the sea side will take you from charming Damme to the Belgian coast (worldly Knokke) and the small Dutch historic places Sluis and Sint-Anna ter Muiden (former outports of Bruges). Damme is also well-known thanks to the Legend of Tijl Uilenspiegel (Thyl Owlglass) - the Flemish national hero - and to the 13th century author Jacob van Maerlant, who lived in Damme and gave his name to this bike route. Return to Bruges, same hotel, dinner on your own.
Day 3 | 50 km ride
This route links Bruges with the historic centre of Ghent (in Dutch: Gent). Leaving Bruges along its remparts you will join and follow the tow path of the canal Brugge-Gent and enter the historic centre of Ghent along the Coupure canal. This centre with the St Bavo Cathedral, Gravensteen (Castle of the count), Belfry Tower, Town Hall and civil gothic buildings will tell you about the rich commercial past of the city which hosts the Royal State University (28.000 students). 3 star hotel Center Gent, dinner open.
Day 4 | 40 km biking
To day you’ll leave the busy city of Ghent for the Scheldt River (in Dutch: Schelde) countryside. This route brings you to Oudenaarde, a town which became famous thanks to tapestry weaving activities in the Middle Ages. The Town Hall (one of the most impressive medieval town halls of Belgium), Market square, churches in Scheldt Gothic style and wall tapestries are examples of a rich historic past. You’ll have the opportunity to visit the Tour of Flanders Centre (near the Market Square). Oudenaarde is the gateway to the slopes and cobble stone routes of the Spring Classic Tour of Flanders: our route will bring you to Wortegem-Petegem and Kluisbergen, typical Flemish Ardennes villages. 3 star hotel Oudenaarde with open dinner.
Day 5| 46 km ride with options
The Eddy Merckx-route. Starting from Kluisbergen, this route combines some highlights of the Flanders Classics such as Oude Kwaremont, Patersberg and Kluisberg. Especially strong cyclists will be happy to let themselves go. However, panoramic views and a superb peaceful nature also may be appreciated while walking beside your bike over cobblestone sections. Return to Oudenaarde, dinner open on your own.
Day 6 | 73 km bike ride
More tow and dike paths will take you along canals and the Leie River through the towns of Kortrijk and Wervik to Ypres (in Dutch: Ieper). Since the beginning of our era this area was subject to invasions and wars by several European hordes and countries. In Wervik you can visit the National Tobacco Museum. Ypres is a rebuilt beautiful medieval town famous for cloth production and trading in the Middle Ages. You will be impressed by the Cloth Hall, Cathedral and other monuments of this Town. The Menin Gate, with the names of 54.896 British and Commonwealth soldiers, is the most important momument of this Flanders Fields’ area and its numerous World War I cemetaries. 4 star hotel center Ieper, dinner on your own.
Day 7 | 60 km cycling route
A sequence of various landscapes, Flemish countryside villages and picturesque farms will be your guide back to Bruges. Take advantage of this trip to enjoy your last local artisanal beer with a slice of farm bread with home made ham and cheese… 3 star hotel center Brugge, dinner open.
Day 8 | Depart at your leisure after breakfast
We can help with additional nights in Belgium, or if you wish to travel on to Paris or Amsterdam, we can assist as needed with advance notice.
- 7 nights lodging listed below
- 7 buffet breakfasts
- Orientation at the Bruges hotel with bike set up and testing
- Hotel to hotel luggage transfers
- Detailed road book with maps, route descriptions, and tourist information
- Telephone assistance throughout the duration of the trip
- bike return at the end of the tour
BRUGGE : Hotel Adornes*** (for upgrades - please inquire)
GENT : Hotel Gravensteen*** (Upgrade option : Hotel de Flandre)
OUDENAARDE : La Pomme d'Or *** or Hotel Cesar ***
IEPER : Hotel Ariane ****
Options: Additional nights in Bruges, Brussels, or other cities. Optional longer rides possible.