Great cycling in France, Belgium and the Netherlands over 12 days as you bike from Paris to Amsterdam.
Where else in the world can you stumble through a spellbinding medieval town, sink a beer still brewed in an active monastery, explore fascinating castles, reflect on a devastating history in the countryside and then enjoy some triple-cooked fries? This is Belgium in a microcosm. It is a curious land that perfectly caters to bike lovers, so hop on the saddle, join the locals and go for a pedal.
Undoubtedly, Belgium’s major drawcard is the magical town of Bruges - a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wandering or riding your bike around here is simply fantastic and you will quickly lose count of the dramatic spires rising out of gorgeous medieval buildings. Pretty cobbled streets lead into big squares, while the iconic towers of the belfry will easily catch the eye and fill your camera up.
Naturally, Bruges is a great spot to enjoy some fries and sample the local beers or even go for it a bit more and visit Bruges’ excellent Beer Museum. After some rest, grab your bike to head out of Bruges along the pretty canal routes and explore the gorgeous surrounding countryside. It is practically overflowing with pretty villages, castles, and mansions to lose yourself riding and wandering around. The perfectly preserved Loppen Castle and the English Tudor-style palace in Beisbroek are both standout locations for exploring.
For centuries, Belgium has often found itself in the pathway of unfolding wars and thus cycling to Flanders Fields is a highly recommended and interesting experience. Depending on the time of year, the surrounding countryside and former battlefields are awash with beautiful red poppies, while the graveyard holds a sea of seemingly never-ending white gravestones that commemorate the four years of destruction left by WWI.
Cycling has a rich history in Belgium with the Tour of Flanders road race taking place here since 1913. Oudenaarde’s Flanders Museum charts the history of this crazy race that features an incredible 620 meters (2034 ft) climb at 22% gradient up the cobbled streets of the Koppenberg Hill. It has to be seen to be believed and so you can also have a crack at part of this tricky route.
If you do not quite fancy some pro riding, then luckily Belgium is also great at taking things at a slower pace. Fancy a beer, some food and exploring? Then cycle the Gouden Carolus Route which combines breweries and nature reserves in Mechelen or pedal the culinary path through the farmland of Kempen in greater Antwerp and and stop off at multiple cafes to sample all the best local dishes.
Undoubtedly, given the delectable food and beer on offer in Belgium, you may be worried about your waistline, but a bike trip is truly the perfect way to offset that and take in how stunning this country is.