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Cycling the Flemish Beers Route 29

Cycling the Flemish Beers Route

Overview

Belgium is known all over the world for its beer-brewing craft and traditions dating back to the Middle Ages. Today there are over 200 breweries in operation, producing beers ranging from refreshing white ale to bolder triples and quadruples. We invite you on a cycling adventure that will reveal you the origins of several of Belgium’s best beers while enjoying the lovely surroundings they come from.

You will cycle through the woody Campine region, past the famous Achelse Kluis abbey, crossing the border into the Dutch province of Noord Brabant. Next, you will explore Turnhout. In the city of Antwerp, a visit to De Koninck Brewery should not be missed. Finally, the university town of Leuven always lives up to its reputation as a welcoming, friendly place.

  • Discover the origins of several of Belgium’s best beers
  • The famous Achelse Kluis abbey
  • Explore Turnhout
  • Enjoy the university town of Leuven 

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Genk

Arrive on your own at Genk, where you will receive a friendly welcome at your hotel, situated in beautiful Molenvijver Park.

Accommodation: Hotel Zuid*** or similar

Day 2: Genk – Peer | 64 km

The first day of this cycling holiday takes you straight through the Hoge Kempen National Park. In Belgium’s only National Park, vast pine forests alternate with endless heathland landscapes. You cycle across the Mechelse Heide, with 700 hectares one of the largest heathland areas in Flanders. A unique experience on this route is undoubtedly the almost 300-meter long wooden bicycle bridge, a beacon in the landscape. On top of the bridge, you get a panoramic view of the natural environment. There is time for breaks in the small towns of Opglabbeek and Meeuwen. Today’s final destination is the cosy Peer, one of the ‘Good Towns’ of the former Prince-Bishopric of Liège. Here you will find the Pieter Bruegel museum.

Day 3: Peer – Turnhout | 74 km

Another day full of natural beauty starts with a little bit of history. Soon after the start, you will cycle through Hechtel. This village was completely destroyed in September 1944 during the Battle of Hechtel. Visit ‘Cycling through the Trees’ in Bosland – a unique cycling experience where you cycle up to ten meters high between the trees. This cycle path safely takes you into higher realms. Quite literally – because you cycle around a double circle all the way up to the treetops, up to ten meters. The cycle path is 700 meters in total. You experience nature in a completely different way and become one with the forest. Via the former sand pits around Mol and the canal from Dessel to Schoten, you arrive in Arendonk where you can admire the Toremansmolen. From here it is not far to Turnhout, a town historically linked to the manufacturing of playing cards. Checking out the local museum is highly recommended.

Day 4: Turnhout – Antwerp | 65 km

Your first stop for the day is the picturesque Merksplas where you can pop in at the visitors’ centre to find out all about former Merksplas-Kolonie, a social institution where able-bodied vagrants and beggars were taught farming skills and made to work the fields. Later on, pass Oostmalle and Malle on the way to Westmalle where you can enjoy a well-deserved Trappist beer at the café across the road from the abbey, before continuing on your way to the cosmopolitan city of Antwerp. 

Day 5: Antwerp – Leuven | 63 km

As you leave Antwerp behind, your surroundings will get quieter and greener. 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 and glacis. Cycling towards Leuven you will pass the festival grounds of Rock Werchter, an annual four-day festival held at the end of June / beginning of July. The Rock Werchter Experience Centre can be found in the village of Rotselaar. As you approach Leuven on your bicycle, you will cycle on some gentle slopes. Leuven is a friendly and attractive university town. In the evening, have your taste of the good life alongside the local bon-vivants. Admire the lovely architecture of the Town Hall and library, and go for a walk through the quarter known as Groot Begijnhof, a beguinage.

Day 6: Leuven – Diest | 44 km

Today’s wonderful section of the tour takes you to Diest. In Tielt-Winge you will find Vlooybergtoren, a different kind of a viewpoint: a rusty flight of stairs that ends in mid-air. A little further on, you will find Haksberg Castle amid 3.6 hectares of vineyards. The local wines are named after birds that can be found in the local Hageland region. Your next stop is Belgium’s most important pilgrimage site, Scherpenheuvel, boasting the oldest central-plan domed church in the Low Countries. Finish your day in beautiful Diest, a town that has ties to the Royal House of Orange. Still undiscovered by mass tourism, it will probably be your biggest surprise on this holiday. Have a look around the courtyard beguinage, one of the oldest, most beautiful and best preserved in the Low Countries. Amble along the River Demer which flows through town once again, after having been covered up since the 1960s. A boardwalk, a cycling path, steps and seating invite the townspeople to spend time by the water.

Day 7: Diest – Genk | 58 km

The last route of this tour takes you to several special and unique places. Cycling on today’s flat roads won’t leave you breathless, but the landscape surely will. Firstly, you will cycle to Schulermeer Lake. Next, you will cycle to De Weijers, also known as Land of 1001 Ponds. Navigate your way around the humanmade fishing ponds, marvelling at the colourful vegetation and keeping an eye out for special species of amphibians and birds. Your next stop is in Bokrijk, an open-air museum that covers country life from 1910 to the 1960s, offering workshops in all kinds of historical skills and crafts. Towards the end of the day, get ready for an unusual experience: cycle on a path that runs for 200 meters right through a natural lake. You will be at eye level with the surface of the water, moving in total harmony with the ducks.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Zuid*** or similar
  • Cycling for the day: 58 km

Day 8: Departure from Genk

After one last hotel buffet breakfast, your bicycle holiday will come to an end.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Comfortable 3-star and 4-star hotels, all in twin/double rooms with en-suite facilities. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

*Please note that hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included each day. For lunch and dinner, you can enjoy the cosy restaurants along the way. Inclusion of dinners is possible upon request.

Difficulty & terrain

The route of the tour goes along quiet secondary country roads with limited traffic. The terrain is mostly flat, with an average daily distance of 60-70 km. Previous cycling experience and good physical shape are recommended, for enjoying the trip to the maximum (read more about difficulty grades). Renting an E-bike is also possible, which will make cycling effortless. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime.

When to go

This trip can depart on any Saturday between April and September.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Brussels.

By train or bus
  • You can easily get to Genk with a train or bus passing through the city of Leuven. Use the Omio planner above for more details.

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 overnights in 3 and 4-star hotels as listed in the itinerary
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers between hotels (max. 1 piece of 20 kg per person)
  • Detailed travel information including route maps, route description, tourist attractions info and important telephone numbers
  • 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinner, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • Single room supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room – single rooms only available with the upgraded accommodation option
  • This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers
  • Bike / E-bike rental

Bike Rental

If you don’t bring your own, you can rent a bicycle from us. All our bikes have locks on the bikes and we also provide one extra chain lock. One pannier is included. All bikes are provided with a small repair kit including an extra inner tube, chain rivet extractor and hand pump. There is also one First Aid Kit. Saddles can be adjusted in height without using any tools.

Our hybrid bikes are Giant Aero RS2 or similar. Assembly: with Shimano Deore (24 gears). Brakes: Shimano rim brakes (hand brakes). Pedals: Flat pedals. Weight:16.5 kg.

The e-bikes have a small electric engine and battery, which can be charged at the hotels. You still have to pedal: it just makes pedalling much easier. Some experience with e-bikes is recommended, as the bikes accelerate faster and are heavier than regular bikes because of the electric engine. The e-bikes are Kalkhoff 2.0 Impulse or similar with 7 gears. They have a Bosch 500 Wh middle engine with a range of approx. 100 km (normal use). Brakes: rim brakes. Pedals: Flat pedals. Weight: 27 kg. 

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