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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.

Highlights:

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

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Genk

Arrival 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 – Heeze

On quiet roads, make your way to Bocholt, home to Europe’s largest brewing museum. Here you will get to know the whole process leading up to a perfectly poured pint. Continue past Hamont to Beverbeekse Heide nature reserve with its wetlands, woods and patches of heath. Next stop is at Achelse Kluis: St. Benedict’s Abbey and adjacent brewery, shop, gallery and inn. The brewery, closed to the public, is one of the few places in the world where Trappist beer is still brewed, now under the supervision of two remaining monks, Cistercians of the Strict Observance. After a well-earned Tripel, in the sunshine outside the inn, proceed through Leenderbossen woods to the villages of Leende and Heeze. In the evening, go for a pleasant walk on the grounds of Heeze Castle.

Accommodation: Kapellerput Hotel**** or similar
Cycling for the day: 75 km

Day 3: Heeze – Turnhout

On today’s route, you will traverse the Brabant Campine / Kempen region, cycling through woods and fields of heather (come in August to see the heather in flowers), and stopping at the Brabant towns of Valkenswaard and Bergeijk. Back in Belgium, the route passes close to Postel Abbey where beer has been brewed since 1611. Have a break in Arendonk and then end the day in Turnhout, a town historically linked to the manufacturing of playing cards. Checking out the local museum is highly recommended.

Accommodation: Best Western Plus Turnhout City**** or similar
Cycling for the day: 64 km

Day 4: Turnhout – Antwerp

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. 

Accommodation: Hampton Antwerp*** or similar
Cycling for the day: 69 km

Day 5: Antwerp – Leuven

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.

Accommodation: Park Inn Leuven*** or similar
Cycling for the day: 63 km

Day 6: Leuven – Diest

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.

Accommodation: Hotel de Franse Kroon*** or similar
Cycling for the day: 44 km

Day 7: Diest – Genk

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 which 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.

Hotels

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.

Sample hotels*: Hotel Zuid***, Kapellerput Hotel****, Best Western Plus Turnhout City**** , Hampton Antwerp*** , Park Inn Leuven*** , Hotel de Franse Kroon***

*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.

Travel

Arrival


Our recommended arrival/departure airport is Brussels.

You can easily get to Genk with a train or bus passing through the city of Leuven. Check here for more details.

Baggage Transfers

All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on cycling days are included (maximum one piece of 20 kg per person).

Country Info


Up-to-date travel advice on Belgium is available here. Detailed travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info

Difficulty Grade: Moderate

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 the cycling effortless.

Bike Rental

If you don’t bring your own, you can rent a bicycle from us. Our bikes are lightweight and make excellent touring bikes with 27-gears and disc brakes. Most of our premium bikes are Koga Grand Tourer bikes or similar. Renting an E-bike is also possible. All bikes for this tour come with a defender lock with plug-in chain (cable lock that is attached to the regular lock).

Terms of use:

  • The bicycle(s) may only be used for its/their intended purpose and only by the cyclists listed in the booking
  • The bike(s) must be returned to us in the same (clean) state in which you received it/them
  • You must take excellent care of the bicycle(s) as if it/they were your own. You must take every precaution against damage, loss or theft.

Damage, Loss and Theft
The renter will be held responsible for damages to or loss of the bicycle(s) or parts of it, as well as bicycle keys and chains and locks, for such an amount as is determined by us according to standard market prices. You must understand that you are not insured for damage to the bicycle(s) or for any damages to third parties.

Theft Insurance
It is possible to purchase Bicycle Theft Insurance, covering: damages arising out of the theft of the bicycle; and damages to the bicycle as a consequence of the theft. Not covered are: theft of bicycle parts; and damages arising out of attempted theft.

Route Navigation

Upon arrival, you will receive detailed travel information with route maps or overview maps, route description, tourist attractions and important telephone numbers.

When to Go

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

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

Options and Extras

  • Single-room supplement (this applies to members of a group who require single-room accommodation)
  • Half-board meal plan (including dinners on each evening)
  • Bike / E-bike rental
  • Bike theft insurance
  • Helmet rental

Excluded

  • Flights and connecting land transfers to first / from last accommodation
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme
  • Local tourist taxes

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