Bruges and Coast Tour: Self-Guided

This scenic tour explores the north-west part of Belgium known as Flanders. The pleasing Flemish countryside is painted with soft green hills, winding roads, rustic farms, peaceful canals and bustling villages. The gently rolling hills make for relatively easy cycling from one town to the next and there is plenty of time for sightseeing, especially in the Flemish capital of Bruges where you’ll lodge comfortably for three nights. The pedaling commences in Roeselare easily reached by train from the Brussels Airport. You’ll visit medieval Ypres well known for its WW1 battles and the Tyne Cot Cemetery and world famous Menin Gate. You’ll have time for some beer tasting in the St.-Sixtus Abbey before cycling along the borders of the River Yzer to Diksmuide with its historic plaza. Next is splendid Bruges. Over the years this medieval canal city has gone by many names: City of Romance, Venice of the North, the City That Time Forgot, and Cultural Capital of Europe since 2002. However, none of these titles accurately capture the enchantment of Bruges. With the city center closed off to cars, all the stunning beauty and culture of this unforgettable city can be easily explored by foot, canal boat or horse-drawn carriage along cobblestone streets. From Bruges you’ll make two circular rides. The first is to the authentic coastal village of De Haan and the second is to the seaside and Knokke where you can stroll along the new promenade, sunbathe on the broad sandy beach, or wander through the exclusive shopping boulevards. Finally, on your way back to Roeselare, there are opportunities to visit a chocolate manufacturer and the National Cyclist Museum.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Roeselare
Individual arrival in Roeselare and time to explore this city and its appealing market square with its rococo town hall.

Day 2: Roeselare – Ieper – 25 miles (40 km)
Today the cycling starts along easy and scenic low hills. First you’ll encounter the Tyne Cot Cemetery near Ieper, the resting place of nearly 12,000 British soldiers who died in World War I. Next is Ieper, a city in the middle of the frontline between the German and Allied Forces and mostly destroyed in 1908. Today Ieper is a quiet, lovely provincial town. Ieper’s gigantic cloth makers’ hall overlooking the market square is an especially noteworthy destination in this beautifully restored medieval town. You can also visit the impressive Menin Gate, a British War Memorial built on the site of the former city gate.

Day 3: Ieper – Diksmuide – 28 or 37 miles (45 or 60 km)
After pleasant cycling along the Yzer River this morning, you’ll soon notice the towers of the medieval town of Poperinge, famous for its hops and fine lace production. Poperinge is home to the National Hop Museum. There are over 800 different beers brewed in Belgium. One of the famous local beers is “Westvleteren”, voted the best beer in the world, and brewed in St. Sixtus Abbey, about 4 kilometers northwest of Poperinge. Make sure to reserve your free tasting! In the late afternoon you’ll reach Diksmuide, a charming town with an historic plaza and the imposing “Yzertoren”. This new 85 meter high “Iron” Tower was constructed from 1951 to 1965 with the inscription “no more war” in four languages. You can also enjoy the beauty of the historic market place.

Day 4: Diksmuide – Bruges – 38 miles (61 km)
Today you’ll cycle through scenic farmland to Bruges, the “Venice of the North”. This splendid medieval city is often considered the most beautiful of all Flemish cities. Its historic center dates from the Middle Ages and is almost completely intact. At that time Bruges was a thriving metropolis and a bustling hub of trade and art. There are still magnificent art collections and architectural treasures to appreciate today. Take your time to stroll through lovely parks, intimate little streets and ancient market squares. There’s also great shopping; the shopkeepers love to explain all the intricate details about the exquisite Belgian chocolates and hearty Belgian beer.

Day 5: Bruges – Knokke – Bruges – 37 miles (60 km)
Today’s cycling itinerary is a round trip along picturesque canals to the artist’s village of Damme. The route follows the coastal path along the North Sea so bring your swimsuit! Also plan on a stop for a drink or a gastronomic meal in the plush coastal town of Knokke. Afterward stroll along the new promenade, sunbathe on the broad sandy beach, or wander through the exclusive shopping boulevards before your ride back to Bruges through the dunes and the nature reserve of “Het Zwin.”

Day 6: Bruges – De Haan – Bruges – 32 miles (52 km)
This morning we cycle along lively canals and through peaceful farm land to the coast. Our goal is the well preserved coastal village of De Haan famous for its many buildings in Belle Epoque style. Here we can enjoy, if the weather cooperates, a stimulating dive into the North Sea or relax a bit at the beach before we return to Bruges. You always knew that Belgian beer was special but now you will be pleased to discover another opportunity to sample the tasty the Belgian cuisine!

Day 7: Bruges – Roeselare – 37 miles (60 km)
Today it’s a smooth ride along quiet rural roads back to Roeselare, passing by the castles of d’Aertrijcke and Wijnendaele. There is an optional visit to the National Cyclist Museum offering an overview of bicycle evolution from its early beginnings to the present day.

Day 8: Departure after breakfast

Getting There

From the Brussels Airport there is a direct airport train to Roeselare (1.5 hour). Call the hotel from the train station for a free pick-up and transfer to the first hotel.

Meals

Daily Breakfast is included.

Prices and Dates

Check out our Tour Calendar under “Self-Guided Tours”

Tour Length

8 days/7 nights

Included
      Accommodations in 3 and 4-star hotels; all rooms with private facilities
      – Daily breakfast
      – 7 or 21-speed bike equipped with map holder, pannier, repair kit and lock
      – Detailed route descriptions, tourist information and maps
      – Entrance Flanders Fields Museum in Ieper
      – Welcome drink and personal meeting with our Belgian representative
      – Emergency service phone number 7 days a week
    – Daily luggage transportation. Luggage transportation is limited to one suitcase or bag per person on this tour (not heavier than 20 kilos).
Bicycles

Included in the tour price are very well maintained 7 or 21-speed men’s and ladies bikes, equipped with a map holder, pannier, pump and spare inner tube, repair kit and lock. Also included is one odometer per two bikes, but this is not guaranteed, based on availability.

Level of Difficulty

Easy cycling on flat, mostly separate bike paths.

Excluded

Air fare
– Entrance fees to the various mentioned attractions
– Beverages
– Lunches and Dinners
– Any other items of a personal nature

Weather

Average daytime temperatures in April and May are 50-60. June, July, and August range from 65-70, and September and October from 60-65. Belgium is close to the North Sea and has a moderate sea climate.

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