Belgium: Cycling in Flanders from Bruges to Brussels
8 days / 7 nights | Ship: MS Magnifique II | Guided or self guided bike tours
During this tour by bike & barge you can enjoy the most beautiful art cities of Flanders: Brussels, Mechelen, Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges are wonderful and interesting historical cities. The daily guided bike tours will lead you through a variety of beautiful flat landscapes and along the river Schelde. You will also visit many picturesque small towns. The largest Flemish “art cities”, like Brussels, Mechelen, Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges are showing their Flemish art treasures. You can make relaxing bike tours over old tow paths along small canals and rivers and via lanes with a lot of poplars to ancient villages, where beer is till being brewed like in grandfathers times. And when one tries this local village beer in a authentic pub or in an outside street café under the trees, the people approvingly raise their glass, especially when one arrives by bike. Make a combination of beautiful cycling tours, various highlights and a very nice stay aboard your „floating hotel“.
Day 1 (Sat): Bruges
Individual arrival in Bruges. Embarkation and check-in as from 1 PM. The MS MAGNIFIQUE awaits you in the Bruges harbour where the crew will welcome you on board. Take some time to explore this lovely city. The „Venice of the North“ is well known as city of art and museums. Its city centre with lots of canals is put on the World Cultural Heritage List of UNESCO. Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while over viewing the “Grote Markt” square with its hustle and bustle.
Day 2 (Sun): Tour around Bruges to the North Sea (Cycling 50 km / 32 miles)
The first bike tour takes you first to a quiet canal along where you’ll find lots of poplars, through an attractive polder landscape with nice small farm houses. Then via the small city of Damme to the North Sea cost. A 12 kilometre long sandy beach, numerous cafés and the attractive dune landscape of “Het Zwin” (an unique nature reserve) provide enough variety during your lunch break. Then back to Bruges while riding along a small canal.
Day 3 (Mon): Bruges – Moerebrugge | Moerebrugge – Ghent (Cycling 40 km / 24 miles)
During breakfast the barge will sail to Moerebrugge. Today’s bike tour follows the canal of Ghent to Oostende, through the stretched Flemish landscape to Ghent. The lovely illuminated streets of the town centre invites for a walk. The architectural richness in the historical centre of the city of Ghent (during the Middle Ages the 2nd largest European city just after Paris), has been maintained well. Docking place is the lock of Merelbeke, a suburb of Ghent and approx. 15 cycling minutes to the city centre of Ghent.
Day 4 (Tue): Ghent – Dendermonde (Cycling 48 km / 29 miles | Dendermonde – St-Amands)
After breakfast you will cycle to Dendermonde. Here you can’t escape a coffee or tea break on the beautiful Flemish Grote Market square. Depending on availability of mooring space, the barge may sail to St-Amands for the night.
Day 5 (Wed): Dendermonde – St-Amands | St-Amands – Temse – Antwerp (Cycling 42 km / 25 miles)
During breakfast the barge will sail to St-Amands (or on Tue.). This part of the route is the most beautiful and twisting part of the river Schelde. Your bike tour starts here. You will cycle past the water tower and you cross the Brussels-Rupel canal. The tour continues through an historical brick factory area between Boom and Niel where bricks are still manufactured since the Middle Ages up to now. From Rupelmonde you will have a lovely cycle tour to Hemiksem, to reach Antwerp in the end. This harbour city on the river Schelde is one of the worlds major diamond cities and has many highlights: the City Hall is one of several majestic buildings constructed in the Renaissance, the historical City Square Grote Market, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe cathedral and the medieval Steen Castle.
Day 6 (Thu): Antwerp – Lier – Willebroek (Cycling 45 km / 27 miles)
Just after breakfast you will cycle through the quit suburbs of Antwerp with nice villa’s and manicured gardens to Lier. From here you cycle along the small river Nete further to Willebroek, where the MS MAGNIFIQUE is waiting for you again.
Day 7 (Fr): Willebroek – Mechelen – Vilvoorde (Cycling 40 km / 24 miles | Vilvoorde – Brussels)
While the barge is sailing over the Willebroek canal, you will cycle your last bike tour through green, soft slanted hilly country via Mechelen to Vilvoorde. A remarkable thing about Mechelen are the over 300 buildings listed as a historical building, 8 of these are churches, on less then 3 square kilometres. From Vilvoorde you will sail with the barge to Brussels. Just take a walk through the historical city centre, along the gothic town hall and the beautiful guild houses on the Grote Markt.