Five Country Meuse
Beginning and ending in Maastricht this cycle tour combines two beautiful routes to create a “Tour d’Europe”. The first is the International Meuse Route, a bicycle route along the meandering River Meuse (or Maas as it is known in Dutch) between Maastricht in the Netherlands and the French town of Sedan. The second route is the Vennbahn Rail Trail which starts in the Walloon region in the south of Belgium.
Spend the first four days cycling over 200km as you follow the, highly enjoyable, Meuse route through the valley of the River Meuse, past castles, forts and pretty villages, surrounded by breath-taking natural beauty. This route also incorporates the RAVeL <la Meuse à vélo> in Belgium and the <Voie Verte Trans-Ardennes> in France.
Leaving the Meuse Route behind, you will continue on a connecting route to the Vennbahn rail trail, a cycle path along a former railway which crosses three countries and is 125km long with a maximum incline of 2%. This connecting route follows country roads past rolling crop fields and pastures on a high plateau. The characteristic Ardennes villages and unforgettable panoramas will enchant you, particularly Bouillon, a historical gem, and the town of Bastogne, known for the Ardennes counteroffensive near the end of WWII, are just two of the many historical highlights on this journey. From Bastogne you will follow rail trail RAVeL 163, one of the prettiest cycle paths on the Walloon cycle route network to the border with Luxembourg and all the way to the Vennbahn.
Leading from Troisvièrges in the north of Luxembourg along the scenic River Our to Belgian-German High Fens-Eifel nature park, the Vennbahn finishes in Aachen, a town of historical significance, as the cathedral and gothic Town Hall testify.
From £1260.00 P/P
You’ll arrive independently in Maastricht, the oldest town in the Netherlands and the town where the foundations were laid for the European Union with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992.
You’ll be welcomed at the 4-star hotel with coffee/tea and Limburg pie providing you some much needed energy for the trip ahead. When you’re ready, you’ll begin the first leg of your bike tour: from Maastricht to Liège or the “fiery city” as it is sometimes known. On the way to Belgium you will follow the River Jeker (which flows into the River Meuse at Maastricht) to the picturesque village of Kanne. From here you’ll follow the RAVeL trail, via the friendly town of Visé and on to Liège (or Luik, as it is called in Dutch).
Head off along the safe cycle path along the Meuse which will take you right through the centre of Liège then follow the John Cockerill railway to make your way out of the built-up area of the city. Follow the signs for RAVeL . Take the opportunity to visit the awe-inspiring blast furnaces of Seraing and the Val St. Lambert crystal factory shop. Continue your ride along the quiet backroads, past typical Walloon villages, never moving far from the river, towards Huy. You’ll briefly switch to the bike track along the Meuse just before reaching Huy. Here the Tihange nuclear reactor is a very striking industrial complex after a brief stop for lunch in Huy you’ll continue along the Meuse to Namur finding nature gradually prevailing over industry on this stage of your journey.
As you leave Namur following RAVeL you’ll pass the village of Wépion, famous for strawberries; and the Gardens of Annevoie on your way to Dinant. On arrival spend some time enjoying this town and the riverside cafes on offer here before continuing on to the lovely Chateau Freyr. Cycle on for several kilometres on the former railway from Hastière to Mariembourg before crossing the border into France and the town of Givet with its imposing Charlemont citadel.
You’ll spend today cycling on Voie Verte Trans-Ardennes, along the Meuse River. Your destination is Charleville- Mézières, known for its lovely historical town centre but a visit to the charming town of Monthermé on the way provides one of the day’s highlights. If this longer stage is a little too much then you can take the train from Givet to Charleville-Mézières or cycle the first part of the journey allowing you to take in the sheer beauty of this stage before taking the train the last part towards Charleville-Mézières.
Today you will cycle through a picturesque landscape to Sedan in northern France, which boasts Europe’s largest castle. You’ll reach the town via the Voie Verte Trans-Ardennes which was extended along the Meuse past Sedan in September. This is where you leave the International Meuse Route setting off on the first leg of the connecting route that bridges the end of the Meuse Route and the beginning of the Vennbahn route. On the French side, a quiet road climbs gradually to the border where you’ll cross back into Belgium and descend into the town of Bouillon where you can visit the impressive castle-fortress of Godfried of Bouillon before heading to your accommodation for the night.
Begin the day by making your way up the narrow, climbing road and out of the pretty town of Bouillon then continue along the connecting route through the south of Belgium. You’ll soon find yourself cycling along pretty country roads flanked by farmland and passing characteristic villages apparently untouched by time. Stop for lunch in the town of Libramont-Chevigny before following another stretch of the RAVeL-route (on former railway line 163 from Libramont via Bastogne to Gouvy). You’ll spend tonight in Bastogne where you’ll find many monuments that remember the Battle of the Ardennes at the end of WWII.
Head north along RAVeL 163 from “Gare du Sud” railway station, on one of the most beautiful bike tracks in the RAVeL network. Eventually you’ll head east to the border with Luxembourg, at the end of this RAVeL route. Continue your ride through a slightly undulating Luxembourg landscape on peaceful roads to the Vennbahn route which you will reach in Huldange, the highest point in Luxembourg (558.5 m N.A.P.).
You’ll continue your tour crossing the border back into Belgium, through a beautiful landscape to the ruins of Burg Reuland, towering high above the village, then on to Hemmeres, a German enclave, and finally to Sankt-Vith, where you’ll spend the night.
You’ll make easy progress today as you cycle towards Belgian-German Ardennes-Eiffel Nature Park along the newly asphalted bike track between Sankt-Vith and Waimes. Take time to stop off in Montenau where you’ll find an Ardennes ham smokery, Sourbrodt, a former station along the Vennbahn railway and break for lunch in Kalterherberg. Further along you’ll leave the Vennbahn and make a detour to Monschau a quaint and
enchanting Eifel town which boasts lovely half-timbered houses, enticing shops and good restaurants before heading to your hotel in Rohren a few kilometres away.
You’ll head back from the centre of Monschau to the Vennbahn rail trail on this final day of your tour. Don’t miss the monumental town of Kornelimünster before heading to Aachen, once the centre of Charlemagne’s empire which you’ll reach following a long descent. After your visit to this historic town, you’ll catch the train back to Maastricht which provides you with time to relax and enjoy the countryside views of the scenic southern Limburg.
After a hotel breakfast, you’ll make your own way home.
This intermediate tour takes you along mostly quiet roads and dedicated cycle paths. Each stage covers quite a long distance and you’ll encounter some small inclines.
Total distance cycled: 545-562 km
Starting point of the cycling holiday: Maastricht (NL)
Route Map (For guidance only):
Routes maybe subject to change or alteration. All route notes, maps and day-by-day information will be given to you upon arrival at the first hotel or at the welcome meeting. GPS/GPX Files are available for most of the cycling holidays we offer. Please ask us for details.
• Nine overnight-stays in 3-star and 4-star hotels & Standard Bike Tours
• Breakfast (buffet)
• Coffee and pie in Maastricht on day 1
• Route description
• Tourist information for on the road
• Daily luggage transfer
• Train ticket for yourself and your bike for Kerkrade-Maastricht
• Coffee and apple pie in Cugnon (day 6)
• Your outward and homeward journeys to and from Maastricht
• Other meals
• Rental bike
• Tourist tax
We have put a calendar of events together that will provide you with some inspiration of what you can expect on your holiday, and when the best time to jet off is. Now’s your chance to travel further than you can by foot and be part of a memorable and exciting two-wheel journey with us.