Highlands around Brussels – Cycling through Middle Flanders
This tour allows you to explore the lovely central part of Flanders via a string of beautiful historical towns. The city of Brussels, with its grand market square, is of course included in this itinerary as well as lesser-known destinations such as Sint Niklaas, Aalst and Ghent; the heart of this historical town, especially around the quays on the River Leie, looks as though it is straight out of a fairy tale. In Oudenaarde you may like to visit one of the many breweries, the pretty beguinage or the museum dedicated to the Tour of Flanders, a tough road-cycling race which has been held every spring since 1919. There are so many cultural highlights on this laidback cycling holiday!
From £1045.00 P/P
You’ll arrive in the historical town of Mechelen, under your own steam, be sure to leave enough time to explore this cute and compact town centre.
After leaving Mechelen, your first stop is Rumst, where the rivers Nete and Dijle meet and join to form the River Rupel which you will follow to the River Scheldt. Museums here tell of the fascinating history of this valley famous for its clay deposits, clay pits, brickyards and ovens for baking (roof)tiles. Continue along the Scheldt crossing the Temse Bridge to the town of Temse and onwards, along quiet roads, to Sint Niklaas, a town with the biggest market square in the whole of Belgium.
Continue your ride through the Waasland region to Dendermonde before re-joining the Scheldt river. As you cycle through this freshwater tidal habitat created by the seawater which, at high tide, flows unhindered as far as the locks near Ghent you’ll notice the diverse vegetation and wildlife of this everchanging landscape. Travelling through the scenic Scheldeland region, you will pass Donkmeer lake and nature reserve, which started off as a loop in the Scheldt, where you can stop to watch the boats glide by. The stunning and well-preserved town of Ghent is your final stop for the day, enjoy exploring this beautiful and historic town centre.
Today you’ll leave the vibrancy of Ghent and cycle to Nazareth and Gavere before you reach Oudenaarde at the foot of the Flemish Hills. In Sint Martens-Latem visit the Dhondt Dhaenens art museum, home to a wealth of works by Flemish modern and contemporary artists. In, Oudenaarde, fans of road bicycle racing should visit Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen, a museum dedicated to the Tour of Flanders. One look at the Town Hall here hints that this town has known grander days, in fact it used to be a thriving centre for tapestry production.
Your tour continues along the Scheldt, avoiding the notorious hills and cobbled lanes of the Tour of Flanders, head for Zottegem, the town of Lamoral, Count of Egmont (1522-1568). You’ll find many references to Lamoral here. This catholic Count, loyal to the Spanish King politely protested when the Spanish Inquisition was established in the Low Countries to eradicate the protestants and was beheaded, alongside them. Finally, on the River Dender, you’ll reach the town of Aalst, known for its carnaval, via the rural villages of Herzele and Haaltert.
Leaving Aalst you’ll cycle to Brussels today. On your way you will pass Afflichem Abbey, where the famous beer was once brewed, this was one of the wealthiest hop farming regions in Europe for centuries. Today the beer is brewed elsewhere but the monks’ old recipe is still strictly followed. You’ll continue along the country roads until you reach Brussels, the capital of Belgium and Europe. You’ll want to ensure you have plenty of time for sightseeing here as besides having Manneken Pis, the most delicious waffles, chocolates and pints, Brussels is rich in both history and modern culture with a wealth of shops and restaurants.
Your final day sees you head back to Mechelen but not before one last tour of the Grande Place. ON the way you’ll cycle through the suburbs to Grimbergen, known for its abbey with a baroque basilica that was never completed.
After breakfast, you’ll make your own way home.
This laidback tour will allow you to relax and enjoy your predominantly pastoral surroundings as you travel around Flanders. Staying mostly away from the arduous ascents and uncomfortable cobbles the Flemish Hills are notorious for, the first part of the route is flat. However, on days 5 and 6 you may encounter some vigorous climbs as the route undulates somewhat.
Total distance cycled: 312 km
Starting point of the cycling holiday: Mechelen
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.
- Double room with private facilities
- Standard Bike Hire
- Breakfast and dinner when half board supplement is paid
- Luggage Transfer
- English roadbook + map
- Handy roadbook holder
- Booking costs
- Flights to/from the start and finish
- Evening meals (unless stated)
- Local daily taxes (Payable at the hotel)
- Water Bottles
- Travel Insurance
- Bike Insurance (unless stated)
- Welcome Meetings (unless stated)
- Transfers (unless included)
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.