Bike and Barge in Belgium, in the heart of Europe! With three official languages (Flemish, French and German), Belgium is a culturally diverse country with a rich and varied history and an understated sophistication which makes it a charming country to visit and the perfect place for a bike and boat tour.
It boasts a wealth of spectacular architecture, with many of its oldest buildings listed as UNESCO world heritage sites. The renowned grand squares of Brussels and Bruges, with hundreds of museums, parks, restaurants, and bars will not fail to impress you.
Belgium also has a proud tradition of fine art and the works of many well-known artists, from medieval masters such as Van Eyck to modern surrealists like Magritte. For lovers of the outdoors, Belgium's beautiful countryside offers a range of things to do. Most of all, Belgians know how to enjoy life to the full - their world-famous beers, chocolates, waffles, mussels, fries, and fine cuisine are a testament to this. It's never difficult to find a great place to eat or drink in any Belgian town or city.
If you fly into Amsterdam, you can access the train station on the lower level of the airport. From there you will take a short train ride to Amsterdam Centraal, the main train station in Amsterdam. A train to Brussels Central is about 2 hours and 40 minutes with one transfer in Rotterdam Centraal. A train to Bruges is close to 4 hours with either one or two transfers. If you fly into Brussels, it is just a short train ride to Brussels Central from the airport and then you can take a taxi to the harbor. If your tour is beginning in Bruges, it is about an hour and a half train ride with one transfer in Brussels Midi.
Please check local conditions before your arrival. Average high/low temperatures (°F) for Brussels: April 55°/40°, May 63°/47°, June 67°/52°, July 72°/56, August 72°/55°, and September 66°/52°.
Bruges to Brussels: July 11, 2020 Brussels to Bruges: July 18, 2020
Bruges to Brussels: May 16, May 30, June 27, July 11, August 8, and August 22, 2020 Brussels to Bruges: May 23, June 6, July 4, July 18, August 15, and August 29, 2020
Where You’ll Stay
Aboard the Standard class boats, the Gandalf or the Feniks
Each boat varies slightly. Be sure to see what is included/not included on your boat.
Day 1: Bruges, 6 mi. (11 km) Day 2: Roundtrip from/to Bruges and North Sea, 22 or 30 mi. (37 or 51 km) Day 3: Bruges - Ghent, 21 or 36 mi. (35 or 57 km) Day 4: Ghent - Dendermonde/St. Amands, 24 or 32 mi. (40 or 53 km) Day 5: St. Amands - Temse - Antwerp, 21 or 31 mi. (35 or 49 km) Day 6: Antwerp - Lier - Willebroek, 21 or 34 mi. (34 or 54 km) Day 7: Willebroek - Mechelen - Zemst, 23 mi. (38 km) Zemst - Brussels* Day 8: Brussels
Day 1: Bruges, 6 mi. (11 km) After a welcome by the crew at 2 p.m., there is time for bicycle fitting and a short test-ride through the countryside around Bruges. After dinner, the tour leader will take you for a walk through the center of town. We advise you to come to Bruges one or more days earlier, so that you will have plenty of time to discover The "Venice of the North", well known as city of art and museums. Its city center with lots of canals is on the World Cultural Heritage List of UNESCO. Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while overviewing the “Grote Markt” square with its hustle and bustle.
Day 2: Roundtrip from/to Bruges and North Sea, 22 or 30 mi. (37 or 51 km) The first cycling tour starts by taking you to a quiet poplar-lined canal through an attractive flat and green polder landscape with lovely, typical farmhouses. Continue via the small city of Damme to the North Sea cost. Long sandy beaches, numerous cafés and the attractive sand dune landscape provide enough variety during your lunch break. Then return to Bruges while riding along a small canal.
Day 3: Bruges - Ghent, 21 or 36 mi. (35 or 57 km) Today you will start by pedaling towards Ghent through the beautiful Flemish landscape along the Ghent canal. On arrival in Ghent make sure you make the effort to discover the best of what this historical city has to offer during an afternoon stroll. Ghent’s medieval center features lovely illuminated streets that are a must to explore, while the architectural richness in the historical center of the city has to be seen to be believed. During the Middle Ages, Ghent was the 2nd largest European city after Paris. The ship will dock for the night at a lock, in a suburb of Ghent and approx. 30 cycling minutes from the city center.
Day 4: Ghent - Dendermonde/St. Amands, 24 or 32 mi. (40 or 53 km) After breakfast in Ghent you will cycle downstream through a diverse landscape along the tidal Schelde River to Dendermonde located at the junction of Dender and Schelde Rivers. There is only one way to describe the landscape along the Schelde and that is “magnificent”. It is, without doubt, one of the natural highlights of the tour. During this section of the Schelde the speed of the ship will be determined by the height of the tide. You will travel from Dendermonde to St. Amands by either bicycle or barge depending on the tides. Your floating hotel will be docked for the night in St. Amands.
Day 5: St. Amands - Temse - Atwerp, 21 or 31 mi. (35 or 49 km) This part of the route is among the most beautiful and twisting parts of Schelde river. Your cycling tour starts in St. Amands and you will cycle past the water tower and you cross the BrusselsRupel canal. The tour continues through a historical brick factory area between Boom and Niel where, since the Middle Ages, bricks are still being manufactured. From Rupelmonde you will have a lovely cycling tour to Hemiksem, to reach Antwerp. This harbor city on the river Schelde is one of the world’s 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 Markt, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe cathedral and the medieval Steen Castle. Dinner in a restaurant of your choice (not included).
Day 6: Antwerp - Lier - Willebroek, 21 or 34 mi. (34 or 54 km) Just after breakfast you will leave the ship and cycle through the quiet suburbs of Antwerp, with nice villa’s and manicured gardens, to Lier. The city of Lier has 2 UNESCO World heritage sites, the Beguinage and the Belfry. Beguinages are closed courtyards – where, in past centuries, widows and unmarried women led a religiously inspired, but independent life. Self-rule occurred under the leadership of a “grand dame”. From Lier you cycle along the small river Nete to Willebroek, where the ship will be waiting for you.
Day 7: Willebroek - Mechelen - Zemst, 23 mi. (38 km) Zemst - Brussels* While the barge is sailing over the Willebroek canal, you will ride your last cycling tour through green, soft slanted hilly country via Mechelen to Zemst. Remarkable in Mechelen is that over 300 buildings on less than 3 square kilometers are listed as historical buildings; 8 of these are churches. From Zemst you will meet the barge and sail to Brussels*. Your tour leader will take you for a walk through the historical city center, along the gothic town hall and the beautiful guild houses on the Grote Markt.
*Day7/8: your barge may also stay for the night in/near Zemst, to sail to Brussels on early Saturday morning during breakfast.
Day 8: Brussels End of tour. Disembarkation after breakfast by 9:30 am.
Brussels to Bruges
Day 1: Brussels Day 2: Brusels - Zemst*| Zemst - Mechelen - Willebroek, 23 mi. (38 km) *Day1/2: Your barge may already leave Brussels on Sat. evening during dinner to sail to Zemst and stay there for the night, instead of staying in Brussels for the first night Day 3: Willebroek - Antwerp, 21 or 34 mi. (34 km or 54 km) Day 4: Antwerp - Temse - St. Amands, 21 or 31 mi. (34 km or 49 km) Day 5: St. Amands - Dendermonde | Dendermonde - Ghent, 32 mi. (52 km) Day 6: Ghent - Bruges, 13 or 28 mi. (22 or 45 km) Day 7: Tour around Bruges to the North Sea, 23 or 31 mil (38 or 51 km) Day 8: Bruges
Day 1: Bruges Day 2: Bruges, roundtrip to North Sea, 33 mil (55 km) Day 3: Bruges - Moerebrugge | Moerebrugge - Oostende - Ghent, 24 mi. (40 km) Day 4: Ghent - Dendermonde, 29 mi. (48 km) Dendermonde - St. Amands Day 5: St. Amands - Temse - Antwerp, 25 mi. (42 km) Day 6: Antwerp - Lier - Willebroek, 27 mi. (45 km) Day 7: Willebroek - Mechelen - Vilvoorde, 24 mi. (40 km) Vilvoorde - Brussels Day 8: Brussels
Day 1: Bruges Individual arrival in Bruges. The Gandalf awaits you in the Bruges harbor. Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board is from 3 to 5 p.m. Before or after boarding take the opportunity to explore this lovely city of art, widely described as the “Venice of the North”. You can enjoy the ambience of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historical center during a leisurely walk, take in the hustle and bustle of the Grote Markt square (Great Market square), visit one of Bruges many museums or simply enjoy the stunning beauty and culture of this unforgettable city from the comfort of a sidewalk café.
Day 2: Bruges, roundtrip to North Sea, 33 mi. (55 km) Your first day of cycling will take you through Damme, the birthplace of the impudent Middle Ages trickster Till Eulenspiegel, to the seaside resort of Blankenberge. Visit anyone of numerous cafés and, if you want to cool down, enjoy a swim in the North Sea. After approx. 2 hours you will cycle back to Bruges and the ship.
Day 3: Bruges - Moerebrugge | Moerebrugge - Oostende - Ghent, 24 mi. (40 km) While you enjoy breakfast the barge Gandalf will sail to Moerebrugge where you will start your day’s cycling. With the historical city of Ghent your destination today you will cycle via Oostende along the Ghent-Oostende-canal through the beautiful Flemish landscape. The town center of Ghent features lovely illuminated streets that are a must to explore, while the architectural richness in the historical center of the city has to be seen to be believed. During the Middle Ages, after Paris, Ghent was the 2nd largest European city. The Gandalf will dock for the night at the Merelbeke lock, a suburb of Ghent and approx. 15 cycling minutes to the city center.
Day 4: Ghent - Dendermonde, 29 mi. (48 km) Dendermonde - St. Amands After breakfast in Ghent you will cycle through a diverse landscape to Dendermonde which is located at the mouth of the Dender River where it flows into the Schelde River. Here you can enjoy some time off your bicycle with a coffee or a cup of tea at the beautiful Flemish Grote Market square. In the evening shipping to St. Amands one of the most beautiful and winding parts of the route on the river Schelde.
Day 5: St. Amands - Temse - Antwerp, 25 mi. (42 km) Your cycle route for the day starts in St. Amands and takes you over the Brussels-Rupel canal and on to a historical brick factory situated between Boom and Niel where bricks have been manufactured since the Middle Ages. After cycling through the countryside to Rupelmonde and later Hemiksem you will finally reach Antwerp, your destination for the night. Antwerp is a harbor city situated on the river Schelde famous for handling up to 80% of the world’s rough diamonds. There are many highlights in the city to discover including the City Hall, one of several majestic buildings constructed during the Renaissance period, the historical City Square Grote Market, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Cathedral and the medieval Steen Castle.
Day 6:Antwerp - Lier - Willebroek, 27 mi. (45 km) After breakfast, you will cycle through the leafy suburbs of Antwerp and past typical Belgian villas that feature beautiful trees, manicured gardens and picturesque facades to Lier. From here you cycle along the small river Nete and on to Willebroek where the ship will be waiting for you. When there is enough interest, a beer tasting will be held onboard (to be paid on board).
Day 7: Willebroek - Mechelen - Vilvoorde, 24 mi. (40 km) Vilvoorde - Brussels While the barge sets sail along the Willebroek canal, your final day’s cycling will see you pass through the picturesque countryside via Mechelen to Vilvoorde. Mechelen is a remarkable city that boasts more than 300 buildings that are historically listed. Of these, 8 are churches – all on less than 3 square kilometers! From Vilvoorde you will board the Gandalf for the trip to Brussels, where you can walk through the historical city center, visit the Grote Markt square (Great Market square), arguably Europe’s most beautiful medieval square lined with guild houses or marvel at the Gothic town hall.
Day 8: Disembarkation and departure
Brussels to Bruges
Day 1: Brussels Day 2: Brussels - Vilvoorde | Vilvoorde - Mechelen - Willebroek, 24 mi. (40 km) Day 3: Willebroek - Antwerp, 30 mi. (50 km) Day 4: Antwerp - St. Amands | Dendermonde, 30 mi. (50 km) St. Amands - Dendermonde Day 5: Dendermonde - Ghent, 29 mi. (48 km) Day 6: Ghent - Vinderhoute - Bruges, 24 mi. (40 km) Day 7: Tour around Bruges to the North Sea, 33 mi. (55 km) Day 8: Bruges
Day 1: Brussels - Vilvoorde Day 2: Vilvoorde - Mechelen - Willebroek Day 3: Willebroek - Antwerp Day 4: Antwerp Day 5: Antwerp - St. Amands - Dendergem Day 6: Dendergem - Ghent Day 7: Ghent - Bruges Day 8: Bruges
Daily distances on the Feniks average 40 - 45 km per day
Day 1: Brussels - Vilvoorde Boarding between 12 and 2 pm.
Day 2: Vilvoorde - Mechelen - Willebroek Sailing breakfast, then biking along the Zenne River to the historical town Mechelen. St. Rumbold's Tower is Mechelen's centerpiece, a towering 15th-century cathedral, 318 feet (97 meters) and more than 500 steps high. Climbing to the top will be rewarded with a magnificent view over Mechelen and a glimpse of other cities such as Brussels, Antwerp, and Leuven. The cathedral is also home to some incredible art. In the luminous baroque interior, you'll find The Crucifixion, a marvelous painting by the famous master Anthony Van Dyck, and dozens of other fine artworks. Peter Paul Rubens is considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time. Go to St. John's Church and admire his 17th-century masterpiece 'Adoration of the Magi'. Rubens himself called it one of his best works ever. After the visit of Mechelen, you’ll bike along the tidal river the Dijle to an authentic pub near the lock of Zennegat. It seems as if time stood still here. Then to the (small) rivers Nete and Rupel you will enter the estuary of the river Scheldt, the vein of Belgian wealth, then and now. You will meet the Feniks in Willebroek for the night.
Day 3:Willebroek - Antwerp You will bike on the meandering dikes along the Rupel and Nete to the picturesque city Lier, with its medieval town center. We will continue our bike tour through Flemish Brabant (a Belgian province) to the well-known harbor city Antwerp. The Feniks will be moored in the old Willemsdok, once the center of naval merchant activities, now still a beautiful place to berth.
Day 4:Antwerp Today a stopover in Antwerp to give you the opportunity to visit exhibitions of the Flemish Masters such as: • House of Peter Paul Rubens, the absolute top painter of the late 16th and early 17th century. • The “Museum aan de Stroom” (MAS), meaning the Museum at the river Scheldt. • Museum of Contemporary Art; one of the leading Belgian museums for contemporary art. • Possible excursion by tram or bike to the Coogels-Osy-Lei, a neighborhood with many houses in Art-Deco, Art-Nouveau, ane Jugendstil style.
Day 5: Antwerp - St. Amands - Dendergem Bike tour through marvelous nature upstream along the river Scheldt. Via Temse to St. Amands where we will visit the Morocco-Stone-Exposition. From St. Amands we will sail on the river to Dendermonde for the night.
Day 6: Dendergem - Ghent Another beautiful bike ride of 50 Km upstream the Scheldt to Ghent. Visit of the medieval town center including a city walk. The St. Baafs cathedral with the triptique of the Lamb God’s of the brothers Van Eijk is not to be missed.
Day 7:Ghent - Bruges Bike ride along the canal of Ghent to Ostend through the varied Flemish farmland to the end of this tour: Bruges. The Feniks will moor at the Bargeweg approx. 5 minutes from the medieval town
Brussels to Bruges Bike and Boat Tour Boats + Barges
GandalfNetherlands, BelgiumStandard Class BoatThe classic MS Gandalf is a comfort class passenger ship that can accommodate 20 guests. Almost everything on this barge is on one level, including the comfortable salon which has scenic panoramic windows.
FeniksBelgium, Netherlands, FranceStandard Class BoatOriginally, the Feniks was built in 1928 as a freighter on the Dutch, Belgium and French inland waters. In 1992, the Feniks was converted to a hotel passenger ship and put in service for various sailing holidays. Since then, she has undergone several renovations to keep up-to-date with all modern facilities.
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