Kastelen Cycle Route

Bruges
Kastelenroute Brugge (c) Kris Jacobs (3)
This cycling adventure takes us past the many castles around historic Bruges. Whistling happily, we cycle through forests and vast fields. A generous portion of greenery and history in West-Vlaanderen (West Flanders).

Kastelen Cycle Route

0KM

Start

Bruges
Kastelenroute Brugge (c) Kris Jacobs (16)

Start: Bruges

Our cycling adventure starts in Bruges, a historic beacon in this region. Even in the early Middle Ages, this was a city of international standing. For many centuries, Bruges was the main base of operation for the region’s nobility. They often spent their free time in the green countryside around the city. Today, we cycle in their footsteps (or at least the tracks of their sumptuous carriages). And so, we discover impressive castles, residences and gardens.

Kastelenroute Brugge (c) Kris Jacobs (11)

Castles in lush greenery

From Bruges station, we set off south. Through the woods, we make our way to a first stop: Loppem Castle. This impressive structure is a textbook example of a summer residence, as noble Bruges families often used to have. The castle is located on an artificial island, hidden in a romantic park with ponds and a maze. A great place to visit for the whole family.  

After this first splendid castle, our tour takes us through the centre of Loppem, before we disappear again into the blissful green surroundings. Whistling, we cycle through the fields, until trees suddenly start to surround us. Through the woods, we end up in the centre of Torhout, a town where we find two beautiful castles. Via the open fields, we come to the first of this duo: Wijnendale Castle.  

Kastelenroute Brugge (c) Kris Jacobs (18)

Steeped in history

This magnificent moated castle is rich in history. Since the mid-12th century this was a country residence for the counts of Flanders who then ruled the region. Although this place would prove to be more than just a place of rest and relaxation. Indeed, in 1482, a tragedy took place here. At that time, Mary of Burgundy ruled over much of what is now Belgium, the Netherlands and northern France. During a hunting party in the castle woods, she fell off her horse. She was seriously injured and never recovered. Mary of Burgundy died at the young age of 25. Her short reign is considered a milestone in the history of the Low Countries.

After this place full of history, we pedal on looking for a nice spot to rest. We find one on the impressive provincial domain around Castle d’Aertrycke, with its castle park, pond, meadows and woods. We make time for a short walk, a snack and a drink. And after that, we can move on. 

Kastelenroute Brugge (c) Kris Jacobs (13)

An old military domain

We are once again on calm roads that wind through the vast landscape. We continue on our delightful journey through this part of West-Vlaanderen (West Flanders). And there is still so much to discover, such as Vloethemveld. This former military domain once served as a prisoner-of-war camp. Today, it is a protected nature reserve covering no fewer than 365 hectares: forest, heathland and grassland. As per usual, we pedal on again on a quiet cycle path between the fields. Via Boekhoute forest, we make our way through the green domain and walking area Beisbroek

This brings us seamlessly to the neo-Gothic Tudor Castle, one of the youngest castles in the Bruges area. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century. And it is a gem, complete with ornamental garden, walled kitchen garden and a coach house. Both the estate and the Chartreuzinnen forest are great for walking. But that is not our main objective today. So, we pedal merrily on. 

A beautiful gravel path sets us on the way to the end of this adventure. Between tall trees, we reach the last castle of the day. Tillegem Castle is a beautifully renovated moated castle from the 14th century, surrounded by a lush green domain. We take a turn around the castle. There, we thoroughly enjoy the fresh, green surroundings.

Kastelenroute Brugge (c) Kris Jacobs (6)

Finish: Bruges

That is the last stop on our adventure. After it, the road leads back towards our starting point, Bruges railway station. That signals the end of the bike tour, but not of the adventure. From here, we walk in just a few minutes to the historic city centre, with all its art, heritage, and stories. There is still so much more to discover. And that is what we are going to do.  

Bruges
56KM

Finish

Practical information

  • Parking:
    Tudor car park
  • Public transport:
    Bruges railway station 
  • Bicycles for hire:
    Blue Bike (at the station), aclon bikes 
  • Nodes:
    You can base your journey on these cycling nodes: 25 > 99 > 97 > 67 > 10 > 74 > 95 > 88 > 72 > 8 > 81 > 4 > 71 > 85 > 70 > 63 > 53 > 77 > 96 > 76 > 90 > 61 > 94 > 59 > 99 > 25 > 49. But bear in mind that this route does not entirely follow the nodes. So be sure to keep an eye out for the Kastelen Cycle Route signage or use the gpx. 

    You can join the Kastelen Cycle Route at the rear/south side of Bruges railway station. For this, follow nodes 25 and 99 of the Bruges Ommeland cycle network. At the junction of Chartreuseweg and Koning Albert I-laan, you join the Castles Route and you should then follow the signage.