Peace cycle route

Ypres
Polygoonbos
Flanders Fields, a name that is permanently associated with the Westhoek region. The region around Ypres still bears the scars of the First World War. On this Peace Route we cycle past military cemeteries, memorial sites, monuments and peaceful green spaces.

Peace cycle route

0KM

Start

Ypres
Ieper

Start: Ypres, capital of Flanders Fields

Whoever says Ypres says Flanders Fields. The memories of the First World War are everywhere. Just a stone’s throw from the Grote Markt, for example, you’ll find the iconic Menin Gate. The monument bears the names of tens of thousands of fallen soldiers. Every evening, at 20:00 sharp, the buglers play The Last Post here, as a final tribute to the fallen soldiers. On the Grote Markt itself, the In Flanders Fields Museum tells many stories of the Great War. But more about that at the end of our journey.

First we start our beautiful bike ride through the Westhoek. We give our ‘horse of steel’ the tracks and cycle out of the city centre, towards the north. We pedal swiftly along the Ypres-Yser canal. There we cruise over a lovely bicycle path: no cars allowed and smooth as a snooker table, all calm. We stop there at a first memorial point. 

Oude Kaasmakerij

Wise words and power food

In Flanders Fields / The poppies blow / Between the crosses / Row on row. These are the first lines of the famous poem by Canadian doctor-soldier John McCrae. He wrote it in 1915, in the midst of the war. He probably penned the final version right here, at this canal bed. We put our bike aside and let McCraes's wise words sink in for a moment. His poem remains an eternal symbol of that horrific World War. After a moving stop, let's make those pedals go round again.

A little further down we turn away from the canal. We turn right and return to a closed cycle path, straight across the fields of the Westhoek. The cycle path leads us to Langemark-Poelkapelle, a combination of villages that were hit hard in the First World War. It was here that the first gas attack in war history took place in 1915. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be the last one.  

A few minutes later, our ride is about halfway, we can do with some power food. We’ll stop for a break at De Oude Kaasmakerij. This museum shows us how cheese was made in the interwar period, between the two World Wars. The associated brasserie soothes our hunger and gives us the necessary energy to pedal on. And so we set off again. 

Tyne Cot Cemetary

World heritage

Soon we arrive at a new stop: the Tyne Cot Cemetery. This is one of the most famous war cemeteries in the region. It is the final resting place for 11,957 casualties of war, the place leaves quite an impression. The panorama may have something to do with this. Tyne Cot literally rises above the landscape, offering an amazing view. We are here enjoying it and UNESCO also saw its value. The Tyne Cot Cemetery is part of a package of 139 WWI memorial sites recognised as world heritage sites since 2023. 

De Palingbeek

A green backdrop

After a pit stop at Tyne Cot we continue through the rolling landscape. We cycle south and thus arrive at the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, which gives a full picture of the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917. After a fascinating history lesson, we cycle into nature. We cruise along green provincial areas such as the Gasthuisbossen, the Vierlingen and the Palingbeek and along the cycle path on the bank of the Zillebekevijver.

In Flanders Fields Museum - Ypres © Milo Profi

Finish: Ypres, capital of Flanders Fields

This is how we end up in the last kilometres of our invigorating and gripping cycling tour. We now head towards our final destination: Ypres. A treasure trove of heritage and history awaits us there. In the heart of the city we find the Belfry, the Cloth Hall and a handful of museums. The Yper Museum brings us eleven centuries of Ypres and Westhoek, and the impressive and interactive In Flanders Fields Museum is the standard for all the stories from the Great War.  

On the Grote Markt we get off our bike. We lock them up neatly and prepare ourselves for a share of history. An exciting final note for a bike ride that we won't forget anytime soon.  

45KM

Finish

Practical

Ypres is the start and finish place for our bike ride, but you can also start the tour at Zonnebeke or Langemark-Poelkapelle. 

  • Parking:
    Parking Station, Parking Boterplas, Parking Esplanade
  • Public transport:
    Station Ieper
  • Bicycles for hire:
    Blue Bike, Noyelle Sport, Biking Box, Jeugdstadion
  • Nodes:
    89 – 93 – 38 – 98 – 48 – 47 – 33 – 63 – 65 – 85 – 56 – 80 – 81 – 84 – 36 – 29 – 58 – 77 – 27 – 22- 23 – 64 – 24 – 35 – 39 – 89 

You can also follow the Peace cycle route signage or use the gpx.