Flanders: The mecca of cycling, the paradise of beer
Stunning panoramas along the Scheldt, Leie or along the North Sea, through the bustling green belt of Brussels, or through Flanders Fields. The perfect backdrops for cycling adventures that deserve a suitable apotheosis: a traditionally brewed Belgian beer.
Flanders is bursting with culture and heritage. You can explore our stately cathedrals and admire masterpieces of painting. But there is so much more. Our region is a dream location for bicycle rides and stopping on the way to taste our liquid gold, the beer made with love and craftsmanship by our traditional brewers.
First, the sport. This beautiful region with its bergs and cobbles is still the best known reference in cycling. However, our roads are not only made for the lycra-clad sports enthusiasts. Flanders has something to offer to all those who love cycling. And certainly to those who associate that love with a passion for the good life. Because Belgian beer culture is monumental. This small patch of land produces innumerable unique beers. Mix those two, cycling and beer, and your cycling holiday is sure to be unforgettable and ultimately relaxing.
Delicious sour candies in and around Brussels
Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium, but also the capital of Lambic. This complex, layered and tangy beer is delicious in itself, while it is also the basis for the iconic Geuze and Cherry Beers, typical of Brussels and its surrounding regions. On the edge of the town centre you will find the famous Cantillon brewery. From there you can cycle to numerous other breweries and Geuze producers in the Pajottenland and Zenne Valley regions.
The Geuze Route proves that these two magnificent regions are packed with delights. On this journey you will ride through hilly landscapes, passing many highlights: visitor centre ‘De Lambiek’ in Alsemberg, Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen and its Lambik-O-Droom, Geuze producer Hanssens and brewery Boon. Your legs feel the landscape, your taste buds are touched by the delicious beer.
Trappist: an immortal beer icon
Flanders has numerous brews that seem almost supernatural. However, without a doubt, Trappist is the beer that comes closest to divine status. These glorious beers are traditionally brewed by the Trappist monks. To date, this title remains is a quality label that meets the strictest criteria. Only 14 breweries worldwide are allowed to use the Trappist name. Six of them are in Belgium.
Half of those in Flanders: Westvleteren, Achel and Westmalle. The monks of this last order have been brewing for over 200 years in the Abbey of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Westmalle, in the Antwerp Kempen. This region is a true gem, where you are sure to have a wonderful time. Get a taste – literally and figuratively – of all the advantages on the Trappist route. It takes you past abbeys and castles, over the vast landscape of the Brecht heath, near the fairytale castle de Renesse and in the fresh forest air of ’s Herenbos reserve. You can finish – how else! – with a fresh glass of Dobbel, Trippel or Extra on the terrace of Café Trappisten. Cheers!
Beer, cheese and Teuten in Limburg
Limburg is nothing less than a true cycling and walking paradise. You can get lost in peaceful nature and enjoy unique cycling experiences. Because where else can you cycle through the water and between the treetops? This last experience is actually just a stone's throw from the village of Bokrijk, where you will find an open air museum of the same name. A must-see if you have ever wondered where our customs and traditions come from.
All this can be combined with numerous bike rides. The beer, cheese and teuten route will take care of your taste buds and replenish your energy levels during the journey. This flat route takes you straight through forests, vast fields, meadows and the canal. In the villages of Hamont and Sint-Huibrechts-Lille you will discover the beautiful houses of the so-called teuten, travelling merchants from the 17th century. And along the way you can taste the delicious cheeses and beer of the Trappists from Achel. Not to be missed.
Flanders Fields: home of hop
Flanders Fields is known worldwide as a memorial site for the First World War, but the Westhoek is also an ancient hop landscape. Hops are an essential ingredient of beer, as a preservative, but mainly because of its slightly bitter and defining taste. About 95 percent of all hops are grown here, making the Westhoek an important beer region.
A wealth you can also discover on your bike. While Flandriens are battling hills like the famous Kemmelberg in the depths of their minds, the recreational cyclist finds many beautiful cycling routes here. Discover the numerous highlights along the way. A selection of the regional offer: The Hopmuseum in Poperinge - also starting point for two cycling routes - Sint-Bernardus brewery, the English-language tours in De Dolle Brouwers and Season Brewery Vandewalle. And of course the legendary In de Vrede, the only (!) café in the world where you can order the famous Westvleteren beer. One for the beer lovers’ bucket list!
Story created on 3 June 2022