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The wheel thing: 7 cycling experiences to discover

Groen Lint, Ostend (c) Westtoer
00:56 01/05/2021
Cycling is much more than a way of getting from A to B: it’s a national sport and a way of life. There’s a route to suit every cyclist – here are a few of our favourites

The 100km Frontroute 14-18 features all manner of war tourism in West Flanders. From Nieuwport on the coast all the way to Messines, it takes in cemeteries, memorials, museums, hidden bunkers and trenches and, of course, the Menin Gate in Ypres. A great cycling holiday.

The canal cycling path in Brussels takes you from Molenbeek to Anderlecht and further, through an intriguing urban landscape. Ancient industrial buildings and houseboats alternate with waterfront apartments, while container ships and kayaks float by. Although cycling in Brussels can be a challenge, the canal routes are safe and – most importantly – flat. 

Wallonia's Ravel routes

Wallonia’s Ravel routes crisscross the region, many taking advantage of towpaths and disused railway lines (all appealingly flat). For the Mery-Comblain-Esneux trail, near Spa, follow the Ourthe river, heading past the usually inaccessible Gombe quarry. The route from Sart-Station to Stavelot borders the Spa-Francorchamps F1 circuit and intersects the Liège-Bastogne-Liège cycling race.

The Unesco heritage trails take you through Wallonia’s once industrial heartland. Along the way are exceptional sites on the World Heritage List – the belfries of Tournai and Binche, the Famenne-Ardenne geopark, the Grand-Hornu museum complex, the former coalmines of Blegny, Bois du Luc and Bois du Cazier, and the Neolithic caves at Spiennes. The 500km is split into 11 sections, each linking two towns or cities – most of which have a rail link to Brussels or another major city.

Groene Gordel, Bruges (c) Westtoer

You’ve been to Bruges, now take in the green belt surrounding the city. The Groene Gordel Brugge cycle route takes in fields and farms, castles and canals, abbeys and forts. The 53km trail can be done in one day, or more leisurely with a night in one of the guesthouses along the way.

Naturally, the coastal tourism office has mapped out a cycle route that goes from one end of the coast to the other. But if you’re looking for more of a loop, you can’t go wrong with the 35km Groen Lint in Ostend (lint means “ribbon” in Dutch), passing through forests, a nature reserve and space science centre Astropolis. Another good route is the Oude Dijken, taking off from De Haan and circling 43km through polders, farms and cute villages.

Cycling through water (c) Visit Limburg

With Cycling Through Water and Cycling Through the Trees, Limburg has got creative with its bike paths. Cyclists travel a 200m sunken path through a lake in Bokrijk nature reserve with the water at eye level, or ride high among the treetops in the Bosland forest. Bike rental is available locally.

More from The Bulletin's summer travel guide

  1. Walk this way: Discover Belgium on foot
  2. Get your green fix at our favourite parks, woodlands and gardens
  3. Top spots for spectacular scenery
  4. The best culture this summer is outside
  5. Monuments and memorials to remember the fallen
  6. Delve into Belgium’s rich industrial past
  7. Local food at its finest
  8. Come on in, the water’s lovely
  9. The finest spots for a summer apero
  10. Big days out for all the family
  11. Seven cycling experiences to discover
  12. Top heritage sites for a fine day out
  13. Don't miss out this summer thanks to our agenda of events in Belgium
Written by The Bulletin