What to expect
Cycle and sail through famous Flemish landscapes, stopping off in Belgium’s most impressive cities. Perfect for leisurely cyclists, you’ll combine peaceful barge cruises with easy rides along towpaths and flat rural routes, spending your nights on a charismatic barge. As one of Europe’s best preserved medieval cities, Bruges makes a striking start point, and cycling into the capital city of Brussels is a highlight on the last day.
You'll ride past rolling farmland and isolated windmills, pedalling along waterside routes to visit ancient villages where beer is brewed in the traditional way. At the North Sea coast, you can stroll along the sandy beach, smell purple sea lavender in the sand dunes and look out for storks. Flanders’ art cities are simply stunning, with Ghent's oil painting and the Baroque buildings of Antwerp two stops to get excited about.
2019 departure dates are now sold out, why not take a look at the Brussels to Bruges - Hotel & Bike tour.
At a glance
- Striking art and architecture in Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels
- Open farmland, peaceful canals and famous Flemish landscapes
- Authentic coastal villages, ancient abbeys and solitary windmills
- Flat cycling terrain and atmospheric barge accommodation
Day 1 (Sat):
Arrive in Bruges
Meet in Bruges to check on to the barge from 3 to 5 pm (you can leave your luggage on board from 11.00 am). Take a look around this charming city’s canals and cobbled streets, or relax with a coffee in its 13th century market square.
Day 2 (Sun):
North Sea Coast
33 miles (55 km)
Cycle beside a quiet canal, passing poplar trees and traditional farm houses to reach the medieval town of Damme. Continue to the North Sea coast and relax in a café on the 12 kilometre sandy beach. Take in the dune landscape of Het Zwin Nature Reserve before pedalling back to Bruges.
Day 3 (Mon):
Bruges - Moerebrugge - Ostend - Ghent
24 miles (40 km)
Cruise to the village of Moerebrugge whilst enjoying breakfast and cycle beside the Ghent-Ostend Canal to the seaside city of Ostend, before pedalling past wide Flemish pastures to Ghent. Take a tour of Ghent’s beautiful streets and historic city centre. Overnight in the small suburb of Merelbeke, approximately 15 minutes cycle ride from the centre.
Day 4 (Tue):
Ghent - Dendermonde - St Amands
29 miles (48 km)
Cycle through diverse landscape to the riverside town of Dendermonde and take a coffee break in the beautiful Flemish Grote Market square before taking a look at the city’s Benedictine monastery and unique béguinage buildings. The barge will cruise along the River Schelde to St Amands to overnight.
Day 5 (Wed):
St Amands - Temse - Antwerp
25 miles (42 km)
You will start your cycle along the most beautiful part of the route, alongside the meandering River Schelde. Cross the Brussels-Rupel Canal and pass a historic brick factory area where bricks have been manufactured since the Middle Ages before continuing to Hemikskem and on to Antwerp, to experience one of the world’s major diamond cities. Explore the streets on foot to see the Renaissance City Hall, the medival square and the impressive cathedral.
Day 6 (Thu):
Antwerp - Lier - Willebroek
27 miles (45 km)
Cycle through the quiet suburbs of Antwerp, passing typical villas and manicured gardens to reach the compact agricultural town of Lier. Continue along the banks of the River Nete to Willebroek.
Day 7 (Fri):
Willebroek - Brussels
25 miles (40 km)
Make the most of your final cycling day, taking in the undulating green landscapes en route to Mechelen – a city crammed with historic and artistic attractions. Continue to the city of Vilvoorde and sail to Brussels to experience the historic centre, Gothic town hall and Guild Houses of the Grote Market.
Day 8 (Sat):
Depart from Brussels
Check out after breakfast and disembark by 9.30am, to explore more of the city or begin making your way home.
The captain reserves the right to alter the itinerary due to changes in weather and other conditions.
MS Gandalf - SOLD OUT
This cosy and comfortable river cruiser accommodates up to 20 guests in 10 cabins, all with separate twin beds, central heating and private shower and wc. All cabin windows can be opened. Some cabins can take a 3rd bed on request. There is a spacious saloon and restaurant area and two sun decks, offering seating areas with tables and chairs and storage space for the bikes. The environmentally-friendly solar roof panels make for peaceful nights on board, as the ship needs to make little use of the generator to produce power.
Dates & Prices
Please choose your boat, then click on a departure date for price options at a glance - 2019 departures sold out
- 7 nights accommodation aboard a standard class barge
- Board basis: Full board including 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches or packed lunches on cycling days and 7 (three course) dinners.
- English speaking tour guide on board and on bike with daily briefings
- Maps and notes for self-guided cyclists (1 set per cabin) - GPS tracks available on request
- Welcome meeting and drink
- Local contact for assistance
- Tea and coffee during breakfast and in the afternoon
- Flights and transfers
- Bike hire
- Cycle helmets
- Transfers to/from the docking in Bruges and Brussels
- Drinks on board
- Ferry fees & tips
- Entrance fees & excursions
- Special dietary requests - please see below
Bike Hire & Extras
Bikes come with a pannier, a small repair kit, and lock all included at no extra cost when you hire a bike.
Helmets and water bottles are also included with rental bikes for the Magnifique III.
On request only - limited availability
How to Get There
Fly to Brussels or Charleroi
Take a train (Belgian Rail) or bus to Bruges.
Alternatively, take the Eurostar to Brussels or Lille.
Take a train (Belgian Rail) or bus to your return airport.
Fly from Brussels or Charleroi
Alternatively, take the Eurostar from Brussels or Lille.
News, Reviews & FAQs
Simply click on a question to reveal the answers
Will the itinerary ever change?
For Boat & Bike tours the boat will generally keep to the advertised itinerary, however the captain may have to adapt the itinerary due to the river or sea conditions.
How much space will I have in my cabin?
There is limited space in the cabins, so pack light and take a soft suitcase.
What is the average temperature on this tour?
Can the boat cater for special dietary requirements?
Please advise us of any special requirements at time of booking and we will notify the boat operator in advance. Understandably, kitchen galley space is limited and it may not be possible to provide specialist products (eg. Gluten free). We suggest you bring a few items with you and, in some cases, these can be provided at a supplement.
Can I stay on the boat during the day and not cycle?
Yes, you can relax on the boat or explore when you arrive at each destination instead of cycling.
Can I book by myself?
Absolutely! Boat & Bike tours are very sociable and a good choice for single travellers wishing to mix with other guests and share your common interest of cycling.
Do I have to cycle as part of a group?
This tour is guided and self-guided, so you have the option to cycle with your guide or independently with the maps and route notes provided.