May 25th to 29th, 2018 (Memorial Day)

June 29th to July 3rd, 2018
August 2nd to August 7th, 2018
September 1st to 5th, 2018 (Labor Day)

$1300

Difficulty: Beginner

September 1st to 5th, 2017

May 25th to 29th, 2018 (Memorial Day)
June 29th to July 3rd, 2018
August 2nd to August 7th, 2018
September 1st to 5th, 2018 (Labor Day)

$1300

Difficulty: Beginner

Kris, brewmaster from De Dolle Brouwers, uniquely sharing a beer sample
Kris, brewmaster from De Dolle Brouwers, uniquely sharing a beer sample

Highlights

The perfect beer experience in the “Westhoek” region of Belgium.

This tour takes place in West Flanders, an area rich with beer culture. We’ll visit at least 5 breweries as well as Westvleteren Trappist abbey, the North Sea, and several WWI history sites.

  • This tour takes place in West Flanders, an area rich with beer culture. We’ll visit at least 5 breweries as well as Westvleteren Trappist abbey, the North Sea, and several WWI history sites.
  • All skill levels are welcome. Ride between 20 and 40 miles each day, 95% flat. We recommend arriving early, in time to have two night to explore Brugge.
  • Perfect balance of historic cities, small villages, traditional family-owned breweries, inventive new beer makers, and a Trappist monastery.
  • The holy grail of beer ,“Westvleteren,” is always a stop on this tour. Enjoy the monks’ magical recipe straight from the source!
  • We will visit at least 5 breweries, with a private tour at many of them. No two breweries or tours are alike! Beer tastings are typically generous and are included in your trip fees!
  • 4-nights hotel, bike / bag rentals, breakfast, lunch, snacks, brewery tours, and beer samples are all included. Vehicle support is provided for groups of at least 8. Optional group dinners are organized each evening, with everyone paying for their own meals and drinks.
  • Miles of scenic views of Belgian farms await us along our rides… Strawberries, zucchini, rhubarb, rye, wheat, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and larger fields of barley, potatoes, and corn. We’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy regional produce with our meals.
  • Make new friends and visit a different brewery every day as you explore the country at a speed allowing you to absorb your surroundings.

Breweries

From Dubbels to Tripels, Krieks to Flanders Reds, this tour has something for everyone’s beer palette.

Typical breweries we visit on most tour include:

  • Fort Lapin – Based in Brugge, this small operation producing an outstanding line of beers always makes us feel at home.
  • De Dolle Brouwers – One of the friendliest breweries on the planet! Its hospitality and unique beers never fail to impress us.
  • Westvleteren – The holy grail! Come try the “12,” constantly rated one of the best beers in the world.
  • Rodenbach – Most tours end at the legendary Rodenbach, famous for its blended Flanders red ales aged in giant foeders.
  • De Struise – Legendary brewers making high gravity ales, barrel-aged treats, and now their own coffee roastery! We’ll get a private tour from one of the two owners.
St Bernardus, why not ride bikes through a brewery?
  • Stops at other breweries change based upon availability and time of year. Breweries we have visited on previous tours include: Seizoensbrouwerij Vandewalle, Van Eecke, Saint Bernardus, Kazematten, De Plukker, De Halve Maan, and Bourgogne des Flandres.
Windmill park in Brugge
Windmill park in Brugge

Total Mileage: 110 miles / 177 km

Itinerary / Stats

Locations and distances vary from tour to tour but are generally as follows:

  • Day 1 – The group meets in the historic town of Brugge, with its canals, cobblestone streets, and medieval buildings. We recommend arriving a day early to have more time to explore the city. We’ll have our bicycles delivered here and fitted in time for a brief warm-up ride around town.
  • Day 2 – Weather permitting, we will visit the North Sea before heading into a more rural part of the province. We’ll visit De Dolle Brouwers, one of our favorite breweries, and stay overnight in Diksmuide, the butter capital of Belgium.
  • Days 3 to 4 –  The journey continues all the way to the French border. We’ll stay in Watou, at Saint Bernardus Brewery’s famous B&B. There are also several great restaurants in town that cook with beer. The following night we stay in Ieper (Ypres), home to the largest WWI museum and the nightly “Last Post” ceremony.
  • Day 5 – All tours officially end in Roeselare, with a tour of at Brouwerij Rodenbach, including its famous “Foeder Forest” and a sampling of their classic Flanders red ales in the breweryֹ’s  gorgeous tasting room. A train station is a few blocks away, where after saying goodbye we hope that other European adventures await you. The tour ends around 4:00 PM, plenty of time to catch a train to Brussels or wherever your next adventure begins!

Markers show start/end + overnight hotel and B&B locations…

Photos from this tour

Tour FAQ's

What is included in trip cost?

  • 4 nights hotel and B&B accommodation. Typically 3 stars, and when possible near the brewery we visit each day. All rooms include a private bathroom. One B&B is located on site at the St Bernardus brewery! We recommend staying 2 nights in Brugge; let us know and we can book you at the same hotel.
  • Daily breakfast, daily lunches, and lots of snacks each day.
  • All tours are lead by either Evan or Henk, Beercycling’s veteran guides. A 2nd guide is available typically only for groups of eight or more.
  • Daily route planning, including daily itineraries of our agenda and options for where to eat / what to do in each town / maps / etc.
  • A multi-speed touring compatible bicycle, helmet, and lock. (More about the bikes in the section below)
  • Vehicle support for groups of 8 or more. For smaller groups you will receive two rear panniers to carry personal belongings, and luggage store for extra belongings before/after the tour.
  • Entrance fees to all brewery visits, including lots of free beer tastings!
  • A welcome package that includes a T-shirt plus other goodies.
  • Email / phone contact with your guides prior to the trip. You get to ask as many questions as you like, talking directly to your tour guides.

What is not included?

  • Airfare to and from the trip.
  • Transportation to the trip meet-up location. (Although we do offer an airport pickup service)
  • Lodging before and after the trip.
  • Gratuities for Beercycling tour guides.
  • Personal items purchased during the trip.
  • Alcoholic Beverages. (Although lots of beer is included at each brewery)
  • Dinner is not included which allows you the opportunity to explore regional cuisine on your own, or with the group as you see fit. There will be options for both. Your guides are happy to give you recommendations.

Let's talk weather

Our #1 question… what is it “typically” like each summer?

The weather in Belgium is unpredictable, and the weather forecasts often unreliable, for better or worse. In the summer it can be pleasant, it can be wet, it can be very hot, or rainy and cool. In the spring and fall it can be beautiful or very cold. So riders need to plan for any situation. The number one thing that will ensure a comfortable tour is a good rain jacket that you have tested is fully waterproof. We will be riding each day rain or shine.

Wind is normal in Belgium, as it is close to the ocean. So even though the routes are flat, an occasional strong headwind will make the cycling more challenging.

Tell me more about the bikes

On our Flanders tours we use lightweight Belgium-made hybrid bikes. They have 21 gears and include a cushioned saddle. The bikes do not have clip-in pedals, nor do they require special footwear. However, you are welcome to bring your own pedals.

What about the bike paths / difficulty of riding?

The landscape is Flanders is 95% flat, with some hills starting as we cycle in/out of Watou. Everywhere else, the pedaling is easy. Belgium has an extensive bicycle route system. A good majority of it is traffic-free and will take us through farms, small villages, and alongside streams. The road conditions will be mostly pavement but also include a few (5–10%) dirt paths. On a few occasions (most notably in Brugge), we will need to navigate through busy traffic, but our guides have all the routes planned out ahead of time in order to ensure everyone’s safety and make the ride pleasurable.

The daily riding mileage averages out to be 25 miles (40 km) per day; the longest day is 40 miles. Expect 4–5 hours a day on the bikes (not including stops). Our cycling pace greatly depends on the condition of the group but in general we will be cycling at a leisurely pace. For tours with two guides we can always split into two groups if necessary during the tour. We will stop for taking photos and/or a break every 45-60 minutes.

I’m not a strong cyclist. What do I need to do to prepare for the ride?

Our longest ride will be about 30 miles, on partly hilly terrain. To prepare for this trip you should be able to ride your bike at least this distance on hilly terrain or at least 40 miles on flat terrain. It’s also a good idea to practice being on your bicycle multiple days in a row, to build your “saddle strength.” Please keep in mind that we cannot control the elements. A possible windy, wet day will make for much harder riding, so please take that into account with your training plan.

What are the maximum / minimum number of riders on this trip?

To keep the trip well-organized and give every rider individual attention, most trips are limited to 14-16 people (including the guides). The minimum for most tours is 5 guests. We will notify you when the minimum has been met for your tour.

What if we don't have enough people to include vehicle support?

We will email the group to confirm departure, and then again when we have enough people to confirm the support vehicle. If we are not able to provide a support vehicle you will have the option of joining us on a self-supported tour or receiving a full refund. We try to determine whether vehicle support will be provided at least 2 months prior to the start of a tour.

How do I reserve my spot?

Simply follow the link below to our registration page. You’ll need to provide all of the requested information; the 300 USD deposit per person is due immediately upon registration. We will send you a link to pay the remaining balance, which we must receive no later than 6 weeks before the start of the tour.

What if I change my mind or change my travel plans. Can I get a refund?

We can issue a partial refund if necessary as follows:

  • 90 days or more before departure date = 100% refund minus bank / credit card fees.
  • 60 to 89 days before departure date = You will incur a 50 USD cancellation fee plus bank / credit card fees.
  • 45 to 59 days before departure date = You will incur a 100 USD cancellation fee plus bank / credit card fees.
  • Shorter than 45 days notice = We cannot issue a refund after this time due to lodging, bicycle, and tour reservations already having been placed.

If I select a “shared room”, who will I be sharing with?

If you are traveling with another person, we will place you together in a room (please notify us whether in a double/queen bed or in separate beds). If you are traveling by yourself (or with an odd number of people) then we will do our best to match you up with another tour rider of the same sex.

If you choose to be in a room by yourself, you will need to pay a single supplement fee of $300 USD.

We cannot currently offer a triple room as few hotels offer triples.

What ages are allowed to attend?

21 and over.

What about drinking and driving? Isn’t it illegal to ride a bicycle intoxicated?

Yes, it is illegal to ride a bike intoxicated. And because Belgian beer can contain a lot more alcohol than an average beer, the follow considerations are in place for this tour:

  • When possible, our beer / brewery / biercafe visits will be at the end of the day.
  • On several tour days the brewery visit is mid-day. Riders will be expected to use moderation when drinking beer during the daily rides. All lunch stops include the possibility of ordering a beer; however, this does not mean we will accept or tolerate over-drinking, especially when additional riding is necessary.
  • On most occasions our riders tend to share beers with each other. This allows everyone to sample a larger variety of beers while limiting intake and saving money. We encourage this method when possible.
  • All riders are required to sign a waiver at the beginning of the tour removing us from liability if over-drinking causes any damage of any kind. This is non-negotiable.
  • Due to each rider’s size / weight / body type, we cannot easily put a hard limit on the amount of alcohol that each person can reasonably consume. We leave this decision up to you  (although our guides won’t hesitate to let you know if we think you’ve had too much)

Can I bring my own bike?

Yes, you are more than welcome to bring your own bike but please note the following:

  • In must be in good enough condition to support you and your equipment for the length of the tour.
  • If the tour is self supported, it must have a rear-rack that can hold panniers, which you we can loan you or you can bring your own.
  • You must also bring your own lock.
  • You must bring your own spare tubes.
  • We have plenty of extra helmets if you need to borrow one.
  • Beercycling will not be liable for damage to your personal bike on the trip, although we will help when possible with mechanical issues or questions.

What languages do they speak in Belgium?

There are three official languages spoken in Belgium! The northern half (Flanders) speaks Flemish, which is very similar to Dutch (the national language of The Netherlands, which is directly north of Belgium). In Brussels and southern Belgium (where our Ardennes Challenge tour takes place), , French is the most common language. In the very far east of Belgium (near Luxembourg), German is commonly spoken. English is also widely used and recognized throughout the country, but more so in the north than in the south.

What are the average prices for beer / food / etc in Belgium?

  • Bottle of beer = 3 to 4 Euros at a cafe (rare and specialty beers will be more)
  • Dinner = Expect 15 to 30 Euros for a good-sized quality meal.
  • Tipping is not obligatory as this is included in the VAT (Value Added Tax) at all restaurants. That said, a small tip of 5% or leaving behind extra change is appreciated.

What kind of food will be served?

  • Breakfasts are mostly  typical “continental style,” which will vary but usually include breads and bread rolls, jams, cereal, milk, juice, coffee, fruit, cheese, yogurt, meats, and pastries. Every hotel we use on our tours provides breakfast, so in the morning you can eat whenever you wish before our departure time.
  • Snacks – Along the ride the guides will carry snacks that can be shared by the entire group. These will include candy, energy bars, fruit, extra water, etc. Everyone is encouraged to bring their own snacks or buy them along the way as well.
  • Lunches – We will enjoy either a picnic lunch or stop at a bicycle-friendly cafe. For the picnic lunches we will have spreads of meat, cheeses, breads, fruit, chips, and other tasty foods. A vegetarian option will be offered each day. If you prefer to buy or carry your own lunch you are more than welcome to. If you have any special dietary restrictions please make a note of this on your registration form. We will do our best to accommodate your requests.
  • Dinner – You on your own for dinner each night. Some nights we will go as a group to a beer cafe / restaurant, but participation is optional. Typical Belgian cuisine is delicious and can include pasta, sandwiches, salads, steaks, seafood, soups, and our favorites: mussels and fries.

What do I need to pack for the tour?

We recommend packing light (more room to take home beer souvenirs!) For self-supported tours, the bags on the bikes are fairly large and should accommodate all necessary clothing even for a 10-day tour. If you run out of room in your bags we can either help you mount another bag on the top of your rear rack, or place some equipment on one of the guides’ bikes, space allowing. Please keep in mind that you will have use of a storage facility at the bike shop on Day #1 you can use and reclaim your items once the tour is over. A typical packlist for this trip is as follows:

  • Lightweight shirts = 3 or 4
  • Underwear = 3 or 4 pairs
  • Socks = 3 or 4 pairs
  • Pants = 1 pair
  • Shorts = 1 pair (padded cycling shorts are recommended if you haven’t spent much time on a bike seat)
  • Waterproof lightweight rain shell
  • Lightweight jacket
  • 1 pair of shoes for on the bike (cycling shoes or running/gym shoes is fine)
  • 1 pair of shoes for off the bike (hiking sandals or flip flops, or just skip this and use your on-bike shoes)
  • Sunglasses
  • Gloves (for cycling, should be lightweight)
  • Water bottles are included with bicycle rental (or you can bring a Camelbak, which can double for extra storage)
  • Camera + batteries + charger
  • Personal documents (passport, credit cards)
  • Hygiene products / Sunscreen / Lip balm
  • Bungee cord (to strap extra items to your bike rack)
  • A couple zip lock bags (helps on rainy days to extra waterproof your phone or other items)
  • We do not recommend carrying a laptop computer due to space constraints. Several hotels will have computers you can use, or if you have a smartphone you can connect it to WiFi in order to get internet access. Small netbooks squeeze in nicely with the luggage.

What kind of ID / documentation / visas / vaccinations will I need?

Depending on the country you are traveling from, please consult your embassy for visa information prior to arrival. In general, one does not need a special visa to enter/exit Belgium. Please remember to bring a passport to show identification when necessary along the trip. Sometimes hotels will ask for copies of your passport when we check in.

No special vaccinations are necessary for travel to Belgium or the Netherlands.

Do I need travel insurance?

It is not required, but it is recommended. This can be used for lost luggage, medical expenses, etc. Each person is on their own for this. We do not offer an insurance policy. Also, check with your credit card company, as some offer travel insurance or include it with your card.

What if Beercycling needs to cancel the trip?

In the very unlikely event that we need to cancel a trip, each person will be issued a 100% refund. We cannot, unfortunately, provide a refund for your other expenses, such as airfare. In all cases, Beercycling has backup tour guides waiting should something happen to your primary guide.

Am I required to tip my guides?

Nope. But tipping is very much appreciated and helps ensure the ability of our guides to run more and more tours each year!

Any other questions?

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We are happy to answer even the silliest of questions!

Call Us

1.805.794.0300

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Pick your tour dates:

2018/05/25 10:00:00
2018/06/29 10:00:00
2018/08/02 10:00:00
2018/09/01 10:00:00
May 25th to 29th, 2018
2018/05/25 10:00:00
June 29th to July 3rd, 2018
2018/06/29 10:00:00
August 2nd to August 7th, 2018
2018/08/02 10:00:00
September 1st to 5th, 2018
2018/09/01 10:00:00