Bike and Barge Belgium: Across Flanders – Bruges-Brussels | Gandalf

The Bruges to Brussels bike and barge tour on board the Gandalf is an absolute cycling classic that takes you through an enchanting river landscape bookended by these two iconic Belgian cities. During this eight day, seven night tour you will not only get the opportunity to discover the enchanting river/canal system of Belgium, but will also get to visit and explore the world famous cities of Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Mechelen and Bruges. Along the way you will cycle through small traditional Belgian villages, will visit a number of famous local landmarks and, importantly, will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Belgium’s well-deserved reputation for superb food and drink. Major attractions of the tour include:

  • The city of Brussels, capitol of Europe;
  • Antwerp, a city famous for its vibrant nightlife, as the city of diamonds and for its harbor;
  • The opportunity to explore medieval Ghent;
  • The UNESCO World Heritage-listed historical center of Bruges;
  • Mechelen, a small but very picturesque city

On a daily basis you will cycle along old tow paths next to small canals and rivers and via quiet country lanes to ancient villages steeped in history. Enjoy a coffee or one of the many village beers in an authentic Belgian pub where the locals approvingly raise their glass, especially when you arrive by bike.

Day to day program Bruges - Brussels

In italics printed parts will be covered by the ship.

All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours. When you do not want to cycle one day, you can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town.
Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.

Day 1 (Sat): Embarkation: Bruges

Individual arrival in Bruges. The Gandalf awaits you in the Bruges harbor. Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board is from 3 to 5 p.m. Before or after boarding take the opportunity to explore this lovely city of art, widely described as the “Venice of the North”. You can enjoy the ambience of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historical center during a leisurely walk, take in the hustle and bustle of the Grote Markt square (Great Market square), visit one of Bruges many museums or simply enjoy the stunning beauty and culture of this unforgettable city from the comfort of a sidewalk café.

Day 2 (Sun): Bruges | Roundtrip around Bruges to the North Sea coast (55 km/33 mi.)

Your first day of cycling will take you through Damme, the birthplace of the impudent Middle Ages trickster Till Eulenspiegel, to the seaside resort of Blankenberge. Visit anyone of numerous cafés and, if you want to cool down, enjoy a swim in the North Sea. After approx. 2 hours you will cycle back to Bruges and the ship.

Day 3 (Mon): Bruges – Moerebrugge | Moerebrugge – Oostende – Ghent (40 km/24 mi.)

While you enjoy breakfast the barge Gandalf will sail to Moerebrugge where you will start your day’s cycling. With the historical city of Ghent your destination today you will cycle via Oostende along the Ghent-Oostende-canal through the beautiful Flemish landscape. The town center of Ghent features lovely illuminated streets that are a must to explore, while the architectural richness in the historical center of the city has to be seen to be believed. During the Middle Ages, after Paris, Ghent was the 2nd largest European city. The Gandalf will dock for the night at the Merelbeke lock, a suburb of Ghent and approx. 15 cycling minutes to the city center.

Day 4 (Tue): Ghent – Dendermonde (48 km/29 mi.) | Dendermonde – St. Amands 

After breakfast in Ghent you will cycle through a diverse landscape to Dendermonde which is located at the mouth of the Dender River where it flows into the Schelde River. Here you can enjoy some time off your bicycle with a coffee or a cup of tea at the beautiful Flemish Grote Market square. In the evening shipping to St. Amands one of the most beautiful and winding parts of the route on the river Schelde.

Day 5 (Wed): St. Amands – Temse – Antwerp (42 km/25 mi.)

Your cycle route for the day starts in St. Amands and takes you over the Brussels-Rupel canal and on to an historical brick factory situated between Boom and Niel where bricks have been manufactured since the Middle Ages. After cycling through the countryside to Rupelmonde and later Hemiksem you will finally reach Antwerp, your destination for the night. Antwerp is a harbor city situated on the river Schelde famous for handling up to 80% of the world’s rough diamonds. There are many highlights in the city to discover including: the City Hall, one of several majestic buildings constructed during the Renaissance period, the historical City Square Grote Market, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Cathedral and the medieval Steen Castle.

Day 6 (Thu): Antwerp – Lier – Willebroek (45 km/27 mi.)

After breakfast you will cycle through the leafy suburbs of Antwerp and past typical Belgian villas that feature beautiful trees, manicured gardens and picturesque facades to Lier. From here you cycle along the small river Nete and on to Willebroek where the ship will be waiting for you. When there is enough interest, a beer tasting will be held on board (to be paid on board).

Day 7 (Fri): Willebroek – Mechelen – Vilvoorde (40 km/24 mi.) | Vilvoorde – Brussels 

While the barge sets sail along the Willebroek canal, your final day’s cycling will see you pass through the picturesque countryside via Mechelen to Vilvoorde. Mechelen is a remarkable city that boasts more than 300 buildings that are historically listed. Of these, 8 are churches – all on less than 3 square kilometers! From Vilvoorde you will board the Gandalf for the trip to Brussels, where you can walk through the historical city center, visit the Grote Markt square (Great Market square), arguably Europe’s most beautiful medieval square lined with guild houses or marvel at the Gothic town hall.

Day 8 (Sat): Disembarkation: Brussels

Disembarkation after breakfast till 09:30 a.m.
End of your trip.

Good to know
  • A guide will guide the bike tour daily, however it is also possible to ride the bike tour individually (self-guided).
  • Tour descriptions and maps are available on board for anyone interested in taking the self-guided option.
  • The guide can be reached on his/her mobile phone in cases of emergency or technical breakdown of the bicycle.
  • On the arrival day it is possible to load your luggage on board from 11 a.m.

Day to day program Brussels - Bruges

In italics printed parts will be covered by the ship.

All distances are “approximate distances” of recommended bike tours. When you do not want to cycle one day, you can skip the bike tour and relax on board while cruising to the next town.
Program and details barring changes, a.o. as a result of nautical, technical or meteorological reasons.

Day 1 (Sat): Embarkation: Brussels

Individual arrival in Brussels. The Gandalf awaits you in the Brussels harbor. Embarkation and check-in where the crew will welcome you on board is from 3 to 5 p.m. Take some time to explore the capital of Belgium: walk through the historical city center, visit the Grote Markt square (Great Market square), arguably Europe’s most beautiful medieval square lined with guild houses, marvel at the Gothic town hall or visit the Royal Palace! The highlight of the palace, many will agree, is the Mirror Room which is adorned from floor to ceiling with mirrors and 11 luminous chandeliers.

Day 2 (Sun): Brussels – Vilvoorde | Vilvoorde – Mechelen – Willebroek (40 km/24 mi.)

During breakfast the ship will sail to Vilvoorde where, following the distribution of bicycles, your first day of cycling will see you travel to Mechelen a remarkable city that boasts more than 300 buildings that are historically listed. Of these, 8 are churches – all on less than 3 square kilometers! Cycle on from Mechelen past picturesque villages and large country estates to Willebroek where your floating hotel will be waiting with a warm shower and a delicious meal. When there is enough interest a beer tasting will be held on board (to be paid on board).

Day 3 (Mon): Willebroek – Antwerp (50 km/30 mi.)

Today you will cycle from Willebroek via Lier to Antwerp. Antwerp is a harbour city situated on the river Schelde famous for handling up to 80% of the world’s rough diamonds. Lively Antwerp is a hidden gem. Its medieval streets, Renaissance monuments and vibrant nightlife are a magnet for tourists from around the world. Highlights to be discovered include: the City Hall, one of several majestic buildings constructed during the Renaissance period, the historical City Square Grote Markt, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Cathedral and the medieval Steen Castle.

Day 4 (Tue): Antwerp – St. Amands / Dendermonde (50 km/30 mi.) | St. Amands – Dendermonde 

The bicycle tour today will take you upstream along the Schelde River to Hemiksem and on to Rupelmonde where the Schelde joins the Rupel River. After following the Rupel for a few kilometers you will reach the village of Niel and later the Walenhoek Nature Reserve. Along the way you will have the opportunity to visit an historical brick factory situated between Boom and Niel where bricks have been manufactured since the Middle Ages. Your destination for the day is the beautiful city of Dendermonde. A “must” to end the day’s cycling is a short stop for a drink at Dendermonde’s beautiful Flemish market square Grote Markt (Great Market square).

Day 5 (Wed): Dendermonde – Ghent (48 km/29 mi.)

Today you will cycle to the beautiful city of Ghent, where the ship will be moored in the suburb of Merelbeke which is approx. a 15 minute cycle from the city center. You will enjoy being able to explore the pedestrian area in Ghent’s town center, partly by bike and partly on foot. Ghent features lovely illuminated streets that are a must to explore, while the architectural richness in the historical center of the city has to be seen to be believed (during the Middle Ages Ghent was the 2nd largest European city after Paris).

Day 6 (Thu): Ghent – Vinderhoute – Bruges (40 km/24 mi.)

Part of the day’s cycling will be along the Ghent-Oostende-canal to Oostende through the beautiful Flemish landscape to Bruges, a lovely art city and Belgium’s most perfectly preserved medieval town. Widely described as the “Venice of the North”, Bruges attracts more than two million visitors every year who come for the ambience of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historical center. While you are here you can visit one of Bruges many museums or simply take in the stunning beauty and culture of this unforgettable city from the comfort of a sidewalk café.

Day 7 (Fri): Tour around Bruges to the North Sea (55 km/33 mi.)

Your final day of cycling takes you along a quiet canal and past beautiful poplar trees through an attractive polder landscape (a polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments) dotted with small farm houses to the North Sea coast via the small city of Damme. Here you will have the opportunity to get your feet wet along an inviting 12 kilometer sandy beach, visit any one of numerous cafés and see the attractive dune landscape of “Het Zwin” (a unique nature reserve). On the return ride to Bruges you will cycle along a small picturesque canal.

Day 8 (Sat): Disembarkation: Bruges

Disembarkation after breakfast until 9:30 a.m.
End of your trip.



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Available ships for this tour

Gandalf

Immediately when you come on board, you will feel the friendly atmosphere. The crew will do their best to make you feel at home. In your cozy cabin you’ll find everything you need for a comfortable stay: a fine bed, a window that can be opened, central heating and a private bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet. The salon is a great place to relax after your bike tour, and with nice weather it is also lovely to sit outside. From here you can view the solar panels, which make the ship, for a large part, run on green energy!

Bicycles/E-Bikes
Our bikes are touring bicycles of the Dutch brand Batavus (type: Boulevard or comparable) with 24-speed chain gear, hand brakes and pannier bag. The bicycles have a comfortable gel saddle. These bikes come in three frame sizes.
The E-bike is a Batavus (type: Mont Blanc Easy or comparable) with 10-speed chain gear, hand brakes and pannier bag. The rear wheel engine with ION-technology offers five levels of support. The E-bikes have a comfortable gel saddle.

Guests are also allowed to bring their own bicycles (at no additional fee). However, the crew or tour operators are in no way responsible for any damage, loss or theft of guests own bicycles.
Prices of other bikes (e.g. children’s bikes, “slip streamers”/tag-a-long, tandem bicycles etc. and child’s saddles (rear) are on request.

Visit this ships page

Included, excluded & information

Included in this tour

8 days/7 nights

7 x breakfast

Packed lunches

7 x 3-course dinner

Coffee and tea on board during breakfast and in the afternoon

Welcome drink

Use of bed linen and towels

Once a week cleaning of the cabin

Daily briefings by multilingual tour leader

Fully guided cycling tours

Maps and notes for cycling tours (1 set per cabin)

Wi-Fi

Excluded in this tour

Drinks

Coffee and tea on board at other hours

Bicycle rental or E-bike rental incl. pannier bag

Helmet (not available on board)

Personal insurances

Gratuities (at your discretion)

Entrance fees and excursions

Fees for ferries

City maps

Transfers to/from the docking place

Parking fees

Additional options & information

Rental bicycle: €75 per week
Rental E-Bike: €175 per week (only on request, limited number available)
You can find a description of the bicycles when you click on ship.

Helmets:           
A helmet can be rented for € 10 per week, only on prior reservation and payment.

Transfer between Bruges and Brussels:
There is a good train connection between these two cities. Please visit one of the following websites for timetables, tickets or more information www.goeuro.co.uk or www.trainline.eu.


Availability and prices

Tour dates 2019 – Gandalf

  • Bruges to Brussels: departure on May 4 and 18; June 1 and 15
  • Brussels to Bruges: departure on May 11 and 25; June 8 and 22
Cabin type For All departure dates
Twin cabin 2 pers. From €919 Twin cabin for single use (max. 1) 1 pers. From €1169 Triple cabin 3 pers. From €899

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