Belgium tour

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)

Belgium tour

Postby martin113 » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:35 pm

I am planning a tour from either Calais or Dunkirk through Belgium and then to Vlissingen in Netherlands and then up the North Sea Cycle route up to the north coast of Netherlands and round to an as yet unknown end point.

On the Dutch part of it all I am clear about the route and am pretty well advanced in planning. However, I think I'll have spare time to linger in Belgium for a while at the beginning of the tour. All I know is that I would like to take in, from Calais or Dunkirk, Ypres, Ghent, Antwerp, Bruges, not necessarily in that order and maybe even venturing a bit further in to Belgium to do a loop further out to the east. Can anyone recommend nice towns and villages, quiet routes that I could include on such a loop, lasting about a week maybe, including stops to take in the sights of course?

Thanks for the help in advance.
martin113
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 5:35 pm

Re: Belgium tour

Postby clanton » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:51 am

We did some of your route in reverse last year - starting in Harwich and ending in Dunkirk.

Dunkirk is horrible. Most people advise following the canal to get out/through the city.

Navigating through Belgium is fairly easy, though not quite as easy as Holland. They have good cycle paths but again not as good as the Dutch!

We saw Ypres, Ghent and Brugges and can recommend them all. Definitely worth staying 2-3 days in Ypres if you enjoy the history angle, lots to see there.

Camping in Belgium is limited compared to Holland and France.
clanton
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:15 am

Re: Belgium tour

Postby BE1 » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:32 pm

Here are a few links that may help with the planning.


The first is a route planner for the nodes system in Flanders. The points are well signposted and it is possible to follow the route simply by noting the nodes in the order of travel (experience suggests carring a map just in case you miss a sign :oops: ) To be aware: that some sections are on unmade roads, forest tracks etc these are colour coded

http://www.fietsnet.be/routeplanner/default.aspx

Link to the long range cycle paths in Flanders, these look to cover most of the places you want to go, again well sign posted

http://www.fietsroute.org/Long-Distanceroutes-LF.php

In the French-speaking part of the ountry there are "voie vert" style paths, more info at the link below

http://www.belgiumtheplaceto.be/walking__cycling_ravel.php
BE1
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 10:56 pm

Re: Belgium tour

Postby keyboardmonkey » Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:24 pm

From getting off the ferry at Zeebrugge we had three overnight stops - Ghent, Ypres & Bruges - before getting back to Zeebrugge. I never did get round to mapping the routes we did using MapMyRide, but this may be of some use to you:

http://cycleseven.org/short-cycling-tou ... res-bruges

Note the tip re the type of maps on page 5. Best wishes.
User avatar
keyboardmonkey
 
Posts: 165
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:05 pm
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Belgium tour

Postby martin113 » Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:04 am

That's brilliant and very helpful. Thank you. Any campsite listing websites, apart from the obvious Eurocamping?
martin113
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 5:35 pm

Re: Belgium tour

Postby jamesgilbert » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:00 pm

On a previous thread the following website was mentioned for campsites in Belgium:

https://maps.google.nl/maps/ms?msid=211 ... 8,4.938354
User avatar
jamesgilbert
 
Posts: 196
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:25 pm
Location: Paris

Re: Belgium tour

Postby moonsafari » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:15 pm

moonsafari
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:46 pm

Re: Belgium tour

Postby chocjohn9 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:16 pm

Top 10 Things to see/not see -
1. Do cycle the coast road from Dunkirk to Ostend. It takes a couple of hours and is wonderful. There are good paths along the canal too. Ostend is a typical sea side "resort".
2. Bruges does little for me but a lot for everyone else.
3. Ipes (Ypres) for the WW1 stuff, apt for this year.
4. Kortrijk isn't great for cycling.
5. Damme is nice.
6. Avoid the area between Antwerp and Brussels. Oh and the whole of Charleroi.
7. Namur and the region around is just lovely. Great town surrounded by gentle rolling hills.
8. Spa is OK for the spas - yes, that is where is word in English comes from plus the Formula 1 track.
9. Chimay for the monk's beer and cheese.
10. Waterloo, just 10k south of Brussels, more war stuff. Brussels is OK, nothing too much to see. The gleaming new European buildings may give you a vomiting fit.

General -
1. Bear in mind that Belgium really is not very big! Coast to Brussels is a straight forward 7 to 8 hours cycling. BTW, other cyclists will probably blank you.
2. If Belgium were a clock, draw a straight line at 2 o'clock to 8 o'clock, through Brussels. To the west it is flat and dull, to the east and south, rolling hills and more exciting.
3. If there is a cycle path, you HAVE TO use it. Car drivers will be very unkind to you if you don't. But if you have right of way, they are very nice :D
4. Make sure you have good maps/GPS. The signposts are terrible. The road surfaces aren't great either.

Have a good trip.
chocjohn9
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:07 pm


Return to Touring & Expedition

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests