Belgium / France | Beer. Bike. Hike.
Waiting around almost every bend in the road is a new delight, from the chocolates to the waffles, from fries to cheese, we'll contemplate these delicacies over a fine monk brewed Trappist beer
7 days / 6 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
France and Belgium are arguably the best producers of beer and cider in the world. Home of the original micro-brew, and great local cideries France and Belgium have been crafting delicious beverages for centuries and are home to some of the world’s most refined brews. Hike along the historic coast-line of Dunkirk, France sipping on local ciders and nibbling on local cheeses. Cycle through the brewery strewn countryside of West-Vletteren Belgium in search of our next favorite local beer. Stay in beautiful and under-visited Belgian and French villages exploring the lively pub culture and local food scene. Meet brewers, beer connoisseurs, and brazen chefs to find out what makes Northern France and Belgium amongst the hidden culinary gems of Europe. One of the most cycle-friendly places on the planet, the bicycle is the perfect way to explore Flanders in the North of Belgium. And with its great coastal hiking network, France is perfect to see on foot. Waiting around almost every bend in the road is a new delight, from the chocolates to the waffles, from fries to cheese, we’ll contemplate these delicacies over a fine monk brewed Trappist beer… mmm…
- Hike through the dunes at Reserve Naturelle Dune Dewulf and visit the Batterie de Leffrinckoucke, a chilling collection of bunkers and military complexes left to whither in the sand dunes since WWII
- Cycle through the heart of Dunkirk passing a sculpture garden, war museum, a gothic church, and the Port before heading out of town along the canal de Bergues
- Enjoy sipping on unfiltered, unpasteurized, and refermented craft beers from the family-run artisanal brewery Brasserie
- Bike across the border to Belgium where you’ll savor some of the world’s best beers
- Visit the In Flanders Fields Museum of Ypres, the quintessential WWI museum and pedal through the Flanders fields, visiting the Essex Farm where John McCrae wrote the famous WWI poem “In Flanders Fields”
- Set off by kayak from the town of Beernem, to the city gates of Bruges as you paddle along the Ghent/ Bruges Canal and stop for an awesome BBQ
- Swim in the North Sea along the beach decorated with sand dunes
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
The authenticity: Get off the touristy track as you explore preserved historical sites, taste local hand-made goods, and meet culinary leaders from the area
The war history: Get an intriguing perspective of World War I and WWII along with the people and places involved
The night life: Experience cozy evenings in Ypres and Dunkirk for a night cap or more explorations
Brussels, Belgium BRU
Brussels, Belgium BRU
After meeting at the hotel in Brussels we transfer to Reserve Naturelle Dune Dewulf on the outskirts of Dunkirk, France. After a short hike through the dunes, visit the Batterie de Leffrinckoucke, a chilling collection of bunkers and military complexes left to whither in the sand dunes since WWII. Afterwards, you’ll pass by the Cimetiere Militaire de Leffrinckoucke on the way to the Fort des Dunes, a stunningly situated war museum in an old fort, surrounded by the shifting sand dunes. Decide to continue on foot to the hotel via a beach promenade, or if you choose to linger at the museum you can also catch ride back before a welcome drink on the beach.
About Le Merveilleux Inn
Le Merveilleux Inn and its restaurant offer a cozy setting right in front of the harbor, ideally located in the heart of the town of Dunkirk and within walking distance of the iconic Malo-Les-Bains beach. Every single bedroom has been furnished and decorated with care to offer a sensation of well-being in a cozy and cosseted intimacy. Time to wake up? Start your day off on the right foot and enjoy a delicious continental breakfast brought to your room from 7 am to 10 am or just come and help yourself right from the buffet laid out in the dining room of the hotel restaurant.
After breakfast we cycle through the heart of Dunkirk passing a sculpture garden, war museum, a gothic church, and the Port before heading out of town along the canal de Bergues. After reaching the charming village of Begues and its ramparts, we’ll stop to take in the old Saint-Winoc Abbey and it’s pleasant gardens. Cycle to the family run artisanal brewery Brasserie, where you’ll find unfiltered, unpasteurized and refermented craft beers. After lunch, wander in the gardens of the magnificent Château d’Esquelbecq, or decide to start your bike ride back into Dunkirk for some free time to visit one of many sights or just enjoy a night on your own.
Beer connoisseurs will savor todays ride to Belgium where they’ll experience some of the world’s best beers. Enjoy lunch across the street from the Sint-Sixtus abbey of Westvleteren, where they make one of the most sought after beers in the world. After lunch continue to the Talbot House in the beautiful city of Poperinge, a place where soldiers sought refuge from the front lines during WWI. Afterwards choose to cycle back to the hotel, or continue on to Watou, the home of the St Bernardus Brewery and a fantastic beer terrace overlooking the area hop fields. Tonight, stay in the city of Ypres and experience the cozy Belgian night life
About Hotel Ariane
So quietly located and yet very close to the town center! The hotel is located in peaceful, tranquil gardens – the perfect base for exploring the town and the surrounding area. Just a few streets away is the historic center of Ypres, with the Menin Gate, the Cloth Hall, the Yper Museum and the In Flanders Fields Museum. Complete with a cozy garden terrace and bar, the hotel also features a small WWI museum in the lobby.
This morning we’ll start at the In Flanders Fields Museum of Ypres, the quintessential WWI museum. Then begin a pleasant bike ride through the Flanders fields, visiting the Essex Farm where John McCrae wrote the famous WWI poem “In Flanders Fields”. In the afternoon, we venture to the stunning Roeselare, where cycling enthusiasts can check out the Koers cycling museum before making a return to Ypres.
Experience a magical morning as you set off by kayak from the town of Beernem, to the city gates of Bruges as you paddle along the Ghent/ Bruges Canal and stop for an awesome BBQ. In the afternoon enjoy some free time in Bruges to climb the bell tower, visit some amazing art museums, or just stroll around collecting chocolate from the world-famous chocolatiers. In the late afternoon visit the Brewery de Halve Maan for brewery tour and decide to eat at the Breweries cozy restaurant, or discover one of the many exquisite restaurants that lie within the city.
About Hotel de Tuilerieen
An elegant patrician house from the 15th century has been transformed into a luxurious, contemporary hotel. Hotel De Tuilerieën counts 45 unique rooms. All rooms combine modern comfort with authentic charm. They all have free Wifi access, Flat screen TV’s, air conditioning, coffee making facilities… The enthralling location along the most beautiful canals of Bruges “Den Dijver” (also called ‘Holy Water’ and one of the oldest canals in the city) immediately immerses you in the enchanting atmosphere of the historic city. The hotel is ideally located at just 50 meters from the celebrated market square. The hotel has a bar & lounge, private car park, indoor swimming pool, sauna, terrace, as well as a meeting room. Each morning you can enjoy a lovely breakfast.
This morning we’ll enjoy a thrilling bike ride to the coast along canal laden Belgian countryside. Visit the coastal resort town of Ostende and take a swim in the North Sea along the sand-dune-filled stretch of beaches. Return by bike to Bruges before a magical final dinner complete with Beer and Chocolate pairings.
Arrival & Departure
Prior to the trip, arrive at your own convenience in Brussels. On Day 1, we will meet you in the lobby of Hotel Hubert – Grand Place at 8:30 a.m. After a 2-hour transfer to Dunkirk the hiking begins in the Reserve Naturelle Dune Dewulf. After breakfast on Day 7, we take you to the airport, train station, or the hotel of your choice in Brussels (1.5-hour transfer).
Day 2 bicycle mileage options: 14 / 29 mi
Day 3 bicycle mileage options: 23 / 31 / 33 mi
Day 4 bicycle mileage options: 17 / 34 mi
Day 6 bicycle mileage options: 16 / 34 mi
Day 1 Hiking mileage options: 3 / 6 mi
Kayaking: Day 5 options: 6 mi
Discover the land of Beer and Biking as these two past-times pair perfectly in Northern France and Belgium. Beer and Chocolate fans will experience pure bliss in Bruges with some of the most amazing pubs and chocolatiers in the world. History buffs will marvel at the bunkers and battlefields sprinkled across France and Belgium and will visit sobering sights such as Memorial Museum Passchendaele where half a million men lost their lives for eight kilometers of gained ground. Visit the undiscovered gems of Bergues, Poperinge, and Ypres; medieval cities with charm, history and a wonderful beer selection. Experience unbelievable chateaus, heart wrenching museums, and culinary delights. Last but not least, in the land that invented the microbrew, you’ll visit the coziest of pubs and family run breweries, all on your way to discovering your next favorite beer, and perhaps one of your new favorite countries…
Austin Adventures guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They take the time to explain the local history and daily sightseeing and route options. Each route has been carefully planned to include options to please each traveler’s interests. Austin Adventures guides are available to help you select the distance that’s right for you and to offer advice and assistance as you desire.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions are included as indicated by the itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in the Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- All breakfasts. Lunches and dinners as listed by day. Snacks along the route.
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Bikes, helmets and other necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt, water bottle, luggage tags and luggage service.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities
Not Included in the Trip Price
- Gratuities to Austin Adventures guides.
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
European Operations Manager
After moving to a new neighborhood at age five, Adam took off on his bike in search of new friends in Minnesota. More than thirty years later Adam still enjoys making friends on his bike while cycling around Europe. Adam has lived the life of a nomad, having taught English in China, managed a beach […]