Flanders, Belgium is a cyclist’s paradise, with its flat terrain, stunning countryside, and rich cycling heritage. The region is home to some of the most iconic cycling races in the world, including the Tour of Flanders and Ghent-Wevelgem, and attracts cyclists from all over the world. Here’s a guide to cycling in Flanders, Belgium.
Routes and Terrain
One of the main attractions of cycling in Flanders is the flat terrain, which makes it ideal for cyclists of all levels. The region is crisscrossed with cycle paths and quiet country roads that take you through picturesque villages and stunning countryside. The cycling routes in Flanders are well signposted, making it easy to plan your route and explore the region on two wheels.
The Tour of Flanders Route
The Tour of Flanders is one of the most iconic cycling races in the world, and the route takes in some of the region’s most challenging climbs and cobbled sections. The full route is 267 kilometres long and is not for the faint-hearted, but there are shorter sections that are suitable for less experienced cyclists. The route starts and finishes in the town of Oudenaarde, and takes in climbs such as the Koppenberg and the Oude Kwaremont.
The Flemish Ardennes
The Flemish Ardennes is a hilly region located in the south of Flanders and is home to some of the region’s most challenging climbs. The area is known for its beautiful scenery, with winding roads that take you through forests, meadows, and picturesque villages. The Muur van Geraardsbergen is one of the most famous climbs in the region and is a must-ride for any cycling enthusiast.
The Canal-Side Route
Flanders is crisscrossed with canals, and the canal-side route takes you along the banks of some of the region’s most picturesque waterways. The route is flat and easy, making it ideal for less experienced cyclists, and takes you through historic towns and beautiful countryside. The route starts and finishes in the city of Ghent, and passes through towns such as Aalst and Dendermonde.
The Kemmelberg Circuit
The Kemmelberg is one of the most famous climbs in Flanders, and the circuit takes in this iconic climb as well as other challenging ascents in the region. The route is 57 kilometres long and starts and finishes in the town of Ypres. A focal point of Gent-Wevelgem, the Kemmelberg is a cobbled climb that shares its history of battle from the First World War, with the ossuary side of the climb a tough cobbled ascent.
The Scheldt Route
The Scheldt Route takes you along the banks of the Scheldt River, one of the most important waterways in Flanders. The route is flat and easy, making it ideal for less experienced cyclists, and takes you through historic towns and beautiful countryside. The route starts and finishes in the city of Antwerp, and passes through towns such as Temse and Dendermonde.
Flanders is home to some of the most iconic cycling races in the world, including the Tour of Flanders and gent-Wevelgem. These races attract thousands of cycling fans to the region each year and are a must-see for any cycling enthusiast. The Tour of Flanders, in particular, is a gruelling race that takes in some of the region’s most challenging climbs and cobbled sections, and is considered one of the toughest one-day races in the world.
But even if you’re not a pro cyclist, there are plenty of other cycling events in Flanders that you can take part in. The region hosts several sportives and charity rides throughout the year, which are a great way to explore the region and meet other cyclists. Almost every major race has its own sportive, so there is a chance to ride all of the climbs and cobbles.
Bike Rental and Tours
If you don’t have your own bike, or don’t want to bring it with you to Flanders, there are plenty of bike rental options available. Many bike shops and tour operators offer bike rental services, with a range of road, hybrid, and electric bikes available to suit all needs and budgets. Some bike rental companies also offer guided tours, which are a great way to explore the region with an experienced guide who can show you the best routes and sights.
Bruges Cycle Center
Cycle Center is a popular bike rental company located in the historic town of Bruges. They offer a range of high-quality bikes, including road bikes, electric bikes, and city bikes, as well as a variety of guided tours. The rental prices are reasonable, and the company also offers a bike delivery and collection service to your accommodation. The staff at Cycle Center are knowledgeable and friendly and are happy to recommend the best routes and sights to see in the area.
De Fietserij is a bike rental company located in Aalst. They offer a range of bikes, including electric bikes, touring bikes, and children’s bikes, as well as a variety of guided tours. The rental prices are affordable, and the company also offers a bike delivery and collection service to your accommodation. De Fietserij is known for their excellent customer service, with friendly and knowledgeable staff who are always happy to offer advice and recommendations.
Flanders has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. Many hotels and guesthouses offer secure bike storage facilities, as well as laundry and repair services for cyclists. There are also a number of cycling-specific accommodation options available, such as cycling hotels and B&Bs, which offer tailored services for cyclists, such as guided rides, bike rental, and bike washing facilities.
Many hotels in Flanders cater specifically to cyclists, offering services such as bike storage, bike rental, and maps of local cycling routes. Some of the best bike-friendly hotels in Flanders include the Hotel De Flandre in Ghent, the Hotel Dukes’ Palace in Bruges, and the Hotel Prinsenhof in Bruges.
Guesthouses and B&Bs
For a more authentic experience, consider staying in a guesthouse or bed and breakfast. Many of these establishments are located in historic buildings and offer a warm and friendly atmosphere. Some of the best guesthouses and B&Bs in Flanders for cyclists include the B&B Hof Ter Lucht in Bruges, the B&B De Corenbloem in Ghent, and the B&B Hoeve Westdijk in Poperinge.
If you prefer to have more flexibility and independence, consider renting a self-catering apartment or holiday home. There are many options available throughout Flanders, from small apartments in the heart of historic towns to larger holiday homes in the countryside. Some of the best self-catering accommodation options in Flanders for cyclists include the Apartments House of Elements in Ghent, the Holiday Home Het Koetshuis in Oudenaarde, and the Holiday Home Zwaluwnest in Poperinge.
Camping and glamping
For those who enjoy the outdoors, there are plenty of camping and glamping options available in Flanders. Camping De Papillon in Kemmel is a popular choice for cyclists, as it is located near many of the region’s best cycling routes. For a more luxurious camping experience, consider glamping at Domaine Le Colombier in Malmedy, which offers comfortable tents and mobile homes set in beautiful surroundings.
Cycling in Flanders, Belgium is an unforgettable experience that combines stunning scenery, challenging climbs, and a rich cycling heritage. Whether you’re a pro cyclist looking to tackle the Tour of Flanders, or a casual rider looking to explore the region’s countryside, there’s something for everyone in Flanders. With its well-signposted routes, bike rental options, and cycling-specific accommodation, Flanders is a must-visit destination for any cycling enthusiast.