Hello Ladies and Gentlemen!
In this post we’ll give you some info about HOW and WHY touring in Belgium.
A lot of people think that you should visit Belgium only after other principal European country, more covered.
Why the hell?
Great alleys,enchanting cities, chocolate, museum, canals, keggers and last but not
least, eeeeendless cycle paths that could bring you wherever you want!
That’s just a taste of what you can see here.
Cycling in Belgium
Let’s start by saying that Belgium is split in two in evey sense
They speak two different languages:
French speaking in Wallonia, Dutch speaking in Flanders.
What about Cycle paths?
Wallonia seems not to have a well-structured cycle infrastructure, from what we heard and read.
We should ride through it for a trusted judge. We’ll surely have an occasion! 😀
Flanders have a great cycle infrastructure called “Fietsroutesnetwerk“, very similar to the Dutch system.
The Fietsroutesnetwerk unknots in “Knoopunt” (Ahah did you like the words pun?!): these are road signs with a number that identifies the relative route.
Near each Knoopunt you can find a map that shows possible routes from that point.
It’s an easy way to choose a path and it could really help you!
Finally, you need to know that each route is safely and well segnalated and many of them are really scenic, as you can see from our latest posts.
How do Belgian car drivers react towards cyclist?
They are crazy as hell!
They are truly respectful of cyclists: no one cut us off or tried to kill us, indeed they waited for us to cross and smiled.
Someone honked but it’s probably ’cause we were wrong. LOL
Getting to Belgium by plane from Europe
If you come from Europe you shouldn’t find any problem travelling to and from Belgium.
Here are the links of the main airlines:
Flying to Belgium is really cheap ’cause is one of the most frequented hubs.
Main airports are Brussels Zaventem (really close to the city centre) and Brussels Charleroi (50km far away from the center).
Anyways, the city is also easily accessible from Charleroi. You just need to take a bus/train and you’ll reach it in 40 minutes.
SHOULD I BRING MY BIKE OR IS IT BETTER TO RENT ONE THERE?
It’s not an easy answer.It depends on many factors.
It depends on the airline company that you choose and from the place you land.
With a low cost airline is surely cheap to travel to Belgium, but just consider that you will pay a great overprice to bring your bike on the plane,’cause it’s an extra-service
We decided to rent 2 bikes at the price of € 49 each (bags included)
Instead, the price of the airline transportation for a bike was € 120.
Consider that you have to bring your own bag for wrapping up your bike and stowing it .
If you don’t have it, the cost is around €150 to €350 for a good one.
Of course your choice will be strongly influenced by the number of days that you will stay in a country.
More days mean that you will spend more to rent a bike, while the price to charge your bike on the plane would always be the same.
Moreover, riding your own bike is better than riding another one. Don’t underestimate your feels.
So “Just” ponder which offert is better basing your choice on every factor above mentioned.
The only thing to keep in mind is that the bike rental where we rented our bikes does not provide any insurance or assistance so you’re better bringing a repair kit with you and keep your eyes on the bike because if someone stole your bike you would have to pay € 350.
The good thing is that we didn’t have to pay for the flat tire! Yay! 😀
You can check their website for further and up-to-date info:
Shops and Restaurant
The shops have good opening hour: they usually open at 8.45 and close at 18:00
The kitchen of the restaurants usually close around 22/22:30
Belgian food is delicious! Try their specialities, like chocolate, beeeeeeers, waffles, belgian fries and mussels, soups and a lot of other exquisite dishes! 😛
You will not regret it, trust us!
Where to Sleep
There are different types of accomodation for each budget:
It is possibile to stay in a camping, hostel, hotel or other kind of accomodation as AirBnb or Couchsurfing.
For those who don’t know AirBnb, this service allows you to sleep in the house of a local. It is usually cheaper compared to a hotel.
Couchsurfing is almost the same but you don’t have to pay for every night, just an entrance fee at the subscription.
The difference is that with AirBnb you can choose better the kind of accomodation, while with couchsurfing you have to spend a little time with your host and usually it is required to do something for him (cleaning, hanging out or cooking something).
They’re all good ways to make news friends from all the countries you visit.
There are a lot of similar websites but these are the most used.
Down below we list our overnight stays:
Gand: Swonnie’s – Polyglot and really friendly.
Bruges: Hotel Velotel: Really nice hotel, 2 km from the city center but very easy to reach by bike. Bike friendly hotel with a safe deposit for bikes. Rooms are clean and comfortable.
Antwerp: Bart House – House in Japanise style. We slept on a tatami! Bart is very friendly and the house is in the heart of the art district in the south of the city.
Brussels: we stayed at the home of a friend of us but Brussels is full of accomodations.
The best period to visit Belgium is from May to October. A little bit rainy sometimes but sunny and hot enough to enjoy what this country has to offer!
Spring and autumn till half October are usually the cooler seasons and the cloudiest.
Winter is cold with a minimum temperature of 3 degrees and we do not recommend a tour during this season because you won’t be able to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that you could enjoy during the other seasons with more sun and colours.
Belgium has a very extended rail network on the north side that connects the main cities.
To bring your bike is quite easy, you just have to pay a little surplus on the ticket at the moment of the emission. Here you can find all the info you need: http://www.belgianrail.be
If you are considering to go from Bruges to Antwerp (100km) we suggest you to plan your itinerary. The distance could be a little bit tiring, so you can decide to take a train at a certain point.
It’s possible to go to Gand and take a train for the last 50 km or go to Loekeren for the last 30 km.
These are the main stations on this track.
If you want to know something more about Belgium all you have to do is select one of the following link:
- Chapter 1: Ghent Lover!
- Chapter 2 : Weird kangaroo, killer wind and lovely Bruges
- Chapter 3: road to Antwerp
- Chapter 4: To Brussels with Beers!
If you have any question or tips don’t hesitate to contact us!
Keep pedaling guys!
Arthur & Bruno