Bike trip between Amsterdam and Brussels
This sporty, international bicycle tour between the Netherlands and Belgium begins in the heart of Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, and ends at the European epicenter: Brussels. Covering 340 km, this itinerary passes through historic Dutch and Flemish towns, revealing a multitude of treasures.
Between the cities, you'll enjoy the tranquility of the emblematic landscapes of the Netherlands and Belgian Flanders by bike, punctuated by often century-old farmhouses and soaring bell towers.
The route is clearly signposted, mainly on flat terrain, becoming slightly hilly towards the end, using cycle paths or little-traveled trails. Cycling is the ideal means of transport for exploring all the towns along the way.
Tour highlights :
- The capital cities of Amsterdam and Brussels
- The town of Gouda and its cheeses
- The green heart of Holland
- The windmills of Kinderdijk
- Antwerp, capital of Flanders
Day 1: Visit Amsterdam
Your cycling adventure begins in Amsterdam, often referred to as Europe's jewel par excellence. There's no better way to start your vacation, as the city is packed with attractions and sites to explore. We recommend arriving early in Amsterdam to enjoy your first stroll through this welcoming city center. Simply gazing at the mansions and magnificent 17th-century canals, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can occupy an entire day.
In particular, you can explore the famous Red Light District, which attracts millions of tourists every year. Another interesting alternative is to admire the many street artists on Rembrandtplein.
Amsterdam offers a lively start to your vacation, with a multitude of options to discover.
Day 2: Amsterdam - Gouda - 68 km
During this first stage, your journey will take you through Holland's Green Heart (Groene Hart), renowned for its many waterways. The Green Heart is a cyclist's paradise, offering landscapes of peat bogs, polders, rural communities and picturesque towns such as Oudewater. The latter was once the place where women accused of witchcraft from all over Europe were weighed in the weigh house to prove their innocence.
Your tour ends in the medieval town of Gouda, where we highly recommend a visit to the beautifully preserved town center, including the old town hall and St. John's church. As you wander through the town, don't forget to sample the famous syrup waffles, still warm from the heat, and of course, buy the famous Gouda cheese, probably the most famous cheese in the world.
Day 3: Gouda - Papendrecht - 51 km
On this day, you'll have the opportunity to discover one of the Netherlands' most popular tourist attractions: the Kinderdijk windmills. The landscape in which these nineteen mills are set is as emblematic of Holland as the mills themselves. Don't hesitate to visit a workshop to find out how mills were built and operated in the past. If you've always dreamed of becoming a miller, this is the ideal place to learn the trade, an opportunity still available today!
Overnight in Papendrecht, north of Dordrecht, one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. Take the opportunity to explore the port district, with its monumental mansions that bear witness to the region's rich history.
Day 4: Papendrecht - Bergen op Zoom - 69 km
In the morning, your cycling route will take you to one of the few areas where salt and fresh water meet in Europe: the Biesbosch National Park. Crossing a kilometer-long bridge over the Hollands Diep river, you'll find yourself in the southern Netherlands. Along the way, one village follows another, inviting you to pause for a cup of coffee and a generous slice of fruit tart, typical of Brabant hospitality.
Your destination for the day is Bergen op Zoom, an eight-hundred-year-old town where narrow streets, ancient squares and hundreds of monuments bear witness to a rich and storied past. Before settling down in one of the many terraced cafés, take time to admire the Markiezenhof, the town's pride and joy. This late-Gothic (1485) manor house was built by the local noble family and now serves as a museum and archive.
It's important to note that crossing the Biesbosch Park is only possible on the days when the ferry departs, as it doesn't run every day. If the ferry is unavailable, an alternative route will be taken.
Day 5: Bergen Op Zoom - Antwerpen - 57 km
Today, you'll enjoy the fresh air as you pass through the magnificent woodland of Wouwse Plantage, the Kalmthoutse Heide nature park and the forests surrounding Brasschaat, north of Antwerp. You'll cross the Dutch-Belgian border near the village of Huybergen. Along the banks of the Scheldt, you'll reach the historic and tourist heart of Antwerp, the capital of Flanders and Belgium's most important port city. It's no wonder that the magnificent historic city center is the busiest part of town.
If you've got some free time, consider a visit to the trendy Zuid (South) or Het Eilandje (the Island) district, where old bars and restaurants have given way to trendy establishments.
If you're thirsty, head to the information center of the De Koninck brewery (since 1833) for a tasting session. Their Bolleke beer is particularly famous.
Day 6: Antwerpen - Leuven - 68 km
Through the countryside south of Antwerp, you'll reach Rumst, located at the convergence of three rivers where the Nete and Dijle join to form the Rupel, the country's shortest river at just 10 km long. Following the banks of the Dijle, you enter the medieval city of Mechelen, reaching the foot of the bell tower of Saint Rombaut Cathedral. This could be the ideal opportunity for a short visit and lunch.
You'll then follow the Dijle canal for the final leg of the day to Leuven.
If you set off early in the morning, you'll have plenty of time to wander around this student-friendly city, where the oldest houses date back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Be sure to visit the Grand Béguinage, built in 1234, and the Gothic church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, dating from 1304.
Finally, take a seat on the Oude Markt (Old Market), always bustling with life and nicknamed the 'longest counter in the world' because of the large number of cafés.
Alternatively, you can choose a shorter (but perhaps less picturesque) 63 km route along the Leuven-Dijle canal.
Day 7: Leuven - Brussels - 40 km
After crossing the Brabant hills and the vast Zoniënwoud forest, you'll reach our magnificent European capital, Brussels. Thanks to the short distance between these two cities and the proximity of several train stations, you can easily combine train and bike.
Take your time to discover this pearl of Belgium.
In addition to must-see attractions such as Manneken Pis, delicious waffles, pralines and plenty of beer, Brussels offers an immense cultural heritage, as well as a shopping and gastronomic paradise.
Before dinner, be sure to stop by the Grote Markt (Grand-Place). One thing's for sure: just like Amsterdam, you need more than one day to really appreciate Brussels!
Day 8: End of your cycling trip in Brussels
Your cycling tour of the Netherlands and Belgium ends after breakfast.