Enjoy a brilliant cycling weekend in Flanders Fields: day 1 the Battlefield tour, day 2 Behind the Lines or go up more hilly (Mining Battle) or even up to the Mountains of Flanders. Optional 3th day and do not miss anything from all this!
To start your weekend we listen to your priorities. One might prefer to go first ‘behind the lines’, as the soldiers of the Allied Armies also first learned about Flanders in Poperinge, city of Hops. We arrange all transfers (luggage & rental bicycles). You could be surprised meeting the last unoccupied Belgian city before focussing on Ypres. Or why not spending 3 nights in 3 different hotels, 3 different areas and atmospheres! In Poperinge, Ypres and in the idyllic environment of one of the ‘Flemish Mountains’!
Part 1: 0 KM Location: Evening before...in Poperinge
So we could start our first ride from Poperinge, Belgian city of hops! Listen to our hotel suggestions in Poperinge: there is quite a stylish variety, but all of our recommended places have their own charms. If you can sleep your Friday or Thursday night (before our cycling tour starts next morning) here, certainly take the opportunity to have a look in the Talbot House Museum. A few yards from the former ‘British’ mansion you can even discover all about the 1400 Belgian Beers in the Museum of Hops…
Part 2: 50 KM Location: Plan A on day 2: A history tour following the Old Smugglers paths
Our indicated distance is just a suggestion. We can make it longer or a bit shorter. As long as tonight we reach our next destination and hotel in Heuvelland (translation: the Land of Hills) or Ypres. If we want to end in Heuvelland on top of one of those ca. 150-170 m high “mountains” (= translation of Flemish “berg”), we work out a day on the Old Smugglers Paths. We will cross the Belgian-French border as smugglers used to do in earlier times: leaving Poperinge up to Watou and perhaps a taste of St.-Bernardus beers. A quick visit to the ‘douane’ or ‘customs’ in Abele. Then the touching visit of Lijssenthoek Cemetery, the world’s biggest British military cemetery NOT close from a former battlefield. We are literally on the border again, so heading up for France or ‘French-Flanders’. The Mont des Cats with its abbey (and trappists) but also the Iconoclasm of 1566 can be part of our stories. As long as we cross the border again in order to find our hotel on top of the Kemmelberg (or alternative just in the shadow of the mountain).
Part 3: 50 KM Location: Plan B on day 2: From Trappist beers to honourable heroes
You are not into climbing and want a cycling tour on mainly flat land without many ascent meters? We leave Poperinge in north-east direction and pay a visit to the Westvleteren Monastery, where the famous Trappistbeer of St.-Sixtus is still brewed. A drink of course, but then further along the hopfields and some woods. On this tour we bring honour to fallen war heroes as doctors Noël Chavasse, John McCrae. As well as we meet other war poets, such as Francis Ledwidge and Hedd Wyn. We also face the German side of the Great War and we will focus on Passchendaele as well. Before our turn around back to Ypres we still have a final drinking, perhaps lunch stop close to the ANZAC-Polygoon Wood.
Part 4: 50 KM Location: Plan A on day 3 (optional): The Mining Battle and Passchendaele revisited
After a superb stay in the Heuvelland accommodation we leave the ‘mountains’ behind us. Still up and down today we follow the tracks of the Mining Battle, including locations such as Bayern Wald, Hill 60 & The Bluff. Perhaps a stop at the German sites (Bayern Wald or Hooge). Finally up to Tyne Cot Cemetery we do the Australian Walk from October 4th 1917, before our turning back to Ypres. Extention possible with German Cemetery & Brooding Soldier, then coming back following the Ledwidge path & McCrae-bunker or Yorkshire Trenche (choice to be made).
Part 5: 50 KM Location: Plan B on day 3: up to the hills of Flanders!
You have spent the night in Ypres, probably with Last Post Ceremony under the Menin Gate Memorial. Now we leave this medieval rebuilt city for a day into nature. Up to Plougstreet with the Christmas Truce we follow the trails of the Mining Battle, including some nice stops in rural pub or low budget but tasteful restaurant. Two options to spend your last night: on top of the Kemmelberg (stylish hotel close to the vinyards) or in a rural ‘gite’, countryside farm-hotel. There is a slight difference in the budget, but we inform you about all pro’s and con’s before you decide. The track may be decisive as well! May be also your next morning plans can be part of the choice you want to make. One of our rural accommodations is quite close from Lille (if you need to be brought to the railway station there).
Location: It's up to you now!
Start to puzzle!
- 2 or 3 days available? how much daily time to spend on the bicycle?
- you want to change your hotels daily? we take care of luggage transfers (see tariffs-table)
- your personal choice in the order of the itineraries?
- your hotel choices: genuine 4**** or 3*** or you prefer more low budget? Or perhaps a B&B or rural gite is considerable if not for all days, may be on one occasion?
- you want another combination: less cycling (perhaps one time just a max. of 4 hours tour, so you can do other things?) – NOTIFY: we can even work out a WALKING BOX TOUR if this variety would attract you more.
- Do you have a particular museum or other activity to integrate?