The lady and I will be riding from Dunkirk to Hook of Holland in the summer (25th May - 2nd June)
We have a week and intend to take it very easy and stay in Bruge, Ghent, Antwerp, Rotterdam etc. So far anywhere is considered.
We'll be credit card touring and may even spend a couple of nights in one or two places.
Can anyone recommend cycle friendly accommodation?
And any beer, vegetarian, cycle route related information is very welcome.
My current route planning/guidance method is Brouter and Bike GPX
I'm going to update as I plan it.
Ooooo, have been eyeing up a route like this. I'll try and find what I had and will keep an eye in here!
The LAAC contemporary art museum in Dunkirk is pretty spectacular (and free)
Might have a good 160/180 km route for ghent to hook of holland. Let me know if you're interested.
Would wholly recommend Ghent, bigger and more alive than Bruges IMO.
If you're into art there's a fantastic Modern Art and a Classical Art Museum.
The town is renowned for being vegetarian friendly - https://stad.gent/ghent-international/city-policy/food-strategy-ghent/thursday-veggie-day
Two restaurants I would heartily recommend are:
https://www.naturell-gent.be (book if you can)
We've cycled the opposite way Dunkirk towards Ghent/Bruges and the outskirts of Dunkirk are pretty industrial and bleak. Lots of Atlantic Wall stuff around there if you fancy it though, along with Military Cemeteries, placques and the like.
Be aware that 90% of the routes on the Belgium side are canal/water-side, quiet, flat and lovely to ride on, but for some people they're agonisingly dull. I've attached a picture of our route.
I rode Calais to Amsterdam a few years ago - can't find or remember the route, apart from that we stayed pretty near the coast most of the way. We did stay at the Cube House hostel in Rotterdam though, which was super cool. On site secure bike storage as well (at the time).
Interesting. Thank you.
Do you have a GPX?
Thank you so much.
This is perfect.
I've heard elsewhere that people much prefered Ghent to Bruges. Less people for a start.
I've stayed here!
We were not on bikes so I was unaware of the bike store. Thank you.
Will search for it now.
Seconded for Ghent. It's a fun town. Bruges is for tourists. Take one picture and it's boring.
As @se1derful said, lot's of canals here. Can be boring, can be fun. The Beernem part is boring as fuck.
For coffee and cakes in Ghent: Julie’s House.
Pycke Zot has one veggie option on their menu and some special beers.
Otomat for pizza's.
Holy Food Market is a church converted to a hot spot where there's about 15 food stalls.
For beer: dulle griet(largest selection of beers), hotsy totsy (jazz), den turk, ...
I fucking love Ghent.
Anything else that pops up let me know. These are gems.
Rough plan so far.
Two nights a piece Bruge and Ghent (one whole day)
(Dover - Dunkirk)
Sun 26/Dunkirk - Bruge
Tue 28/Bruge - Ghent
Thu 30/Ghent - Antwerp
Fri 31/Antwerp - Rotterdam
(Hook of Holland - Harwich)
Maybe just one afternoon/evening in Bruge would be enough.
I've found my ghent-hook of holland route but it's worthless as it follows the coast. If you go ghent-antwerp-rotterdam there will be better routes.
Brugge - Gent is boring if you take the canal.
This one via Knesselare is better: http://brouter.de/brouter-web/#map=12/51.1478/3.4476/OpenStreetMap&lonlats=3.228736,51.211192|3.72664,51.05284&profile=fastbike
Gent-Antwerp is a beautiful canal (rough gpx by someone else https://www.routeyou.com/nl-be/route/view/97822/fietsroute/gent-antwerpen) but that might be because I'm local...
Don't know if you're a fan of canals? If not, there is a cycle highway between ghent and antwerp but I haven't cycled it yet / don't know if it's finished yet.
One day in Bruges would be more than enough. I'll ask my brother-in-law for recommendations in Bruges, they live closeby.
Split between getting to Ghent early in the day or taking some silly long route via another town or even the coast.
Canals sound good to me. I'm not expecting too much in the scenery department to be honest so canals will be welcome.
I'm hoping to do a week's tour Dunkirk-Hook this summer, family commitments permitting. My plan was to do easy days of 60-80km, leaving plenty of time for beer and sightseeing.
My days were going to be roughly:
Dunkirk-Westvleteren (beer!)-Poperinge (hops museum) - Ypres (Menin Gate ceremony)
Ypres-Roeselare (cycling museum) - Brugge (possibly brewery tour?)
And then take a day and a half to get back to Hook for the afternoon ferry.
I third Ghent over Brugge and would say an afternoon in Brugge is enough. Brugge almost made me claustrophobic with the hordes of tourists, where Ghent was very relaxed and just as pretty as Brugge.
In Rotterdam I’d definitely go to the Katendrecht neighborhood just south of the river, lots of little restaurant and a food hall (Fenix Food Factory) with beer from several local breweries and lots of sandwiches. And very close to the central station we have Kaapse Maria with a great selection of both their own beers and various other beers. Kaapse Maria is also right next to the must-see Kabouter Buttplug. (Which I now see has just been mentioned in the meme thread: https://www.lfgss.com/comments/14612097/)
Sounds very similar to our plan.
I'm so far holding back on Ferry tickets. Brexit and all :/
Thanks for the recommendations. We will probably spend half a day in Rotterdam before the ferry. So food and beer and sounds perfect!
Does anyone have a good spot for wild camping near Dover ?
If you're going to Westvleteren I highly recommend stopping by St Bernardus brewery v. nearby. They used to brew Westvleteren's 12.
You can stay in their B&B which is very nice, and all the communal rooms have honesty bar beer fridges. Seems since I stayed there last summer they've built a swanky tap room on top of the brewery: https://www.sintbernardus.be/en/guesthouse-en & https://www.sintbernardus.be/en/barbernard-en
Also, this place was incredible on the route between Calais and Westvleteren: http://www.leblockhaus.com/en/
I've never done it but there's ridge right above the ferry port.
If you're getting the train there you could find somewhere around Western Heights.
Having done the Dover - Dunkirk ferry before, I'd definitely recommend getting the train to Dover so it's still light when you arrive in Dunkirk, since the port and the town are about 10 miles apart.
We arrived late, in pouring rain and basically having to cycle along the hard shoulder of a semi-motorway in the dark with all the lorries from the ferry thundering past us.
This was before free data roaming and we were cheapskates, so there may have been a better route, but it was a grim end to the first day. Amazing to arrive in Dunkirk at the end though.
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