On our long-distance bike tour through six European countries, we cycled to different parts of Belgium, one of the best countries for cyclists.
Riding a bike in Belgium is the best way to explore the country, admire nature and visit historical cities like Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp.
This post is the third part of our bike tour blog series which covers cycling from Bruges to Antwerp. The purpose of our trip was to raise money for the charity War Child. You can also find a series of videos about our trip on our YouTube channel, but here I am going to share more detailed advice and more tips about this segment of our trip.
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Cycling route between Bruges and Antwerp
There are at least a couple of cycling routes when you plan a bike tour from Bruges to Antwerp. The shortest and fastest way is 109 kilometres and you will cross the Netherlands border a few times. You can complete this route in a day as long as you start early and cycle the whole day.
The other option is cycling from Bruges to Ghent (around 45 kilometres) and having a short break in Ghent, then continue towards Antwerp. This route is longer (116 to 126 kilometres), but you will cycle within Belgium and not cross any border.
Since we had visited Ghent in the past we decided to take the shortest route and see some new places on our way.
You can also read about "Bike Touring Gear: What to bring on a Bike Tour"
Cycling from Bruges to the Netherlands
In the previous article, I talked about the route that took us from London to Bruges. We arrived in Bruges around noon while the city was busy with tourists.
One of the fun activities in this historical Belgian city is cycling. Many visitors rent a bike for a day and cycle around. We also did so on our first trip to Belgium, but cycling in the city centre is not very convenient especially when you have heavy panniers on both sides of your bike. We had to be extra careful to manoeuvre around the carefree tourists.
We had an hour break in the city to appreciate its medieval streets and cafe culture while tasting some Belgian waffles.
We left Bruges and cycled next to the river in Damme towards the east. It was a relaxed ride in the beautiful Belgian countryside. While cycling we saw a guy inside the river swimming in the same direction. We had a little competition with him, without him knowing, it was an easy win.
It was around 4 pm when we arrived at the town of Sluis in the Netherlands. Here we bought some food for dinner and went to a campsite nearby and spent the night in Retranchement.
It was the middle of April, but it wasn’t a warm spring night. The temperature dropped to 4 degrees. It was cold and the nonstop rain made it even worse. We were exhausted and fell asleep as soon as we got into our sleeping bags in our tent.
Cycling from the Netherlands to Antwerp
It wasn’t raining when we woke up, but our tent was drenched and we had to dry it up. It took us longer than usual to pack our stuff. We were a little cold and a hot shower made our body warm enough to get ready for our day.
The campsite was really clean and the dining area was very cute and cosy. We had boiled eggs with some bread and honey at the campsite. We were told the eggs were from the neighbouring farm.
We left the campsite and cycled towards Antwerp. We passed through Sas van Gent and crossed the revolving bridge. We were still in the Netherlands, but after a few minutes of cycling we checked the map and we were, again, in Belgium. The scenery changed and we cycled through a forest but the path was still flat and beautiful.
Cycling in Belgium was quite peaceful and very safe. I would say the Netherlands and Belgium are some of the safest countries for cyclists.
On some parts of our route, we cycled next to the train track. We tried to go faster and pretend to race with the train. Of course, we knew we couldn’t win, but this game gave us the motivation to push more strongly on our pedals. When you cycle long distances on a flat route, you can easily get bored so any change in the environment can be interesting and entertaining. We cycled more than 90 kilometres that day and we finally arrived in Antwerp at around 6 pm.
We checked into a hotel in the city centre and went out for a walk and to have some well-deserved dinner.