Bruges Brussels Bike and Boat – MS Magnifique
CategoryBike and Boat
Self Guided or Guided
Start / FinishBruges or Brussels / Brussels or Bruges
Distance168 miles/270 kms
An easy and relaxing bike & boat cycling holiday through the lowlands of Flanders from Bruges to Brussels. Stay aboard one of the superb MS Magnifique barges, enjoying daily guided cycle rides through the unique polder landscape, visiting the historic cities of Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels.
Your floating home for the week will be the Magnifique II or her brand new sister ship Magnifique III, both offer spacious, en suite, air conditioned cabins as well as elegant and stylish public areas.
Starting in unforgettable Bruges – surely one of Europe’s most enchanting old medieval cities – you’ll follow the River Schelde and other smaller canals and rivers through Flanders to the Belgian capital. Other highlights include history-packed Mechelen and the lively, attractive cities of Antwerp and Ghent. Of course, this is the land of wonderful beer and world famous chocolate and there will be numerous opportunities to sample both during this wonderful cycling holiday.
The daily guided bike rides cover around 27 miles per day and you can opt to cycle with the group or use the maps and route notes available to navigate yourself. The trails are almost entirely flat and the guides build in plenty of opportunities for breaks to enjoy the scenery and interesting towns on the way. If you do fancy a break from the cycling, you can always stay on board and let the scenery drift by as you relax on the sun deck or saloon of the Magnifique.
Itinerary & Map
You’ll cover around 27 miles per day over six, easy-paced days of riding. The trails are almost entirely flat and smoothly paved and there will be plenty of opportunities for breaks to enjoy the scenery and interesting towns on the way. If you do fancy a break from the cycling, however, you can always stay on board one day and let the scenery drift by as you relax on the sun deck or saloon of your comfortable barge.
The itinerary below describes the route from Bruges to Brussels but on certain dates the tour operates in the reverse direction (Brussels to Bruges). See Dates & Prices page for more information.
Day 1: Arrive Bruges
On arrival in Bruges make your way to the harbour and board the MS Magnifique, your floating home for the week. Embarkation is from 1pm. After getting settled in your cabin you’ll want to step back on dry land and explore Bruges – the ‘Venice of the North’ with its numerous canals and perfectly preserved medieval architecture.
Day 2: Bruges – North Sea Coast – Bruges, 35 miles/55 kms
Your barge will remain in Bruges today, giving you a chance for another night in this wonderful city. By day you’ll head out on the bikes, first following a poplar-tree lined canal through a polder landscape. Then you’ll arrive at the North Sea coast via the compact city of Damme. Here you’ll find a seven-mile long sandy beach, the Het Zwin dune nature reserve and plenty of attractive seafront cafes and restaurants for a lunch stop. Returning to Bruges via a quiet canal towpath there will be more time to explore one of Europe’s most beautiful small cities.
Day 3: Bruges – Moerebrugge – Ghent, 24 miles/40 kms
As you enjoy your breakfast onboard the Magnifique you’ll sail from Bruges to Moerebrugge, from which you’ll start the day’s bike tour. This will take you on a canal towpath via Oostende and through a rural Flemish landscape ultimately to Ghent, another of Belgium’s most attractive destinations. This old trading city has plenty to see. You’ll meet your barge just outside the old town and can ride in easily and explore its charming medieval centre. Ghent is also where many of Belgium’s top cyclists base themselves, so keep your eyes peeled for squads of lycra-clad pros.
Day 4: Ghent – Dendermonde/St Amands, 29 miles/48 kms
After breakfast it’s straight out on the bikes to cycle from Ghent to Dendermonde. You’ll want to stop at its beautiful, bustling Grote Market square – there are numerous pavement cafes where you can stop and watch the world go by from. Your barge will meet you here and depending on availability of mooring spots, you may then continue by water to St Amands for the night. Otherwise you’ll say in Dendermonde.
Day 5: Dendermonde/St Amands – Temse – Antwerp, 25 miles/42 kms
If you stayed in Dendermonde last night you’ll make your way by boat to St Amands this morning, covering some of the most attractive scenery of the entire trip, following a twisting section of the River Schelde. From St Amands you’ll start your bike ride, crossing the Brussels-Ruple canal to cycle to the historic towns of Rupelmonde and Hemiksem en route to Antwerp, the day’s final destination. Antwerp is another of Flanders’ greatest old trading cities – don’t miss the Grote Market square, cathedral and impressive old city hall.
Day 6: Antwerp – Willebroek, 27 miles/45 kms
Leave Antwerp behind and cycle to the town of Lier, well known for its fine local beers. From Lier you’ll continue your journey, following the narrow River Nete to the town of Willebroek where the Magnifique is waiting for you. The barge remains moored here for the night.
Day 7: Willebroek – Vilvoorde – Brussels, 24 miles/40 kms
For your last day of cycling you’ll head out from Willebroek to pass through a green, slightly hilly landscape to Vilvoorde, where you’ll rendezvous with the Magnifique. On the way stop in Mechelen, a small town, with a remarkable ensemble of historic homes and churches. From Vilvoorde your barge will take your right into Brussels, the Belgian capital. Don’t miss the Grand Place, the city’s expansive central square, surrounded by the elaborate guildhalls that were founded in its trading heyday.
Day 8: Brussels
After breakfast it’s time to disembark and head for home or your next adventure. Disembarkation is just after breakfast and up to 10am.
Dates & Prices
This tour also operates in reverse. See arrival dates for details
|2018 Arrival Dates|
|Boat key||§ Magnifique II / † Magnifique III|
|Bruges to Brussels|
|Brussels to Bruges|
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|Magnifique II - superior|
|Upper Deck Suite - 2 share||£1451|
|Upper Deck Suite - 3 share||£1353|
|Magnifique III - superior|
|Upper Deck Suite - 2 share||£1451||£1451|
|Upper Deck Suite - 3 share||£1353||£1353|
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|Deposit per person||£200|
Board basis: Full board*
Welcome drink and briefing
Daily coffee and tea until 4pm
Services of a tour guide
Maps & route information
Bike hire (see supplements)
Supplements for special dietary requests
Entrance fees, excursions and ferries
Electric bike with pannier & lock (£185)
The bikes provided on this tour are modern alloy framed, hybrid models with 7 speeds and comfortable saddle with upright riding position. The bikes also come equipped with rear pannier, lock and repair kit. Helmets are also provided
Electric bikes, smaller framed children’s bikes, trailers and tag-a-longs are also available.
Two very comfortable boats operate this route. The Magnifique II was launched in 2016 and is widely considered to be one of the most luxurious barges afloat. In 2018 she will be joined by her new sister ship Magnifique III which will offer the same high levels of comfort and service.
More images of both boats can be found in the gallery.
The Magnifique II offers exceptionally high levels of comfort and service and has 17 cabins. A modern design finished in a classical style, the ship makes a very pleasant base for your cycling holiday.
The lower deck features 13 cabins, 12 of which are twin bedded cabins (11m²), one of which is a larger premium twin with small sitting area (13m²). All are well appointed and equipped with en-suite facilities, individually regulated air conditioning, flat screen TV, mini-safe and hairdryer. They also feature one or two portholes which are locked for safety reasons. Some of these cabins can accommodate a third bunk bed.
The boat also features 4 elegant upper deck suites, each with a large window that can be partially opened. These spacious en-suite cabins each occupy 14m² and feature twin beds, a cosy seating area, en-suite shower/wc, individually regulated air conditioning, flat screen TV, mini-safe and hairdryer.
On the upper deck there is a tastefully decorated salon with restaurant, bar and a lounge with wide screen TV, large windows to enjoy the scenery and free Wi-Fi. Large doors open onto a partially roofed sundeck with table and chairs as well as a whirlpool/Jacuzzi and deckchairs.
Scheduled to enter service in Spring 2018, the Magnifique III will offer the same exceptionally high level of comfort and service as the Magnifique and Magnifique II and will have 21 cabins.
The lower deck will feature 14 twin bedded cabins (approx. 11m²) and 2 single cabins. All will be well appointed and equipped with en-suite facilities, individually regulated air conditioning, flat screen TV, mini-safe and hairdryer. They will each have one or two portholes which will be locked for safety reasons. Some of these cabins will be able to accommodate a third bunk bed.
5 larger, upper deck suites will also be available. These will feature twin beds and will occupy approximately 14m² and include larger windows, which can be partially opened, a small sitting area, en-suite shower/wc, individually regulated air conditioning, flat screen TV, mini-safe and hairdryer.
Certain cabins can also be booked as a double (twin beds pushed together), request only.
On the upper deck, there is a tastefully decorated salon with restaurant, bar and a lounge with wide screen TV, large windows to enjoy the scenery and free Wi-Fi. Large doors open onto a partially roofed sundeck.
On the top deck, you will find a whirlpool/Jacuzzi and deckchairs to relax.
On both vessels a hearty breakfast is provided each morning, along with a packed lunch to take with you on the daily rides. A three-course meal is served on six evenings during the week in the convivial salon. On one night during the week the galley is closed and you will be free to step ashore and find somewhere to eat. The crew will be happy to make recommendations if you wish.
Daily complimentary coffee and tea is available between 3 pm and 4 pm.
Fly to Brussels and take the train to Bruges