19 iconic stops on your next cycling holiday

iconische stops

Do you enjoy taking a break from your bike now and then? We have good news in that case: here we have collated 19 iconic stops throughout Flanders.

Do you enjoy taking a break from your bike now and then? Then we have the perfect combination for you, we havegathered together 19 iconic stops throughout Flanders that will have you on the edge of your saddle. Each is unique and they are all cultural attractions which are unforgettable. Trust us, you will be more than happy to stop for them. And best of all? You can spot them from the iconic cycling routes themselves. A cycling holiday worth raving about, don’t you think?

1. Zwin Nature Park

Found on: Coastal Route 

Step into the history of the Zwin! In 1952, Count Léon Lippens, director of Compagnie Het Zoute, founded the first nature reserve in Flanders: 'Het Zwin', which boasts 150 acres of beauty. A year later, it became an educational bird park. In 2016, Zwin Nature Park opened with interactive exhibitions, a hut trail and 333 hectares of natural beauty. More info: www.zwin.be/en

Zwin Natuurpark
Thermae Palace Oostende

2. Thermae Palace

Found on: Coastal Route, Art Cities Route 

This iconic piece of art-deco design has been around since 1933. With a Grand Hotel, a swimming pool which is filled daily, thermal baths and a thermal institute, the complex offered a unique experience. The magnificent drinking hall is home to the Albert I spring, known for its beneficial effects on stomach issues. 

The thermal baths lay dormant between 1940 and 1980, while the swimming pool remained the urban swimming pool of Ostend until 1976. In 2002, Thermae Palace became a listed monument. Today it is a 130-room hotel isawaiting a sparkling renovation. 

3. Westfront & Albert I monument

Found on: 14–18 Western Front Route 

The King Albert I monument was built in 1938 using a design by Julien de Ridder. It is a tribute to King Albert I and was built with the support of ex-servicemen's associations. With the help of orientation tables, you can locate a number of important sites relating to the wartime story of the Yser. A visitors’ centre, Westfront, opened under the monument in 2014. That tells the story of the devastation of the city and how the flooding of the polder plain halted the German invasion. More info: www.nieuwpoort.be/westfrontnieuwpoort

West Front Koning Albert I monument

4. Menin Gate

Found on: 14–18 Western Front Route 

The Menin Gate is the memorial to the nearly 55,000 British soldiers who died in the First World War andhave not been identified or found. The Menin Gate was designed by Reginald Blomfield and was built in 1927 in the form of a Roman triumphal arch. Since 1928, a group of buglers have played the Last Post here every evening, on the stroke of eight o'clock. More info: www.lastpost.be

5. Tabloo

Found on: Kempen Route 

In the Tabloo visitors’ centre, you can learn all about radioactivity and radioactive waste. From an educationalwalk in the grounds andenjoying the playground, to becoming a time explorer in the Expoo; you will be immersed in a fascinating world. More info: tabloo.com/en

Tabloo Dessel
Uitkijkpunt Ronse

6. Observation point Ronse

Found on: Hilly Route 

Since December 2022, Ronse has been home to an artistic resting bench that is no less than 8 metres in length. The location was not chosen by chance: from the bench you look out on the Kluisbos, Hotondbos and Muziekbos, which form the green canopy of the ‘mountains’ bearing the same names. To the north-west, you can the Kluisberg, in the north the Hotondberg, and a little further to the northeast you see the contours of the Muziekberg.  

7. The Muur

Found on: Hilly Route 

With a length of 1,075 metres, a steep incline and cobblestone clinkers, the Muur is a true classic in Flemish cycling history. The cobblestone road is best known from the Tour of Flanders: for years, the Muur was the penultimate and often decisive climb in that cycling race. With a gradient of 20 percent at its steepest point, the Muur is a true monument. Those who have the courage to climb it will be rewarded with a spectacular panoramic view of the region. More info: http://www.visitgeraardsbergen.be/en/Aanbod/detail/120/muur

Muur van Geraardsbergen
Kasteelpark Gaasbeek

8. Gaasbeek Castle

Found on: Hilly Route, Green Belt Route 

In 1236, Godfried van Leuven had a castle built here to protect Brabant from invasion. The castle was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt, evolving from a medieval defensive fortress into a romantic residence. Today, the castle with its beautifully designed rooms houses a thousand valuable art objects. As well as a park with a 17th-century summer house, an old chapel and a triumphal arch in honour of Napoleon, the domain also has a magnificent museum garden with native fruits and vegetables. More info: https://www.kasteelvangaasbeek.be/en

9. Fruit Sculpture Artwork Pallox

Found on: Hilly Route 

In the rolling landscape around Hoegaarden, the robust tower of oversized, corten-steel fruit crates or ‘palloxes’ catch the eye from afar. The artwork, created by the duo Hans Tuerlinckx and Sven Vangodtsenhoven, overlooks the fruit orchards and refers to the region's fruit-growing history. On the side of the crates are the names of fruits from the region. Through the peepholes, you will have a panoramic view over the orchards, in the spring, turned white and soft pink by the blossoms. 

Fruitbeeldig Kunstwerk Pallox
Temse Brug

10. Temse Bridge

Found on: Scheldt Route, Art Cities Route 

The Temse Bridge connects not only the left and right banks of the Scheldt, but also Temse in the province of East Flanders with Bornem in the province of Antwerp. The original bridge constructed in 1870 - designed by renowned French engineer Gustave Eiffel - was blown up at the start of World War II. The bridge was renovated in 1955 and, in 2009, a parallel one was added. With a length of 365 metres, the Temse Bridge is the longest bridge in Belgium. From the bridge you can enjoy a beautiful view of ‘the mighty river’. 

11. Kruibeke/Arcade polders

Found on: Scheldt Route, Art Cities Route 

The Kruibeke Polders constitute the largest floodplain area in Flanders. When the water recedes, a world of natural beauty opens with mudflats and salt marches, alder swamp thickets and thousands of waterfowl. With a bit of luck, you might spot roe deer, beavers and otters. Since 2019, a sculptural series of five corten-steel arches has adorned this cycling and walking paradise. Arcade accentuates the contours of the new embankments and makes the old connection between village and polders visible via an arched gallery. The artists Gijs and Van Vaerenbergh chose the archetypal architectural form of the gate to guide the passers-by to the ferry.  

Polders van Kruibeke/Arcade
Het Steen

12. Het Steen

Found on: Scheldt Route, Kempen Route, Art Cities Route 

As the oldest preserved building in Antwerp, Het Steen has had many functions over the centuries: from castle to prison and from residence to museum. Today, after a thorough renovation, the building now sparkles as a visitors’ centre for tourists. In this centuries-old castle, you can find the Visitors’ Centre, the cruise terminal and a panoramic roof terrace, as well as the multimedia interactive experience trail The Antwerp Story. For local and international visitors, it is the perfect introduction to the city and the ideal inspiration source for a further visit to Antwerp. 

13. Albert Canal Kanne

Found on: Meuse Route 

The Albert Canal in Kanne is a unique piece of Flanders. The canal, which provides a direct connection between the Meuse and the Scheldt, was hewn out of the Plateau van Caestert in 1930. The imposing marl walls on both sides of the waterway, the leisurely navigation on the canal and the imposing suspension bridge that connects the two banks are definitely postcard-worthy.  

Albertkanaal Kanne
Basiliek Tongeren

14. Basilica of Our Lady, Tongeren

Found on: Hilly Route 

The Basilica of Our Lady in Tongeren is one of the most beautiful gothic structures in Belgium. It was built over 300 years from 1254 onwards. You can see the belfry tower looming up from miles away. The basilica houses a rich arsenal of church treasures, a monumental organ and impressive stained-glass windows. In front of the basilica, Ambiorix points the way to the Gallo-Roman Museum. 

15. C-Mine

Found on: Kempen Route 

If you cycle along the Kempen route, you cannot miss the C-mine. The former Winterslag mining site has a unique atmosphere. Here, respect for the industrial past goes hand in hand with contemporary, artistic activity. There is much to do both in and around the former mining buildings. There is an underground experience trail, an impressive Energy Building and a steel labyrinth. More info: c-mine.be/en

C-Mine ©JonathanRamael
Park Tervuren

16. Tervuren Park

Found on: Green Belt Route, Art Cities Route 

Warande Park Tervuren was once the hunting domain of the Dukes of Brabant. You cycle past ponds, neoclassical gardens and some extraordinary buildings, such as the imposing Africa Museum. Leopold II had it built more than a century ago and it recently underwent a thorough renovation in which the outdated colonial world view made way for a contemporary view of a proud continent. The Warande Gate is home to a lively visitors’ centre that introduces you to the Sonian Forest and the region. 

17. Park Abbey

Found on: Hilly Route, Art Cities Route 

Park Abbey is an exceptionally well-preserved heritage site, dating back to the 12th century, on the outskirts of Leuven and surrounded by greenery. Explore the restored historical rooms of the monastery and immerse yourself in the philosophy and history of the abbey and the Norbertine order. Finally, take a look at the rich collection of religious heritage in the abbey museum PARCUM. More info: www.abdijvanpark.be

Abdij van Park
Gent ©DavidSamyn

18. St. Bavo’s Cathedral

Found on: Art Cities Route 

For more than 1,000 years, St. Bavo’s Cathedral in the centre of Ghent has been a house of prayer where everyone is welcome. In the visitors’ centre you can admire the restored panels of The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb and various other authentic art treasures in all their splendour. St. Bavo’s Cathedral is an iconic monument in art city Ghent.  More info: https://www.sintbaafskathedraal.be/en

19. Minnewater

Found on: Art Cities Route 

The Minnewater in Bruges is the romantic place and photo spot par excellence. To the north is the Beguinage Ten Wijngaerde. To the west of the Minnewater is the former Minnewater hospital. At the Minnewater bridge, which you can cross by bike, stands the old Poertoren, which served as a storage place for munitions under the ancien régime.