4.5 The big Belgian beer experience week

Day 1  Arrive at Brussels Airport – transfer to Bouillon, Ardennes

We journey south to the Ardennes, to begin our pilgrimage to Trappist Breweries!

Finally, we will reach the lovely city of Bouillon with its impressive, fortified chateau.

Check-in to hotel. Welcome dinner including beer at our hotel. Overnight in Bouillon. (B, D)

Day 2  Bouillon – Orval – Bastogne – Bouillon

Today, we will visit Abbaye de Notre Dame in Orval, home of some of the world’s finest beers. We will tour the abbey with its beer and historical museums.

For lunch we will enjoy a traditional Ardennes meal at A l’Ange Gardien, Orval Brewing’s café – the only place you can enjoy Green Orval on draft.

In the afternoon, we drive to Bastogne, located in the heart of the Ardennes region, famous for the part it played in the 1944 WWII Battle of the Bulge. We will learn more about this important battle and the role that the US military played in it. We return to Bouillon for a night-time torch tour of the medieval castle after a free-time dinner. Overnight in Bouillon. (B, L)

Day 3  Bouillon – Han-Sur-Lesse – Tourpes – Brugge

After breakfast and hotel check-out, we drive to Lavaux Saint Anne for a visit of the castle. Afterwards, you will have free time in a small town nearby for lunch.

Next, we continue to Tourpes, where we will have a brewery tour of the Les Caves Dupont (Brasserie Dupont).  Finally, we travel to Brugge where we spend the next three nights. Check-in to hotel. (B)

Day 4  Brugge

In the morning we’ll enjoy a locally guided tour of Brugge. The remainder of the day is free to explore beautiful medieval city, by canal boat, horse drawn carriage, local tour bus, or on foot on your own.

There are dozens of great bars in close proximity to museums, churches, parks and public squares. In the evening, we will indulge in a gourmet beer meal in a restaurant offering dishes paired with fine beers. Overnight in Brugge (B, D)

Day 5  Brugge – Poperinge – Ypres – return to Brugge

Breakfast at hotel. Today we visit Poperinge’s Hop Museum.

The Hop Museum is located in the city‘s former weighing house, where the hops used to be weighed, inspected and stored. Today visitors can check out the extensive collection of authentic equipment used for the hop harvest and take in the audio-visual information and quiz modules, thus experiencing the history and lifecycle of hops first hand.

Next, we enjoy lunch at the In de Vrede restaurant, the only one authorised to serve the Westvleteren Trappist beer. The beer is brewed with the utmost care, using 100% natural ingredients, in the local Sint-Sixtus abbey.

In the afternoon, we drive to Ypres, the site of some of the First World War’s biggest battles.

We will visit the historic Cloth Hall. It houses both the In Flanders Fields Museum and the Westhoek Visitor Centre. Return to Brugge. Evening is free. Overnight. (B, L)

Day 6  Brugge – Ghent – Brussels

Breakfast at hotel and check-out. Today we drive to Brussels with a stop en-route in Ghent for a guided walking tour. Afterwards, we have time for lunch on our own.

Continue on to Brussels and check in to our hotel, just steps from the Grand Place in the heart of Brussels. In the afternoon we take a guided tour of Brussels including the historical city centre. Dinner on own. Overnight in Brussels. (B)

Day 7  Free day in Brussels

Enjoy a free day with the possibility to visit by yourselves the brewers Guild hall and/or the Brasserie Cantillon, the only traditional Lambic brewery located within the city of Brussels. Founded in 1900, today Cantillon operates both as a brewery and as a living museum, the Brussels Gueuze Museum. Overnight in Brussels (B)

Day 8 Brussels – Leuven – Mechelen – Brussels

In the morning we drive to Leuven, just a short drive of about 20 kilometers from Brussels.

This small city in the region of Flanders is simply full to the brim with stellar attractions, like the magnificent University Library. After our guided city tour of Leuven, we drive to Mechelen, a city in the province of Antwerp, Flanders.

We enjoy lunch at the Het Anker brewery, followed by a guided tour which takes us through the brewery. From the brewery roof, we can enjoy a superb view over the city of Mechelen. The tour ends with a tasting session. Return to Brussels at the end of the afternoon for a farewell bar crawl gathering.  Overnight. (B, L)         

Day 9  Departure from Brussels Airport

Breakfast and hotel check out. Transfer to Brussels Airport. (B)