The Cyclotrappiste is a multi-day cycling route that takes you to three of the five monasteries in Belgium where the special Trappist beers are brewed: Orval, Chimay and Rochefort – three names that already make beer lovers' mouths water!
Over the 450 kilometres (280 mi), you can enjoy exceptional landscapes from lonely paths and wheat fields to forests, lakes and rivers. In this environment, you can concentrate on relaxation. On the way, you’ll also pass plenty of relics: abbeys, castles and archaeological sites are on the program for six days.
The peculiarity of this route is that it’ll take you specifically to the Trappist abbeys of Wallonia: these imposing buildings are monuments full of history, traditions and legends. Moreover, very special beers are brewed there. The beers of Orval, Chimay and Rochefort are among the ten beers in the world that can call themselves Trappist beers, as they are still brewed in the monasteries by the monks. There are a total of five such beers in Belgium.
You'll need strong legs to climb the hills of the Ardennes, but the route also takes in flatter stretches along the banks of the Semois and Lesse rivers. It also runs along numerous so-called RAVeL routes (réseau autonome de voies lentes (autonomous network of slow ways)), which only non-motorised traffic can use.
This route deliberately avoids the most direct routes. It winds through Belgian, French and Luxembourgian landscapes and takes you along the most beautiful roads and paths. The stages vary between 60 and 90 kilometres (37–56 mi) per day with altitude gains between 700 and 1,100 metres (2,297–3,609 ft). So the daily distances are quite strenuous, even more so if you are travelling with luggage.
For this route, it’s best to take a touring bike. If you already own a bike that rides well and you want to ride a long-distance route for the first time, you can always adapt it for your trip with a rack and mudguards.
The best seasons for cycling in Belgium are from spring to fall. However, the weather can be unpredictable even in summer, so be prepared with the appropriate clothing.
The route starts and ends at the Arlon train station, which you can easily reach by train or car. The stage destinations are in small towns or villages, where you can find campsites, hotels or hostels to stay overnight.
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Last updated: April 28, 2023
For this first stage, you leave Arlon and the abundance of the city to enter the heart of Gaume, which is a bit like the last Gallic village in Belgium ... A small world apart!
Its gently sloping plateaus, called "cuestas", offer you a few climbs and remarkable views of the surrounding countryside.
You leave Orval Abbey and its enchanting setting to continue your journey towards other bucolic horizons. You flirt with the French border and after a few kilometers you pass the Gallo-Roman site of Chameleux. And you are not the first to pass by here since it is very likely that this Gallo-Roman relay…
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This third stage will be lacustrine! After about fifteen kilometers and a steep hill, you pedal along the Lac des Vieille Forges. Surrounded by a magnificent forest, it almost feels like Canada.
After another hill that will finish warming up the calves, you will make a small detour through Rocroi, a star…
You leave the Eau d´Heure lakes by crossing the Plate Taille dam, the largest in Belgium. For a breathtaking panorama of the region from the top of its 107-meter tower, you should know that it can be visited.
Here you are in the province of Namur where you cross the countryside and several small villages…
This fifth and penultimate stage takes you to the heart of the Belgian Ardennes, its green valleys.
You leave Dinant via the famous rocky needle of Rocher Bayard, a rather surprising geological curiosity. At the confluence between the Meuse and the Lesse, you branch off to enter the Lesse valley, the…
Last day of your cyclotrappist adventure! It will probably be the greenest stage of this route, with many natural assets throughout the ride.
The route is not the most direct, but it is the most beautiful! It takes you east, to the border with Luxembourg, to pick up the RAVeL of Haute-Sûre. This section…
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