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Between sea and hills — cycling Tours in Belgium’s Westhoek

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Between sea and hills — cycling Tours in Belgium’s Westhoek

Bike Touring Collection by Jesko

11

Tours

33:07 h

344 mi

6,350 ft

In the far west of Flanders, Westhoek is characterised by the North Sea coast, the river Ijzer and the slightly hilly hinterland. This rural area is sparsely populated and its low-traffic roads and paths are perfect for relaxed cycling adventures. The landscape is mostly flat and away from the big cities and exudes a peaceful tranquillity that quickly takes you in. While the terrain is gentle, the wind shouldn’t be underestimated so check the forecast and plan your trip accordingly to avoid exhausting headwinds.

Even though Westhoek, as part of the historic county of Flanders, crosses modern borders, in this Collection I focus on the part that lies in present-day Belgium. Of course, you can also experience great cycle rides in the French part of Westhoek.

You can easily reach the villages along the way by train and where this isn’t possible, I provide other options in the individual Tour descriptions. Some parts of the country are quite remote which adds challenge as well as blissful peace and little traffic.

The First World War raged particularly fiercely in Westhoek and has left its mark on the area to this day. The military cemeteries, monuments and traces of huge explosions are everywhere. Many villages and towns were almost completely destroyed but these Tours are not only interesting from a historical point of view and the area has much more to offer. From the sandy beaches and dunes along the coast to the marshy nature reserve of De Moeren and the former battlefields around historic towns like Ypres, Diksmuide or Roeselare, there’s a lot to discover in Belgium’s Westhoek.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    West-Vlaamse Bergenfietsroute – Fietstochten in de Westhoek

    Difficult
    03:00
    29.6 mi
    9.9 mph
    1,500 ft
    1,500 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    There are mountains in West Flanders too. Granted, hill is probably a better name. This area is not called Heuvelland for nothing. The hills may not be as high as the mountains, but cyclists in particular can testify that they are steep enough to make you sweat. If you want to see for yourself, then

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  • Intermediate
    02:40
    28.9 mi
    10.9 mph
    525 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    There is a wonderfully peaceful landscape around Ypres with rolling hills and lots of greenery. If the traces of the First World War weren't ubiquitous, one could almost forget that one of the most terrible battles in human history was raging here. So that this is never forgotten, you will find a variety

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  • Intermediate
    02:59
    29.7 mi
    10.0 mph
    325 ft
    325 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The west coast has a variety of landscapes that might surprise you. In addition to the kilometer-long sandy beaches, there are mighty and unique dunes to discover in the hinterland, which offer a valuable habitat for endangered animal species. The Westkustfietsroute combines all of this into an exciting

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  • Intermediate
    02:18
    24.3 mi
    10.6 mph
    475 ft
    475 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The front arch at Ypres was created by the bitter defense of the city of Ypres by the Allies in the First Battle of Flanders. Some of the most devastating trench battles of the war raged here. About half a million soldiers lost their lives during the four years. The photographs of the completely destroyed

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  • Intermediate
    02:21
    25.2 mi
    10.7 mph
    175 ft
    175 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Although it does not run along the coast, the Ijzerbroekenfietsroute is mainly shaped by the water. Several man-made waterways and canals run in the catchment area of the Ijzer. It's best to take some provisions with you, because you won't find many places to stop on this tour. In the few towns that

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  • Difficult
    06:06
    62.2 mi
    10.2 mph
    1,175 ft
    1,000 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    14-18 is the abbreviation commonly used in Belgium for the four years in which the First World War raged, i.e. 1914 to 1918. This tour takes you over 100 kilometers along the entire front line at that time. Between the North Sea coast and the French border, you can get to countless places where memories

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  • Intermediate
    03:10
    33.1 mi
    10.4 mph
    600 ft
    625 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The area around Poperinge is called Hoppeland because the hops, which are needed for brewing beer, thrive here particularly well. Among other things, you will visit the Sint Sixtus Abbey on this tour, where the famous Trappist beer from Westvleteren is brewed. You will also drive past one or the other

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  • Intermediate
    02:52
    29.1 mi
    10.1 mph
    150 ft
    150 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Boterland around Diksmuide is characterized by large fields, a large number of castles and one or the other large farm. Here, too, the traces of the First World War cannot be overlooked. You will find many monuments, bunkers and signs of remembrance of the terrible times. Usually a strong westerly

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  • Intermediate
    02:18
    24.8 mi
    10.8 mph
    175 ft
    175 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    De Moeren is a scenic region on the border between Belgium and France. For centuries this area was completely under water. It was not until the 17th century that people began to pump out the water and make the area habitable. Today De Moeren is on average 2.5 meters below sea level, making it the lowest

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  • Intermediate
    02:56
    31.2 mi
    10.6 mph
    750 ft
    750 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    In the south of the Westhoek, around Wervik, a lot of tobacco has been grown for a long time. The tobacco industry's heyday may fortunately be over, but it is still grown on a smaller scale. On this round you will discover the tobacco fields of the Westhoek and the beautiful, quiet streets between Ypres

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  • Intermediate
    02:27
    26.2 mi
    10.7 mph
    500 ft
    475 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Westhoek is not entirely flat. This route leads over some of the most beautiful climbs in the region. Although these are not particularly long or steep, they are still a welcome change. One of the most striking elevations is the eponymous Gitsberg, which you climb right after starting - provided

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    11
  • Distance
    344 mi
  • Duration
    33:07 h
  • Elevation
    6,350 ft

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Between sea and hills — cycling Tours in Belgium’s Westhoek

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