8 days discovery tour through Belgium with visits to authentic breweries , chocolate manufacturers including tastings and workshops . All this combined with a cultural discovery tour of the Belgian regions of Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia.
DAY 01: Brussels
Arrival at Brussels airport.
Transfer to the hotel and city tour of Brussels upon arrival covering the main highlights of Brussels outside the historical center such as the Atomium, the Royal Palace of Laeken and more.
We also drive through the European district and pass by at the European Parliament. Brussels is the capital of Europe and home of several international institutions, such as NATO and the European Commission.
Check-in at your hotel
Discovery on foot of the historical center. Visit of the the Brussels’ Grand-Place (UNESCO World Heritage) and surroundings (Saint Hubert Galleries, the cathedral of the Saints Michael and Gudule, Opera La Monnaie, la Bourse,...)
We end the afternoon with a visit of a real chocolate manufacturer: demonstration and several tastings included.
Dinner in a typical restaurant on the Grand’Place (private room with view on the Grand’Place).
3 course Belgian beer menu (every course is prepared and served with a different type of Belgian beer)
DAY02: Brussels - Ghent
Transfer by coach to the oldest lambiek brewery in Belgium, Brouwerij Timmermans (established 1702). On the program: an introduction to the authentic Belgian beer styles of lambiek and gueuze (traditionally produced in and around Brussels), as well as the brewing process in general. We finish up with a tasting of a typical lambiek, gueuze and “kriek” (cherry) beer.
lunch en route
Transfer to Ghent.
Installation at central located hotel
Cruise on the canals in Ghent (40 minutes)
Ghent, birthplace of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain (16th century) is a cultural giant situated at the confluence of the Scheldt and Lys rivers. The city is home to the famous Ghent altarpiece and has been listed by National Geographic Traveler as the third most authentic city worldwide.
Transfer by water taxi to the Gruut brewery. This is the only brewery situated in the city centre of Ghent. In this unique city brewery the beer isn’t brewed with hops, but with ‘gruut’ instead; a mixture of herbs and spices traditionally used by brewers in the Middle Ages, before the introduction of hops on a large scale.
After an introduction of the brewery process and tasting, we organise dinner at the brewery
Night in Ghent
Guided walk through the historic city centre. We walk along the Graslei and Korenlei (the most beautiful historical streets), along the impressive belfry and its cloth hall (both on the World Heritage list) towards the Saint Bavo’s cathedral where the famous altarpiece ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ (1432) by the van Eyck brothers, a milestone in art history, is not to be missed.
Next on the program is a chocolate workshop
In about 2 hours time our chef will teach you everything about Belgian chocolate and you will learn how to make your own pralines! Several tastings included and we will also serve you a glass of red wine (red wine a chocolate are a perfect combination)
We continue our visit of Ghent and visit the city hall with its mixture of styles from flamboyant Gothic to sober Renaissance. Next we stop at the Vrijdagsmarkt Square where we find the statue of Jacob Van Artevelde. A little further we encounter Dulle Griet (‘Evil woman’), a 15th century cast iron cannon, weighing more than twelve tons. Once we have crossed the Lys we enter the inner courtyard of the House of Alijn. This former almshouse is now the Museum of Folklore. The exquisite complex is part of the Patershol, the only neighbourhood in Ghent where the original medieval street plan is still intact. Through winding alleys and cobbled streets with numerous restaurants we reach the Castle of the Counts. This imposing fortress used to be the residence of the Count of Flanders. Later on it was used as a courthouse, a jail and even a textile factory.
Dinner at the hotel or in the city center (3 course menu)
Night in Ghent
DAY04: Ghent - Oudenaerde - Bruges
Transfer to Oudenaarde and visit of the Liefmans brewery. Here you will discover the traditional Oudenaards oudbruin beers in an authentic historical setting.
Transfer to Bruges. The city is called the Venice of the North and the entire city center has been declared UNESCO World Heritage. Installation at a central located hotel
Visit on foot of the historical centre including the highlights of the Venice of the North: the Market Square with the Belfry and Cloth Halls, the Burg Square with its beautiful Town Hall in Gothic style and the basilica of the Holy Blood and the Liberty of Bruges, once the city courthouse, today the Municipal Archives. Next we visit the fish market, the Dijver, Our Lady church, the Princely beguinage and more.
We end the afternoon with cruise on the canals
Dinner in a restaurant situated along one of the canals. This restaurant with a unique historical setting was the guildhouse of the politically influential tanners.
We continue our visit of Bruges and visit the former financial heart of Bruges
Visit of the Jan Van Eyck-square (once the center of Hanseatic Bruges) This area was the economic and financial hub of Flanders between the 13th and the 15th century. Impressive houses are a statement of the leading role of Bruges as a commercial center during the Middle Ages. We pass the city theatre, the Saaihalle, built centuries ago in 1399, “Huis ter Beurze” (the first stock exchange), the Toll House, etc.. A little bit further we arrive at the Burg, one of the most charming squares in town where we see the gorgeous Gothic City Hall, the basilica of the Holy Blood and the Liberty of Bruges, once the city courthouse, today the Municipal Archives.
We end the morning with a visit of the chocolate museum Chocostory
Pub crawl by horse drawn tram (2 hours). We drive along the windmills and lesser well known parts of Bruges, making 2 stops in typical local café’s or pubs along our journey of discovery. In each pub we taste a regional beer.
Dinner at own arrangements
Night in Bruges
DAY06: Bruges - Pipaix - Namur
Transfer to Pipaix. Visit of Brasserie Dubuisson, renowned for its strong Bush beers and Cuvée des Trolls. Visit of the historic old - and - brand new brewhouses and the typical beer cellar. Tasting and lunch with Belgian specialities at the brewery.
We leave Dubuisson and head further into Wallonia, the French speaking part of Belgium. Transfer to Namur, once arrived we start with a city discovery tour of Namur, encompassing the main highlights in the historical city centre.
Visit of the citadel of Namur, one of the greatest strongholds in Europe. This site and its fortifications have illustrated several centuries of occupation and of military architecture from the Middle Ages up to the 20th century.
Installation at hotel
Dinner and night in Namur
DAY07: Namur - Orval - Bouillon - Dinant - Namur
Transfer to Orval. Visit of the abbey of Orval and its museum. Orval is a unique abbey site with a 1000 year history. You will visit the medieval abbey ruins, the brewery museum, see the impressive modern abbey from the outside and enjoy the great surroundings of this world famous Trappist abbey.
Lunch is served in the abbey restaurant
Transfer to Bouillon. Visit visit of the château fort of Bouillon. The medieval fortress looks down on the city built alongside the Semois River. You will also get a feeling of the magnificent Belgian Ardennes covered with forest.
Transfer to Dinant. Free time to stroll around a picturesque village overlooking the Meuse River. Dinant is famous for its citadel, main church and natural caves (La Merveilleuse). Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone lived here
Transfer back to Namur.
Dinner and night at the hotel
DAY08: Namur - Neerijse - Leuven - Brussels Airport
Transfer to Neerijse (close to Leuven). Visit of brewery De Kroon and Biercentrum Delvaux. De Kroon is a historic brewery site combined with a new brewery where professor Delvaux and his team develop their own beers (small production) and experiment with different yeasts. The beers of De Kroon are probably as rare as those of Westvleteren as they are also not officially distributed or sold outside the brewery.
Lunch is served at the brewery’s restaurant including an exclusive tasting of 3 house beers
Transfer to Leuven, the oldest university town in Belgium and the city where Stella Artois originated. It is also the home of the world’s largest Brewery AB Inbev. We start with a visit of the Stella Artois brewery.
Guided discovery walk through the historic city centre of Leuven with its wonderful Town Hall, university library, the beguinage (UNESCO World Heritage).
Transfer to Brussels Airport (Zaventem)