Antwerp-Ghent cycling route

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Antwerp-Ghent cycling route

Length
77,2 km
Time
4u 25m
Terrain
98% Verhard

Steenplein, 2000 Antwerpen

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Fietsknooppuntenbord

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Extended route description

From Antwerp to Ghent (or vice versa), you obviously won't be cycling on busy paved roads. That's what the towpaths at nodes along the Scheldt are for! Since the arrival of DeWaterbus, these have suddenly become very accessible: an open invitation to this XL bike trip between the two cities. You can always return by bike on the train, too!

Starting point

Node 49 - Scheldelei, 9150 Kruibeke

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Since the summer of 2017, DeWaterbus has been shuttling every half hour between Steenplein in the heart of Antwerp and Hemiksem, with a stopover in Kruibeke. You can just bring your bike aboard with you! Arriving, cycle towards node 49 for the start of this extra-long trip along the waterfront.

Node 49-71-72

POLDERS of KRUIBEKE

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Along the Scheldt, in the territory of Kruibeke, Basel and Rupelmonde, lies Flanders' largest floodplain, the Polders of Kruibeke. No less than 600 hectares of those polders have been transformed into a unique chunk of nature. A Mecca for cyclists, hikers and nature-lovers, where the Scheldt rushes millions of litres of water over the Scheldt dyke during storm tides – once or twice a year.

Node 86

RUPELMONDE

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The most famous inhabitant ever of this Scheldt village is synonymous with Rupelmonde: Mercator. In 1554, the cartographer lived for seven months on water and bread in the dungeon of the Tower of the Counts on charges of heresy. Putting the world on the map was not something you could do with impunity in his time. Today, you can visit a small exhibition here with prints, maps and a real 3D construction of the former Gravensteen that dominated the area.

Node 86-74

FORT STEENDORP

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The last brick fort built in Belgium, used only as an army training ground after WWII, now serves as a bat sanctuary. In winter, some 1,200 of them stay in this domain that has been officially protected as a landscape, historical monument and nature reserve.

20 hectares are home to more than 100 bird species, dozens of which also breed locally, such as the tawny and barn owl, sparrowhawk and buzzard. A fascinating 2-kilometre walk runs around the ramparts of this former military stronghold.

Node 74-75

SCHOUSELBROEK

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Along the Scheldt, between Steendorp and Temse, you can cycle through this impressive 150-hectare polder area, which dates back to the 13th century. The area was embanked at the time at the request of St Peter's Abbey in Ghent and was one of the first embanked polders along the Scheldt.

Twigs used to be planted here for local basket weaving, but today, 60 percent of the area consists of poplar forest. A little further ahead are the natural areas of Roomkouter and Gelaagpark, two former quarries from which local brick-makers used to mine clay.

Node 75

TEMSE

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Temse is known for constructing ships and bridges. On the site of the former Boel shipyard, the Zaat was built in recent years: a new district, with modern residential blocks on the waterfront. Today, the large site crane is a monument and a reminder of the Boel site. At 374 metres, the famous Temse Bridge over the Scheldt River is one of the longest bridges in Belgium. The bridge that was here originally and was destroyed in WWII was designed by Gustave Eiffel.

Node 76

’T VEER tavern

The former ferry house of Tielrode is today a cosy tavern with a south-facing terrace and a safe playground. From winter stews to generous homemade sandwiches to light summer salads, everything here is fresh and home-cooked. And wash it all down with a draught Trappist beer, or another, sometimes exclusive, beer.

Node 76-77

HAMME-TIELRODE ferry

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The former ferry between Hamme and Tielrode existed as early as the 13th century. Cyriel Van Bogaert, alias "den Toeter," whose statue adorns the other side, was one of the most famous ferrymen. For 49 years – from 1925 to 1974 – he operated not only the ferry but also the taproom at café 't Veerhuis.

Node 78-69-51-56-99

GREMBERGEN BROEK

Via the Den Bunt, Lippenbroek and Moerzeke areas of nature – with the Vlassenbroek polder on the other side – you'll head on towards Grembergen. In a bend of the Scheldt lies the beautiful piece of nature Grembergen Broek, with many salt marshes and ponds. In turn, De Roggeman polder area is located in a former Scheldt inlet and is a real attraction for numerous bird species. On the outskirts, De Kille Café will indulge you with a mix of refined classics and regional specialties.

Node 76

BERLARE-APPELS ferry

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At node 76, you'll arrive at the Berlare-Appels ferry, one of the 12 pedestrian and cyclist ferries so typical of Scheldeland. It is said to date as far back as the mid-13th century and is also considered the oldest. The boat sails out every half-hour; except at 12:30pm, when the ferryman goes to lunch. Nice picnic spot!

HET VEERHUIS tavern

Quench your thirst with a regional beer at Het Veerhuis tavern, once voted the most famous pub in Flanders. The house sandwiches are not to be sniffed at either! In 1971, this former ferryman's house served as the location for the film adaptation of Stijn Streuvels' book 'De teleurgang van de waterhoek'.

Node 68

’t OUD BRUGHUYS

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Among cyclists, Schoonaarde Bridge, where heavy fighting took place against the advancing Germans in October 1914, is a popular stop. On the right bank, several eel restaurants serve up the local delicacy; across the street, the yellow cafe 't Oud Brughuys stands out. This bike-friendly inn dates back to 1914 and, besides a great view, also has a charging station for e-bikes and a menu full of local beers.

Node 68-65

PAARDEWEIDE and PAARDEBROEK

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Along the Scheldt in Berlare, you'll head through the Heide Marshes and the Paardeweide floodplain. About once a year, during a north-westerly storm, this area floods. The rest of the year, you'll enjoy authentic Scheldt nature here, with a patchwork of wet meadows, reeds, open water and alder carr forest. In the eastern part, numerous bird species breed on the reed islets. A hiking footpath with information boards allows you to get to know Paardeweide up close: highly recommended! In nearby Paardebroek, especially in the spring, you can enjoy some beautiful hay and grasslands dotted with flowers.

Node 45-46-42

KALKENSE MEERSEN

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The controlled floodplains Wijmeers 1 and 2 are part of the Kalkense Meersen, a 950-hectare area of nature between the village centres of Kalken, Overmere, Uitbergen, Schellebelle and Wetteren. It consists of low-lying, moist grasslands, furrowed with pools and ditches, where thousands of meadow birds flock in the winter. From the Scheldt dyke, you have a wonderful view of the area. Next time, come here for a walk too! Tourism East Flanders has mapped out a 165 km network of calm hiking trails connected by nodes.

Node 42

SCHELLEBELLE ferry

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The village of Schellebelle is familiar to all of East Flanders from the ferry: another highlight on this route! Especially on summer days, there are often long traffic jams on the Scheldt dyke with hikers and cyclists going to and from the Kalkense Meersen. As early as the 13th century, there was a crossing over the Scheldt here to connect the village to the marshes. To call the ferry, a tug on the blue bell will suffice: unique in Flanders!

DE PLAETSE

Brasserie De Plaetse, named after the original name of Schellebelle's village square, has a nice terrace overlooking the Scheldt. Set aside your bike for a moment for a cup of coffee, a tea of the day or a local beer, whether or not accompanied by a quick snack or a hearty bite.

Node 34

WETTEREN

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The opening of Wetteren's Passerelle, the striking cycling and pedestrian bridge over the Scheldt, was the finale of a fine example of urban renewal in 2018. A brand-new red-brick administrative centre was erected between the stately St Gertrude's Church – where the lost panel from the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb was once searched for – and the banks of the Scheldt. The people of Wetteren aptly named the square 'Red Hill', after the late Wim De Craene's song: besides roses and ornamental shrubs, the city's best-known export product.

Node 12-7

GENTBRUGSE MEERSEN

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Not only waterfowl, raptors and waders are delighted with the lake landscape of the Gentbrugse Meersen – Ghent residents smoothly find their way to this 240-hectare 'green oasis' as well. Owing to a minor adjustment to the cycling network, you now cycle right through it, passing by the birth forest, the play forest and the peace monument. Your climb to the top will be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding area.

BOER JANSSENS

This popular café with a terrace and playground on the edge of the Gentbrugse Meersen is the place to be in this sub-municipality of Ghent. You can eat or drink something there all year round, but from March to October, afternoon sweets are also on the menu. Behind the café are eleven hectares of new sports grounds owned by the City of Ghent. So after a match, it can get pretty crowded here.

Node 5

KEIZERPARK

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Two modern cycle bridges turned this formerly isolated park on the outskirts of Ghent into a hip and green hangout. On sunny days, it buzzes with activity, as skaters, picnickers, fishermen and pleasure cruisers alike eagerly find their way here.

Node 5-4

GHENT

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Flanders' most versatile and bike-friendly city will spoil you with a mix of culture, history, welcoming (veggie) restaurants and a great deal of ambiance. Settle down at a table along the Graslei or Korenlei, take comedian Wouter Deprez's audio tour of the Gravensteen, stroll through the picturesque Patershol and take that romantic selfie from Sint-Michielsbrug. Near node 4, you can board the train at Sint-Pieters Station!

BAR BIDON

Stop off for a coffee or tea and enjoy the view from the terrace of this Ghent hotspot for cycling and coffee-lovers. Nearby, the Reep, dammed in 1960, a traditionally natural connection between Lys and Scheldt, reopened in 2018. This followed continued pressure from many Ghent residents, who always saw the damming as a disfigurement of historic Ghent.

Node 4