Cycling along castles cycling route

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Cycling along castles cycling route

49,4 km
2u 45m
84% Verhard

Heusdenbrug 1, 9070 Destelbergen

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Route description

The castles of Heusden and Destelbergen are imposing witnesses to the rich history of both municipalities. The castles route connects these 'courts of plaisance' in a circuit with the castles of Laarne, Beervelde and Lochristi. Continue cycling through shaded avenues between the castle parks, through atmospheric villages and through the Kalkense Meersen nature reserve.

Starting point


You can park in the car park of the sports hall.



Gentbrugse Meersen - David Samyn.jpg

From your starting point, cycle toward the Scheldt River, where you follow the towpath for about 4 kilometers. Across the water is the green pole Gentbrugse Meersen. This nature reserve is mainly known for the 'Birth Forest' and the Peace Monument, but its free-roaming cows, recreational forest and barefoot trail are also attractions. At the top of the Peace Monument, you can enjoy an impressive panorama of the Meersen and Scheldt.

Node 7


More or less where checkpoint 7 is, a ferry once crossed between the two banks of the Scheldt. The ferry house, with its memorial stone in the facade, is still standing. A swing bridge was built here in 1869, but was demolished in 1959 for the current Heusden Bridge.

Node 7-12-11


Once you're away from the Scheldt, you dive into the greenery of Heusden, where you will see numerous castles popping up among the trees. Most of the castles, like the one in Destelbergen, were built in the 19th century, commissioned by the Ghent bourgeoisie who came here to spend weekends.

Node 11



Between Heusden and Destelbergen, the peat pits around the old Scheldt meanders gave way to the Damvallei, a vast natural area with precious grasslands. A big attraction here is the Damvallei Lake, an artificial body of water created by sand extraction for the construction of the E17. A large part of the area is managed by Natuurpunt, and is very popular with both waterfowl and hikers.



Bistro Céline has stayed true to the menu of the former eel house Stapsteen, with contemporary versions of Flemish classics and eels prepared in six different styles. In the afternoon, you can stop off for a pancake or other sweet treat here.

Node 11-14-21


kasteel van laarne.jpg

Once across the R4, you head towards Laarne and one of Flanders' best-preserved strongholds. The sublime 14th-century Laarne Castle houses an impressive art collection of Brussels tapestries, 16th-century furniture and a wonderful silver collection. During the infamous witch trials of the early 17th century, alleged witches were put under lock and key here. With the movie guide 'Witches' you'll dive into the castle's past, along with Pastor Jan Schatteman and cleaning lady Josyne. In every room - from the living room to the kitchen to a prison cell - you'll discover a different facet of this compelling history.


The ideal stopping point is this cozy eatery near the castle. The dining menu features appetising snacks, salads, pastas and meat dishes, plus tasty sweets. The drinks menu features a selection of trappist beers and more than 20 varieties of gin for your favourite G&T.

Node 28


café Prullenbos Wetteren 1 Bram Elewaut.jpg
café Prullenbos Wetteren 2 Bram Elewaut.jpg
café Prullenbos Wetteren 3 Bram Elewaut.jpg

Drinks, ice creams, pancakes and small savoury snacks at a picturesque inn in the woods with large play valley for the children. Groups can also stay here: the Boskabanne has 36 beds, divided among 7 rooms.

Node 36-29


Kalkense Meersen Wetteren.jpg

Between the village centres of Wetteren, Schellebelle, Kalken and Uitbergen, 1,000 hectares of water meadows nestle snugly in a corner of the Scheldt. These are the Kalkense Meersen, a protected natural area with picturesque streams, canals and biking and hiking trails meandering through. In this Sigma area, you can enjoy a broad landscape with endless vistas, interspersed with rows of trees and small woods.

Bergenmeersen, Wijmeers, Scheldebroeken ... Highly diverse biotopes flourish in each of the water meadows, each with their own characteristic flora and fauna. To date, 170 bird species have been spotted on the largest reed pond.

Node 27-26

De Petrushoeve

Between nodes 27 and 26, be sure to make the small diversions to De Petrushoeve. During the months of July and August, you can get delicious ice cream here on weekends, made from fresh farm milk from its own cows.

Node 19


Waasland_park van beervelde_Lochristi.jpg
waasland_park van beervelde 1_lochristi_0.jpg
waasland_park van beervelde_lochristi_0.jpg

Beervelde means the 'Garden Days' and the beautiful castle park. Every six months, garden lovers from all over Europe flock here en masse to spend three days soaking up the spring scents or autumnal vibes. Hundreds of exhibitors, including both Belgian and foreign tree and plant growers, exhibit anything that grows and blossoms, plus a unique range of antiques and decorations to make your garden (even) more beautiful. You can visit the park during the Garden Days, as well as at other times. But call, email or pop in to the secretariat first though!

Node 10


waasland_kasteel rozelaar_lochristi.jpg

In this protected classical castle with white plastered facades from 1840, Charles Vuylsteke set up his internationally renowned horticultural company around 1870. This marked the start of azalea and begonia cultivation in Lochristi. As early as the 13th century, there was a castle here that served as a country residence for the abbots of Sint-Baafs Abbey in Ghent. They also had green fingers: their walled estate included a vineyard, an orchard and an extensive vegetable and herb garden. The castle is visible from the monumental Kasteeldreef, but it is not open to the public.


In this open-air museum, a rural settlement from the Late Iron Age/early Gallo-Roman period has been reconstructed, baseed on the latest scientific advances. Every Saturday afternoon (or by appointment) you can relive the past here during demos of crafts and martial arts, or at educational stands focusing on Celtic culture, and historical cooking including Celtic and Roman food, among other things.

NODE 8-7



In and around the Kwadenplasstraat and the Eenbeekstraat, you'll ride through the protected villagescape of Destelbergen with the castles of Notax, Succa, Crabbenburg and Te Lande. In its oldest form, Notax castle was a keep on a walled motte, in the cellar there are 9 stained glass windows featuring the epic of the fox Reynaert. Succa castle, set in a 17 hectare park, is best viewed if you look left from the Zevensterrede. Crabbenburg Castle - that's right, like in Tintin! - with its four Ionic columns and carved pediment, has the allure of a Greek temple.

End point