In the Zwalm region cycling route

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In the Zwalm region cycling route

23,6 km
1u 20m
91% Verhard

Eikstraat, 9630 Zwalm

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In the Zwalm region cycling route

Depart from the spring village of Dikkelvenne for a ride through the Zwalmvallei, a popular cycling and hiking area in the Flemish Ardennes. On your route: water mills, hilly landscapes, cafés where time seems to have stood still and even an idyllic piece of Switzerland in Flanders.

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Spring village of Dikkelvenne

Dikkelvenne is the spring village in this region, and it owes this to Saint Christiana, a Scottish or Anglo-Saxon princess who is said to have settled here around 715. The devout Christian crossed the canal and arrived at Dikkelvenne via the Scheldt. Wherever she stopped, springs sprang from the ground.

As it happened, Dikkelvenne had run out of water. Carelessly, Christiana tapped 'De Rotse' – the ancient heart of Dikkelvenne – and suddenly water bubbled up. She repeated this in yet more places and the spring village of Dikkelvenne was born. The church and cemetery stood on 'De Rotse' until 1824. In 1895, the grounds were redesigned as a park and the Christiana Chapel was erected in the neo-Gothic style. Go ahead and take a look at this idyllic location first. Nearby, the Christiana springs water and lemonade factory is still operating.

Estaminet De Rotse

estaminet de rotse in Dikkelvenne.jpg

De Rotse Café has a pleasant terrace and is the ideal stop for sampling beers from Gavere-based artisanal family brewery Contreras, such as the Valeir, Contrapils and Tonneke. You can also eat something at this picturesque location: the menu features some tasty brasserie dishes, as well as pancakes, cakes and ice cream for the sweet tooth.

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Blue Castle

Between the Scheldt and the hills of the Flemish Ardennes, on the domain where the Windeke Bron spring water and lemonade factory once stood, organic vegetable growing has been going on since 2007. Ardennes Voskop sheep graze on the ancient pastures surrounding the castle, and the forest is managed ecologically.

The historic kitchen garden features forgotten vegetables, small fruits (berries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.), herbs and a standard orchard. Every week, the farm delivers organic fruit and vegetable packages to various pick-up points in Ghent and the Flemish Ardennes, and to their own organic stores in Ghent, Horebeke, Sint-Martens-Latem and Knokke.

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Squeeze your arm here just to be sure. This isn't a dream – this is Dikkele, a Zwalm village brimming with nostalgic charm, with barely 180 inhabitants, a 19th-century church and an authentic walled presbytery amid the rolling agricultural fields. The village centre has not only been fully protected by the Flemish government since 1980.

The village's surroundings are also protected to a certain extent. The postcard village lies in a basin, so as to be removed from the inhabited world, such that from a certain distance, hardly more can be seen than the tip of the church tower. There is barely any through traffic; hikers and cyclists, on the other hand, all the more so.

Café De Casino


A village inn with a cosiness index well above average, a Leuven stew and local goodies from Brewery Contreras and others on the drinks menu. The statue in front of the door recalls De Wever brewery, which operated in the village until 1983.

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Klein Switzerland ('Little Switzerland')


This idyllic spot owes its name to an imaginative miller. He compared his little pond to Lake Geneva, the Zwalmbroek to a gurgling mountain river and the 'mountains' to those of Switzerland. 'Little Switzerland' was born. There is even a sign with the number of kilometres to the real Switzerland: exactly 513. At least until the end of September, stretched out in the grass, in the hammock or in the beach chair, you can enjoy local and often organic produce here every weekend at OHNE's Bosbar, one of the first low-waste cafés in East Flanders. After that, the fairytale house will be closed for a while for renovations.

Zwalmmolen (Zwalm mill)


The Zwalmmolen, once owned by St Peter's Abbey of Corbie (Somme), is a magnificent piece of engineering heritage hidden amid the verdant Zwalm Valley. Until the early 20th century, this was a double mill, where not only grain but also linseed, corn and tobacco were processed, among other things. In 2010, the mill was restored to its former working glory and equipped with a small hydropower plant.

It is possible to visit the mill, by appointment only. The former lock-keeper's house is home to Streekpunt Zwalm, the tourist information point for the region. Nip inside for all the information on the Zwalm region and the Flemish Ardennes.

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De Kaaihoeve


Nestled in the heavenly greenery of the Scheldevallei, De Kaaihoeve is your ideal base for (re)discovering nature. Both in and around this provincial nature centre, you can interactively learn about nature and environmental topics or observe unusual animals and plants.

The name 'kaai' ('quay') refers to the time when there was still a jetty in Meilegem, even before the Scheldt was turned into a canal. Here and there are still some old barns and courtyard walls, and when in season, fruit will be hanging in the orchard. Follow the grassy paths or barefoot trail here and enjoy an hour of pure nature experience.

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