- Visit breweries across the country to learn about Belgium's beer-making traditions
- Taste many local Belgian beers, from "witbiers" and "dubbels" to saisons and lambics
- Tour Scourmont Abbey, where monks brew traditional Trappist beers
- Discover museums and try local foods like waffles and chocolates in Brussels
- Get outdoors for a beautiful walk in the scenic Ardennes forests in south Belgium
|Day 1||Arrive in Brussels, Transfer to Ghent, Scenic Boat Tour, Brouwbar Tasting||Ghent|
|Day 2||Take a Historic Beer Walk in Ghent, Visit Gruut Brewery||Ghent|
|Day 3||Transfer to Antwerp, Visit Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie||Antwerp|
|Day 4||Tour De Koninck Brewery & Festive Brunch||Antwerp|
|Day 5||Transfer to Houffalize, Full-Day Excursion to Mechelen & Achouffe||Houffalize|
|Day 6||Enjoy a Day at Leisure in Ardennes||Houffalize|
|Day 7||Transfer to Chimay via Dinant, Visit Chimay Brewery||Chimay|
|Day 8||Transfer to Brussels, Take a Guided Beer Walk||Brussels|
|Day 9||Explore Brussels' Museums, Including Brussels Gueuze Museum||Brussels|
|Day 10||Depart Brussels|
Day 1: Arrive in Brussels, Transfer to Ghent, Scenic Boat Tour, Brouwbar Tasting
Welcome to Belgium! Today you'll take the train direct from Brussels to Ghent. On arrival, head to the Leie River at the Grasbrug (brug is "bridge" in Flemish). Board a boat that will take you on a leisurely, narrated tour of the canals of medieval Ghent. Afterward, set out on foot to find some authentic local cuisine. Mussels, oysters, and eels in green sauce are specialties in Ghent, and of course, you'll find Belgian waffles and frites, the Belgian version of French fries, and irresistible Belgian chocolate.
Later on, in the charming Patershol neighborhood of Ghent, stop in at the traditional Brouwbar Microbrewery. Staff will walk you through the fascinating beer-making process, after which you'll take a seat beside the beer vats to learn about, sample, and appreciate a variety of brews. From sparkling saisons to powerful hoppy beers, this brewery takes a typical Ghent approach to brewing: traditional yet rebellious.
Day 2: Take a Historic Beer Walk in Ghent, Visit Gruut BreweryToday you'll head out on a slightly different kind of city walking tour to explore Ghent's history in the context of the relationship between beer brewing, churches, abbeys, and monasteries. Begin at Sint-Jorishof opposite the Ghent Town Hall, and meander through the city center, stopping at five remarkable tasting spots to sample a wide variety of interesting beers and learn about the rich history of each setting. Visit the best-known city brewery, Gruut Brewery, where herbs are used instead of hops, to tour their beer-making process and, of course, try some samples.
Day 3: Transfer to Antwerp, Visit Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie
Today you'll catch a train to Antwerp to explore its wide avenues and narrow, cobbled medieval streets, full of Renaissance and Art Nouveau architectural gems as well as strikingly modern buildings. Wander to the Grote Markt, the largest and most important square in the city, and the enormous Cathedral of Our Lady, first constructed in 1352. Do as the Belgians do and stop for a cold Belgian beer on a charming outdoor patio, or grab some fresh fish or seafood from a local eatery near the cathedral with a glass of chilled white wine.
Then, pay a visit to Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie, Antwerp's only independent brewery and home of the famous Seef beer. This blonde, cloudy brew originated in the 19th century but disappeared in the 1930s until 2012, when it reappeared thanks to a crowdfunding campaign. Discover the brewery's story and learn about everything from malting to fermentation. You'll get to try a range of beers, including their prized brew. A courtyard and terrace play host to some great live music and barbecues in the summer.
Day 4: Tour De Koninck Brewery & Festive Brunch
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Transfer to Houffalize, Full-Day Excursion to Mechelen & Achouffe
Today's multi-town adventure begins in Mechelen, where you'll visit Het Anker brewery, dating back to the 14th century. Here beers are made in the traditional Belgian way: top fermented and re-fermented in their bottles. Take a guided tour to see the process up close, and try the beer they're most famous for, Golden Carlous. For something different, you can also sample some authentic Japanese sake through the brewery's relationship with Konishi Brewing which has been making sake in Japan since 1550.
Next up, travel on to the town of Achouffe, where La Chouffe beer is made at Achouffe Brewery, for a tour and tasting at their Auberge des Lutins. After a long day of touring and tasting, check into your hotel in nearby Houffalize, among a beautiful landscape of hills and forests in the Ardennes region.
Day 6: Enjoy a Day at Leisure in ArdennesSpend a day at leisure in the beautiful Ardennes region, a rural part of southern Belgium with extensive forests and rolling hills. It's a stunning unspoiled area of nature perfect for walking and hiking. You can also go cycling, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, climbing, and mountain biking here. Several castles, forts, and citadels dot the green landscape making for some rather magical photo opportunities. On your return, nothing beats enjoying a cold La Chouffe beer after a day of fresh air and exercise.
Day 7: Transfer to Chimay via Dinant, Visit Chimay Brewery
Take a drive through the lovely Ardennes landscape this morning, passing the picturesque towns of La-Roche-en-Ardenne and Marche-en-Famenne, to arrive at Dinant on the Meuse River, a charming town with an impressive skyline of tall mansions, a towering church, rocky cliffs, and a citadel. Climb 408 steps or take the cable car to 328 feet (100 m) above the city to visit a fortress besieged 17 times over the centuries, most recently by the Germans during World Wars I and II. Afterward, stop at a nice riverside restaurant for an atmospheric lunch.
Another hour's drive will take you south toward the French border to Chimay. Since 1850, Scourmont Abbey has been home to the Trappist monks of Chimay, where traditional Trappist beers (those brewed by the monastery monks within the abbey) are still brewed. A large portion of the brewery's profits goes to social projects. The busy monks also produce Chimay cheese. You can try both beer and cheese on an interactive tour, which includes a visit to the garden, the church, and the cemetery. You'll stay the night in a nearby inn and enjoy more great Chimay brews with a local meal.
Day 8: Transfer to Brussels, Take a Guided Beer WalkTake a train to Belgium's beautiful capital Brussels and embark on a guided beer walk. Brussels is one of Europe's major beer cities, with a brewing tradition that goes back to 12th-century monks and a flourishing contemporary beer scene. Discover the heritage and culture of beer as you make your way around a handful of hotspots through the city's historic heart. You'll have the opportunity to try a wide range of Belgian beers, from witbiers (white beers), a Belgian-style wheat ale, to dubbels (doubles), or strong dark beers, as you go.
Day 9: Explore Brussels' Museums, Including Brussels Gueuze Museum
On your final day in Belgium, explore Brussels' many museums. For those in pursuit of art, there's the Fine Arts Museum, Design Museum, Old Masters Museum, and the Magritte Museum. History fanatics should head to the City Museum, Military Museum, or Jewish Museum. For some special-interest spots, go for the Comics Museum or Autoworld. On your way, grab a warm Belgian waffle from a local waffle shop, or try local comfort foods like moules-frites (mussels and fries), stoemp (mash mixed with root vegetables), or Brussels sprouts.
On a beer tour of Belgium, you'd be remiss not to visit the Brussels Gueuze Museum, part of the Cantillon Brewery, a family brewery founded in 1900, to learn about the production of Lambic, Gueuze, Kriek, and Framboise beers. The beers they produce, their tools, and their brewing processes haven't changed since they first opened, and that strong sense of history and tradition here is a perfect way to end your cross-country beer tour of Belgium.