By now, it should be no surprise that Bruges quickly became one of my all time favorite cities in Europe. Not only did touring the city on foot and climbing the Belfry to get a bird’s-eye view of the city make me completely fall in love with the mystery of Bruges, but cycling through the countryside tipped my love for the city over the edge. One of my favorite ways of exploring a new city is to hop on two wheels and set out (with or without a map). Bruges was no exception, especially since we loved cycling around Haarlem during our time in the Netherlands, it was an easy decision to choose two wheels as our mode of transportation.
We rented bicycles from Hotel Koffieboontje, located right next to the Grote Markt, for 12 euros for a one day rental. We had a map of the city and knew there was an easy route out to the small medieval town of Damme. We set out toward the east side of the city to see the windmills on our way to Damme. After grabbing a quick brunch at a cozy corner cafe overlooking the city’s windmills, we headed to the northeast corner of the city to follow the canal on the left side from the Sasplein to get out to Damme. It’s super easy to cycle to Damme, you just need to head toward the northeast part of the city and follow the bicycle path on the left side of the canal from the Sasplein until you reach Damme.
After a leisurely 20 minute ride watching the farms and windmills pass us by, we arrived in the medieval town of Damme.
We weaved our way through the narrow cobblestone streets as the town hall bells chimed all around us. We cycled around the small town taking in the crowded cafes filled with families and friends enjoying lunch and the beautiful spring weather.
We played a silly game of “follow the leader” as we raced up and down streets enjoying the perfect weather. As we wound our way through the small town, we came upon a bicycle path extending away from the town into the countryside. Curiosity grabbed us and we set off along the path away from town. We cycled farther and farther away from Damme and hardly passed a soul. It seemed as if we had the whole countryside all to ourselves. We continued along the path passing scattered farms, fields of flowers, and the occasional animal taking a brief break from munching on lunch to stare at us. Those serene moments gliding through the breathtaking countryside were the definition of peaceful.
I only wish we had more time to explore even more of the countryside. If you continue along the canal that leads you to Damme, you can turn left at the large canal not far past Damme and that will lead you straight to the beach (50 min from Bruges). Next time, I will definitely be making the trip to see the sea.
Have you ever cycled through the Belgian countryside? Where is your favorite place to cycle?