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Last updated : Nov 2009
Belgium Sports
Belgium Sports - TravelPuppy.com
Cycling

A new network of cycling paths has been developed in the Ardennes region. Known as RAVeL (Réseau Autonome des Voies Lentes or ‘independent network of slow paths’), the system is made up of disused railway lines and old canal towpaths, now reserved and adapted for the exclusive use of pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users. It will eventually consist of 2000km (1240 miles) of paths and will be linked to similar paths in neighbouring countries. Further information is available from RAVeL .

Flanders
, the more northerly and flatter part of the country, is just as well-equipped for cyclists and there are many kilometres of signposted cycling routes. Bicycles may be hired at larger railway stations and can be reserved in advance. They can very often be carried on trains at no extra cost. Many hotels will make arrangements for luggage to be taken to the next destination during cycling tours.

Outdoor activities

Although a highly developed country, Belgium has beautiful countryside. The hilly country in the Ardennes region features forests, lakes and caves. Flanders offers opportunities for coastal and forest walks. For further information about the marked trails, contact the tourist boards. Numerous other activities can be practised, including canoeing, horseriding, caving, kayaking, climbing and fishing. A full range of watersports is also available on the coast.

Brewery tours

Belgium is well known for its hundreds of varieties of high-quality beer. There are beers of all colours and types, brewed using different methods and ingredients including wheat beers, fruit beers, red beers, amber ales and ‘spontaneously fermented beers’, to mention but a few. Each beer has its own distinctive glass and special label. Six kinds of trappist beer, brewed by monks to ancient recipes, are made in Belgium and some breweries are open to the public. Trappist breweries open to the public include the Bières de Chimay brewery at Bailleux and the Rochefortoise brewery at Eprave. Visits to the Rocheforteoise brewery must be booked by fax and confirmed 2 days in advance. These beers can all be sampled in Belgium’s many cafes, restaurants and pubs.

Gastronomy

Belgium’s large number of excellent restaurants testifies to the high esteem in which the Belgians place food. The country has the highest number of Michelin stars per head of the population, and is the only country in the world where US fast food chains have been consistently losing money. The visitor has an array of fine restaurants, sophisticated cafes, and pubs to pick from. Specialist tour operators offer gastronomy trips where visitors can learn how to cook Flemish dishes using local produce and beers.

Chocolate

Belgian chocolate has an excellent reputation and some chocolate factories are open to the public, though it is often necessary to book in advance. The Chocolate and Cocoa Museum on the Grand-Place in Brussels is open from Tuesday to Sunday. The Chocolaterie Jacques in Eupen near Liège is open to the public from Monday to Saturday. Groups of more than ten people need to book in advance.

World Wars I and II

Flanders contains Passendale and Ypres. These battlefields can be visited, and there are many museums commemorating the war dead and informing the visitor about these terrible events. The In Flanders Fields Museum (telephone number: (5) 723 9220) is an authority on the region and the impact the war made upon it.

In Ypres at 2000 hrs each day, the Last Post is sounded under the Menin Gate. A number of commemorative events are organised by regional tourist boards.
Useful travel links
www.enit.it Tourist Board of Belgium