Maas & Vennbahn
The Europe-tour from/to Maastricht.
- 10 Days / 9 Nights
- Self-guided tour
By way of a welcome we have arranged for coffee/tea and Limburg pie for you, to get your energy up for the trip ahead. When you’re ready, set off on the first leg of your bike tour: from Maastricht to Liège, aka the “fiery city”. On the way to Belgium you will follow the River Jeker (which flows into the River Meuse at Maastricht) to the picturesque village of Kanne. Shortly after, take a look at the boats going through the locks at Ternaaien/ Lanaye, 225 m long and 25 m wide. From here, follow the RAVeL “La Meuse à vélo” trail, via the friendly town of Visé, to Liège (or Luik, as it is called in Dutch). The last kilometres take you past tall cranes, rusty boats and old but busy industrial zones.
Taking you right through the centre of Liège, the safe cycling path along the Meuse is very pleasant. Next, follow the John Cockerill railway to make your way out of the built-up area of Liège. Follow the signs for RAVeL “La Meuse à vélo”. Seen up close, the blast furnaces of Seraing are awe-inspiring. If you like decorative glass, opt to stop off at the Val St. Lambert crystal factory shop. Next, ride your bike on quiet back-roads, past typical Walloon villages, never far from the river, towards Huy. Just before Huy, briefly switch to the bike track along the Meuse where the Tihange nuclear reactor is another very striking industrial complex. The Grande Place in Huy is the ideal spot for a lunch break. On the route along the Meuse to Namur, nature gradually prevails over industry.
If the full 80 km are a daunting prospect to you, take a train from Namur to Dinant, complete with views of the Meuse. If you want to take up the 80 km challenge, you’ll quickly find yourself back on the banks of the Meuse. Follow RAVeL “La Meuse à vélo” to Dinant. You will pass the village of Wépion, famous for strawberries; and the Gardens of Annevoie, well worth a visit. In Dinant take your time to enjoy the town and riverside cafes. After Dinant, you will reach the lovely Chateau Freyr. Then continue on <La Meuse à vélo> for several kilometres on the former railway from Hastière to Mariembourg. Cross the border into France and the first town you’ll encounter is Givet with its imposing Charlemont citadel. After visiting Givet, set off on the Voie Verte Trans-Ardennes and follow it to Haybes.
Fortsetzung der Radtour entlang der Maas von der „Voie Verte Trans-Ardennes“ Richtung Charleville Mézières. Einer der Höhepunkte des Tages ist der Besuch des reizenden Ortes Monthermé. Heutige Endstation ist Charleville-Mézières, bekannt durch sein prächtiges historisches Zentrum.
In September 2015, an extension of the Voie Verte Trans-Ardennes was opened. It now stretches along the Meuse till past the town of Sedan in northern France. Through a picturesque landscape you will cycle to Sedan, famous for its castle, the largest in Europe. This is where you leave the International Meuse Route. After a lunch break you will set off on the first leg of the <connecting route> that bridges the end of the Meuse Route and the beginning of the Vennbahn route. On the French side, a quiet road climbs gradually (average incline 3%) to the border. After crossing the border back into Belgium there’s a delightful descent to your hotel in Bouillon. Opt to visit the impressive castle-fortress of Godfried of Bouillon.
Make your way up and out of the pretty town of Bouillon by way of a narrow, climbing road. After that follow two more steep hills, before you reach the village of Cugnon. To reward you for your efforts , in Hotel des Roches in this charming place, coffee or tea with home cooked apple cake will be served! After this well deserved break, you will find yourself pedalling on country roads flanked by farmland, on a rolling plateau. You will pass many characteristic villages apparently untouched by time. Enjoy the great views! At the end of this leg of the route you will follow another stretch of the RAVeL-route (on former railway line 163 from Libramont via Bastogne to Gouvy). In halting place Bastogne you’ll find many monuments that remember the Battle of the Ardennes at the end of WWII.
From “Gare du Sud” railway station, follow RAVeL 163 in a northerly direction on one of the most beautiful bike tracks in the RAVeL network. South of Gouvy, at the end of this RAVeL route, head east to the border with Luxembourg. Shortly after, cycle through a slightly undulating Luxembourg landscape on peaceful roads to the Vennbahn route. In Huldange, the highest point in Luxembourg you will reach the Vennbahn. A little later on, you will cross the border back into Belgium. Through a beautiful landscape the route takes you to the ruins of Burg Reuland, towering high above the village. Then you continue to Hemmeres, a German enclave, and finally to Sankt-Vith, this day’s destination.
Progress is easy on the newly asphalted bike track between Sankt-Vith and Waimes. Zoom on towards Belgian-German Ardennes-Eiffel Nature Park. Stop off in Montenau (and an Ardennes ham smokery) and in Sourbrodt (former station along the Vennbahn railway) and in Kalterherberg where you will find several possibilities for a tasty lunch. Further on, you will leave the Vennbahn to make a detour to Monschau where you will stay the night. Quaint and enchanting, this Eifel town boasts lovely half-timbered houses, enticing shops, friendly roadside cafes and good restaurants.
On your final cycling day, head back from the centre of Monschau to the Vennbahn rail trail. A visit to the monumental town of Kornelimünster is a must. After a long descent you will reach the town of Aachen, once the centre of Charlemagne’s empir. Just a few kilometres further on, you will visit Kerkrade. That is where you get on a train to Maastricht; and relax and enjoy while the hills of scenic southern Limburg glide by like a protracted panorama.
Departure or extension
This route leads almost continuously on different cycle paths along the Meuse and further on along the Vennbahn. Some stages are hilly, a good basic condition is recommended.
Category: 3*** and 4**** Hotels
- Accomodation as already mentioned
- Breakfast buffet or extended breakfast
- Luggage transfer between the hotels
- Detailed travel documents 1x per room (German, English and Dutch room with route maps, route dscription, local attrctions, important telephone numbers)
- 1 Train journey from Kerkrade – Maastricht incl. your bike
- 1 Cup of coffee/tee and cake
- 1 Coffee and homemade applepie in Cugnon
- GPS-data is available
- Service hotline
- Half-board evening meal (mostly multi-course, sometimes outside the property, payable with voucher)
Arrival / Parking / Departure:
- Maastricht train station
- Maastricht airport
- Car park at the hotel, free of charge, no reservation possible/necesary
Things to note:
- Tourist tax, if due, is not included in the price!
- Further important information according to the package travel law can be found here!