הסקירה הבאה מובאת באנגלית, אולי ייהנו ממנה לא רק ישראלים.
Biking around Bruges
The old city of Bruges is a beautiful medieval town surrounded by canals. In old times it was surrounded by a wall with several massive gates. Nowadays remnants of only 4 of them exist – Kruispoort, Gentpoort, Smedenpoort and Ezelpoort – but 2 more are mentioned in the maps: Dampoort and Katelijnpoort.
The routes all start and end in the Markt square. The numbers on the route refer to the excellent markings of the Fietsnetwerk (), and the recommended map is the "Brugse Ommeland", which can be bought in the TI. Below is the map and an example of a mark along the route:
In Bruges there are a few bike renting shops which rent good city bikes for 10-15 Euro/day, and they have plenty of bikes.
Route 1: Northeast towards the Dutch border and the Zwin area (62km)
Ride to Kruispoort and then on the left bank of the canal ride northward towards Dampoort (3). Cross the Damse vaart canal, also called the Napoleon canal (23). Turn right along the northern bank of the canal and ride to Damme (50, 10, 34, 6). Continue towards the church (28) where it's worthwhile to climb the tower for a beautiful panoramic view.
Continue along the eastern wall through 71 back to 34, then turn right along the canal towards the Leopoldkanaal. The Damse vaart continues under the Leopoldkanaal through the Sifon (22), where you will cross the canal to 17. You may now detour through Oostkerke (20, 26, 44, 47) or go strait to 47, and on to Hoeke (74, 24). Continue along the canal (57, 54) and at one point you will find yourself across the border in the outskirts of the Dutch city Sluis (94). Turn right along the southern wall and enter the city through the south-east gate (99). Sluis is a lovely, albeit a bit touristic, town. A good place to stroll a little without your bike, and maybe enjoy lunch. You will leave the city through 98 heading north-westward towards Sint Anna ter Muiden (93), and then northward through 53 and 50.
(The next paragraph should take into account that the part between 29 and 86 is closed until mid 2019. Instead, from 50 you take a left and go through 59, 49, 45 and 4. Turn left towards 18, but just before the sharp curve turn left towards the view-point*).
Turn right towards the Dutch town of Retranchement (30), then left to 29, and left along the international dijk (86). Turn right where you will see the entrance to the Zwin nature reserve (). You may enter and walk along a 1 km boardwalk where you can see the famous storks and other birds. On the other hand, you can continue riding towards 18, and shortly after that, right after the sharp left curve, turn right along the border of the reserve where you will reach a beautiful view-point* with the reserve on one side and the North Sea on the other. Turn left and ride westward along the promenade towards Knokke. At one point you will notice the route signs again leading towards 13. Continue towards the port (36) and turn left along the Leopold canal towards 38 and 9. Cross the canal to the right-hand bank (46) and continue along it to 85. Turn right and head towards Koolkerke (35, 90, 97) and from there back to Bruges (50, 23).
Route 2: southwest towards the castle area (33 km)
Exit the city through the Ezelpoort and head north-west along Scheepsdalelaan and turn left along the left-hand bank of the Bruges-Oostend canal till you reach 4. Cross to 36 and on your way to 65 view the Waggelwater castle on your left. Turn left towards 26, and then along the tracks to 1, 8 and 48. You may alternatively continue along the canal and turn left in 21 or 30. From 48 continue southward toward 68 and 90. Between 90 and 61 you will visit the Beisbroek castle with its planetarium (). There's also a small cafe. Continue through 61 and 94 to the Tudor domain ( ). Turn back to 94, 61 and cross the highway through the tunnel to 73. Turn left and head through 67, 97 and half-way to 13 visit the Loppem castle ( ). Notice that this castle is open for visitors a limited time a day (from 14:00). It is well worth a visit. In the south-east of the castle there is a single trail (easy) of about 2 km through the forest, with a beautiful view of the castle from across the lake.
From Loppem go back to 97 and turn right to 99, left to 59 and right to Tillegem castle (). Continue towards 70 along the road or go through the lovely park to the left of it with the "In de trutselaar" restaurant in the middle. From 70 go through 57 and 46 back to Bruges.
Route 3: southeast towards Gent (60 km)
Exit the city through the Katelijnpoort (5) where you will join the Gent-Oostend canal – your companion for the day. Ride through 69 and cross the canal to 82. Ride along the right-hand bank through 71 and 56, then turn right at 76. Continue through 53 to 64 and turn left towards 49. You will pass on your right the Drie Koning castle, a private estate. The marked trail leads on to the Bulskampveld castle, but you may deviate a bit from the marks if after the Drie Koning castle you turn right along the road and after 500 meters turn left to approach the Bulskampveld castle through the grounds and the coffee shop. You may explore the woods around the castle and the botanical garden. If you leave the botanical garden through the rear gate you can join the marked trail (a bit on your left) and continue to 49. You now head back towards the canal through 28, 29, 20 and 97. From here you can either go through 48, 36, 96 and 62, where you can observe 2 more castles, or through 92, 99 and 98. Notice that you have crossed to east Flanders, therefor numbers of marks may repeat themselves. The original route goes north to Maldegem, then back to Bruges, but we continued along the canal to Gent. The points along the way are 97, 94, and 87. From this point on you are off the map, but the next points are 91, 2, 18, 14, 29, 53, 51, 50. The next mark is 4 – Gent's train station – but we recommend entering Gent to your left right after the first canal crosses you from the right. You will reach Gent Gravensteen fortress from which you may start your tour of Gent.
Across the square from the fortress, in the old fish market marked by the statue of Neptune, you will find the TI. You may return to Bruges with the train (an extra 5 Euro charge for the bike), just make sure that you have explored Gent in the dark, when the lights are on (trains leave until midnight).
Route 4: northward towards Lissewage and Blankenberge (45 km)
The beginning of this route is not marked. The marked alternative will be brought too.
Exit the city through Walweinstraat, between points 27 and 23, and follow the road towards Dudzele (along Havenstraat which changes to Krommestraat). Immediately upon leaving the city you will see a nice mansion on your right called Groene Poort. About 200 m' after that you will see a gravel road to your left heading towards Ten Berge – a private castle, but you can have a glimpse. Get back to the main road and continue on towards Dudzele. About 500 m' after the town Kruisable there is a left turn. Follow this road until the T junction and turn right. You will join the marked route 50 m' west of point 66.
The marked route goes through 23, 50, 97, 90 and 66.
Turn left towards 99 and cross the canal. Turn right to 45 and continue to 59. Turn left to 5, then 40 and enter the beautiful town of Lissewege.
After your visit of the village make your way to Blankenberge through 88, 30 and 33. You may leave the route before 76 and continue along the promenade. From 33 you may go along the road, but better still – parallel to the road, on your right, there is an easy nature trail with occasional views of the sea, that connects with the promenade. (From Blankenberge you may continue to De Haan, where Albert Einstein lived for six months in 1933 after leaving Nazi Germany. The following description is the route directly back Bruges). We road along the promenade all the way to the harbor, then headed back to join the marked route towards 80. From there southward through 89, 2, 15, 86, 77, 32, 14 and 62. Now cross over the bridge to ride along the dyke towards 31 and 27, and from there back to the Bruges' city center.