Cycling by castles
A day in the life of a Lady
It must be human nature: even if the Cycling-by-castles route partly runs through the Scheldt region, we from the Waasland must show that our region is the most beautiful! And sure enough, that turns out to be true too! What other region can showcase such gems as Beervelde Castle Park or Rozelaar Castle?
We will tell you all about it: we, the people of the Waasland. But come what may, fairness dictates that we also give due credit to our colleagues from the Scheldt region. They bring to the party, among other things, the Laarne Castle, the castle of Destelbergen and the Heusden Castle. Stronger together, one might say.
Fun for everyone
The Cycling-by-castles route is one that history buffs, architecture boffins, design enthusiasts, garden design wizards and conviviality fans can truly enjoy. Hop onto your bicycle and cruise along the most beautiful heritage the Waasland has to offer. Ah yes, and the Scheldt region too, of course.
You can start in Destelbergen, at the sports Hall of Bergenmeers. There, you'll kick off a 49-kilometre tour which will take you along winding roads and picturesque villages, through the region's finest cultural heritage. The avenues and castle parks which you traverse harbour fascinating tales of generous intrigue and regal beauty. The Kalkense Meersen nature reserve is on your path as well. Admit it, that could be worse!
Lochristi: majestic beauty
The first few kilometres on your journey are a treat. Upon entering Lochristi, you can catch a glimpse of the Wit Kasteeltje (White Castle), which, incidentally, you cannot visit. A pitty, perhaps - but you still get a vies of the battlements, of course. Fortunately, a little further down the road lies the Rozelaar Castle, a 19th-century palace full of pomp and circumstance, shining brightly in its castle park.
The building dates back to the 12th century, but most of the estate has been destroyed over the centuries. You can still admire the original entrance towers, but the rest was rebuilt in 1833 in the neoclassical style. This happened under the watchful eye of Louis Minard - yes, the one behind the theatre in Ghent. A replica, but a nice replica.
Beervelde: a royal garden
If you continue cycling for about 5 kilometres, you come across a breathtaking domain which you might know from the Beervelde Garden Days. This was once home to Charles de Kerckhove, the mythical mayor of Ghent. He was also responsible for the magnificently landscaped castle garden, which at that time had to serve as a showcase for the Ghent flower industry. Anything for the industry, even back then...
Today, it is home to Charles's descendant, who has opened the domain to the general public during the now legendary Garden Festival. Here, traders in flowers, plants and beauty gather to present their wares to interested visitors and enthusiasts. This internationally renowned event takes place twice a year and will immediately enchant you. It is a feast for all the senses and the perfect excursion for families, groups of friends and couples in love. You can visit the domain outside of that too, if you register through the Toverstraat (Magic street).
Make sure to visit Laarne
Through the route which leads you past the Kalkense Meersen, you cycle on towards Laarne, where you can admire the local Laarne Castle in all its glory. This is truly the highlight of this route. It has stood here steadfastly since the 11th century and was thoroughly restored in 1962. Today, it is a museum, so feel free to enter and admire the breathtaking interior as well.
Next stop: Heusden, where the castles are so numerous, it seems like they grow like wildflowers. You can't visit them all - most are privately owned and still in use. But of course, that shouldn't stop you from feasting your eyes upon so much stunning beauty.
Back to Destelbergen
After your admiration session in Heusden, paddle again towards Destelbergen. Here, too, castles once shot up like mushrooms. The castle of Destelbergen, for example, serves at the townhall today, which allows you to simply walk in during opening hours. The Reynaert Park surrounding the castle is a great place for a quiet stroll. The pond is pure romance poured into a pool of water. Just down the road you will find the Reynaert tavern, where you can enjoy a nice drink while the kids have fun on the playground. That’s all you really need!
Come and experience the life of a king in the Waasland region
Dive headfirst into the world of the Waasland heritage: come and try out this enchanting cycling route for yourself!
Want to download this route for free?
Would you like to download this route for free for your journey? See all the stops and information on the Cycling-by-castles route at routen.be.
You can download the cycling route as a PDF file to print out for your journey on the Routen cycling and hiking website. Or you can download it as a GPX file to display on your smartphone or GPS.
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