The Great Beers of Belgium

October 17 - 27, 2002

belgmap.jpg (5278 bytes)

$1850 per person, double occupancy -- Land Only
$440 single room supplement

Belgium makes a strong case for being "beer heaven". From your first beer in Brussels until the last Antwerp, you will experience a wide variety of classic breweries and their great beers in optimum condition. Multi-night stays in Brussels, Brugge, and Antwerp; and an overnight pilgrimage to visit a couple of Trappist Breweries in southern Belgium, offer a variety of great beer and cultural experiences. There is plenty of time to explore on your own and take in Belgium's rich history and culture as well. Many great meals, visits to unique and historic breweries, transportation by rail, private coach and public means, fine hotels in great locations and more are built in to this trip. People have loved our past Belgium trips... this might be the best yet.

Space is limited to 15 travelers.

Highlights:

Belgian Beer: Trappist, Lambic, Gueuze, Saison, Cantillon, Chimay, Orval, Dupont, Rodenbach, Rochefort, Westmalle, and more, in endless variety.

Brussels: The Grand Place, where streets of fine restaurants, beer bars, cafes, and shops pour into the gothic, gabled splendor of Brussels' central square.

Brugge: Perhaps the best-preserved medieval city in Europe and a favorite weekend retreat. Canals, clock towers, cathedrals and cobble stone lend Brugge the feel of a city that time forgot.

Incredible beer cuisine: In t'Spinnekopke, 3 Fonteinen, Den Dyver.

An overnight trip to the monastic breweries at Rochefort, Chimay and Orval.

Land Cost includes:

9 nights accommodation (w/private bath) in fine, centrally located hotels, travel by private coach, rail and excellent public transportation, brewery visits, entrance fees, and tours as outlined in the itinerary, breakfast daily, 3 special dinners, 3 beer lunches w/tasting, and trip leadership.

Register Online

View Day by Day Itinerary

Travel Details and Air Options:

  • Air Travel to Brussels: This trip has been priced without airfare to enable travelers to use mileage awards, travel outside group dates, or visit other European cities while abroad.

  • From the Airport to the hotel: The airport connects to Belgium's convenient rail line and the center of Brussels. Inexpensive tickets are available at the airport. Private taxis are available for about $35. Meet and greet arrival services are also available upon request at additional cost.

  • How we get around: For all included excursions and visits, transportation will be included as well. Within the cities, we will rely on walking and public transportation, as this is safe, convenient and inexpensive. Travel to Chimay and Brugge will be done in our private motor coach. Travel from Brugge to Antwerp will be by rail (tickets provided, luggage will be transferred directly to your room in Antwerp).

  • Register Online (click for registration details).

Please Note:

  • The overall style of the trip is best suited for somewhat adventurous, beer-loving travelers who want the camaraderie and structure of a tour, as well as the opportunity to explore independently. Planned events and excursions will, for the most part, be informal. Guided touring is generally the exception, though travelers can always rely on the support and assistance of the trip leader.

Detailed Itinerary:

Thursday, October 17
Depart US

Your trip begins as you fly to Brussels, Belgium. Meals and overnight aloft.

Friday, October 18
Arrival Brussels, City/Pub Tour,
Dinner at In t'Spinnekopke

Upon arrival in Brussels, transfer to our hotel just steps from the Grand Place in the heart of Brussels. After time to settle we will meet in the hotel lobby for a walking/orientation tour of Brussels. Before our dinner this evening we will visit a couple famous cafes and bars to drink some great beer. Our dinner takes place at In t' Spinnekopke which is known for their cuisine a la biere. Overnight in Brussels. (Dinner)

Saturday, October 19
AM Cantillon Tour, PM free

This morning we tour the historic lambic brewery at Cantillon, where they still brew using spontaneous fermentation in with open air fermentors. It is sight to see. You will also have a chance, of course, to taste the various beers they produce. The afternoon and evening are free. Overnight in Brussels. (B)

Sunday, October 20
Lunch and Tour at Drie Fonteinen

This morning we travel to Beersel, home of Drei Fonteinen a traditional family owned restaurant, brewery, and gueuze blender. We will take a great tour of the small brewery, before eating a traditional Belgian meal at their fine restaurant. Their fare emphasizes beer of course. After lunch return to Brussels, or explore the castle or Beersel's other breweies. The evening is free. Overnight in Brussels.
(B, L)

 

Monday, October 21
Visits Rochefort, Orval

Today we journey south to the Ardennees, to begin our pilgrimage to Trappist Breweries. The first stop is Abbey de Notre Dame de St. Remy in Rochefort, home of some of the world's finest ales. After some tasting, and a tour of the brewery and a bit of the abbey, we will be treated to a traditional Ardennes meal to be accompanied by Rochefort 6, 8, and 10. After lunch we continue to Orval to enjoy their distinctive atmosphere and wonderfully bitter golden ale. A stop at the brewery-tap just down the road is a good spot to see the monks enjoying their craft. Overnight in Chimay. (B, L)

Tuesday, October 22
Tour Chimay, Tasting and Lunch, To Brugge

After breakfast this morning (there are Chimay beers in the hotel minibar...) we will take a tour of the Chimay brewery. Following the tour we will have a beer and cheese tasting lunch at Chimay's restaurant. After lunch we travel to Brugge where we spend the next three nights. Overnight in Brugge. (B, L)

Wednesday, October 23
Free day in Brugge

Today is free to explore beautiful medieval Brugge. Take a city tour, by canal boat, horse drawn carriage, local tour bus, or foot. There are dozens of great bars in close proximity to museums, cathedrals, parks and public squares. There are also a couple of local breweries and a brewing museum if you want more beer related activities. Tonight or tomorrow we will indulge in a gourmet beer meal at Den Dyver, a restaurant offering courses paired with fine beers. Overnight in Brugge. (B)

Thursday, October 24
Rodenbach Tour, Option to Liefman's

Today we visit two breweries (both tours are optional) that represent the turbulent and prestigious history of Belgian brewing: Rodenbach and Liefman's. Each brewery features museum-like historical aspects which add to the distinct character that can also be seen in their beers. Travel will be by public transportation and taxi. The evening is free to enjoy our final night in Brugge. (The Den Dyver dinner may be tonight.) Overnight in Brugge. (B, D)

Friday, October 25
Free Day/ Rail to Antwerp, Luggage Transfer

Today you luggage will be transferred directly to your hotel room in Antwerp, and you are free to do as you wish. Brugge, Antwerp and Gent are all in close proximity and offer attractions, beer or otherwise, that are worth visits. This evening we will explore some of Antwerp's notable and historic bars. Overnight in Antwerp. (B)

Saturday, October 26
AM De Koninck tour, afternoon free, Farewell Dinner

This morning we will tour the De Koninck brewery. The afternoon is free. This evening we will have a farewell beer dinner. Overnight in Antwerp. (B, D)

Sunday, October 27
Return home

Alas, we must leave beer heaven. Antwerp and Brussels are served by the same international airport, so a variety of transfer options will be available. (B)


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