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Three ideas of weekend trips on EuroVelo 19 – Meuse Сycle Route

Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Ready to discover EuroVelo 19 – Meuse Сycle Route? This EuroVelo route follows the beautiful Meuse River through the Netherlands, Belgium and France, counting approximately 1,050 km in total.

Surprisingly, it's the shortest route in the whole EuroVelo network! But don't let its length fool you – EuroVelo 19 is packed with opportunities for cyclists of all levels. Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or a beginner – this route is for everyone who loves adventure and exploring new places. You will pedal past stunning scenery, historic landmarks, and charming towns. In this article, we will take you on a journey along EuroVelo 19, showing you hidden gems along the way and giving you exciting ideas for weekend doable trips.

Rotterdam to Dordrecht: enjoy 122 km of Dutch canals and North Sea coastline

Begin your journey in Rotterdam, and as you pedal towards Dordrecht, the logical option would be to choose EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route, but why not choose something more spicy and discover more Dutch cities along the Meuse and North Sea? This turn will cost you an additional 87 km, but it is totally worth it!

Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Rotterdam, the Netherlands

So, the first on the list is Rotterdam, a city known for its modern architecture and vibrant atmosphere. Explore iconic landmarks such as the Cube Houses, Markthal, and Erasmus Bridge before heading towards the coast. Pedal through Maassluis, a charming Dutch town with historic canals and famous windmills. Along the way, you will pass through the Hook of Holland (Hoek van Holland), where the Meuse River flows into the North Sea. Take a moment to enjoy a refreshing break by the beach. As you arrive in Dordrecht, a charming city, explore its historic centre, filled with cute streets, medieval buildings, and scenic waterfronts. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Dordrechts Museum and discover its impressive art collection or the National Dredging Museum and learn about the region's maritime history.

You can always make a detour to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its iconic windmills. You can explore and learn about their role in water management in the Netherlands. Enjoy a peaceful ride by the river and take in the calming atmosphere of this beautiful Dutch town.

Roermond to Liege (110 km): explore Dutch and Belgian charm

Embark on a transnational cycling adventure from Roermond to Liege, spanning through the Netherlands and Belgium. Explore the highlights along this scenic route!

Starting in Roermond, discover the city's historic centre with Saint Chrostopher's Cathedral and medieval architecture. Don't miss the opportunity to explore the Cuypershuis – the House of Pierre Cuypers – a Dutch architect of the Amsterdam Central Station.

The centre of Maastricht, the Netherlands
The centre of Maastricht, the Netherlands

Between Roermond and Maastricht, you have the chance to explore the cross-border cycling routes within the Meuse Valley River Park nature reserve. Here, the Meuse river acts as the natural border between the Belgian and Dutch provinces of Limburg. Crossing the border is hassle-free with ferries available, facilitated by clear signage of EuroVelo 19 on both sides of the river. On the Belgian riverbank, you cycle along historic villages and endless natural lushness. Not a car in sight on the dyke, only picturesque stops like the Maaseik market square, birthplace of the Van Eyck brothers, famous painters of the Ghent Altarpiece. You pedal along with migratory birds at your side and wild grazers in your sights, past gravel ponds and old river branches. As you pedal towards Urmond, pay a visit to Urmond Castle and enjoy the beautiful gardens. Arriving in Maastricht, visit Vrijthof Square, a lively hub surrounded by historic buildings and outdoor cafes. Take a moment to admire the Basilica of Saint Servatius before hitting the road.

Reach Liege and conquer the famous Montagne de Bueren staircase, a monumental stairway with over 370 steps (a true hell for cyclists). But maybe the view and the sense of accomplishment are worth it! Or better just pass by it. Wander through Liege's historic Old Town, where narrow streets are lined with centuries-old buildings and cute cafes. Check out the impressive cycle-pedestrian bridge that connects the Guillemins district, and discover hidden gems around every corner!

Cycling along the Meuse, Liege
Cycling along the Meuse, Liege

Dive into the full details and GPX tracks for this excursion using the EuroVelo Route Planner.

Dinant to Charleville-Mézières (113 km): discover Belgian and French countryside

Embark on yet another scenic journey from Dinant to Charleville-Mézières, covering approximately 113 kilometres of countryside and historic landmarks.

Arrive in Dinant and make your way to the imposing Dinant Citadel, situated on the top of a rocky cliff overlooking the town. Discover more about the fortress's history and enjoy the view of the Meuse Valley. Explore Dinant's charming old town and pay a visit to the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, a stunning example of Gothic architecture. Also, one of the most famous beers, Leffe, has its roots in Dinant, where you can visit Maison Leffe (The House of Leffe) and try abbey beer. Additionally, stop by for some Belgian fries, the perfect snack to fuel your adventure.

After Dinant, continue your journey along the Meuse River and the cross border with France, where you will explore more charming villages. One of them is Givet, where you can admire the Fort of Charlemont and the historic town. Reach the endpoint of Haybes, a calm village situated along the banks of the Meuse River. If you want to discover more nearby, follow the route to Ardennes Regional Nature Park and Point de Rocroi, a historic fortified town.

Charming Dinant, Belgium
Charming Dinant, Belgium

Finish your journey in Charleville-Mézières, a lively French city known for its rich cultural heritage and beautiful architecture. Explore the charming old town, with its narrow streets and historic buildings, and visit the Place Ducale, a beautiful square lined with cafes and shops. For a unique cultural experience, visit the Puppet Museum (Musée de la Marionnette) and discover a big collection of puppets from all around the world. Don't miss the opportunity to try some local delicacies, such as Ardennes ham and cider.

Ready to hit the road? Access the itinerary and GPX tracks for this route on the EuroVelo Route Planner!

Whether you choose to pedal along the Dutch canals, explore Belgian towns, or meander through the French countryside and cities, each weekend trip on EuroVelo 19 – Meuse Cycle Route offers a unique opportunity to discover hidden gems and create lasting memories along the river. And the best part? Getting around with public transport along the route is easy! With well-connected locations and the convenience of taking your bicycle on the train, planning a weekend getaway couldn't be easier.

In Belgium, bicycles can be carried on-board any train for a fee of €4 per bike or with a day pass for €8, valid for unlimited travel. Utilising the SNCB/NMBS app "Bike On Train" simplifies travelling, especially at key Belgian train stations along EuroVelo 19 like Liège, Dinant, Namur, and Huy. In France, cyclists can reach "La Meuse à Vélo" via train from major towns' stations such as Langres, Neufchâteau, Verdun, Sedan, Charleville-Mézières, or Givet. Good news is - bicycle transport is for free, and if you have additional questions, use the www.fluo.eu or www.sncf.com websites. In the Netherlands, cyclists can easily take bikes on trains by purchasing a day ticket, get additional information on taking your bikes on trains on https://www.hollandcyclingroutes.com/practical/cycle-transport-and-repair www.hollandcyclingroutes.com. Alternatively, the Waterbus offers a unique travel experience between Dordrecht and Rotterdam, providing a scenic shortcut or an enjoyable excursion along the river.

Look for signs “Bienvenue Vélo” in Wallonia, “Logies op maat voor fietsvakantie” in Belgian Limburg, “Accueil vélo” for France, indicating cyclist-friendly services and facilities. These signs ensure pleasant stops and guarantee an enjoyable cycling adventure. Dive into other articles and use tools on EuroVelo.com to create your own adventure, all along the Meuse River from its sources in Langres, France, to its mouth in the Netherlands!

Cover picture: Wallonie Belgique Tourisme Article by Sofiia Osovska