Belgian Beer Tour

Belgium · about Escorted or Guided Tour

Some people’s idea of a beer adventure is checking out that pub two streets over from the local. The true beer connoisseur is a different breed. Designed with the fancy suds aficionado in mind, this eight-day trip takes you to the ancestral home of Trappist, one of the world’s finest brewers. You’ll visit the six Trappist monastery-breweries in Belgium (including the chance to taste Westvleteren, one of beerdom’s most celebrated brews), explore Brussels and Bruges, and stuff yourself with mussels, waffles, and chocolate galore. (Hey, beer-tasting is hungry work.)

What's Included

Brussels orientation walk. Rochefort visit including beer tasting and picnic. Orval visit with beer and Trappist cheese tasting. Chimay visit with lunch and tasting at a local brasserie. Bruges orientation walk. Barbecue near Westvleteren with beer tasting. Antwerp orientation walk. Café Trappisten beer tasting (Westmalle). Achel visit with tasting. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Visit all six Trappist breweries in Belgium, indulge in delicious Belgian cuisine, explore quaint towns like Bruges and Rochefort, learn about (and taste) rare beers and see the monasteries where they are made.

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

INTERIOR ACCESS
Most abbey interiors and breweries are closed to visitors. It can be hit or miss as to how much we’re permitted to see of the abbeys or the brewing process but we have insiders on the ground working to provide the most in depth experience possible. We will experience the exteriors of all the monasteries and sample beers produced from each abbey. Be prepared to be flexible and hope for the best!

Group Leader Description

This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our CEOs (Chief Experience Officer). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.

It is important to note that in Europe, all guiding is based around local guides all of whom are licensed to work only in a particular city. As such, our leaders are able to provide orientation walks which will show you the layout of each town and city as well as the location of local services such as post offices and laundromats, but are unable to legally share historical facts and figures in public places. If you wish to take a guided city tour in any location our CEO will do their best to help you arrange this and pay locally.

Group Size Notes

Max 14, avg 12.

Meals

Eating is a big part of travelling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip.

Transport

Train, public bus, private van/bus.

Solo Travellers

We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Solo travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Should you prefer your own room for the entire tour, you can add the ‘My Own Room’ option for an additional cost.

Accommodation

Hotels (7 nts).

My Own Room

Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops

Joining Hotel

For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.

Joining Instructions

Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!

If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.

GETTING TO HOTEL DU CONGRES:

The most direct route available is to take a taxi from the airport straight to the hotel. This should cost around 40 euro.

Another option is to take the train to MIDI STATION. Upon arrival at MIDI STATION, you will need to change to the metro. Take the metro to MADOU STATION. From MADOU STATION, the hotel is a 200m walk.

If you would rather take the train without a metro transfer, take the train to CENTRAL STATION. From CENTRAL STATION, the hotel is a 10 minute walk.

Arrival Complications

We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO. If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office, London, UK
After hours emergency number: +44 7817 262559

What to Take

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We highly recommend using a backpack or light sports bag, whichever you find easiest to carry, plus a small daypack. Luggage space on public transport is limited. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking), hopping on and off trains and public buses and up and down stairs.

Checklist

Suggested Items:
•Light fleece top
•Light windproof/waterproof jacket
•Small travel towel and swimwear
•Sun hat
•Personal clothing for mild to hot weather
•Footwear
•Sunblock
•Sunglasses
•Toiletries (biodegradable)
•Watch or alarm clock
•Water bottle
•Money belt
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Documents:
•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•EUR cash
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap. Your CEO can also show you where the you can get your laundry done.

Visas

Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements.

All visitors to the EU (European Union) and EEC (European Economic Community) countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand passport holders do not need a visa to visit the Schengen area (see below), however they may not stay longer than three months in any 6-month period.

For other nationalities, travelling in Europe has been simplified with the introduction of the Schengen visa. As a visitor to the Schengen area (Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Portugal, Finland, Italy, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland) you will enjoy the many advantages of this unified visa system. Generally speaking with a Schengen visa, you may enter one Schengen country and travel freely throughout the Schengen region during the validity of your visa. There are limited border controls at Schengen borders, if any at all.

Please note that the UK and Ireland are NOT part of the Schengen agreement.

A Schengen visa is applied for at the Embassy or Consulate of the Schengen country in which you will be spending the most nights on your trip to the Schengen space. If you are only visiting one country on your trip then you apply for your visa at the Consulate of this Schengen country.

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Visa cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work – Check with your bank. You should be aware when purchasing products or services on a credit card, that a fee usually applies.

Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of Euros and cards is best.

Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Tipping

It is customary in Europe to leave a small tip for service providers, such as waiters, if you are pleased with the service (€1-2).

Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program, and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping local guides would range from €3-5 per day, depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.

Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €30-40 per person, per week can be used.

Optional Activities

Brussels:
City tours (different themes)- range from €8 to €45
Walking tour (2 hrs chocolate, beer, museums)- €12
Planet Chocolate museum
The Parlamentarium (EU HQ)- free
The Atomium- €1
Belgian Comic Book Museum
Cantillon brewery, museum and walking tour- free
Ninove brewery- €6 for tour and 2 drinks, €9 for tour, 2 drinks and a gift

Rochefort:
Archaeopark of Rochefort
Caves of Han- €25

Bruges:
City tour by horsedrawn carriage- between €20 and €100 for the carriage depending length, route, etc
City tour (and surrounding countryside) by bike- €25
Friet Museum (history of the potato and fries!)- €6
Choco Story (history of cocoa bean and chocolate bar!)- €7
Archaeological Museum- €4
Historium- €11

Antwerp-
Seef Beer tasting and bike tour
De Antwerpse Ruien (Antwerp sewers)- €135 per group
Beer and food tasting tour (various options)- most are €50 and up
Shopping
Rubenshuis museum- €8

All prices are per person (unless stated otherwise), and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.

Health

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings in this dossier for trip specific information. For travellers over 70 years a completed Medical Form is required. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.

Safety and Security

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Planeterra is G Adventures’ non-profit foundation created to make a positive difference in the communities where G Adventures takes travellers. Planeterra supports sustainable social and environmental solutions in destinations travellers love to visit.

As travellers, it’s natural to want to give back to the places we’ve come to love. But to truly impact poverty, we work to build self-sufficiency, not dependency.

Planeterra partners with grassroots organizations with firsthand knowledge of local culture and true community needs. This ensures that solutions come from the people we support. Then G Adventures brings travellers to visit, fuelling sustainable local income in these communities. This model is helping many rural and marginalized communities on their way to self-sufficiency because they are harnessing the power of the tourism industry as a force for good. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit planeterra.org.

MAKE EVERY DAY COUNT
Fifty percent of our planet lives on less than $2/day. For the price of a coffee, you can make every day of your trip count by giving back to the communities you visit through Planeterra.

To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking).

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra’s monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.

Itinerary Notes

Please note: Most abbey interiors and breweries are closed to visitors. It can be hit or miss as to how much we’re permitted to see of the abbeys or the brewing process but we have insiders on the ground working to provide the most in depth experience possible. We will experience the exteriors of all the monasteries and sample beers produced from each abbey. Be prepared to be flexible and hope for the best!

Max Pax

16

Group Leader

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.

Meal Budget

Allow USD265-345 for meals not included.

Meals Included

7 breakfasts, 3 lunches

PRODUCT_LINE: EBBT, ID: 22863

Itinerary

Day 1: Brussels

There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting.

Additional Notes:
A note on the itinerary: Due to the nature of the Trappist brewing process, opportunities to visit the abbey, the breweries, and interact with the monks is based on the willingness of the abbey to open its doors to visitors and make an exception. We work very hard to bring as many of these behind-the-scenes experiences to fruition for our travellers, but we can’t guarantee how much access we’ll get.

Be prepared to enjoy tasting the abbey-made beers at local cafés, which host visitors from all over the world looking for these exclusive drinks. We can guarantee we will visit each of the six breweries in Belgium from the outside and experience these charming towns– enjoying their markets, castles, cafés, and delicacies– and will aim to gain as much access to the abbeys as the monks permit on any given day. It’s all part of this delicious adventure!

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Day 2: Brussels (1B)

Belgium is know for many things, including fantastic cuisine.

If the chocolate factory and Delirium beer hall only whet your appetite, opt for a beer walking tour before indulging in waffles, mussels, and ‘frites’.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk

Day 3: Brussels/Rochefort (1B, 1L)

Travel by train and public bus to reach Rochefort in time for lunch. Head to the markets in this beautiful medieval town and collect some cheese, bread, meat, and local delicacies and enjoy a picnic with a Trappist beer. Brush up on your French as you chat with locals.

See the church then enjoy a free afternoon with options like visiting the remains of a 2,000-year-old Gallo-Roman villa in the Archaeopark of Rochefort.

Don’t miss out on indulging in local Rochefort cheeses produced from a centuries-old recipe or some local cuisine like the giant meatball “gehaktbal”, with “frites” and foie gras.

Included Activities:
Rochefort Picnic (with Trappist Beer)
Abbaye Notre Dame de Saint Remy Visit

Transport:
Train (2.00 hour(s))
Local bus (0.25 hour(s))

Day 4: Rochefort/Bruges (1B, 1L)

Head to Orval for a visit to the abbey’s visitor centre. Sample some beer and Trappist cheese here before continuing on to Chimay.

Enjoy an included lunch at the brasserie near Chimay to try beer normally reserved for the monks.

The abbey and main brewing centre are not open to the public, but there are still plenty of opportunities to sample the local goods.

Arrive at Bruges in the evening and head out for an orientation walk around the town.

Included Activities:
Orval Visit (with Beer and Cheese Tasting)
Chimay Visit (with Lunch and Tasting)
Orientation Walk

Transport:
Private Vehicle (1.00-2.00 hours)
Private Vehicle (1.75-2.25 hours)
Private Vehicle (2.00-2.50 hours)

Day 5: Bruges (1B, 1L)

After a free morning, take a day trip from Bruges to the Westvleteren area. A local beer specialist and master brewer will provide a barbecue near his home and a tasting of the famous and rare Westvleteren beer from his own collection (of roughly 14,000!).

Back in Bruges, opt for a horse-drawn carriage ride around town, or choose to rent a bike (complete with guide) and head out around the city and surrounding countryside.

Additional Notes:
In September it is occasionally possible to visit the monastery at Westvleteren to view the brewing process.

Included Activities:
Barbecue with a Local (including Beer Tasting)

Transport:
Private Vehicle (1.50 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (1.50 hour(s))

Day 6: Bruges/Antwerp (1B)

Take a private van to Antwerp, stopping for a visit to Westmalle en route. The abbey here is closed to visitors but we will enjoy a tasting at the Café Trappisten, with the option for lunch including tastes of Trappist meat and cheese.

Continue on to Achel for the last official Trappist tasting of the trip. There is the opportunity to sample some Achel beer, though again, the abbey will be closed to visitors.

Arrive in Antwerp in the late afternoon. Opt to wander around the city and get a feel for the place.

Included Activities:
Westmalle Visit (with Beer Tasting)
Achel Visit (with Beer Tasting)
Orientation Walk

Transport:
Stop along the way in Westmalle and Achel.
Private Vehicle (100km)

Day 7: Antwerp (1B)

Enjoy a free day in Antwerp with the option to visit a local brewery by bike, check out some museums, or venture underground on an Antwerp sewer tour.

Day 8: Antwerp (1B)

Your CEO can help arrange transport back to Brussels airport.

Interested in Belgian Beer Tour?

G Adventures

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