10 special places

10 special places

The highlights of the Flemish Ardennes

Less than 20 km from Ghent, you dive into a postcard with softly rolling hills, wooded slopes, open fields, rivers and streams, historic villages, and charming towns. In this hiking paradise, you can stretch your legs along hundreds of kilometres of excellent hiking trails. And those who love cycling will have a tough time on the Tour of Flanders inclines. Do you prefer to cycle at your leisure or enjoy yourself in slow-down mode? Flat cycling routes and quiet spots are also plentiful here. So too are the outdoor cafés where you can relax after your ride.

Discover the décor of the Tour of Flanders through these 10 special places.


1. Molen ten Hotond

You cannot get any higher in East Flanders than the summit of the Hotondberg: at 150 m above sea level, the hill towers above everything in the province. Take a break in the café and hotel of Molen ten Hotond. It’s also the ideal operating base for the Panorama route in Kwaremont.


2. Kluis Forest

The largest forest in the Flemish Ardennes? That’s Kluis Forest. It’s located on the language border, on top of the Kluisberg. The forest is a magical place for the whole family. Every spring, the floor of Kluis Forest turns into a picturesque purple carpet thanks to thousands of flowering bluebells. The Kluis Forest route takes you along narrow paths into the stately beech forest. You’ll pass the famous boulders Peetje and Meetje and stop at the Fountain of Love. Epicureans will enjoy this route thanks to the many restaurants and cafés. Cool down with ice cream at De Toren, drink a regional beer, take a donkey ride, or spend the night at BosbAAr.

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3. The MUST in Ronse

Ronse evolved into the second largest textile centre in Flanders, complete with working-class neighbourhoods, factories, and elegant Art Deco villas between the two World Wars. In the Must - Museum of Textiles, the whole history is explained. One of the showpieces is the weaving mill, where visitors are given an overview of the technical evolution in the textile sector between 1900 and 2000 based on about 40 working looms. This museum is part of the Hoge Mote, a reception and experience centre that also houses the tourist information office. Visitors can learn more about St Hermes and the city’s development through interactive panels, audio stories, short films, and virtual reality. You can enjoy a panoramic view from one of the towers.


4. The MOU in Oudenaarde

Oudenaarde’s late-Gothic town hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Belgium’s most beautiful town halls, adorns the market square. In the MOU, interactive media and special historical pieces will guide you through the rich history of the Flemish Ardennes. It also houses an impressive collection of tapestries.

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5. Discover Ronse with children

Ronse is truly a town perfectly tailered to children. Visit Ronse has even put together a children’s quest – you should definitely give it a try. Ronse has undergone a great deal of renovation in recent years, and that’s immediately noticeable. So take your time and explore the town with your children. There is plenty of greenery, and you are bound to find a cosy tavern where you can treat your little ones to a piece of cake.

Domein De Ghellinck in Wortegem-Petegem

6. Domain de Ghellinck in Wortegem-Petegem

The municipal Domain de Ghellinck is a vast, 28 ha castle park. Today, you only see a castle farm and some remnants of the garden because the 19th-century water castle burned down entirely in 1973. You can walk, cycle and fish in one of the ponds on the domain. There are also playgrounds, a restaurant with an outdoor café and a nature learning path. Do you prefer to put on your hiking boots for a trip through unspoilt nature? Then be sure to visit De Langemeersen. In Langemeersen, birds chirp and little owls call from the pollard willows. In spring, marsh marigolds brighten up the grasslands.

Europees Cartoon Centrum te Kruisem

7. Have fun in Kruisem

Kruisem is a merger of the municipalities Kruishoutem and Zingem. In addition to gastronomic pleasures, you can also walk and cycle past stately castles or in nature. Culture lovers are also well served in Kruisem. The European Cartoon Centre, which exhibits the work of various national and international cartoonists, is within walking distance of the village centre. A new exhibition is held every three months. Are you more of a shoe freak? Then a visit to the Shoes or no shoes (SONS) museum is an absolute must.


8. Cycling in the Flemish Ardennes

There’s no better region for a challenging ride than the Flemish Ardennes. Here, the iconic inclines and cobbled sections appear in rapid succession. The Tour of Flanders cycling route is permanently signposted, so you’ll always find the correct route.

Experience the three exhausting cycling trails and the heroic fight that cyclists wage every year. You’ll be doing it together with cyclists from all over the world. Because here, you can meet everyone, side by side, riding their own Tour of Flanders. You start and end at the Tour of Flanders Centre. The blue loop is the shortest (78 km) and includes slopes like the Oude Kwaremont, the Koppenberg and the Taaienberg.


9. Tour of Flanders Centre

You can relive the history of Flanders’ Finest in the Tour of Flanders Centre. For active cyclists, it’s the ideal starting point for a challenging ride. Three loops of over 100 km start here. Those who prefer something less intense can visit the permanent exhibition or relax in the cosy Peloton Café.


10. Walking Through Kordaal Forest

Kordaal Forest proves that forests don’t always have to be vast to be fully enjoyed. You walk through some abundant nature in this 3 ha nature reserve, which meanders along the Kordaalbeek. Naturally, the stream plays a leading role. You’ll discover a rich arsenal of mainly moisture-loving plants that provide a home to a multitude of birds. In spring, the valley is a paradise of flowers and plants. It’s no surprise that Kordaal Forest is the home of the Kordaal walking route. You’ll discover gems like Nokere Castle along this route.