The Kempen Trappist Route
De Kempen (Dutch)/Campine (French) is a natural region situated in north-eastern Belgium and parts of the south-eastern Netherlands.
The region, which covers 60 square km’s, was previously made up of wetlands, moors and tracts of sandy heath. It boasts a rich history which makes it the perfect place to explore on bike, visiting monasteries, churches and castles along the way.
The Trappist Route is a 44 km tour around the Kempen. This route takes you from the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle to the Trappist Monastery of Brecht with visits to a number of picturesque monuments and pavilions.
The Trappist Abbey of Westmalle
The world famous Westmalle Dubbel and Tripel are still brewed in the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle at the start of the ride.
The Trappist Abbey was founded in 1794 and built by French monks. The historic building boasts a rich library, old manuscripts and beautiful paintings. Due to the fraternal society that the monks belong to, you cannot actually visit the brewery or the library, however, the surrounding area and buildings act as a celebration of this Abbey. Each restaurant, bar and museum offers another glimpse into the life behind the Abbey walls.
You must end your time at the Westmalle Brewery with a glass of Trappist Beer or Trappist cheese croquettes in the Café Trappisten.
The Trappist Monastery of Brecht
In the middle of the Brechtse Heide lies the Romanesque Abbey of Our Lady of Nazareth. Life in the Abbey is characterized by prayer, reading and manual work, the three basic elements of Trappist life.
The nuns here manufacture liturgical robes, flags and candles in their workplace and sell them under the brand name ‘ Trapp ‘. Make sure you visit the small Abbey shop where you can purchase these and try the natural soaps and shampoos.
Domain of Renesse
The castle of the Counts of Renesse lays in the centre of Malle.
The Domain has a natural area of 127 ha and is always accessible. Take some time to explore the grounds and you will feel at one with the vibrant surroundings. The castle itself is opened on Sunday afternoons for visitors so if you are here during this time then it is definitely worth a visit.
From the traditional towns to the historic abbeys and the vast countryside, Belgium is the picture of relaxation. Click here to explore our Belgian cycling holidays. Find the trip the suits you and discover the rich, beautiful and vibrant country on two wheels.