Belgian Beer Tour
Day 1 Brussels
Arrive in time for an evening Welcome Meeting where you meet your CEO and fellow travellers. There are no included activities today so check into your hotel and start enjoying this charming capital city.
Day 2 Brussels (1B)
Enjoy an orientation walk of the city with your CEO. Use this day to visit a chocolate factory, the Delirium beer hall, Art Deco Turkish baths or indulge in a gourmet Belgium tour. Opt to start early and go for a beer walking tour. Belgium is known not only for beer but also for waffles, mussels, 'frites' and chocolate. Indulge away! *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 of abbey-made beers at local cafés, hosting visitors from all over the world looking for these exclusive beers. 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 the monks permit on any given day. It's all part of this delicious adventure!
Day 3 Rochefort (1B, 1L)
Head to the train station for a 2-hour journey to Jemelle. Take a public bus another 15 minutes to Rochefort, arriving in time for lunch. Head to the markets in this beautiful medieval town and collect some cheese, bread, meats and local delicacies and enjoy a picnic with your Trappist beer. See the church at Abbaye Notre Dame de Saint Remy where Rochefort is made. Brush up on your french to chat with locals. Enjoy a free afternoon with options like visiting the local Caves of Han and wildlife park or the remains of a 2000-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.
Day 4 Orval/Chimay/Bruges (1B,1L)
Head by private van to Orval for a visit to the abbey's visitor's centre that includes ruins and some restored buildings where you can learn about the brewing process. Sample some beer and Trappist cheeses here before continuing on to Chimay by private van. Enjoy an included lunch at the brasserie near Chimay to try beers normally reserved for the monks. Sample excellent cheeses and beers produced in the town. The abbey and main brewing centre are not accessible to the public here as Chimay is a strict Cistercian monastery. There are still plenty of opportunities to sample the local goods. Arrive to Bruges in the evening and head out for an orientation walk around the town.
Day 5 Westvleteren/Bruges (1B,1L)
Enjoy a free morning in Bruges to explore the city. Later, take a day trip from Bruges to the Westvleteren area, though the monastery is not open to the public. A local beer specialist and master brewer will provide a barbecue at his home and a tasting of the famous and rare Westvleteren beers 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.
Day 6 Westmalle/Achel/Antwerp (1B)
Take a private van to Antwerp, with a stop at the Westmalle brewery en route. The actual brewery and dairy are inside the walls of the Trappist monastery which is also off limits to the general public. The tavern, Café Trappisten, on the edge of the abbey is a great place to sample the beer and enjoy some lunch. Continue on to Achel, our 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 to Antwerp in the late afternoon. Opt to wander around the city and get a feel for the place.
Day 7 Antwerp (1B)
Enjoy a free day in Antwerp. There are still more breweries here if you just haven't had enough. One option would be to take a bike tour that visits the Seef Brewery, as well as roams around this lovely city. For a unique perspective on Antwerp, take a tour of the sewers – complete with overalls and wellington boots. Opt for a farewell dinner with the group.
Day 8 Antwerp (1B)
Depart Antwerp at any time. There is an excellent regular train between Antwerp and Brussels. Your CEO can help arrange transport back to the airport.