Belgium Barge Beer Tours

  • 8 days barge tour with focus on tasting Belgian Farmhouse beers and visiting breweries

Belgium Barge Beer Tours

In November 2016, the UNESCO recognized the Belgian beer culture as part of the world’s cultural heritage. Why is the Belgian beer culture so special? Join our new Belgium barge and beer tour and we will gladly help you discover this yourself.

On a barge and beer tour you be amazed by what you see, learn and enjoy during brewery and pub visits as well as enjoying the view from the sun-deck of our barge as you savour a nice glass of Belgium beer!

Brewery visits

What to expect? You will discover a brewer who specialized making beer without the use of any hops. In place of hops, a very secret mixture of herbs, based on a recipe dating back to the Middle Ages is used for flavouring. You have to taste the result!

Other brew-masters rely on fruit for their seasoning. Traditionally sour cherries, “kriek” in Flemish, or raspberries are used. Two breweries on our tour route specialize in making these fruit based beers.

Another brewery specializes in the blending of young beer with more mature beer to get a typical sweat-sour effect. Refreshing and very tasty.

A real treat and highlight on this tour is the visit to one of the oldest family breweries in Belgium. Their rich history started with a B&B and a brewery which produced the typical old-brown beer of the region. After the 2nd World War the demand for lager increased and the production of a blond ale started. Now both beers and several others are still in production. The visit to this brewery is a real journey through the ages.

During this barge and beer tour you will also be introduced to Lambiek. This type of beer matures for several years in wooden barrels to finally gain its full aroma and flavour.

The week-long tour from Bruges to Oudenaarde gets an extra visit to a brewery producing typical acid beers.

All these brewery visits last 2 hours on average. Every visit includes a beer tasting at the end of the tour. Mostly it is the brew-master himself who enthusiastically guides you around and answers your questions. Some of the breweries are an easy walking distance from where the barge berths. For others a taxi will take you in comfort to and from the brewery.

Pubs like no others

In Oudenaarde you will find a very old pub, leaning against the wall of the Walburga church. Be sure to enjoy a Kriek beer or a firm Old-brown whilst sitting on the terrace from where you can hear the carillon ringing over the market square. With a view of Oudenaard’s elegant city hall it tastes even better!

As a lively student city, Ghent has, of course, a big choice of pubs. Right in the city centre, again near a church (is this just another coincidence?), you will find the “Trollen Kelder” pub dating from the 15th century. Here you will be able to sample from a choice of 150 beers!

Alternatively, you could try something from the the extensive beer list of “De Dulle Griet” pub. Have you every drunk from a glass without a base at the bottom? At this pub you will find that it is impossible to rest your glass so you will have visit the pub to hear the fascinating reason why this beer has to ‘hang’.

Are you still thirsty? Continue to the ‘Waterhouse at the beer quay’ to quench your thirst.

The city Bruges is completely different. Here it is worth joining the beer walk visiting the beer-wall, built with over 780 different beers with their matching glasses. You might wonder, “Are they really all empty?”

You need not worry! In the beer-temple shop the bottles of over 600 different beers are definitely full. The appropriate glass for each beer isn’t missing either. The only problem is which beer to choose for your perfect souvenir?

Taking a break in an authentic pub is possible in Bruges too. Go to De Garre for a great triple strength beer; or Café Vlissinghe the oldest pub in town; or the world famous ‘t Brugs Beertje!

The Belgium beer culture

Beer is a part of daily life in Belgium — table beer at meals, ale to quench a thirst, beer as a starter or beer to finish a meal, party beer for special occasions, even “glüh-beer” to be warmed before drinking during the cold winter months.

Apart from drinking beer, beer is an essential ingredient of several traditional Belgian meals such as Belgian stew, waffles, mussels and so much more. These classics can be found in many of the restaurants. Smart travellers chose full board whilst on our barge so they can be sure to enjoy dinners served aboard prepared with a variety of beers.

Visit some of the many breweries and the pubs that form an important part of the Belgian lifestyle or sample some of the dishes enriched with beer and you will understand why the UNESCO has added Belgian beer culture to its ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ list.

In short this new boat and beer tour will immerse you in Belgium’s lively beer culture whilst you stay aboard our comfortable barge allowing you to reflect on the daily impressions and experiences you have enjoyed.

We say, “For a barge water is a necessity and without water there can be no beer!”

Barge, water and beer together provide a view of Belgium like no other, to be recalled long after your holiday on De 4 Vaargetijden!

Further information


  • For 2018 this beer barge tour can only be booked by group charter. Please feel free to ask if the desired period is still available!


  • 8-days tour with full board or half board: see price-list “per week 8 days”
  • Supplement beer program: + €/pp (based on 8 guests occupancy)