De 4 Vaargetijden - Barge cruise in Belgium

Barge cruise in Belgium

Belgium has a rich and impressive history due to its geographically central position in Europe. Traditionally goods from abroad were delivered oversea. To improve transportation of these goods over land, a whole network of canals, linking the Belgian rivers, has been developed over time. Schelde, Leie, Ijzer, Meuze, Dender among others have been used as a transport route for centuries. Economical and social life became focused around these waterways. Even today , a part of these waterways is still used as a major link with our neighbouring countries. International activity is clearly visible in ports like Antwerp, Zeebrugge and Ghent. Some (of the older) canals were adapted to support the upcoming water tourism. Now, there is almost unlimited potential to discover Belgium through narrow and meandering routes. Most renowned example of a romantic waterway is probably the “Leie”, a meandering river with many views on beatiful state houses along its path. Travelling across Flanders and Wallony from their waterways, offers an ideal access to the rich historical patrimony of the region. Of course the medieval citycenters in Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp can be visited by boat. Furthermore, smaller towns and charming villages await to be discovered. The variation of the Belgian countryside is a mixture of surprises: the quiet “Flanders fields” directly behind the coastal line, the endless heath lands with their sandy soils, Dark pinewoods and the variation of the deciduous woods in Limburg and the Ardennes. The river Meuze flows like an artery through the Ardennes, offering access to the wide forests and hills by ship. In this area are the boat-lifts and the “slope of Ronquieres”, a key attraction, attempting to smoothen the different altitudes of the trajectory. The ongoing renewal and restoration of the Belgian waterways, the permanent improvement of water quality and the opening of their towing-paths for cycling and walking can only add to the joy of discovering Belgium by barge!