Tips for visiting Mechelen by bike (and more cities)


You travel to Flanders and you don't stop being surprised. Green fields, canals, beer, pavés, chocolate and… armies of bicycles touring its main cities. "Will I dare to do it? Is it dangerous? What kind of clothes do I need?" Dozens of questions invade us at that moment. You look at yourself and say "Bah, I'm not fit! Another trip will be ". Error! If there is something the last one showed me journey through Leuven and Mechelen is that the bicycle culture leads you to perceive your trip in a completely different way, reaching any point of the city with hardly any effort and enjoying the beer of the night as if it were the last. We bring you some recommendations and tips to visit Mechelen by bicycle, our first contact, valid for any other Flemish population

It goes without saying that the rental of bikes is very widespread in all of them so you will not have to bring anything from home

Plan what to see in Mechelen by bike

Legacy and imprint of Margarita de Austria or Carlos V, the heart of the Netherlands at the time, one of the most pleasant flamenco towns to walk peacefully between canals, beaterios, squares or towers ... It's Malinas! and we tell you in detail from Brussels or Leuven by train. But what if we plan a visit to Mechelen by bicycle to make the best use of time besides living it in the most authentic way?

We start this journey, rented bicycle at the accommodation itself or at the train station, by Dijlepad (1) which is the area of ​​channels par excellence of the city.

From there, leaving all three aside most important facades of the city on Haverwerf Street (2) we can enter theGreat Beguinage or Beguineage of Mechelen (3), away from the hustle and bustle of other more lively terrace areas.

Do you like Gouden Carolus beer? Well, at this point you can enjoy a tasting at the Het Anker brewery (4) (without going over) to continue towards the Church of San Juan (5) or discover the good state of conservation of Small Beguinage or Beguineage of Mechelen (6)

We turn our eyes and see a small creek covered in a greenish color calledGroen Waterke (7) although it will be later where the gardens of Margarita Palace of Austria (8) get our attention

Cultural lovers have another stop at theMargarita Palace of York and Church of St. Peter and St. Paul (9) although hunger may begin to tighten and Grote Markt, Stadhuis and Schepenhuis (10) be our option for this time of day

And afternoon? Upload toSan Romualdo Cathedral (11), true symbol of the city ...

... or get closer to himWinter garden, a jewel in the surroundings of Mechelen, may be the alternatives.

The day can end up returning the bicycle and enjoying the terrace that all points of the city offers when the sun goes down.

Recommendations and tips to visit Flemish cities by bike

1 In group, couple or alone, does not require a great physical form

If you do not intend to make great routes and your goal is to visit the city, do not worry about spending 5 months training. Traveling to Mechelen (or other Flemish cities) by bicycle does not require a great state of form. The definition of this whole area and the Netherlands, highlighted by being a extensive plain without large reliefs, They do not require significant efforts to advance your new vehicle.

It is possible to face any trip to Flanders in a group, couple or solitary and more in Mechelen, where you can make the whole journey in a relaxed way without great distances (except if you want to visit the Winter Garden on the outskirts)

2 No sportswear necessary

Another one of the doubts that arise to us all before the trip is if for these days in which we take the bicycle it will be necessary to wear a sports clothing. The answer is no. In all the Flemish cities (and also in Mechelen) you will find people doing their day to day with jeans, dresses and even tuxedos.

3 Bike lane and historic city centers

Flanders boasts of having one of the best bike lane networks in the world. Wherever you go you will find a large countryside full of rivers and canals with their corresponding bike rides.

In the historical centers, such as Mechelen, these are not necessary since pedestrians and bicycles are accustomed to live together and it will be the cars that respect the passing priority of both. Yes, Do not get on the sidewalks and respect the traffic rules.

4 Keep an eye on the posters if you go outside

In general, driving through different points between cities is as simple as sign up for bike-enabled roads They are usually numbered and follow them. You have in this web a good starting point to calculate your route

5 The weather is mild but don't forget a raincoat

The weather in Flanders is quite mild, which allows small and large routes to be made without excessive hot flashes but also very changing. That means that between April and November, due to the proximity of the sea, you can meet a good shower on your route A good tip is that you do not forget your raincoat or jacket to protect you from the rain in that case until you reach the next brewery, haha.

6 Public transport also prepared for bicycles

To combine cycling routes and public transport is possible in all Flanders. The trains are prepared (with a small supplement) to accommodate your vehicle if you do not want to make a long route between cities but so are the public buses of the towns themselves or those that bring you closer to the surroundings. In your hand is knowing how to combine them as you want.

7 Renting a bicycle if you are a tourist is very simple (and cheap)

Arrive as you arrive, do not be overwhelmed thinking where you can find a bicycle rental establishment. From the same train station to the hotels and lodgings they will facilitate this service for just between 6-7 EUR up to 10-12 EUR per day, depending on the city and season of the year you want to do it

8 Don't forget your bike lights to drive

Surely this will not be a problem since your bike will have them when you rent it. However, the lights are mandatory at night and in rain and the police watch that they are working. If you realize that yours do not work, you can buy new ones in Tiger or Hema for much less than 10 EUR

9 Park in places enabled for it and use a lock

When you rent the bike, you will get a padlock prepared to be able to leave it in the parking lots enabled so no! you will not have to ride the bike with you to the Cathedral of San Romualdo in Mechelen. The Flemish people are very civic but every precaution is little and even if you "leave" 5 minutes, leave it well tied to avoid theft

10 Avoid driving near the tram tracks.

In those Flemish towns where there is a tram, avoid driving near its tracks. The reason may seem obvious but you don't always realize that Tram rails are slippery with rain and without it since you could put the wheel in its guide rails and fall round. Be careful with it!

One last tip: Flanders by bike

The Visit Flanders official website offers a complete section dedicated to bicycle touring in Flanders so that lovers of this outdoor activity can enjoy the most complete information.

And you, Have you already considered your next trip to Flanders? And visit Mechelen by bike? Do not forget to enjoy one of its main attractions ... the cycling culture!

Isaac, from Flanders by bike