Christmas in Belgium
November 29 - December 9, 2018 | $3,395
What's included in the tour:
Accommodations for 10 nights at 3-4 Star hotels*.
All transportation during the tour: train tickets between cities (1st Class when available), transportation to and from venues (breweries, museums etc.) and tram passes.
All event (brewery, museum, etc.) entry fees.
Group lunches (6).
Group dinners (4).
*Accommodations based on double occupancy.
Tour cost: $3395.00 USD
The Christmas season is one of my favorite times of the year in Belgium. Cities are festive with holiday decorations and the atmosphere is cheerful and Christmas Markets abound. This tour covers a lot of ground. We will visit Christmas markets in four of the cities that we visit – each unique. During the trip, we will take two “road trips” which will allow us to visit great breweries that are off the beaten path. We will also attend Billies Beer Festival in Antwerp, one of the leading festivals in the area. This festival is unique in that it attracts breweries from all over the world and promotes a flat-fee approach similar to many festivals in the United States – your entry fee includes all beer tastings.
We meet at 10:00 in the morning at our host hotel and travel to Brasserie de la Senne for our first brewery tour. Brasserie de la Senne is a small brewery that produces wonderful beers and has a great craft beer philosophy. After our tour, we will enjoy lunch together before heading to the iconic Cantillon Brewery for a private tour and tasting. We will have the opportunity to purchase beer to take with us after the tour. Following Cantillon, we will walk around the corner to Brasserie de L'Ermitage for another tour and tasting. L'Ermitage brews beers at the other end of the spectrum from Cantillon so we should have a nice contrast in beer styles. Afterwards, we return to the hotel and spend the evening on our own exploring the city. (B, L)
Today we enjoy a leisurely breakfast before boarding the train to Antwerp. Here we will spend the morning exploring and enjoying the Antwerp Christmas Market before heading to Cafe Gollem for lunch. Gollem has an excellent beer assortment as well as good burgers. After lunch we will make our way to Billies Craft Beer Festival. Billies is unique in that they base the festival on the “all-in formula” - with this format, your entry fee includes unlimited beer samples rather than requiring tokens or charges per sample. There will be 200+ craft beers from breweries all over the world at the festival. (B, L)
After breakfast we travel to Tre Fonteinen for a private tour and tasting in their blending facility, We will have the opportunity to sample some special beers only available on-site. We return to the city and spend the afternoon exploring the city on our own. We meet at the hotel at 19:00 and head to dinner at the famous Chez Leon. After dinner we will walk to the renowned Moeder Lambic and enjoy their varied selection of beers. (B, D)
We have an early breakfast before heading to the Royal Museum for the Armed Forces and Military History for a private tour. This is an excellent military museum and has an amazing aircraft collection. After our tour, we will have lunch at the famous Mort Subite and enjoy their lambics. After lunch, we be treated to a private walking tour of Brussels and learn some of the history of this famous city. We meet in the hotel lobby at 19:00 for dinner in the St. Catherine area. (B, D)
Today or first stop is Timmermans Brewery where we will enjoy a of their blending facility and tasting. After lunch we will stop at Lindemans Brewery for a presentation and sampling. Dinner is on our own tonight. (B, L)
We rise early today for our first road trip. We board the bus for our first stop, Brasserie Caracole. Caracole is an old-fashioned brewery – they still heat their water with a wood fire. After our tour and tasting, we travel to Brasserie de Blaugies for a tour of their new brewery. Blaugies produces perhaps some of the best beer in the region. Afterwards, we will enjoy lunch and a tasting at their restaurant before proceeding to Brasserie de Silly for a sampling of their artisanal brews. We return to Brussels where we spend the evening on our own. (B, L)
Today we pack and take the train to Bruges. We drop our luggage at the hotel before embarking on a guided walking tour of this historic city. We will stop at several recognized tap houses before splitting up to explore the city and it's Christmas Market on our own. We meet again at the hotel at 19:00 for dinner. (B, D)
After a nice breakfast, we will visit the first of two breweries in Bruges - Brasserie de Halve Maan. This is a modern brewery with a nice tasting room. From here we will travel to Brouwerij Bourgogne de Flanders where we will enjoy a tour, tasting and lunch. The afternoon and evening are free to enjoy on our own. (B, L)
We enjoy a leisurely breakfast before boarding the train to Ghent. Here we explore the Ghent Christmas Market before our visit to Brouwerij Gruut – a brewery which specializes in the gruit beer style. After our tour and tasting, we will visit two iconic tap rooms, De Trollekelder and La Trappiste before returning to Bruges (B, L)
Today is a big day. We again rise early today for our second road trip. Our first stop is Brouwerij Sint Bernardus in Watou for a tour and tasting. After the tour, we will visit In de Vrede, the welcome center for Sint Sixtus Abby in Westvleteren, While the Abby brewery is closed to the public, we can enjoy their beer on tap in the welcome center and perhaps purchase a few bottles to take with us. From the Abby we will travel to the Hop Museum in Poperinge and have lunch. After lunch we stop at Brouwerij de Strusse for a quick tour before heading to Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers, a small, family owned brewery. We return to Bruges for our last dinner together. (B, D)
We have an early breakfast before boarding a train at 09:00 to return to Brussels and say our goodbyes.
This tour involves substantial walking through breweries, museums and the cities we visit. In addition, climbing of stairs, navigating entryways, etc. is required. Many venues visited on this tour would not be considered ADA compliant. If you have concerns regarding these issues, please contact our staff as this might not be the best tour choice for you.