family cycling in Peer Belgium

Adventure

Relaxed family cycling in Peer, Belgium

Visiting family in the Netherlands, we popped over the border to Limburg in Belgium. The intention was to go to Eperheide Centre Parcs, a fabulous leisure complex also open to day visitors too.  From previous visits we knew Eperheide was a great day out.

 

Yet, instead we ended up on a 12km cycle ride with the kids.

 

How did that happen?  From swimming, sliding down slides and chilling in a jacuzzi to cycling!

family-friendly cycling in Peer Belgium

 

The surprising spontaneous twist gave us an little insight into the area which we had no idea about:

I never realised what a family cycling haven Limburg region, particularly around Peer was.  We popped on our bikes with my brother-in-law leading us.  At first, we seemed to be following a road, then I noticed the little signs for cycling routes.

cycling routes in Belgium Peer

We criss-crossed a couple of different cycle routes.

cycling map of area peer belgium

There was a route dedicated to farming with little boards (unfortunately only in Flemish) giving interesting facts about farming and animal husbandry.  The kids really enjoyed spotting these signs and also the different animals in the fields.

family cycling in Peer Belgium

We did stop off in a couple of places to flirt with the animals.  This little pony was particularly keen to get our attention, galloping along as we were riding past. We just had to stop to give him a stroke.

family cycling peer belgium bruegel route 03  ©Familymadventures

 

The routes in the area are obviously used by not only cyclist.

 

Horse drawn cart on cycling path Belgium

We spotted this horse drawn cart and then we spotted a horse and cart parking place by a café.  I loved it!  Transporting one back to a different era, when these were the main mode of transport.

Horse and cart parking belgium peer

The route was dotted with a number of little chapels in the landscape or rest corners with religious statues. We started counting them, but lost count after a while.

 

Peer was believed to be the birthplace of Bruegel- though there are a couple of different views of this

Bruegel was Netherlandish painter and designer for engravings from the 16th century. His works provide a profound and elemental insight into man and his relationship to the world of nature. His legacy, beyond his own works, influenced 17th century painters, including Rubens on landscape.

 

Part of our little tour took us along a section of the 25 km cycle route dedicated to Bruegel and his works.   We spotted one of the number of reproductions which is thought to represent the countryside we were cycling through. (Discovering Belgium blog has little more detail on this route in – Bruegel in Peer  )

family cycling peer belgium bruegel route 01  ©Familymadventures

Most of the route we followed was on lovely quite paths, with very little, if any car traffic.  We met a few other groups cycling the routes too.

 

It was rather funny that we were the only ones wearing cycle helmets and got some curious looks from the passing cyclist.  Never mind!  Our principle is better be safe and show consistency to our children, as we tend to normally cycle in less favourable places.

 

A rather unexpected aspect of our cycle tour:  With the road making cycling so easy we could enjoy lots of conversations with the children about our surroundings.  We talked extensively about farming and farming practices, touched on art and how artist now and long ago are influenced by their surroundings.  The Bruegel reproduction also gave us an opportunity to talk about how farming  and food production has changed over the years since that picture was painted.

family friendly cycling in peer belgium

Cycling around Peer was a great family day out!

 

From our experience of visiting the area I would recommend families with younger children looking at a cycling holiday to explore this area.  With Centre Parcs there too it is very easy to spend a week of activity and relaxing.

Can you recommend any routes around Europe which are great to get the whole family on to bikes?

Info:

The information on the area is rather scarse, but apparently the Peer local tourist office sells cycling maps.

CentreParcs is a great place to start exploring the area.- Eperheide is great!

Getting there: the nearest airports are Maastrict and Eindthoven, but then you’d probably hire a car.  Rail transfer from Brussels would be easier.

If you take the ferry across to Dunkirk (as we did) then the trip will take you about 3.5 hours on the continental side.  Something most kids can cope with and you are rewarded with a slightly warmer climate and very friendly cycling routes.

For those with a keen interest in art and Bruegel- Pieter the Elder Bruegel – The complete works by Pieter the Elder Bruegel User comments, biography, more than 290 images of paintings, eCards, slideshow and more!

 

You can also watch our short video of cycling around Peer

 

If you liked reading this story, please share it on your social networks to inspire others to visit the area.

 

This post first appeared on Family{m)adventures.com

Categories: Adventure

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