Cycling to Damme

Our last full day in Bruges and we decided to do as the locals do – get on our bikes. A cycle to Damme was the plan, grey skies and plenty of clouds did not deter us, in hindsight that was actually perfect cycling weather. We found a bicycle hire place in Bruges near the Conference Hall, there is no end of choice, this was just the first one we came upon and we booked up for half a day. The cycling was a breeze – flat, easy and right up my street. The hardest part of the whole day was dragging those bikes up from the underground storage area.

08.08.01 - Cycling to Damme

Damme is 6 miles outside Bruges, a historic and pretty little village in its own right. We pedalled out of Bruges on a wide cycle track which took us past the railway station, over a bridge and out of town. A couple of road crossings to navigate but it was mainly very safe and carefree.

08.08.03 - Cycling to Damme

Soon we were on a flat canal path, the odd windmill looming on the horizon made Son very excited. I loved the bikes – so comfortable and a joy to ride.

08.08.09 - Cycling to Damme

08.08.17 - Damme

The poplar lined Napoleon Canal that connects Damme and Bruges is perfect for cycling and ideal with children. Traffic-free and not at all busy, you don’t have to stress or worry at all. We cycled up towards Damme on one side of the water and back on the other. Both tracks were peaceful and quiet, the entire ride to Damme and back took about 90 minutes.

08.08.11 - Cycling to Damme

08.08.12 - Cycling to Damme

08.08.14 - Cycling to Damme

08.08.15 - Cycling to Damme

Arriving in Damme it started to pour with rain, we chained up our bikes and promptly found a lunch spot. Huddled over Croque Monsieurs we waited for the weather to clear. Food and drink in Damme was a bit of a bargain compared to Bruges as we were pleased to discover.

08.08.21 - Damme

08.08.22 - Damme

Rain over we explored a little on foot. This tiny place was once Bruge’s outer harbour and seagoing ships unloaded their cargoes until the Zwin outlet silted up in 1520.

08.08.24 - Damme

As a fan of the BBC drama “The White Queen”  focussing on the relationship between Edward IV and his commoner wife Elizabeth Woodville I had an extra reason for wanting to visit Damme – several scenes were filmed in the 15th century town hall in the main square.

08.08.26 - Damme

We ambled around the few streets that make up Damme. Pretty and with some intriguing art work here and there it is a pleasant place to stroll for a little while.

08.08.31 - Damme

Soon it was time to get back on our bikes and cycle to Bruges again. Exercise, scenery and sightseeing – the perfect last morning in Belgium.

08.08.34 - Damme

08.08.38 - Damme

08.08.40 - Damme

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08.08.44 - Damme

64 thoughts on “Cycling to Damme

  1. Great photos Joy and as usual a pleasure to read your post 🙂 As Andrew Petcher says, we could definitely do with more cycle lanes like they do in Belgium and Holland. It’s such a more environmentally friendly means to get around, so much more healthy for us and you see so much more on a bike than travelling by car!

    • I just wish we did have cycle lanes like this in the UK!! Everywhere in Bruges the facilities for cycling were superb – wide and off the road so you could cycle safely and find it a pleasure too. If we had these available I would be on my bike most of the time, as it is we tend to stick to car free cycle trails in this country, just too frightening with a child in tow otherwise!

  2. It all looks so peaceful and relaxing Joy! I am always worried about traffic when cycling but this looks very safe – what wonderful cycle paths! I have heard of the “White Queen” but haven’t watched the series though I’m sure it was shown here recently – will have to look out for that as it sounds right up my street with the historical aspect and the story behind Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, Damme looks such a charming place – love the pretty houses and “Cafe de Katte”! Lovely post and photos 🙂

    • The cycling was bliss Rosemary, I never cycle with traffic, I’m just too wary but this was wonderful and we all just loved it. You should definitely try and watch the White Queen, it was great, I really enjoyed it. Damme was lovely, very different and much quieter than Bruges and we just couldn’t resist the kitty place!!

  3. A lovely promenade. Rain is inevitable in Bruges. 🙂
    (hasn’t Son grown a lot?)
    (Wide eyed emoticon)
    happy week-end.
    Brian

    • We were spoiled with the weather actually, mainly hot and sunny every day so the rain came as a shock (although it shouldn’t have been!!). Son is growing far too quickly, I will soon be the shortest member of our family Brian!! Hope your weekend is a good one too.

      • Thank you. It was. Well, Son is growing up. Which for a mother is probably both thrilling and worrisome, but I couldn’t help comparing to some visual memory of last year’s photos? I think you were in Paris? 🙂

    • Isn’t it just perfect George, so unspoiled and so gorgeous. I took so many pictures of those little houses, I just loved them. We enjoyed this cycle so much – one of my top cycle trips for sure!! Enjoy your weekend too.

  4. What a wonderful day, I enjoyed your comments and I like the pictures that are not posed. Small suggestion would be that you should have a few more pictures of yourself! Looking back in the future it would be nicer.

    • It was just the most perfect day out – simple family fun, nothing like that!! Thank you for your comments too, I tend to be the one with the camera, a bit possessive that way, so mainly not in the pictures but it is a good point!!

    • We love to get on our bikes whenever we can too Pam, a great way for our son to burn off all that excess energy for a start!! I loved cycling here though especially as cyclists are so well catered for, the most amazing traffic free cycle routes you just don’t have to worry about traffic at all. Flat too – that always works for me!!

  5. I did a bicycle tour of part of the Netherlands awhile ago and your photos made me remember all that! Holland and Belgium are so much more bike friendly than the USA! Your photos really capture a great outing.

    • So much more bike friendly than the UK too – I wish we had cycle lanes like they have over there, we would be on our bikes all the time!! It was such a lovely morning, thoroughly enjoyed by all of us.

  6. What a wonderful idea 🙂 We loved walking the paths around Bruges and seeing the windmills, but getting out and exploring on a bike would be a whole different experience. We’ve been enjoying reliving our brief time in Bruges through your posts; it was definitely one of our favorite places!

    • Cycling was such a lot of fun, they are so well set up with all those great and safe cycle tracks. We loved doing this, felt like something completely different! Bruges is wonderful, we loved it there too despite the rain on our last day.

  7. Sounds – and looks – like the perfect day! Cycling is such a great way to travel and cover more territory..my girls are slowly getting there where we can go on long bike rides..:)

    • We always try and rent bikes when we’re away and do some kind of cycle – great fun!! Our son is more than capable of a long bike ride but that doesn’t stop him moaning and groaning!!

  8. Some terrific scenery for your last day in Bruges. I really like the photos of you and Son with the windmill, and you’ve got me curious about that BBC series. A quick question: How important is it to be able to speak French in the smaller towns in Belgium?

    • It was a superb last day out Melissa – the cycling was great and the views were gorgeous. We were in Flanders on this trip, all Dutch speaking and absolutely no problem with English anywhere. Not so sure about the French speaking area but I’m sure you could get away with a smattering of the language.

      • Oh! I should have known from the windmills that the area was predominantly Dutch 🙂 Thanks for the information – Belgium is definitely on my list of must-see places.

    • It was a lovely thing to do, it rained a bit throughout the cycle and when we were exploring Damme but it actually didn’t spoil it at all for us. If you get back there I definitely recommend it!

  9. I would love to go on a beautiful bike ride with Z and Chad. For that, I would actually prefer cooler weather, which is really weird for me! I am really wanting to visit Belgium more and more. We have a couple of Belgian friends that live here and I love hearing about their lives there. 🙂

  10. What a charming town and a fun ride. I’m especially interested in that track on your first pic to roll the bike up the stairs. I’ve never seen anything like that over here.

  11. Hopefully going to get to visit Belgium this summer….Fingers crossed! Might only have 5 days though. Going to reread your blog postings, but based on your experiences any recommendations regarding cities or experiences?

    • We loved basing ourselves in Bruges – strolling around at night when the crowds were gone was a really special experience. We also enjoyed staying in Brussels – we were only there for 1 night but again it was fun to wander especially in the evening. Ghent is a very beautiful city and we also found the World War 1 battle fields and sites fascinating but sobering. Ypres is a pretty little town with a very sad history, they have some incredible museums and if you can stay around to hear the Last Post played at the Menin Gate that is something very special. Hope you get to visit Belgium and enjoy it as much as we did!!

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