In West Flanders, the Heuvelland is the mountain bike paradise par excellence. Starting from Kemmel to Cassel, a trained mountain biker can conquer more than 1500 altimeters. Technical descents alternate with steep calf biters.
The seasoned runner will find kilometers of unpaved paths in the Heuvelland, undulating and meandering through forest and field.
Hikers can explore the Heuvelland from Reningelst or Westouter. Paths take them to the Kosmos, the Molenhof or vineyards.
Poperinge is the region of high-quality and aromatic hops. Poperinge and the borough of Watou have several well-known breweries, such as the Sint-Bernardus brewery. The hop museum in Poperinge explains the cultivation process with tasting of more than 100 top beers. The De Plukker organic brewery is currently reaching high peaks. Beers such as Hommelbier, Sint-Bernardus and Pannepot sound familiar to the beer lover.
The best beer in the world (West-Vleteren) is also brewed in the vicinity of Poperinge, with Poperinge hops. This scarce Trappist wine can only be consumed in the inn 'In de Vrede', close to Saint Sixtus Abbey. At the top of the Catsberg, a Trappist beer is also bottled and an abbey cheese is prepared. At the end of 1831, emigrated Cistercians Trappists founded the abbey of Sixtus, in West-Vleteren.
It is not only the trappist of West-Vleteren that enjoys world fame at the moment. The innovative Struise Brouwers from Oost-Vleteren, who have been voted the best brewers in the world several times (ratebeer.com), also brew beers from the top 30 in the world! One of the beers (Pannepot) with subtle coffee and chocolate or their 30 freshly tapped beers will stay with you forever after a beer tasting! The brewery is open on Saturdays from 2 pm to 6 pm. Tastings are possible after contacting Carlo Grootaert (0495/28 86 23) or Urbain Coutteau (0494/23 15 75) in advance.
Reningelst has a rich brewing history. The preserved brewery has now been transformed into a children's brewery, where young and old can dine together, tasting a Rookop beer during the children's folk games.
Between the Rode Berg and Zwarte Berg you will find the most northern vineyards of Europe. The wines of Entre-deux-monts and wine estate Vidaigne cultivate top wines. You can go to both places for a visit to the vineyards or a wine tasting.
The Cordoba chairlift, known from the Eigen Kweek and Taboo programmes, connects the hill of the Baneberg with the Zwarteberg. This authentic cable car is ideal to survey the distant surroundings, or to traverse the vineyards of Heuvelland.
Speelberg De Kosmos is a fun play area of just over 7 hectares near the Hellegatbos on the Rodeberg. You can romp to your heart's content on this play hill! There is a small playground from which you can go to the play pit via tunnels and slides. In the play forest you will find numerous game elements and for the artists among you there is the amphitheater.
Hoppe (or bumblebee in the Poperinge region) is the indispensable ingredient for beer. The plant belongs to the hemp family (Humulus lupulus), whose hop cones (more specifically the lupulin) are used as a flavor and preservative in beer. This climbing plant typifies the Poperinge countryside enormously, with its pile-high climbing ability in the hop fields in this region. The plant is 'plucked' at the end of August. In early spring you can enjoy the 'hoppe shoots', the new white gold...
The Poperinge hops distinguish themselves in quality and aromas. In the last decade, the smaller breweries have sworn by real Poperinge hops to produce their stronger aromatic beers (character beers and abbey animals). The Whitbread Golding hops grown 1 km from the holiday home are used for the Leffe Royale! It gives a slight lemon note with a slightly resinous aroma that predominates over the yeast flavors such as banana and vanilla.
Poperinge is the center for beer lovers every three years. The hop festival unites young and old to celebrate hop cultivation together with a fresh beer in hand.