Cycling past the highlights of the Brabantse Wal

By: Naline Outdoor fanatic | Read time: 6 minutes

Would you like to walk through one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands and cycle over un-Dutch elevation differences? Sandwiched between Zeeland and the Belgian border lies the Brabantse Wal or Brabant Ridge – an area where the higher sandy ground merges into polders of marine clay soil. This results in a route filled with unique countryside, observation points and monuments. I am going to explore this area by bicycle for two days, starting at the historic city of Bergen op Zoom.

Day 1. The north

Home base in Bergen op Zoom

Bergen op Zoom is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands and you notice that while on a city walk. After my arrival, I wander through the charming streets around the Grote Markt and climb the 183 steps of the tower of Our Lady, also called the ‘Peperbus’ or, as the residents call it, the pepper plant tower. From the top, you can enjoy the view over the historic centre and the green areas surrounding it. On clear days, you can see as far as Antwerp!

My walking tour leads me past the Vierkantje – a lively square filled with boutiques and terraces – toward the Markiezenhof, the oldest city palace in the Netherlands. 


“The ground floor of the Markiezenhof, including the French garden, is freely accessible. The first floor houses a museum with exhibitions that change regularly.”

Staying overnight in Bergen op Zoom:

On the bicycle!

After a morning of culture, I mount my bicycle to explore the northern side of the Brabantse Wal. Leaving from the city centre, I am out in the green countryside in no time, and it takes me less than half an hour of cycling to get to the eye-catcher of the day: Fort de Roovere. On my way there, there are plenty of reasons to take a break.


“At farmyards you are tempted by vending machines stocked with strawberries and farm shops selling with fresh products, including the famous Brabantse Wal asparagus early in spring."

Fort de Roovere and the Pompejus tower

Fort de Roovere is one of the largest forts along the West Brabant Water Defence Line. Its greatest feature is the observation tower Pompejus, not only because of the view at a height of 25 metres but also because the tower itself is a real work of art. Once at the top, you can also see the famous Moses bridge. This trench bridge allows you to walk over the water and still have dry feet!

Fort de Roovere is the most northerly point on my cycle route for the day. From here, I slowly make my way back towards Bergen op Zoom. On a summer day like today, it is wonderful to end the day at the Binnenschelde lake. Walking along the water bulwark, I make my way to the attractive boulevard, where I watch the sun go down while dining with my feet in the sand.

Day 2. The south

A day filled with nature experience awaits in the south

A day filled with nature experience awaits in the south

The next morning I get on my bicycle for part 2 of the Brabantse Wal. Today I head south from Bergen op Zoom, with the programme full of nature experience. The first stop is the Kraaijenberg visitors’ centre, where I climb the observation tower to capture amazing views over the Markiezaatsmeer (Markiezaat Lake). The elevation difference in the landscape is clearly visible. Another place to be sure to visit is the Mattemburgh estate, with what may well be the most beautiful style garden in the Netherlands that I admire as I walk along the freely accessible pathways.

Kalmthoutse Heide Cross-Border Park

Not much later, I arrive at Ossendrecht. This is the southern-most part of my cycle route and my home base for a walk through Kalmthoutse Heide Cross-Border Park, situated partially on Dutch territory and partially on Flemish territory. There are numerous routes laid throughout the area, ranging from 1.7 to 24 kilometres. I follow the TOP Scenic Route Walk Kalmthoutse Heide: with a length of six kilometres, a very accessible route and also the most varied route.

One moment I am photographing mushrooms and berries among the tall trees and a couple of minutes later I am up to my ankles in drifting sand. The walking tour is marked with red signs with an ant and begins and ends at the pancake house Pannenkoekenhuis De Heusche Bollaert. Having finished my walk, I relax there for a bit. This is another piece of North Brabant that I was not familiar with but one that I will definitely come back to visit.

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