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The World's Greatest Hike and Cycling Trails on One Platform For The Price of a Coffee.
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Cycle the Western Front Way

Europe's Official Cycle Trail Connecting the WWI Battlefields

What You'll See

You will cycle between the Belgian coast and the Swiss mountains while passing time-stilled, authentic French villages, pretty campsites and family run hotels. Belgian cuisine in cobbled squares, incredible landmarks along the way and croissants for a cycling breakfast!

Whether you're a seasoned cyclist looking for one of Europe’s great cycle touring trails or wanting to experience a less crowded bike trail for a holiday, the Western Front Way won’t disappoint.

WWI History

Along the Western Front Way, you will encounter a multitude of historic sites, monuments, and museums that tell the stories of World War I and the broader history of the regions.

Some notable checkpoints include;

  • Kilometre Zero
    Chemin Des Dames
    Memorial de la Linge
    Butte de Montsec
    Verdun
    Menin Gate
    Raon l'Etape
    Vimy Ridge
    Maison Blanche German Cemetery
    Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
    Sir John Monash Centre
    Thiepval Memorial

As well as the remains of field hospitals, Kilometre Zero on Western Front Way trenches and battlefields along the entire trail, these sites offer a unique opportunity to connect with the rich history of the Western Front and gain a deeper understanding of the events that took place during the war.

If you're someone who relishes the opportunity to connect with history, immerse yourself in nature, and witness the locations where incredible historical events unfolded, then the Western Front Way is the perfect choice for you. This trail offers a unique and unforgettable outdoor experience that allows you to explore the significant history of the World War I along the Western Front.

 

Who Inspired the Western Front Way?

The Western Front Way was inspired by A.D. Gillespie, a soldier in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who wrote a letter in 1915 from the trenches about a desire for a path to be traversed to understand the cost of war. The Western Front Way is a dynamic tribute to those who fought here.

‘When peace comes, our government might combine with the French government, to make one long avenue between the lines from the Vosges to the sea….I would make a fine, broad road in the ‘No-Man’s Land’ between the lines with paths for pilgrims on foot and plant trees for shade and fruit trees, so the soil should not altogether be wasted. The I would like to send every man, woman and child in western Europe on a pilgrimage along that via sacra so they might think and learn what war means from the silent witnesses on either side”

Reims Cathedral

 

Suitable Cycling
 
It is possible to complete the WFW on a road bike, although some adjustments to the routing would be required to avoid the more off-road sections.
 
Tyre choice would be important, with wider tyres being suggested (28mm-30mm) to better handle the bike paths. 
 
Gravel/mountain bikes opens up the possibility of a very close alignment with the hike routing, which would only be influenced by the amount of kit the rider chose to carry and the allotted duration. There are bike shops along the way but they are infrequent and we recommend you to be self sufficient.
 
The following sites advise of bicycles on public transport. 
 

SNCB Belgium

Le Shuttle

Eurostar

SNCF

Western Front Way Cycle Trail

What To Expect With The Waytrails App

 

  • A 1000km cycling trail that follows the historic WWI Front Lines.
  • The first official Western Front trail specifically developed for cyclists to navigate.
  • Divided into 7 stages, designed to be completed within one week.
  • Detailed content provided about your surroundings as you cycle through the trail.
  • Highlights, points of interest, museums, and activities directly along the trail.
  • Offers the capability to plan and book hotels, amenities, transport, and restaurants.
  • Provides autonomy and decision-making regarding your budget and travel options.

Where do I start?

See our suggested daily cycling distances here 

From the south: access is via Basel Airport and a direct train to Porrentruy (CH). Opposite the station you will find the Hotel de la Gare. We recommend you spend the night here and take the 14mins regional train from Porrentruy to Bonfol, where the trail begins from outside the station directing you to Kilometre Zero. 

From the north: The trail begins on the beach front in the coastal town of Nieuwpoort (BE). Access to Nieuwpoort is from Brussels to Ostend approx. 1h30 (Fast train with one change from Brussels Midi - Gent - Bruges - Ostend). From Ostend take a regional tram to Nieuwpoort. 

All stages along the route try to incorporate access to a major train station so that convenient returns to and from your adventures can be accessed. 

Accommodation

Montfaucon-d'Argonne, FranceAccommodation on this trail varies but are mostly good, comfortable hotels, BnB's, Chambres d'Hotes or campsites. All are bookable on the Waytrails app.

Wild camping / bivouac is not prohibited but is tolerated and you must respect certain regulations – Le camping sauvage . Bivouacking is generally understood to mean a one-night stop, in respect to leaving no trace, and is implicitly authorised between the hours of 7 p.m and 9 a.m and is subject rules in coastal areas, listed natural sites and historic monuments. Making an open fire when wild camping in dry/and or wooded areas in France in summer is strictly forbidden. You must seek the owner’s permission if you camp on private land.

Difficulty and terrain

You will enjoy a combination 20230722_110629of diverse terrain that offers mountain passes in the Vosges and Lorraine, vineyards along the famous Alsace wine route, woodlands, and some of Europe’s most famous waterways. A higher level of fitness is recommended.

The trail sticks to official bike paths or on quiet roads where possible. The trail has been checked and verified by our teams. Waytrails (WFW LTd) is not liable for any local diversions or surface changes due to temporary road or forestry works.

When to visit the Western Front Way

This trail is suitable from beginning of April until mid October to take advantage of the weather and seasonal opening hours. In the summer we recommend advanced booking for hotels and restaurants.

 

Vosges Hohrod