The Ardennes Travel Guide

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Belgium’s southern reaches are a striking contrast to the crowded, industrial north, for it’s here in the south that the cities give way to the rugged wilderness landscapes of the Ardennes. Beginning in France, the Ardennes stretches east across Luxembourg and Belgium before continuing on into Germany, covering three Belgian provinces en route – Namur in the west, Luxembourg in the south and Liège in the east. The highest part, lying in the German-speaking east of the country, is the Hautes Fagnes (the High Fens), an expanse of windswept heathland that extends from Eupen to Malmédy. But this is not the Ardennes’ most attractive or popular corner, which lies further west, its limits roughly marked by Dinant, La Roche-en-Ardenne and Bouillon. This region is given character and variety by its river valleys: deep, wooded canyons, at times sublimely and inspiringly beautiful, reaching up to high green peaks. The Ardennes’ cave systems are also a major pull, especially those in the Meuse, Ourthe and Lesse valleys, carved out over the centuries by underground rivers that have cut through and dissolved the limestone hills, leaving stalagmites and stalactites in their wake.

Bouillon and around

La roche-en-ardenne and around, cycling, canoeing and other activities, namur and around, rochefort, han and around, walks from rochefort, canoeing and kayaking on the river lesse, south of dinant: the meuse and the lesse river valleys, st-hubert and around, walking, biking and canoeing along the river lesse.

The obvious gateway to the most scenic portion of the Ardennes is Namur , strategically sited at the junction of the Sambre and Meuse rivers, and well worth a visit in its own right. The town’s pride and joy is its massive, mostly nineteenth-century citadel – once one of the mightiest fortresses in Europe – but it also musters a handful of decent museums, some good restaurants and (for the Ardennes) a lively bar scene. From Namur you can follow the Meuse by train down to Dinant , a pleasant – and very popular – journey, before going on to explore the Meuse Valley south of Dinant by boat or taking a canoe up the narrower and wilder River Lesse . From Dinant, routes lead east into the heart of the Ardennes – to workaday Han-sur-Lesse , surrounded by undulating hills riddled with caves, to prettier Rochefort , and to St-Hubert , with its splendid Italianate basilica. The most charming of the towns hereabouts, however, are La Roche-en-Ardenne to the northeast, a rustic, hardy kind of place, pushed in tight against the River Ourthe beneath wooded hills and renowned for its smoked ham and game; and Bouillon , a picturesque little place whose narrow streets trail alongside the River Semois beneath an ancient castle. Bouillon is situated close to the French frontier, on the southern periphery of the Belgian Ardennes and within easy striking distance of some of the region’s most dramatic scenery, along the valley of the Semois. If you’re visiting the eastern Ardennes, the handiest starting point is big and gritty Liège , an industrial sprawl from where it’s a short hop south to the historic resort of Spa and the picturesque town of Stavelot , with its marvellous carnival. You can use Spa or Stavelot as bases for hiking or canoeing into the surrounding countryside and to venture into the Hautes Fagnes , though the attractive little town of Malmédy is slightly nearer.

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Beguiling BOUILLON , close to the French border on the edge of the Ardennes, some 50km southwest of La Roche, is a well-known and quite handsome resort town, enclosed in a loop of the River Semois and crowned by an outstanding castle. It’s a relaxed and amiable place, and an excellent base for exploring the wildly dramatic scenery of the countryside around, in particular the Semois river valley .

Bouillon's château

Bouillon’s pride and joy is its impossibly picturesque Château , set on a long and craggy ridge that runs high above town. The castle was originally held by a succession of independent dukes who controlled most of the land hereabouts. There were five of these, all called Godfrey de Bouillon , the fifth and last of whom left on the First Crusade in 1096, selling his dominions (partly to raise the cash for his trip) to the prince-bishop of Liège, and capturing Jerusalem three years later, when he was elected the Crusaders’ king. However, he barely had time to settle himself before he became sick – either from disease or, as was suggested at the time, because his Muslim enemies poisoned him, and he died in Jerusalem in 1100. Later, Louis XIV got his hands on the old dukedom and promptly had the castle refortified to the design of his military architect Vauban , whose handiwork defines most of the fortress today.

It’s an intriguing old place, with paths winding through most of its courtyards, along the battlements and towers, and through dungeons filled with weaponry and instruments of torture. Most visitors drive to the entrance, but walking there is easy enough too – either via rue du Château or, more strenuously, by a set of steep steps that climbs up from rue du Moulin, one street back from the river. Among the highlights, the Salle de Godfrey , hewn out of the rock, contains a large wooden cross sunk into the floor and sports carvings illustrating the castle’s history; there’s also the Tour d’Autriche (Austrian Tower) at the top of the castle, with fabulous views over the Semois valley.

Semois valley hikes

You can see the countryside around Rochehaut and Poupehan on foot by doing a half-day’s circular hike from Rochehaut to Poupehan and back again. From Rochehaut, take the path out of the southern end of the village, which leads into thick forests high above the river, from where a series of fixed ladders help you to negotiate the steep slopes down to the water. This is by far the hardest part of the walk, and once you’re at the bottom you can follow the easy path to Poupehan; from there, take the path that follows the river north back up to a quaint bridge over the river to the hamlet of Frahan , a huddle of stone houses draped over a steep hillock and surrounded by meadows. From here various paths will deliver you back up to Rochehaut on its perch high above.

Slung along the River Meuse beneath craggy green cliffs, DINANT , 30km from Namur, has a picture-postcard setting, its distinctive, onion-domed church of Notre-Dame lording it over the comings and goings of the barges and cruise boats. The Romans were the first to put the place on the map, occupying the town and naming it after Diana, the goddess of the hunt, but the town’s heyday came much later, in the fourteenth century, when it boomed from the profits of the metalworking industry, turning copper, brass and bronze into ornate jewellery known as dinanderie . Dinant’s prosperity turned rival cities, especially Namur, green with envy, and they watched with some satisfaction as local counts slugged it out for possession of the town. They may have been even happier when, in 1466, Charles the Bold decided to settle his Dinant account by simply razing the place to the ground. One result of all this medieval blood and thunder was the construction of an imposing citadel on the cliff immediately above the town, and, although Dinant was sacked on several subsequent occasions and badly damaged in both World Wars, the fortress has survived to become the town’s principal attraction.

Nowadays, Dinant makes a healthy living as a base for the tourist industry on the rivers Meuse and Lesse , its cruise boats, canoes and kayaks providing watery fun and games for thousands of visitors – though frankly the scenery is not nearly as wild as you’ll find deeper in the Ardennes, whilst the town itself is quickly exhausted.

By boat from Dinant

Despite its serpentine profile, the River Meuse south of Dinant is not especially scenic, though the town’s boat-tour operators still drum up lots of business for their river cruises . There are several different companies, but all boats depart from avenue Winston Churchill, one block from the main street, rue Grande; prices and itineraries are pretty standard whichever company you choose. Two good bets are the cruises to Anseremme , where you can hike off into the surrounding countryside, and Freÿr . There are also boats north along the Meuse to Namur on Sundays from mid-July to late August.

Sax Appeal in Dinant

Dinant’s most famous native is Adolphe Sax (1814–94), the inventor of the saxophone. Saxophiles will want to have a look at the musician’s old home, at rue Adolphe Sax 35, marked by a commemorative plaque and a neat stained-glass mural of a man blowing his horn (sadly it’s not open to the public), along with a statue of the king of cool reclining on a bench outside. For more sax appeal, take a left off Grand Rue onto rue en Rhée for the enjoyable Maison de la Pataphonie , at no. 51 ( t 082 21 39 39), which among other things supplies an interactive journey into the life and sounds of Sax but bear in mind it’s popular and you need to book in advance.

About 30km northwest of Bastogne and 25km northeast of St-Hubert, LA ROCHE-EN-ARDENNE is amazingly picturesque, hidden by hills until you’re right on top of it, and crowned by romantic castle ruins. It’s a strange mixture: a hidden place, geographically cut off from the rest of the world and surrounded by some of the wildest scenery in the Ardennes, yet it teems with people during high summer (most of whom come to get out into the countryside on foot or by canoe). Near here too, is Durbuy , a pretty little place with excellent accommodation and great walking, and the Grottes de Hotton , one of the best of the many Ardennes cave complexes.

The Grottes de Hotton

There’s a touch of Jules Verne about the Grottes de Hotton . The deepest of the Ardennes cave systems, they’re well worth the short trip from la Roche – and not just on a rainy day, either. Tours last an hour and take you 75m underground, where a fast-flowing river pours through a canyon almost 40m deep and just a few metres wide – an awesome sight. There are stalactites and stalagmites galore, again among the best you’ll see in all of Belgium’s caves, including patches of rare and peculiar specimens that grow horizontally from the rock.

The caves are about 2km from the centre of the sprawling village of Hotton – they’re well signposted but only reachable on foot or by car; from the main riverside rue de la Roche, follow route de Speleo Club de Belgique.

Walking, cycling and canoeing in the Ourthe valley

The tourist office in La Roche sells a rather rudimentary walking map ( Carte de Promenades ), with a dozen circular walks marked in the vicinity. The longest and most attractive of these is the 13km Walk 5 , which takes about six hours and is mildly strenuous. It starts on rue Bon Dieu du Maka, near place du Bronze, and rises steeply before levelling out through the woods above town and across fields of wildflowers. The walk follows GR route 57, dropping sharply to the river at Maboge , where several cafés offer lunch, then rejoining the main road for 500m until it turns left alongside a tributary of the Ourthe as far as the farm at Borzee. From here the route is easy to find, again heading through the woods with fabulous views, but when it descends towards the town keep your eyes peeled for a right and then an immediate left down an unpromising footpath that drops you onto the main road by the river. From here, take the second right for a final gentle stretch above the road, with good views over the town. Allow around three hours’ walking time for the 13km; to extend the route by an hour or so, pick up Walk 12 at Borzee, joining Walk 11 as far as the small town of Samree and returning through the forest to La Roche.

If you’re after a shorter hike, follow Walk 4 , a 6km route that takes about two hours. From the tourist office, head for place du Bronze and before you cross the bridge turn left on rue Clerue, and sharp left again up rue St Quolin. Turn left at the top and follow the road round to St Margaret’s Chapel , built in 1600 and once connected to the castle by an underground passageway. Just left of the chapel, a scramble up the steep slope leads up to a lookout point with views over La Roche, while continuing up the footpath brings you to the attractive but often crowded Parc Forestier du Deister . If you continue through the park you’ll rejoin Walk 4, looping briefly north and then dropping back to town, all along the roadway. Alternatively, GR route 57 provides a full half-day’s walking between La Roche and the hamlet of Nadrin, a distance of around 15km. Nadrin is home to a belvedere – actually a high tower with a restaurant attached – from which you can see the River Ourthe at six different points on its meandering course in and out of the tightly packed hills. The return journey can be completed by bus, but this only runs twice daily, so be sure to check times with the tourist office before you leave.

Obviously enough, renting a mountain bike allows you to see more of the surrounding forests: eight circular routes are set out in the Carte des Circuits Cyclotouristes , on sale at the tourist office. Bikes can be rented from Ardennes Aventures by the north bridge. They also organize canoeing trips on the Ourthe, bussing you (or letting you mountain bike) to Maboge for the 10km paddle downstream to La Roche (€15 per person, €30 with the bike ride), or to Nisramont for the strenuous 25km river trip (€20). They also organize river rafting and cross-country skiing in the winter.

Though the effective capital of the Ardennes, and of its own province, LIÈGE isn’t the most obvious stop on most travellers’ itineraries. It’s a large, grimy, industrial city, with few notable sights and little immediate appeal. However, it’s somewhat hard to avoid if you’re visiting the northern Ardennes and, once you’ve got to grips with the place, has a few pleasant surprises, not least the excellence of its restaurants. Certainly, if you’re overnighting here, give yourself at least half a day to nose around.

For most of its history, Liège was an independent principality; from the tenth century onwards it was the seat of a long line of prince-bishops , who ruled over bodies and souls until 1794, when the French revolutionary army expelled the last prince-bishop, torching his cathedral to hammer home the point. Later, Liège was incorporated into the Belgian state, rising to prominence as an industrial city. The coal and steel industries hereabouts date back to the twelfth century, but it was only in the nineteenth century that real development of the city’s position and natural resources took place, principally under one John Cockerill (1790–1840), a British entrepreneur whose family name you still see around town – though unfortunately for Liège and its workers, its industries are now in steep decline. Another name to conjure with is Georges Simenon , the famously priapic crime writer who spent his early life here – the tourist office has a leaflet describing a “Simenon Route”.

About 8km northeast of Stavelot, and connected to it (and Trois Ponts) by regular buses, the bustling resort of MALMÉDY is a popular tourist destination, its attractive streets flanked by lively restaurants, smart shops and cheap hotels. There’s not much to the town, but it’s a pleasant place to spend a night or two and makes a relatively inexpensive base for the Hautes Fagnes. Malmédy is also home to the Cwarmê , one of Belgium’s most famous festivals, held over the four days leading up to Shrove Tuesday. The main knees-up is the Sunday, during which roving groups of masked figures in red robes and plumed hats – the so-called Haguètes – wander around town seizing people with long wooden pincers derived, it’s thought, from the devices that were once used to give food to lepers. The Musée du Cwarmê on place de Rome has displays on the carnival, although at time of writing it was closed to visitors. The town’s compact centre runs from here to the main square, place Albert 1er , off of which is the imposing but somewhat plain eighteenth-century cathedral , surrounded by a clutch of fancy Germanic buildings.

Just 60km southeast of Brussels, NAMUR is a logical first stop if you’re heading into the Ardennes from the north or west, and is refreshingly clear of the industrial belts of Hainaut and Brabant. Many of Belgium’s towns and cities have suffered at the hands of invading armies and the same is certainly true of Namur, so much so that from the sixteenth century up until 1978, when the Belgian army finally moved out, Namur remained the quintessential military town, its sole purpose being the control of the strategically important junction of the rivers Sambre and Meuse. Generations of military engineers have pondered how to make Namur’s hilltop citadel impregnable – no one more so than Louis XIV’s Vauban – and the substantial remains of these past efforts are now the town’s main tourist attraction. Down below, the centre crowds the north bank of the River Sambre, its cramped squares and streets lined by big old mansions in the French style and sprinkled with several fine old churches and a handful of decent museums. There are some top-flight restaurants here too, but despite a substantial student presence, the nightlife is a little sedate, not that you’d guess if you visit during one of the town’s main festivals : in particular, the four-day Namur en Mai ( w ) packs the streets with jugglers, stilt-walkers and all sorts of spectaculars, and also showcases the talents of some internationally acclaimed performers.

The Trésor du Prieuré d’Oignies

The pick of the town’s museums is also its smallest, the Trésor du Prieuré d’Oignies , housed in just one small room of a convent at rue Julie Billiart 17. It’s a unique collection that comprises examples of the exquisitely beautiful gold and silver work of Brother Hugo d’Oignies , one of the most gifted of the region’s medieval metalworkers. From the eleventh to the thirteenth century, the Meuse valley was famous for the skill of its craftsmen, who worked in an essentially Romanesque style but evolved a more naturalistic and dynamic approach to their subject matter, a characteristic of early Gothic. Hugo was an innovator in the art of filigree , raising the decoration from the background so that the tiny human figures and animals seem to be suspended in space; and niello , in which a black mixture of sulphur or lead is used to incise lines into the gold. The pieces here are elaborately studded with precious and semiprecious stones and display an exquisite balance between ornament and function, depicting minute hunting scenes, with animals leaping convincingly through delicate foliage, engraved with a Christian dedication, or embossed with a tiny picture of the artist offering up his art to God in worship. In particular, look out for the intricately worked double-crosses, the dazzling reliquary cover for St Peter’s rib, the charming songbird and goblet of St Marie of Oignies, and a magnificent cover for a Book of the Gospels. The free audio-guide in English helps to make sense of it all.

A few kilometres upstream from Houyet, to the southeast, lies one of the Ardennes’ most beautiful regions, centring on the tourist resorts of Han-sur-Lesse and Rochefort . The district offers one or two specific sights, most notably the Han-sur-Lesse caves, as well as a scattering of castles, but the real magnet is the splendid countryside, a thickly wooded terrain of plateaux, gentle hills and valleys, and with quiet roads perfect for cycling. The best base for these rural wanderings is Rochefort, a middling sort of place with a good range of accommodation – and few of the crowds that swamp Han-sur-Lesse. By public transport , access is easiest from Namur; take the train to Jemelle , from where it’s about 3km west to Rochefort, 6km more to Han; there is an hourly bus service linking all three.


Just 6km southwest of Rochefort, the busy village of HAN-SUR-LESSE has got one thing going for it, the Grottes de Han , rue J. Lamotte 2 ( w ). Discovered at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the caves measure about 8km in length, a series of limestone galleries carved out of the hills by the River Lesse millions of years ago. The caves are actually just outside the village a little way downriver, but special trams (no extra charge) leave from a central ticket office in the heart of the village. Tours leave every half an hour during summer (hourly in April, Sept & Oct), last around an hour and are well worth it, although you visit only a small part of the cave system, taking in the so-called Salle du Trophée, the site of the largest stalagmite; the Salle d’Armes, where the Lesse reappears after travelling underground for 1km; and the massive Salle du Dôme – 129m high – which contains a small lake. After the tour, you make your own way back to the village on foot, which is a five- to ten-minute walk.

For an insight into how the caves were formed, head to the Musée du Monde Souterrain , at place Théo Lannoy 3; it’s behind the tourist office and church, across the street from the caves’ ticket office. A section of the museum explains the process, while others display the prehistoric artefacts unearthed during a series of archeological digs in and around the caves. Most were found where the Lesse surfaces again after travelling through the grottoes – among them flints, tools and bone ornaments from the Neolithic period, as well as weapons and jewellery from the Bronze Age.

A small, fairly undistinguished place, the pocket-sized town of ROCHEFORT is an excellent base for exploring the western reaches of the Ardennes, with a decent range of accommodation and other facilities. The town follows the contours of an irregularly shaped hill, with its long and pleasant main street, rue de Behogne , slicing through the centre from north to south. The ruins of the medieval Château Comtal perch atop a rocky outcrop off to the right of rue Jacquet, but were closed for renovation at the time of writing. In any case there’s not much to see beyond the views – just the remains of the old walls, a couple of wells and, in the small park just below the entrance, the eighteenth-century arcades that were added to prop up the château’s fashionable formal gardens.

Walking, cycling and canoeing around Rochefort

Crisscrossed by rivers, the handsome countryside around Rochefort provides lots of opportunities for walking, canoeing and mountain-biking. Walkers need the Institut Géographique National’s map, Rochefort et ses villages (on sale at the tourist offices in Rochefort and Han), which lists almost thirty numbered walks, as well as eight routes for mountain bikers and three for cyclists . Kayaks Lesse et Lomme in Han rents out mountain bikes and regular bikes, and organizes excursions involving a combination of canoeing and cycling; mountain bikes can also be rented from the tourist office in Rochefort.

The Résurgence d’Eprave – Walk 12 – is one of the most scenically varied, a 12km circular route. Take rue Jacquet out of town past the château and the route is signposted to the right, through Hamerenne with its tiny Romanesque chapel of St Odile, and across fields full of wild flowers, to the River Lomme. Follow the riverbank to the spot where the River Wamme emerges from underground to join the Lomme; don’t try to cross the river but double back and turn right for the stiff climb uphill past the Eprave Grotto for grand views over the cornfields. Fifteen minutes’ walk further on, the village of Eprave has a restored mill with a working water wheel and, opposite on rue de l’Aujoule, the Auberge du Vieux Moulin , an immaculate four-star hotel with ultramodern rooms, which makes a delightful place to stay or eat ( t 084 37 73 18, w ; €121–150). The restaurant is open daily in July and August, but closes on Sunday and Tuesday evening as well as all of Monday at other times of the year; the menu is firmly nouveau, with main courses beginning at about €17. The walk back to Rochefort from here is rather dull, following the road, and you may want to retrace your steps, or join Walk 4 , Grotte d’Eprave, to Han for the hourly bus back to Rochefort. A couple of good shorter walks around Rochefort include Walk 7 , Lorette, a thirty-minute climb up through the woods above town, taking in the Lorette chapel and some decent views over the castle. Head up rue de Lorette towards the caves and turn left, keeping to the left where the track is signposted. The 6km Walk 10 , Abbaye de Saint Rémy, goes the other way out of town, across the bridge and cutting north off the main road through some thickly wooded scenery as far as Abbaye de St Remy, where they produce Rochefort Trappist beer, before looping back to Rochefort.

To mess about on the river, canoes and kayaks can be rented from Kayaks Lesse et Lomme, near the bridge in Han ( t 082 22 43 97). They have a few canoes and pedal boats for splashing around town, but it’s much more scenic and fun to join one of their excursions . The shortest (and least expensive) trip is the two-hour jaunt by kayak to Lessive, 6km away, and 4km back by bike (about €20 per person, €30 for two, all-inclusive). The longest is to Wanlin, 19km by kayak and 13km return by bike or bus. You can start the shortest trip anytime between 10am and 4pm; for Wanlin you have start between 10am and noon. Incidentally, in high summer the water level on the Lesse can drop low enough to make canoeing impossible; call ahead to confirm.

Beyond Dinant, the River Meuse loops its way south to Givet, across the border in France, and can be explored by cruise boat from Dinant. This stretch of the river is pleasant enough, but certainly not exciting – it’s too wide and sluggish for that – and neither is the scenery more than mildly inviting, its best feature being the steep, wooded cliffs framing portions of the riverbank.

The tiny settlements lining up along the river are pretty bland too, the only real exception being HASTIÈRE-PAR-DELÀ , about 15km from Dinant, which is home to the fascinating Église Notre Dame , a finely proportioned church built at the behest of a colony of Irish monks in the 1030s, although the Gothic choir was added two hundred years later. Subsequent architectural tinkering followed two attacks – one by Protestants in 1568, the other by the French revolutionary army in the 1790s – but most of the medieval church has survived intact, with a flat wooden roof, plain square pillars and heavy round arches. The triumphal arch bears a faded painting dating from the original construction and is underpinned by gallows (wooden scaffolding), which in their turn support an unusual German fifteenth-century Calvary, depicting Christ, Mary and St John standing on a dragon. Close by, the wooden thirteenth-century choir stalls are among the oldest in Belgium, with unique misericord carvings – some allegorical, some satirical and some purely decorative. Curiously, a number of them were replaced with a plain triangle in 1443 on the grounds that they were blasphemous – or at least disrespectful. Finally, next to the baptismal font are two statues of the Virgin, one of which – the one on the left in the glass case – is an exquisite sixteenth-century carving, whose graceful posture has earned it a place in several national exhibitions. After you’ve explored the church, you can pop across the road to Le Côté Meuse , a pleasant café with a good line in crepes and waffles.

Wilder and prettier, the River Lesse spears off the Meuse in ANSEREMME , and although there’s precious little point in hanging around here, it’s a good starting point for both local hikes and canoe trips; by the river, Lesse Kayaks ( t 082 22 43 97, w ) rents out one- and two-seater kayaks, three-person canoes and large piloted boats for up to twenty passengers. Reckon on paying €16–19 for a single kayak, €22–30 for a double, or around €30 for a three-person canoe.

Heading south from Anseremme, it’s 2.5km to the solitary Château de Freÿr , a crisply symmetrical, largely eighteenth-century brick mansion pushed up against the main road and the river. The compulsory guided tour ( w ) traipses through a series of opulent rooms, distinguished by their period furniture and thundering fireplaces. Running parallel to the river are the adjoining gardens , laid out in the formal French style, spreading over three terraces and including a maze. A pavilion at the highest point provides a lovely view over the château and river.

SPA , about 30km southeast of Liège, was the world’s first health resort, established way back in the sixteenth century: Pliny the Elder knew of the healing properties of the waters here and Henry VIII was an early visitor, but it was Peter the Great who clinched the town’s fame, heralding it as “the best place to take the waters”. Since then the town has given its name to thermal resorts worldwide, reaching a height of popularity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when it was known as the “Café of Europe”, being graced by monarchs, statesmen, intellectuals and aristocrats from every corner of the continent. Later the town went into slow decline – when the poet Matthew Arnold visited in 1860, he claimed it “astonished us by its insignificance” – but Spa is now on the way back following the opening of a new thermal complex, Les Thermes de Spa , on the hill overlooking the resort. Furthermore, the town below still preserves an endearing sense of faded distinction and continues to draw a loyal clientele of elderly locals, whilst also making a good base for excursions into the Hautes Fagnes, a short drive to the south and southeast.

The small and tranquil town of STAVELOT rambles up the hill from the River Amblève. It grew up around its abbey , which ran the area as an independent principality until the French revolutionary army ended its privileges at the end of the eighteenth century. The town was also the scene of fierce fighting during the Ardennes campaign of the last war, and some of the Nazis’ worst atrocities in Belgium were committed here.

These days it’s a pleasant old place, the pretty streets of its tiny centre flanked by a battery of half-timbered houses that mostly date from the eighteenth century. The best time to be here is for its renowned annual carnival , the Laetare , first celebrated here in 1502 and held on the third weekend before Easter, from Saturday to Monday evening; the main protagonists are the Blancs Moussis , figures of which you’ll see adorning various Stavelot houses. There are also festivals of theatre and music in July and August respectively, with performances in the abbey buildings.

The Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft Belgiens

To the east of Spa, the pleasant but unexceptional little town of Eupen is the capital of the German-speaking region of Belgium, or Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft Belgiens , a pint-sized area pushed tight against the German border that’s home to around 75,000 people and enjoys the same federal status as the other two linguistic areas of the country. Once part of Prussia, the area was ceded to Belgium by the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War I in 1919, but German remains the main language (and is still spoken somewhat in neighbouring Malmedy and other areas), and the area has its own tiny parliament and government. Eupen itself certainly has a distinctive Rhineland feel, but that aside there’s precious little reason to visit.


Just outside Francorchamps, the race circuit of Spa-Francorchamps is renowned as one of the most scenic and historic venues in the motorsports world. Formerly a 14km-long road circuit, races used to take in the whole of the surrounding area, to Malmédy and Stavelot and back, but now those towns serve as dormitories for the thousands who come here to enjoy the racing every year. The highlight by far is September’s Belgian Grand Prix, but the circuit is busy almost every day between March and November, hosting all kinds of events, some of which are free. Anyone can visit, and most of the time there’s free access to the paddock and pit lane, as well as the panoramic top-floor brasserie. It’s also possible to see more of the circuit – the media centre and race control room, for example – by way of the regular guided tours that are run on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 2pm ( t 087 29 37 00, w ).

ST-HUBERT , about 20km southeast of Rochefort, is another popular Ardennes resort, albeit one with an entirely different feel from its neighbours, largely on account of its solitary location, up on a plateau and surrounded by forest. A small town with just six thousand inhabitants, it’s well worth a visit, though after you’ve explored its star turn, the basilica , and maybe hiked out into the surrounding woods, there’s not much to detain you: the town centre is too dishevelled to be particularly endearing and the lack of quality accommodation may make you think twice about staying.

Basilique St-Hubert

The Basilique St-Hubert is easily the grandest religious edifice in the Ardennes and has been an important place of pilgrimage since the relics of the eponymous saint were moved here in the ninth century. A well-respected though shadowy figure, St Hubert (c.656–727 AD) was, according to legend, formerly Count Hubert, a Frankish noble whose love of hunting culminated in a vision of Christ between the antlers of a stag, after which he gave his money away and dedicated his life to the church, and was later canonized as the patron saint of hunters and trappers. The first abbey here predated the cult of St Hubert, but after the saint’s relics arrived, the abbey – as well as the village that grew up in its shadow – was named in his honour. In medieval times, the abbey was one of the region’s richest and a major landowner; it was suppressed by the French in the 1790s, but the abbey church – now the basilica – plus several of the old buildings survived, and flank the grand rectangular piazza that leads to the basilica’s main entrance.

From the outside, the basilica’s outstanding feature is the Baroque west facade of 1702, made of limestone and equipped with twin pepper-pot towers, a clock and a carving on the pediment depicting the miracle of St Hubert. Inside, the clear lines of the Gothic nave and aisles have taken an aesthetic hammering from both an extensive Baroque refurbishment and a heavy-handed neo-Gothic makeover in the 1840s. It’s impressive more for its size rather than for any particular features, but do take a look at the choir stalls , typically Baroque and retelling the legend of St Hubert (on the right-hand side) and St Benedict (on the left), as well as the elaborate tomb of St Hubert, on the left at the beginning of the ambulatory, carved in the 1840s (King Léopold I, a keen huntsman, picked up the bill). Above the tomb is the only stained-glass window to have survived from the sixteenth century, a richly coloured, wonderfully executed work of art.

The Dinant tourist office sells the Institut Géographique National’s map Dinant et ses Anciennes Communes , which shows fifteen numbered circular walks in the Dinant area, each of which has a designated starting point at one of the district’s hotels. Also shown on the map are one cycling circuit and five mountain bike routes , the latter ranging from five to forty kilometres in length; to see the most attractive scenery you need to get out on the longer routes 19 and 20. The 5km Walk 5 takes in much of the locality’s most pleasant scenery, weaving its way along and around the River Lesse between the hamlets of Anseremme and Pont à Lesse. It involves some reasonably testing ascents, whereas GR route 126 offers about three hours of gentle walking along the Lesse between Houyet and Gendron-Celles, both of which have a train station. Take the train timetable along with your picnic and you can plan to arrive at Gendron-Celles in time for the return train to Dinant. The 8km Walk 8 is not one of the more spectacular routes – much of it is over tarmac road – but it does allow you to visit a couple of places of some interest. From Gendron-Celles train station, the route leads about 2km northeast along a country road – and beside a small tributary of the Lesse – to Vêves , whose fifteenth-century château is perched on a grassy mound overlooking the surrounding countryside ( w ). With its spiky turrets and dinky towers, the château is inordinately picturesque, but the interior is disappointingly mundane – mostly eighteenth-century period rooms. A couple of kilometres further on, Celles is one of the prettier villages hereabouts, gently filing up the slope of a wooded hill, underneath the huge tower and Lombard arches of the Romanesque Église St-Hadelin. There’s a sporadic bus service from here to Dinant, or you can return to Gendron-Celles train station via the Bois de Hubermont. If you’re driving, note that Celles is on the N94, about 9km east of Dinant.

The standard itinerary for potential canoeists and kayakers begins at Anseremme, where most take the train (or special minibus) to either Gendron-Celles (for the 11km 3hr paddle back) or Houyet (21km; 5hr). If you’re travelling by train to begin with, you can go straight to Gendron or Houyet from Dinant and pick up a boat there – but remember that advance reservations are well-nigh essential. The Lesse itself is wild and winding, with great scenery, though be warned that it sometimes gets so packed that there’s a veritable canoe log jam. Consequently, it’s a good idea to set out as early as possible to avoid some of the crush – though if you’re paddling back from Houyet you really have to get going early anyway. Both Gendron-Celles and Houyet train stations are metres from the river – and the boats – and also make good starting points for hiking the surrounding countryside.

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Home » Travel Guides » Belgium » 15 Best Things to Do in The Ardennes (Belgium)

15 Best Things to Do in The Ardennes (Belgium)

The Ardennes is the name given to a region of Belgium in the south that extends into Luxembourg, France and Germany. This southern region is totally different from the busy, industrial north. The things available to do in this region are as varied as you might imagine and include some great museums, plenty of beer and even the world’s smallest city. Given the rolling hills and the lush green scenery, it will not surprise you that The Ardennes has become a popular spot for travellers who love the outdoors. There is also plenty beneath the rolling hills such as mines and grottos that make for spectacular day trips.

While some of the cities within The Ardennes may not be as visually appealing as the surrounding countryside, most of them offer plenty of interesting attractions and hidden history that will make you glad you visited. The war museums in Bastogne are interesting and very well done and, as you may expect, there are churches and art galore.

Food and drink lovers will also be happy in The Ardennes region and will no doubt be familiar with the world famous paté that is named after the area. Other popular culinary treats also revolve around the pig including ham and cured meats. There are plenty of good restaurants both inside and outside of the cities. Do your research in order to stick to your budget and avoid disappointment.  Beer is without a doubt the prominent drink in the region and there are many historical breweries and abbeys in the area that are bound to excite anyone with an interest in the history of the drink.

Lets explore the best things to do in The Ardennes :

1. Explore the Grand Curtius Museum

Grand Curtius Museum

The Grand Curtius building  in Liege certainly lives up to its name and is instantly recognisable by its impressive red brick exterior.

Inside, the building has been impressively and carefully renovated but also houses a museum exploring the history of art from inception to modern day.

Understandably, the museum  is initially quite overwhelming and you will need to throw a couple of hours at it in order to see, and take in, all of the information.

For those looking for even more immersion, there are also audio guides and temporary exhibitions.

2. Drink at the Abbey Notre Dame

Abbey Notre Dame

There may be lots of good beer abbeys in Belgium but none are quite as visually impressive as the Abbey Notre Dame in Orval.

After being almost fully reconstructed in the 18th Century, the abbey was reduced once more to ruins by French soldiers resulting in the ruins that you can visit today.

Also available to look around is a pharmacy, museum and herb garden all based on 18th Century monastic life.

3. View art in Liege

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Liège

This is a fine example of not judging a book by its cover.

From outside, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Liège looks like a concrete block; very uninspiring and not at all representative of what it contains within.

The gallery within is cleverly designed and contains a wealth of masterpieces from medieval times to more recent surrealist and industrial pieces.

4. Hike in Rochehaut


Beautiful rolling green hills, a winding river and dense forest make up the stunning scenery in Rochehaut.

Hiking in the area is very rewarding, matching terrain for all levels of fitness with great views.

Try to end your hike in the peaceful little hamlet of Frahan-sur-Semois which can be reached via a steep trail and a footbridge.

Do your research on the best routes before walking in the area.

5. Step back in time to World War 2

The war museum

The war museum in Bastogne is very immersive and evocative, using audio guides with actors to truly set the scene of the war.

As you would expect, the museum covers the build up to the war as well as the key events of the war itself.

Alongside this, you will find an exhibit on the more local aspect of the war as in the Battle of the Bulge and the defence of Bastogne.

The museum is a good mix of reading, listening and watching snippets of TV and will keep you interested.

6. Descend into the Blegny Mine

Blegny Mine

Throughout Europe you will find many mines and underground tourist attractions but Blegny is without a doubt one of the best and most memorable.

Simply put on your hard hat and descend into the mine to experience what life would have been like for a Belgian miner just decades ago.

The audio guide is great for non-French speakers but the French guides are much better and for more entertaining than their recorded counterparts.

7. Admire the Liege-Guillemins Station

Liege-Guillemins Station

The Liege-Guillemins station is an impressive futuristic looking structure that will satisfy any fans of architecture.

The building was designed in 2009 by Santiago Calatrava and, although it was over budget and not on time, it is certainly an achievement of modern architecture.

8. See a Barouqe church

Eglise St Loup

The Eglise St Loup in Namur is an impressive work of Baroque architecture.

It was once described as both “sinister and gallant marvel” and will certainly peak your curiosity.

The magnificent architecture includes stone arches, statues and a mind boggling ceiling.

Currently, volunteers are in charge of opening the museum so opening times can vary.

9. Siege the Chateau De Bouillon

Chateau De Bouillon

This impressive castle can be found in Bouillon and is one of the best examples of a Fuedal castle still standing in Belgium.

The castle dates back to the tenth century and is a joy to explore with plenty of dark, dank passageways and creepy looking dungeons.

The audio guide is worth paying for as it adds plenty of background information.

Daytime entry to the castle includes a chance to see the popular open air bird show with bird of prey including hawks and owls.

10. Go deeper underground in Rochefort

Grotte de Lorette

Even if you visited the Blegny Mine it is worth visiting the Grotte de Lorette in Rochefort.

Descend the 626 precarious steps down into the abyss and witness the darkness of the cave and its fascinating formations.

Tour groups within the caves are relatively small and give a personal feel.

The lighting within the caves is spot on and allows you to picture the depth of the main cave (an impressive 65m) without ruining the underground atmosphere.

The climax of the tour is an impressive lightshow in the main cave.

11. Undertake a self-guided beer tour


Pre-packaged excursions for beer tours of the Ardennes can cost an absolute fortune but planning one yourself is much more rewarding, fun and definitely more cost-effective.

There are so many top notch breweries in the Ardennes that you will be hard pressed to visit even half of them but spend some time planning and try to include Orval, Chimay and Achouffe.

After visiting a few of these world class breweries you will be much wiser about the process of making beer and will have enjoyed plenty of good beers along the way.

12. Relax in the beautiful Gardens of Annevoie

Gardens of Annevoie

Les Jardins D’Annevoie can be found just outside the city of Namur and provide a great place for lovers of all things green to chill out.

Not only are the gardens beautiful, they are also seen as a historically important place and are listed as an important part of Wallonian heritage.

The gardens, as well as the accompanying manor house, date back to the 18th Century and each can be explored by visitors.

13. Visit the Old Town of Durbuy


East of Namur, you will find the picturesque city of Durbuy.

The attraction of Durbuy is obvious as soon as you see it; beautiful stone buildings, lush surrounding terrain and not too many people.

Durbuy claims to be the smallest city in the world and is home to around 69 people per km2 (London has about 4,500 per km2). This charming little city is not short of things to do however.

Activities in Durbuy include a sightseeing train, a 14th Century brewery and enjoying the spectacular views from the Belvedere.

  • 14.  View the Liege Cathedral

Liege Cathedral

Equally as impressive as the Liege-Guillemins station but very different in style is the Liege Cathedral.

The cathedral was built in the 17th Century and looks fantastic when illuminated at night time.

It may not be one of the most iconic cathedrals in Europe but it is certainly the best in The Ardennes and well worth visiting if you are travelling in the area.

15. See bears and wolves


No, not in the wild but in an impressive wildlife park instead.

Forestia in Theux combines two attractions in one; an animal park home to deer, bears, boars and wolves alongside an exciting high wire style obstacle course in the trees which will challenge those of all ages.

The tree climbing activities are suitable for all ages but maybe not for those afraid of heights!

15 Best Things to Do in The Ardennes (Belgium):

  • Explore the Grand Curtius Museum
  • Drink at the Abbey Notre Dame
  • View art in Liege
  • Hike in Rochehaut
  • Step back in time to World War 2
  • Descend into the Blegny Mine
  • Admire the Liege-Guillemins Station
  • See a Barouqe church
  • Siege the Chateau De Bouillon
  • Go deeper underground in Rochefort
  • Undertake a self-guided beer tour
  • Relax in the beautiful Gardens of Annevoie
  • Visit the Old Town of Durbuy
  • See bears and wolves

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ardennes belgium best places to visit

The Ardennes are a low mountain range, perfect for relaxing or actually being really active on foot or by bike. Its most famous towns are Spa, Verviers, Chimay, Bastenaken, Neufchâteau en Malmedy in Belgium .

The Belgian Ardennes make up most of the Ardennes. This huge area is located in the south of Belgium. The Ardennes are called a middle mountain range, due to its limited height. The highest point is the Signal of Botrange in the High Fens with 694 meters.

There is also a small part in the north of Luxembourg and a small part adjacent to France. The latter are called the French Ardennes, but the Belgian Ardennes are bigger. And therefore more popular with nature loving people. These are the best highlights of the Belgian Ardennes.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

The town of Spa in the Belgian Ardennes is famous as an ancient spa wellness town. Nowadays it is mainly a wonderful place to discover various springs, as well as taste the mineral-rich water. You will find six springs here, a large part of which is in the forest surrounding Spa. You can easily visit them on foot, by bike or by car.

Coo Waterfall

ardennes belgium best places to visit

The Coo Waterfall, or Cascades de Coo, are one of the best known waterfalls in Belgium. They're 50 feet high. The most well-known water source which flows over the Coo Waterfalls is from the Amblève River. Not everyone knows that these waterfalls were man-made by monks. These monks of Stavelot Abbey wanted to give more space to the rough waters of the river and created the falls. For many visitors, the Coo Waterfalls are one of the main attractions of the Belgian Ardennes. Opposite the waterfall you will find the amusement park Plopsa Coo.

Caves of Han

ardennes belgium best places to visit

The Caves of Han is a system of caves in Han-sur-Lesse. They are formed by the Lesse river and are one of the largest cave complexes in Europe. The Caves of Han are the first UNESCO Global Geopark in Belgium. You will also find the PrehistoHan museum here, where you will receive information about the origin of the caves. You can explore the caves. These caves are located on the transition from the Belgian Ardennes to the French Ardennes.

Learn more:

Dolmens of the Ardennes

In Belgium they are called dolmen, although they are also called menhirs. These burial chambers of stones date from long gone times; about 3000-4000 BC. In the Ardennes you will find several dolmen. The most famous are Wéris megaliths, Menhir Danthine, Dolmen of Oppagne, Menhir of Heyd, Menhir of Ozo and Menhir de Morville. These dolmens can all be visited easily.

Reinhardstein Castle

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Reinhardstein Castle was built in 1354 by Reinout van Weismes. You can take a tour of the castle, and visit the museum on the history. The castle can be used as a wedding venue as well. The castle is surrounded by forests, so you can have a nice walk in the surroundings.

Learn more:

The town of Dinant is popular with tourists. This fortified town is accessible by cable car. Or with a staircase with no less than 408 steps. The Rock Bayard is straight are two standing rocks. You can drive between these two rocks.  They can also be seen from the water. 

The bell tower of the Collegiate Our Lady of Dinant has a pear shape. In the city you see a lot of saxophones. This is where the inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax lived. In Mr. Sax's house, you get a lot of information about him and the instrument he invented.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Durbuy is a medieval town in the Belgian Ardennes. It has the smallest city centre in all of Belgium that you can easily discover on foot. It is one of the biggest attractions in this area. This town is perfect as a base for your visit to the Ardennes. In the vicinity you’ll find several dolmens as well.

Semois Valley

The Semois is a river that runs through the Belgian Ardennes. In the Semois Valley you can enjoy hiking. One of the most popular routes is from Bouillon to Dohan. This is no less than 60 kilometers,  of which a part of it can be explored by foot. A well-known viewpoint is Botassart. This where you can see how the river runs through the valley.

Bouillon Castle

The Castle of Bouillon towers over the town of Bouillon. It dates back to the 11th century, but was rebuilt several times. The view from the castle is beautiful. The castle is located at an altitude of 340 meters. From the walls you look out over the Semois River and the hilly landscape behind it.

Euro Space Center

The Euro Space Center opened in 1991 near the town of Transinne. This is where kids can imagine being astronauts. And see what a space traveller's life entails. You will find a Space Shuttle here to explore. There are special attractions about space.

View of Rochehaut

ardennes belgium best places to visit

The village of Rochehaut is known for its location. Rochehaut is located at a bend on the Lesse River. From the shore you can look out over the river and the village of Frahan. This is a popular place for photographers. This area shows how rugged the Ardennes can be.

Hiking in the Belgian Ardennes

Several rivers run through the Belgian Ardennes. These are wild and wind through the landscape. There are several hiking routes, where you largely follow the river.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

The Hoëgne is no less than 30 kilometers long. It is a tributary of the Vesder river. There a lovely hike through the Valley of the Hoëgne. There are several hiking routes: From 8 km to 21 km. One of the most beautiful places is the waterfall Léopold II with many rocks. The Pont de la Vecquée bridge is also worthwhile. The hiking trails are well signposted.

Le Ninglinspo

Le Ninglinspo is the only mountain river in Belgium. It is a tributary of the Amblève near Remouchamps. The decay of the river goes from 420 to 170 meters. It is about 3 kilometers long and you can walk along the shore. You will also find a waterfall of about ten meters: Waterfall of the Chaudière. One of the most beautiful places is Drouet, a vantage point at 315 meters altitude.

Kayaking in the Belgian Ardennes

Kayaking along the ourthe.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

The many rivers in the Ardennes are perfect for kayaking. A kayak can be rented at various locations. One of the best places is on the Ourthe River, where you kayak past the beautiful town of La Roche-en-Ardenne. But there are more possibilities. Ask about it on the spot.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

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20 Best things to do in Ardennes: My 4 day itinerary

November 22, 2023 | Posted in: Belgium

My 4-day gastronomic journey in the Belgian Ardennes was an experience filled with discovery and indulgence.

Day 1 began at The Owl Distillery. Though not a drinker, the visit was enlightening. Our guide, Isabelle, shared the history and production of their unique whiskies. The distillery's close collaboration with local farmers was notable. Despite my usual aversion to alcohol, I tried some whisky. The flavors were intense and varied, a revelation made possible by Isabelle's guidance. In the evening, dinner at La Cucinella in Liège was a delight. Julien Marzano's approachable Italian cuisine and the restaurant's welcoming atmosphere stood out. I savored veal carpaccio, followed by linguine with mussels. Each dish was a testament to Julien's culinary skills. The plan was to visit BeerLovers after dinner, a café with an extensive beer selection. However, I opted for rest instead, given the early start to the day. I spent the night at The Street Lodge, a cozy B&B with a generous breakfast spread that included rice pie, croissants, and various bread and cakes.

the ardennes activities

Day 2 took us to chocolatier Darcis in Verviers. As a chocolate enthusiast, this visit was a highlight. The museum tour offered insights into the history of Belgian chocolate and Darcis' unique creations. We even had a chance to make pralines. Lunch at Au Vieux Bourg in Verviers was memorable for its hearty, traditional fare. The grilled chicken salad was particularly enjoyable. The afternoon was spent at Val-Dieu Abbey and brewery. Our guide, Martine, led us through the history and brewing process, culminating in a tasting session. Dinner at Yves Radelet's restaurant in Luxembourg was another culinary highlight. My meal included scallop carpaccio, shrimp ravioli, and a decadent chocolate moelleux. We stayed at the Hotel International in Clervaux, a comfortable and well-appointed establishment.

the ardennes belgium

Day 3 was about hands-on experiences. We started at the National Brewery Museum in Luxembourg, engaging in a brewing workshop. Crafting our beer was educational and fun. Lunch was at Robbesscheier, where we made our pizzas in a traditional oven and participated in a food-guessing quiz. We also visited the Rackésmillen, an old water mill, and then enjoyed dinner at Wagon Leo. The restaurant, with its train theme and excellent food, was unique. Our stay at Gaussignac B&B was warm and hospitable, with superb Ardennes cuisine prepared by the hosts, Françoise and Michel.

ardennes belgium tourism

Day 4 began with a walk and horse carriage ride through the snowy Ardennes landscape, led by Richard Mignolet of Ardenne Plaisir. The experience was magical, especially the carriage ride through snow-covered forests. We concluded our trip with a visit to the Saint-Monon brewery in Ambly. This microbrewery tour included a tasting of their diverse beers.

weekend ardennes

Based on my recent trip, here’s a list of my pick of the best things to do in Ardennes and Belgian Ardennes.

  • Visit Bouillon Castle. Bouillon Castle is a medieval fortress dating back over 1,000 years, located on a ridge overlooking Bouillon. It has a long history of destruction and reconstruction through various wars. Today visitors can explore the towers, ramparts, Gothic hall, dungeons and secret passages. Highlights include falconry shows, the Scriptura exhibition on writing history, and summer night tours. There are also kid-friendly activities.
  • Explore the medieval town of Durbuy. Durbuy is Belgium's smallest official “city” with about 400 residents. Its charming cobblestone streets and timber-framed medieval houses have remained unchanged since the 14th century when it was a walled city. Visitors can explore the pedestrian streets, museum, castle, and St Nicholas Church. The surrounding hills also offer hiking, rock climbing, and river activities.
  • Go hiking in the Semois Valley. Semois Valley follows the 100km Semois River through forests and farmland in Belgium's Ardennes region. There are numerous trails like the GR 16 for hiking, opportunities for kayaking and fishing, historic landmarks like Bouillon Castle, and a restored old slate mine turned museum. The valley can be reached by train or car.
  • See the Coo Waterfalls. The Coo Waterfalls have a 15m drop, making them Belgium's tallest. Formed in the 18th century, they lie in a natural setting surrounded by forests. Nearby attractions include Plopsa Amusement Park, kayaking, mini golf, chair lift rides, and hiking trails to showcase Belgium's Ardennes scenery. Families and nature lovers would appreciate the site.
  • Tour the Caves of Han-sur-Lesse. The Caves of Han are a natural 1.6km long cave complex with formations like stalactites and huge chambers, situated below Han-sur-Lesse village. TheDomain of the Caves features a sound/light show, wildlife park with native animals, interactive museums about regional history and peasant life, restaurants, and lodging. Access is by 30-60 minute guided tours.
  • Canoe or kayak down the Lesse River. The Lesse River flows 89km in Belgium's Ardennes, featuring sections suitable for paddling. Outfitters offer equipment rentals and shuttle services for beginner or winter tours along the Lesse. The riverbanks provide trails for hiking and cycling. Fishing and more adventurous underground kayaking in the limestone caves are other options. The Lesse appeals for outdoor recreation.
  • Visit Orval Abbey and brewery. Orval Abbey, founded in 1070, features ruins of past buildings, museums, gardens, and a gift shop. Uniquely, there has been a brewery onsite since the earliest days to finance monastery operations. Visitors can tour the grounds and museum to explore the abbey's history, beer making, and medicinal herbs. The abbey is located deep in the countryside.
  • Bike the Trans-Ardennes cycle path. The 130km traffic-free Trans-Ardennes cycle trail follows the Meuse River through northeast France. Passing forests and farmland with no steep sections, it was voted “Cycle Route of the Year” in 2010. Highlights include medieval castles, riverside towns and traces of industrial heritage. Reachable by 1.5 hour train from Paris, it suits leisurely family cycling.
  • Go to Dinant and tour the citadel. Built atop a 100m cliff overlooking Dinant, the formidable citadel has strategically controlled this stretch of the Meuse valley for centuries. Destroyed and rebuilt many times during conflicts, the current 1815 citadel houses a museum on its history. Visitors enjoy the impressive valley views, displays of weaponry and trenches, the steep 408 steps to the city center, or a cable car ride.
  • See the ruins of Reinhardstein Castle. Reinhardstein is a meticulously rebuilt 14th century hilltop castle overlooking Belgium's Warche valley. Guided tours explain the castle's rooms and history over 600 years. Visitors must park away and walk 600m to the site. Surrounding trails range from easy to moderate difficulty.

travel around the ardennes

1. Visit Bouillon Castle

Bouillon Castle is a medieval fortress located on a rocky ridge overlooking the town of Bouillon and the Semois River valley in Belgium. The full address is Esplanade Godefroid 1, 6830 Bouillon. It is also known as Château-Fort de Bouillon in French.

Bouillon Castle is special because of its long history dating back over 1,000 years and connection to the famous Crusader Godfrey of Bouillon. The castle has been expanded, destroyed, and rebuilt several times through wars and sieges. Today, visitors can explore the maze of tunnels, towers, ramparts, dungeons, and secret passages. Popular highlights include the large Gothic hall called the Salle Godefroy de Bouillon, the Austria Tower with panoramic views, and the 165m deep well.

Visitors to Bouillon Castle can take part in daily falconry shows from March-November, explore the permanent Scriptura exhibition on the history of writing, and join nighttime torchlight tours in summer. There are activities suitable for families like treasure hunts for kids. The castle also hosts special events such as medieval fairs, jousting tournaments, theater productions, and sound/light shows.

Bouillon Castle is located in the town of Bouillon in the province of Luxembourg, 90km from Luxembourg City. It can be reached by car via the E411 motorway. Street parking is available near the castle. Without a car, take the train to Libramont Station, then bus #8 directly to Bouillon.

The castle, activities, and views appeal to visitors of all ages. Families and kids enjoy the hands-on offerings while history buffs appreciate the architecture and museum-quality collections. Admission prices in 2023 are €15 (US$17, £13) for adults and €11 (US$12, £10) for seniors and students. Discounted combination tickets are available.

Bouillon Castle

2. Explore the medieval town of Durbuy

Durbuy is a small medieval town located in southeast Belgium in the province of Luxembourg. With only 400 permanent residents in its town center, Durbuy claims the title of being “the smallest city in the world.” The town is situated at the edge of the Ardennes Forest on the River Ourthe, about 125 kilometers from Brussels and near the borders of Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. Durbuy goes by a couple of other names including “the eternal little city” and “the smallest town on earth.” However, its official name remains simply Durbuy.

Durbuy has an exceptionally well-preserved medieval character. The layout of its charming cobblestone streets lined with stone and timber-framed houses has not changed since the 14th century when it was enclosed by defensive walls. In 1331, Durbuy was elevated to the rank of city by John the Blind, Count of Luxembourg and King of Bohemia. Though it has only about 400 permanent residents, it retains this official designation today.

Visitors to Durbuy can explore its fairytale-like old town on foot and browse the cafes, restaurants, shops and art galleries tucked away on its narrow pedestrian streets. Popular sites include the 17th century Corn Exchange (Halle aux Blés) which now houses a museum, the towering castle overlooking the river, and St Nicholas Church with its impressive baptismal font and pulpit.

Durbuy also serves as a gateway for outdoor recreation. The surrounding hills and forests offer hiking, rock climbing, and opportunities for kayaking, canoeing or rafting on the River Ourthe which flows through town. Family-friendly activities can be found at the Adventure Valley Durbuy activity park located just outside town, while the peaceful Topiary Park along the river banks showcases imaginative sculptures carved from trimmed shrubs and trees.

Visitors can reach Durbuy by the local train from Brussels to the nearby Barvaux-sur-Ourthe station and then walk or take a taxi the remaining distance to town. Durbuy can be reached by car in 90 minutes from Brussels by taking the E411 motorway towards Namur and then following signs for the town center.

Durbuy appeals most to families and outdoor enthusiasts due to its abundance of cafes, kid-friendly attractions and access to the great outdoors. Solo travelers and couples would also appreciate exploring its historic old town and relaxing riverside cafes. Access to particular sights in Durbuy like the museum or activity park carries additional charges, like the entry to the Topiary Park costs €4.50 for adults and €1 for children ages 6-12.

Medieval town of Durbuy

3. Explore the Semois Valley

Semois Valley is a river valley located in southeastern Belgium's Ardennes region. The valley follows the path of the Semois River for around 100 kilometers (62 miles) as it winds through forested hills and farmland, beginning near the town of Arlon and eventually flowing into the Meuse River in France. Some key features of Semois Valley include the medieval town of Bouillon with its hilltop castle, beautiful viewpoints overlooking the river, restored slate quarries, hiking trails, and remnants of the region's historical tobacco cultivation.

The full address of Semois Valley would be the towns and villages located along the Semois River's course through southeastern Belgium's Luxembourg and Namur provinces. This includes towns and villages like Arlon, Bouillon, Alle-sur-Semois, Vresse-sur-Semois, Chiny, Florenville, Herbeumont, and Bohan. Several panoramic viewpoints allow visitors to take in the scenery, including spots like the Bouillon Belvedere, Tombeau du Geant, and Le Jambon de la Semois. The slate history of towns like Bertrix and Alle-sur-Semois is also unique. Semois river itself was historically referred to as Sesbach in German and Semoy in French.

Visitors to the valley can hike numerous trails along the river and surrounding area, like the GR 16 long distance path. The river also provides opportunities for kayaking, canoeing and fishing. Cycling mountain bike trails and visiting historic villages and landmarks like the Bouillon Castle are other popular activities. An old slate mine in Alle-sur-Semois was also turned into a museum to showcase the region's history.

People visiting Semois Valley can drive there or take the train. Major nearby cities with train stations include Namur, Liège, Brussels, and Luxembourg City. From these stations trains run to smaller stations in the valley area like Libramont, Bertrix or Paliseul. Renting a car would provide the most flexibility for getting around the valley itself. The valley's outdoor recreation would appeal most to adult hikers, cyclists, fishing enthusiasts and nature lovers. Families would also enjoy exploring the Bouillon Castle or slate mine museum.

Semois Valley

4. See the Coo Waterfalls

Coo Waterfalls, known as Cascade de Coo, is a picturesque waterfall located on the Amblève River in the village of Coo in the province of Liège, Belgium. The waterfall has a height of 15 meters (49 feet), making it the highest natural waterfall in Belgium. The Coo Waterfalls are comprised of two distinct waterfalls in close proximity. The smaller waterfall on the right has existed since at least the 15th century. In the 18th century, monks constructed the larger waterfall to prevent flooding in the nearby village of Petit-Coo. They created an opening in the riverbank to divert the water flow, unintentionally forming the stunning waterfall visitors see today.

The Coo Waterfalls are situated in a beautiful natural setting, surrounded by lush greenery and forests. It is located 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Liège and have been a popular tourist destination since the 19th century, drawing 1.5 million visitors annually.

At the base of the falls lies the village of Coo, home to several attractions and activities. An amusement park called Plopsa Coo features rides, games, and a petting zoo for children. Visitors can also go kayaking on the river, play mini golf, ride go-karts, and take a hike on one of the many nearby trails. A chair lift travels up the hillside for impressive views of the Amblève valley.

The Coo Waterfalls offer beautiful scenery for nature lovers and photographers. The surroundings showcase the lush forests, rivers, and valleys definitive of Belgium's Ardennes region. Families will appreciate the family-friendly facilities. Adventurous travelers can enjoy outdoor sports like kayaking and hiking. There is something for everyone at this magnificent natural wonder.

Entry to view the waterfalls is free. Access to activities in the adjoining amusement park and tourist facilities requires paid admission. Tickets to ride the chairlift up the mountain cost €6 ($7, £5) for adults and €4 ($5, £3) for children. Rental of equipment like kayaks and admission to attractions like the petting zoo also come at additional costs ranging from €3-15 ($4-18, £3-13). Visitors should come prepared to pay for certain entertainment options beyond simple viewing of the falls.

Coo Waterfalls

5. Tour the Caves of Han-sur-Lesse

The Caves of Han-sur-Lesse, also known as Grottes de Han, are a famous natural cave complex located on the outskirts of the village of Han-sur-Lesse in Belgium's Walloon region. The caves are situated within the 250-hectare Domain of the Caves of Han, which also encompasses a wildlife park, museums, restaurants, and accommodations.

The cave complex was formed over 500,000 years ago due to erosion from the underground river Lesse, which carved out a network of spectacular galleries and chambers in the limestone hillside before emerging on the other side of the ridge. The caves extend 1.6 kilometers underground and feature impressive formations like stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies, and cascading pools.

The most outstanding chamber is the Salle du Dôme, with immense dimensions of 149 meters long, 86 meters wide, and 62 meters high. Another highlight is the Caves of Han sound and light show “Origin,” which brings the underground scenery alive through state-of-the-art laser, video mapping, and lighting effects.

Outside, visitors can explore the Domain's 250-hectare wildlife park by foot or safari bus to observe native wildlife like deer, wild boars, wolves, lynxes, bears, and vultures. Two small museums are also accessible with cave tickets: the PrehistoHan museum covers 10,000 years of regional history revealed through archaeological excavations, while the Han 1900 museum depicts early 20th century peasant life.

The Domain of the Caves of Han is located at Rue Joseph Lamotte 2, 5580 Han-sur-Lesse, Belgium. Access is only by guided tour, with tours departing every 30-60 minutes. Tickets cost 27€ for adults and 21€ for children aged 4-11.

Visitors are transported to the cave entrance by a charming century-old narrow-gauge tramline. The cave has temperatures of 13°C year-round, so warm clothing is recommended. The standard “Cave Discovery” tour takes 1 hour 15 minutes to explore the main galleries and Origin show. The more extensive 2 hour “Cave Journey” tour covers deeper sections of the cave by traversing 2 kilometers underground and climbing 510 steps each way.

The Cave of Han appeals to visitors of all ages. Families appreciate the kid-friendly wildlife park, playground, interactive museums, and special events. Adults find the extensive cave complex fascinating from geological, historical, and artistic perspectives. Thrill-seekers can book more adventurous cave explorations like guided climbs or underground kayaking on the subterranean river.

Caves of Han-sur-Lesse

6. Visit the Lesse River

The Lesse River is located in Belgium, rising in the Ardennes Mountains and flowing northwest for approximately 89 kilometers before joining the Meuse River near Dinant. The source of the Lesse is found near Libramont-Chevigny in Belgium's Luxembourg province. From its source, the river flows through the villages of Daverdisse, Halma, Chanly and Resteigne. The Lesse then passes underground for around 1.6 kilometers, flowing through limestone caves, including the famous Grottoes of Han near the village of Han-sur-Lesse. After emerging, the Lesse continues through Lessive, Villers-sur-Lesse and Houyet before reaching its confluence with the Meuse at Anseremme in the Dinant municipality.

Numerous caves line the Lesse's banks, containing important archaeological sites and prehistoric remains from the Paleolithic period onward. The underground section of river flowing through the Grottoes of Han is well-known for its spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. Trout, grayling and other fish inhabit the clear waters of the Lesse.

Visitors to the Lesse River can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, fishing, hiking, cycling and more. Outfitters in towns such as Dinant offer equipment rentals and shuttle services for paddling along the Lesse. The river includes stretches suitable for beginners, with paddle tours ranging from 9 kilometers to 21 kilometers offered. Seasoned kayakers and canoers can also navigate parts of the Lesse in winter when water levels allow. Hiking trails along the banks provide views of the river, valley and neighboring cliffs. Anglers can fish for trout, grayling, pike, carp and other species with the proper local permits. Road cyclists in particular appreciate the hilly terrain surrounding the Lesse.

The river is reachable via the main A4/E411 highway from cities such as Brussels and Luxembourg City, with the drive taking around 2 to 2.5 hours. Dinant is the nearest major town to the lower Lesse. Public transportation via train is also available, with stations located in towns along the river including Gendron and Houyet.

Outdoor and adventure activities on the Lesse River best suit older children and adults seeking either a relaxing excursion amidst nature or a recreational challenge. Paddling the Lesse is considered safe for children as young as 5 when accompanied by adults. No admission fees are charged to visit the river itself. Usage regulations and permits do apply for fishing, and outfitters charge rental fees for equipment like kayaks and bikes.

Lesse River

7. Visit Orval Abbey and brewery

Orval Abbey and brewery is a Trappist abbey located in Villers-devant-Orval, Belgium. The abbey was founded in 1070, became Cistercian in 1132, and adopted the Trappist order in the 17th century. The present-day buildings were constructed beginning in 1926, after the abbey had laid in ruins following destruction during the French Revolution. The abbey is located at Orval 1, 6823 Villers-devant-Orval, Belgium. It does not have an alternative name.

What makes Orval Abbey unique is that there has been a brewery on the grounds since the abbey's earliest days, with beer brewing being a custom in the region. The current brewery was constructed in 1931 both to finance rebuilding efforts and to carry on the centuries-old tradition of beer brewing by the monks. Today, the Orval brewery continues to produce beer sold internationally to fund the day-to-day operations of the monastery as well as charitable works.

Visitors to Orval Abbey can take self-guided walking tours of the monastery grounds, including the ruins of previous abbey buildings, gardens, and a museum. The museum covers the history of the abbey and provides information on the beer brewing process. The grounds also feature an herb garden explaining the medicinal uses of various plants. The iconic Orval gift shop sells the abbey's beer, cheese, ceramics, and religious items.

Orval Abbey is located deep in the Belgian countryside about 17 kilometers (11 miles) from the nearest train station in Florenville. From there, visitors would need to take a bus or taxi to the abbey. The abbey grounds themselves are suited for visitors of all ages and fitness levels, as they include paved walkways and stairs. There is a small fee of €6 ($7, £5) for access to the museum and grounds. The beer and cheese in the gift shop have standard retail costs.

Orval Abbey and brewery

8. Bike the Trans-Ardennes cycle path

The Trans-Ardennes cycle path is a 130 km traffic-free cycling route running along the River Meuse through the spectacular Ardennes region in northeast France. It connects the towns of Mouzon, Sedan, Charleville-Mézières and Givet, passing through forests, farmland and picturesque villages, with no steep climbs.

The cycle path follows the former towpath beside the Meuse so it is flat, making it suitable for leisurely family cycling. It was voted “Cycle Route of the Year” in 2010 by Dutch journalists and has since attracted over 200,000 users.

The Trans-Ardennes greenway, as it is also known, offers riders diverse landscapes in the Ardennes department. The path starts in Mouzon where the Yoncq river joins the Meuse. It continues through the historic town of Sedan, home to Europe’s largest medieval castle, and on to Charleville-Mézières, the capital of the Ardennes. Other highlights include the riverside town of Monthermé in a loop of the Meuse, and the fortified town of Givet where the path finishes.

Cyclists of all abilities can enjoy activities along the way such as hiking trails, mountain biking, dining at riverside restaurants or picnicking at rest areas. Small villages dot the route, many with traces of past industrial heritage. Kids will also appreciate attractions like the huge Fantasticable zipline over the Meuse at Fumay.

People reach the start of the path by taking a 1.5 hour TGV train from Paris to Charleville-Mézières where bikes can be rented. A local TER train also runs alongside the Meuse valley so riders can modulate their journey.

The peaceful trail appeals most to leisure cyclists and families seeking relaxation in natural surrounds. But its proximity to Belgium allows easy connections to Europe’s larger cycling networks for touring cyclists.

Admission to ride the traffic-free path is free. Some optional activities like the zipline have fees but otherwise visitors pay only for bike rentals, food or accommodation en route.

Trans-Ardennes cycle path

9. Go to Dinant and tour the citadel

Dinant is a city located in the province of Namur in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium. The city sits along the River Meuse, known locally as “the daughter of the Meuse”, in a steep-sided valley with dramatic limestone cliffs. Perched atop one of these cliffs, 100 meters above the city, stands the formidable Citadel of Dinant.

The citadel is located at Chemin de la Citadelle 1, 5500 Dinant, Belgium. It overlooks the old city center of Dinant, with the River Meuse flowing below and the towering cliffs behind. The citadel does not have an alternative name.

Citadel of Dinant has a strategic location and always had a pivotal role throughout history in controlling this stretch of the Meuse valley. There have been fortifications on this spot since the 11th century, built by the Prince-Bishops of Liège to protect Dinant which was an important center of commerce. The citadel was destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries during various conflicts. The current citadel dates from 1815 when it was constructed by the Dutch. Later it was turned into a military museum.

For visitors, the main highlight is the impressive views over Dinant and the Meuse valley from the citadel's ramparts and towers. The museum inside brings history alive, with displays of weapons, life in the garrison, and reconstructions of trenches and shelters. Visitors can also descend the 408 steps dating from 1577 that lead down from the citadel to the city center below. For less effort, a cable car provides transportation between the citadel and the valley floor.

To reach the Citadel of Dinant, visitors can hike up the steep stairway from the city center, take the cable car, or drive up to the parking area located behind the citadel. The cable car runs frequently during high season and is included in the admission price to the citadel.

The citadel attractions and museum displays appeal to adults and older children from older than 8 years old. The views from atop the cliffs are enjoyable for all. Admission is 12 € for adults, 10 € for kids ages 4-12, and free for younger children.

Go to Dinant and tour the citadel

10. See the ruins of Reinhardstein Castle

Reinhardstein Castle is a 14th century medieval castle located in the Warche valley near the village of Ovifat in eastern Belgium. The castle sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river and forest below. It was originally built in 1354 for Wenceslaus, Duke of Luxembourg, by his vassal Reinhard of Weismes.

The full address of Reinhardstein Castle is Chemin du Cheneux 50, 4950 Ovifat, Belgium. It is sometimes referred to as Burg Reinhardstein or Burg Metternich, after the noble Metternich family that owned it for over 250 years until the French Revolution. Reinhardstein Castle was later rebuilt in the 1960s after falling into ruin. The reconstruction used original 14th century documents and drawings to rebuild the castle exactly as it had looked over 600 years earlier. Today, it stands as one of the most picturesque and unique castles in Belgium.

Visitors to Reinhardstein Castle can take a 75-minute guided tour to see the towers, ramparts, Knights' Hall, chapel, and living quarters of the castle. Tours provide information on the history of the castle and the families that lived there over the centuries. There are also special events held at the castle like concerts, exhibitions, medieval fairs, and candlelit storytelling evenings.

To reach Reinhardstein Castle, visitors must park their car about 600 meters away and walk the rest of the way on foot. The castle sits at the end of a small, rough road down in the valley which is not accessible for larger vehicles. An alternative is to park at the Robertville Dam about 1.5 kilometers away and hike to the castle from there through the forest.

The castle tours and grounds are suitable for visitors of all ages. The surrounding trails range from easy to moderately difficult so some parental guidance may be needed for very young children. Admission to enter Reinhardstein Castle for a guided tour is €10.50 (US$12, £9) for adults, €8.50 (US$10, £8) for seniors over 65 and students ages 18-25, and free for children under 6 years old.

ruins of Reinhardstein Castle

11. Explore the historic town of Bouillon

Bouillon is a picturesque medieval town located in southeastern Belgium. It sits along a sharp bend of the Semois River in the province of Luxembourg, within the wooded hills of the Ardennes region. The town covers just under 150 square kilometers and has a population of around 5,500 residents. Bouillon’s main claim to fame is its enormous hilltop castle, known as the Château de Bouillon, which towers over the valley and dominates the skyline. The castle has origins dating back to the 10th century and was once home to the notorious Crusader Godfrey of Bouillon.

In addition to the castle, key highlights of Bouillon include its quaint cobblestone streets lined with cafes and shops, the grand gothic-style church of Sts. Peter and Paul, and various hiking trails that wind through the surrounding forest and lead to stunning viewpoints. The peaceful Semois River also offers plenty of opportunities for kayaking, canoeing and fishing.

One of the top attractions is the Château de Bouillon itself. Visitors can take tours of the sprawling Medieval castle complex, which features a maze of tunnels, courtyards, and parapets offering panoramic views over the valley. Some tours even include a birds of prey demonstration showcasing eagles, falcons and other raptors.

Admission tickets to the castle also grant access to the Archeoscope and Ducal Museum, which provide more insight into Godfrey of Bouillon’s history as leader of the First Crusade, as well as the lifestyle and culture of Medieval Bouillon.

In terms of getting to Bouillon, the nearest major city is Namur, located around 70 kilometers (45 miles) to the north. By car, Bouillon can be reached from Brussels in about 2 hours via the E411 motorway. For those relying on public transportation, buses connect the town to the nearest train stations in Libramont or Bertrix, both about a 45 minute bus ride away.

Bouillon makes an excellent destination for history and architecture lovers of all ages. Families can enjoy exploring the castle grounds and partaking in some of the interactive exhibits and demonstrations. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the scenic hikes offering breathtaking valley views. And foodies can indulge in Belgian specialties like moules-frites, waffles and Trappist beer from the array of local taverns and bistros.

historic town of Bouillon

12. Visit Hotton Caves

Hotton Caves is a cave system located near the town of Hotton in Belgium's Ardennes region. The full address is Chemin du Spéléo-Club 1, 6990 Hotton. An alternative name for Hotton Caves is Grottes des 1001 Nuits, which translates to “Caves of 1001 Nights” in English.

Hotton Caves is considered the most beautiful caves in Belgium. The cave system was formed by rainwater erosion over thousands of years, creating a maze of underground tunnels, rivers, galleries and chambers. Key highlights include stunning stalactites, stalagmites and rock formations in a variety of vibrant colors and shapes. The caves also feature Belgium's largest known underground canyon.

Visitors to Hotton Caves can take a 1-hour guided tour that descends 65 meters underground. The tour includes 580 steps and passes through different cave “rooms.” Guests can overlook a 30-meter deep sinkhole, walk alongside an underground river, and ride an elevator 35 meters back to the surface. There's also an outdoor Calestienne Garden to explore rare plants. The caves offer special kid-focused tours and activities, including a “time spiral” teaching visit for school groups. Kids can also enjoy the playground, treasure hunts and birthday parties. So the caves make an excellent family-friendly adventure.

Admission to Hotton Caves is €12 (around $13 or £10) for adults and €9 (around $10 or £8) for kids ages 4-11. Special group rates are available for 20+ visitors. Guided tours are offered in French, Dutch and English.

Getting to Hotton Caves is convenient by car, with free parking available at the site. For public transport, the nearest bus stop is a 17-minute walk away in Hotton's town center. Or visitors can take the train to Melreux station, which is a 25-minute drive from the caves.

Hotton Caves puts visitors in touch with nature through an unforgettable subterranean experience. Descending into Belgium's most stunning caverns reveals an alien, exciting underworld of rock formations and rivers carved out through the ages. It's a special adventure perfect for couples, families, school groups or anyone eager to explore one of Belgium's natural wonders up close.

Hotton Caves

13. Tour the Bastogne War Museum

The Bastogne War Museum is a World War II museum located in Bastogne, Belgium. The full address is Colline du Mardasson 5, 6600 Bastogne. The museum focuses on the history of the Battle of the Bulge, which took place in the Ardennes region where Bastogne is located. Bastogne War Museum opened in 2014 after four years of construction and features a highly interactive audio tour that immerses visitors in the stories of four key participants in the battle – a German officer, an American soldier, a Belgian teacher and a local boy. It showcases many artifacts and presents a timeline before, during and after the battle through films, eyewitness accounts and reconstructions of key moments. The museum's architecture resembles a five-pointed American star.

Visitors can take a two-hour audio tour, watch short films about the causes and key events of World War II, view artifacts like weapons, uniforms and personal letters from soldiers, and experience three “scenovisions” – multisensory 3D environments depicting scenes from the Battle of the Bulge. There is also a gift shop and café on site.

The museum can be reached by car or bus. Driving from Brussels takes around 2 hours. The closest train station is in Libramont, from where bus #6 stops near the museum. The museum appeals to history buffs and those interested in World War II. It is suitable for adults and older children. Lots of details and graphic content may make it less appropriate for young children.

Admission costs €20 for adults, €17 for seniors over 65, €14 for students and disabled visitors, and €12.50 for children aged 6-18. Children under 6 enter for free.

Bastogne War Museum

14. See the architectural wonder of Liège-Guillemins Railway Station

Liège-Guillemins Railway Station is the main railway station in Liège, Belgium. It was officially named Liège-Guillemins, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and opened in 2009 after many years of construction. It is located at Place des Guillemins 2, 4000 Liège, Belgium.

The station has become a landmark and architectural attraction in Liège due to its impressive design. Its most striking feature is the enormous steel and glass vaulted roof that arches over the tracks and platforms. This monumental canopy is 200 meters long, 35 meters high and fully transparent. It filters daylight down to the train platforms and passenger areas below. Underneath, the station is open and airy, with views right through to the city on the opposite side.

Beyond aesthetics, Liège-Guillemins Railway Station is one of Belgium's most important transportation hubs. It serves major domestic and international railway lines, including high-speed trains to France, Germany and the Netherlands. The station has 9 tracks and 5 platforms and sees about 15,000 travelers per day. It features shops, restaurants, bus connections, parking and other services to accommodate its many passengers.

Visitors to Liège can experience Calatrava's unique architecture themselves by traveling through or simply touring the station. Photography is allowed. There is no admission fee to enter the main station, though accessing trains and facilities would require valid tickets. 

Liège-Guillemins Railway Station

15. Relax at Spa Town and its mineral hot springs

Spa Town in Belgium is a town built around natural mineral hot springs located 26 kilometers (17 miles) southeast of Liège in eastern Belgium’s Ardennes region. For at least 2,000 years, the mineral springs of the area have imparted their perceived health benefits. Magistrate Henry VIII of England visited in 1519 to “take the waters”, while Peter the Great of Russia visited frequently from 1698 to 1711. By the late 16th century, Belgian royalty touted Spa as a desirable destination, and its waters were being exported and consumed by aristocrats.

Spa in Belgium gained a widespread reputation for healing during this time which eventually led to the English use of the term “spa” to designate any health resort near a spring. One alternative name is “Café of Europe” because royalty, aristocrats, and renowned cultural figures from across Europe converged in the town to partake of waters believed to relieve illness and strengthen health. The town is sometimes called the “Pearl of the Ardennes” owing to its picturesque setting.

Spa Town in Belgium's defining feature is its natural springs supplying mineral-rich thermal water with restorative qualities. The famous Pouhon spring in central Spa flows forth at 30° Celsius (86° Fahrenheit). Its high iron content gives the water a distinctive metallic taste. Other springs have varying mineral content and supply water for different treatments. Visitors can experience public bathing facilities, enjoy peaceful walks along surrounding wooded hills, and sample the waters from fountain springs around town. Quality hotels with spa access, the historical thermal baths complex called Thermes de Spa featuring numerous health treatments, many restaurants, and unique shops add to its appeal as a spa destination.

Poeple seeking healing and relaxation at Spa Town come from Belgium, neighboring countries like Germany and the Netherlands, and travelers from across Europe and overseas drawn by its centuries-long reputation. The historic spa culture caters more to adults, though Spa is enjoyable for families as well, with horseback riding, bicycling, fishing, golf and other activities available in the vicinity. Spa hotels offer a range of spa relaxation and healing packages. As a prestigious destination, Spa tends toward higher-end prices but some free or lower-cost springs and public baths are accessible. Admission to the Thermes de Spa varies depending on treatments booked but averages 43 euros (47 dollars, 39 pounds) for a 2.5 hour session.

Travelers reach Spa Town by car or train in one hour from Brussels, one hour from Cologne or Dusseldorf in Germany, and 30 minutes from Liege in Belgium via the E42 motorway. Spa train station sees hourly arrivals. Many opt to stay at historic hotels in the town center that contribute to Spa's old-world charm while providing modern amenities. Vehicle transport enables exploring the lovely countryside, nearby medieval castles, and Bastogne with its Battle of the Bulge history.

Spa Town and its mineral hot springs

16. Visit the High Fens plateau

The High Fens, also known as Hautes Fagnes, is an upland plateau region straddling eastern Belgium and western Germany. It covers over 4,500 hectares between the Ardennes and Eifel highlands. High Fens was established as a nature reserve in 1957, constitute the largest nature reserve in Belgium and lie within the 700 km2 German-Belgian nature park, High Fens-Eifel, in the Ardennes.

The highest point at the High Fens is the Signal de Botrange near the town of Waimes, which stands at 694 meters above sea level. This is also the highest point in Belgium. A tower was built at Signal de Botrange that brings its height to 700 meters. The reserve features landscapes covered with herbaceous vegetation and low, grassy hills, as well as peat bogs that are over 10,000 years old. Its unique subalpine climate and flora and fauna are integral to the conservation efforts.

In 1966, the International Union for Conservation of Nature awarded the High Fens the “Diploma of Conservation” for its immense ecological value. More recently in 2008, Belgium added the High Fens to its tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The High Fens offer plenty for visitors to see and do while preserving the delicate ecology. Popular activities include hiking, cross-country skiing in winter, mountain biking and horseback riding along authorized paths and trails. Guided tours are available that provide fascinating glimpses into the landscape and wildlife. Exhibitions at visitor centers showcase conservation efforts and the natural history of the reserve.

The High Fens can be easily accessed by road. Main towns in the vicinity include Eupen to the north, Aachen in Germany to the east, Spa and Malmedy to the west and south in Belgium. Public transportation options are limited, so independent travelers would do best to have their own vehicle.

The High Fens tend to appeal most to nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, families and student groups rather than very young children or elderly travelers. Entry to the reserve is free with certain protected areas requiring accompaniment by an authorized guide.

High Fens plateau

17. Tour Sedan Castle fortress

Sedan Castle fortress, officially named Château Fort de Sedan, is a medieval fortress located in the city of Sedan in northeastern France. It is covering 35,000 square meters (376,700 square feet) across seven floors and considered the largest fortified castle in Europe. Construction first began on the site in 1424 under Lord Evrard de la Marck who built a modest triangular castle with towers, walls and a moat around an existing church. Over the next century, Evrard's descendants continued to expand and reinforce the fortress, adding multiple rings of defensive walls, rectangular towers, ramparts, bastions and extremely thick curtain walls reaching up to 27 meters (89 feet) wide.

By the early 16th century, Sedan Castle had been transformed into an imposing and nearly impenetrable stronghold, reflecting the rising power of the Lords of Sedan who ruled the independent Principality of Sedan. The castle's formidable defenses resisted sieges by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V’s troops in 1521 and other armies over the next century. In 1642, Sedan was annexed by France and the castle was turned into a military base and garrison. Renovations were later made by famed French military engineer Vauban. During the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, French Emperor Napoleon III made his last stand at Sedan Castle before surrendering to Prussian forces following the decisive Battle of Sedan.

Today, Sedan Castle fortress is located at Cours Clos du Château in the center of Sedan. It continues to be a predominant landmark in the area. Visitors to the castle can take self-guided or guided tours of the ramparts, bastions, princely apartments and great halls. Wax figures, artwork and exhibits in the Sedan Museum illustrate various eras in the castle's history. An audiovisual presentation provides background on the construction and growth of this mighty fortress. Visitors may also participate in seasonal events like medieval festivals, knight tournaments and evening torch tours. The on-site café offers light local fare while the hotel provides atmospheric accommodations. Sedan Castle appeals most to history enthusiasts and sightseers of all ages interested in medieval military architecture or European power struggles.

Admission to tour Sedan Castle fortress ranges from €8 (US$9, £7) per child and €11(US$12, £10) per adult for basic entry to €37 (US$40, £33) for a family pass. Opening hours are daily from 10AM-6PM during summer months (July-August) and shorter hours during other periods in high season between April and December. Sedan Castle can be easily accessed off the A34 motorway, with the castle situated a short walk from central parking areas in Sedan.

Sedan Castle fortress

18. See Saint-Hubert Basilica

Saint-Hubert Basilica, officially named the Abbey Church of Saints Peter and Paul, is a former Benedictine abbey church built in the late Gothic style in Saint-Hubert, Belgium. Construction on the present-day basilica began in 1525 after previous church buildings on the site were destroyed by fires. The impressive Baroque facade was added in the 18th century.

The basilica is located in the town of Saint-Hubert in Belgium's Luxembourg province. The full address is Place du Marché, 15, 6870 Saint-Hubert, Belgium.

Saint-Hubert Basilica was built on the site of earlier churches next to a Benedictine abbey founded in the 7th century. The abbey brought fame to the town after the relics of Saint Hubert were installed there in 825. Saint Hubert Basilica became an important stopping point for religious pilgrims. Architecturally, the tall Gothic interior lined with slender columns contrasts dramatically with the ornate 18th century Baroque facade.

Visitors to the basilica can take guided tours in English, French, Dutch or German with advance reservation. There is access to view the Gothic architecture and Baroque details. Audio guides are also available. Visitors can attend masses with Gregorian chants performed on hunting horns, adding to the medieval ambiance. The basilica is open to the public everyday.

Saint-Hubert town is located 68 kilometers southeast of Bastogne and 48 kilometers south of Liege in Belgium's Ardennes region. Brussels is 129 kilometers north. The nearest airports are in Charleroi (85 kilometers) and Liege (53 kilometers). Brussels Airport is 166 kilometers away. By train, Saint-Hubert is about 1 hour from Brussels, 45 minutes from Liege and 35 minutes from Luxembourg City.

The basilica appeals to visitors of all ages interested in history, architecture and religion. Admission to view the church is free. Guided tours for groups need to be booked in advance with fees applied. Food and souvenirs representing Saint Hubert and hunting culture are sold around the square outside.

Saint-Hubert Basilica

19. Bike or hike along RAVeL greenways

The RAVeL greenways refer to Réseau Autonome des Voies Lentes (Autonomous Network of Slow Ways) in Wallonia, Belgium. This network covers over 1,500 kilometers of paths reserved for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and those with reduced mobility. The paths are laid out mainly along towpaths and old railway lines. They include waymarked trails for activities like walking, hiking, cycling, horse riding and roller skating. RAVeL aims to interconnect these greenways to cover all of Wallonia and promote cycling tourism.

RAVeL goes by the alternative name “greenways” outside of Wallonia, which is a common term for non-motorized routes across Europe. These car-free paths respect the environment while linking people to landscapes and cultural heritage.

RAVeL transforms abandoned infrastructure into sustainable transport and recreation. Towpaths, once used by horses to tow boats along canals, now enable peaceful family walks. Disused railway lines that once carried goods across Wallonia have found new life serving cyclists and horse riders. RAVeL brings people outdoors to appreciate nature, towns, rural scenery and nature reserves as they traverse Wallonia.

Visitors to RAVeL can walk, hike, cycle, ride horses, rollerblade or wheelchair around 1,500 kilometers of greenways. These accessible paths appeal to all ages and mobility levels. Along the way, travelers can explore Wallonia's cities, villages and landscapes at their own pace. They can stop to rest or have a meal at some of the cafes, restaurants and hotels linked to the network. RAVeL also connects people to cultural sites and nature attractions worth discovering across Wallonia.

To access RAVeL greenways, head to any of the designated trailheads or junctions. Smaller trails and a few longer routes may be found within a single municipality, while several cross provincial or regional borders. Travelers can ride public transport like buses or trains to nearby transit hubs, then continue journeys via bicycle or on foot. Detailed maps mark each section of RAVeL and trail amenities. These free maps are available at tourist offices or through Wallonia's tourism website.

RAVeL greenways suit people of all ages and ability levels given the flat, gentle gradients. Families with young children, seniors and wheelchair users can all enjoy the traffic-free routes. Individuals, couples or groups who like moderately active vacations appreciate the opportunity to walk, cycle or ride horses traffic-free across scenery at their own pace. There are no admission fees to use public RAVeL trails, just free access to appreciate Wallonia's landscapes up close via sustainable transportation.

RAVeL greenways

20. Go ziplining over the Meuse River

The Meuse is a major European river originating in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea. With a total length of 925 kilometers (575 miles), the Meuse is the oldest river in the world.

The river starts in Pouilly-en-Bassigny, France and courses northwards, passing several French towns and cities like Commercy and Verdun before entering Belgium. In Belgium, the Meuse flows through Wallonia past towns and cities like Dinant, Namur, Huy, and Liège before forming much of the border between Belgium and the Netherlands. Key Dutch towns along the Meuse include Maastricht, Roermond, and Venlo. The river has a basin size of over 34,000 square kilometers spanning parts of France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

The Meuse river flows through Belgium's Ardennes forest near the town of Dinant. The steep, rocky, wooded valley in this area offers some of the most dramatic scenery along the entire river. Adventurous visitors flock to Dinant to zipline across the Meuse, enjoying a thrilling ride high above the water with the forested cliffs and rock formations as a backdrop.

Multiple ziplining circuits are available, with rides starting from the top of the towering citadel in Dinant. Adrenaline seekers can zipline over 400 meters down to the banks of the Meuse, reaching speeds of up to 50 mph while strapped to the zipline. The ziplines in Dinant rank amongst the longest and fastest in Europe. Riders get an unparalleled view of the river gorge during the descent.

In addition to the main zipline route starting atop the massive citadel walls built in the 13th century, shorter rides are also offered lower down for less daring visitors. Ziplining at Dinant provides adventure lovers with a unique way to explore the Meuse's striking gorge landscape that is both scenic and thrilling.

The ziplining operators in Dinant provide all the necessary safety gear and equipment. First-time zipliners get training on how to safely ride down the lines criss-crossing the Meuse river canyon. The activity suits most visitors above 1.4 meters in height. Children under 14 require adult supervision.

Beyond ziplining, other popular ways to enjoy the dramatic scenery around the Meuse river near Dinant include kayaking on the river itself or rock climbing on the rocky bluffs flanking the gorge. So visitors have plenty of options to actively explore the river valley in this stretch of the Meuse that has almost a mountain landscape.

Meuse River

What are the best things to in the Ardennes with kids and toddlers?

Listed below are the best things to do in the Ardennes with kids and toddlers.

  • Plopsa Coo Amusement Park. Plopsa Coo Amusement Park is a theme park near the Cascade de Coo waterfall. It has rides and attractions tailored for younger kids, like a fairy tale-themed carousel, outdoor pedal karts, and a bobsleigh coaster. Kids can meet costumed characters from Studio 100 TV shows. The park is compact, making it easy for families to navigate.
  • Domain of the Caves of Han. The Grottes de Han cave complex has an educational PrehistoHan exhibit where kids can learn about prehistoric times through multimedia displays and simulations. They can make cave drawings, use ancient tools, and dress up as a Stone Age hunter. An interactive game lets them find artifacts in a virtual excavation.
  • Archeoscope Multimedia Show in Bouillon. Archeoscope Multimedia Show is an immersive show in Bouillon Castle, where kids will be enthralled by films, reconstructions, and interactive games unveiling the epic history of Godfrey de Bouillon. They can try on virtual costumes, act as castle defenders, and see vivid battle scenes. It brings the Middle Ages alive through technology.
  • Ebly Animal Park at Wéris. Ebly Animal Park to wolves, lynx, wild boars, deer and more animal species, this large outdoor park allows kids to safely observe wildlife in natural enclosures. They'll be thrilled to pet and feed farm animals at the petting zoo. An elevated rope course provides challenge. Guided electric cart tours available.
  • Le Labyrinthe at Barvaux. Le Labyrinthe at Barvaux is adorable summertime hedge maze crafted specially for kids has child-friendly paths and games. Kids can climb a 5-meter high treehouse, explore pirate ships and Western Forts integrated into the labyrinth, and more. The goal is fun over difficulty.
  • Museum of the Battle of the Ardennes in Bastogne. At Museum of the Battle, through detailed dioramas, multimedia reenactments, artifacts and simulated environments, kids can immerse themselves in the major WWII battle fought in Bastogne and grasp its historical importance. An emotional experience that brings history to life.
  • Aquarium-Museum. Aquarium-Museum in Dinant Covering river ecology, this museum has over 30 well-designed aquariums showcasing fish species found in the Meuse River. Kids enjoy observing trout, pike and more up close while learning about the aquatic environment. Creative workshops allow them to build fish models.

What are the best museums to visit in the Ardennes?

Find below a list with the best museums to visit in the Ardennes.

  • Bastogne War Museum. The Bastogne War Museum provides an in-depth look at the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, a major WWII battle fought in the Ardennes in December 1944. Through immersive exhibits spanning 13 rooms, visitors learn about the causes, course and consequences of this historic battle from different perspectives. Artifacts, soldier testimonials, reconstructions of events using life-size dioramas, short films, and multimedia installations vividly showcase the realities of war and importance of the Battle of Bastogne as a turning point. Its location makes it the perfect place to understand this area’s pivotal legacy.
  • Musée de la Bataille des Ardennes in La Roche-en-Ardenne. The Musée de la Bataille des Ardennes is located close to the Ourthe River in the heart of the Ardennes and explores the German Ardennes Offensive and key regional battles in December 1944 through model recreations, mannequins in period scenes, weaponry, photography, maps and more. It provides insight into combat on Belgian soil and helps visitors grasp day-to-day life for civilians and soldiers during this impactful time, putting a human face to the war. An evocative experience.
  • Musée en Piconrue – Folklore Museum in Bastogne. The Folklore Museum in Bastogne is located in an historic 17th century building in Bastogne provides a look at traditional life and folklore in the Ardennes region throughout history. Through displays of period rooms, costumes, carnival artifacts, tools, handicrafts and recreations of agricultural/village scenes, it spotlights cultural artifacts integral to local identity and the timeless natural environment that shaped lifestyles. Offers depth on the region's intangible heritage.
  • Val Dieu Abbey Beer Museum.  The monks of Val Dieu Abbey situated in the valley of the Hoëgne River have been brewing beer for 800 years, upholding the Ardennes’ artisanal brewing tradition. Their beer museum usescopious visuals and artifacts to explore six aspects of beer culture – raw ingredients, malt production, brewing process, varieties, glassware, and gastronomy pairings. Provides context of beer's historical connection to the region.
  • Mine Museum at Blegny Mine. Mine Museum at Blegny Mine was Belgium's last operating coal mine before closing in 1980, the Blegny Mine near Liège has been converted into a museum allowing visitors to journey down the original shafts in a cage lift and walk through the underground galleries. Through an immersive guided tour, you learn about mining history and technology from the 19th and 20th centuries. Offers firsthand look at industry integral to early Ardennes.

What is The Ardennes?

The Ardennes is an extensive region of forests, rolling hills and valleys primarily located in southeastern Belgium. Geographically, it stretches across portions of the Belgian provinces of Namur, Luxembourg and Liège. The densely wooded and rugged terrain of the Ardennes covers a total area of around 4,300 square miles. It forms a component of Belgium's famed Wallonia region south of Brussels and extends into neighboring parts of France, Luxembourg and Germany as well. Elevations across the Ardennes range from about 1,050 feet to just over 2,250 feet at the region's highest point, Signal de Botrange, located in Belgium's Hautes Fagnes. The geography includes deep, winding river valleys dotted with small villages, as well as high forested plateaus and peaks. Sandstone cliff formations frame stretches of waterways like the Meuse, Ourthe and Semois Rivers. The Ardennes owes its hilly landscape to its location along the western edge of the Rhenish Massif mountain range formed during the Paleozoic Era.

Where is Ardennes located?

Most of the Ardennes area sits in southeastern Belgium within portions of the provinces of Namur in the west, Luxembourg in the south-central area and Liège in the east. The cities of Dinant, Rochefort, La Roche-en-Ardenne, Durbuy and Bouillon mark some of the central points within the Belgian Ardennes. The region also reaches into the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg's Oesling area to the south and across borders to cover northeastern France's Ardennes department and western Germany's Eifel territory. In total, the Ardennes crosses sections of Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Germany within an irregular geographic span extending around 120 miles from the Belgium-Germany border southwest to the France-Belgium border. The Belgian part makes up the majority of the scenic, wooded landscapes most identify as the Ardennes region.

Which Belgian towns are located in Ardennes?

Some of the best-known Belgian towns fully or partially situated in the Ardennes region include Dinant, Han-sur-Lesse, Rochefort, La Roche-en-Ardenne, Marche-en-Famenne, Durbuy, Huy, Namur, Liege, Verviers, Spa, Malmedy, Waimes, Bastogne and Bouillon. Smaller villages and resort communities in the Ardennes range from Anseremme and Celles to Aywaille, Hotton, Sankt Vith, Vielsalm and many others, mostly concentrated along the course of rivers or nestled within forested valleys.

What are the best towns to visit in the Ardennes?

Top towns and villages to visit within Belgium's share of the Ardennes often include outdoor-oriented Durbuy, known as the smallest city in the country; riverside Dinant with its commanding citadel; Bouillon and its medieval castle; popular resort destination Spa; La Roche-en-Ardenne surrounded by stunning vistas; Han-sur-Lesse and its caves; Val Dieu and its namesake abbey brewery; picture-perfect Rochefort; and historic Stavelot, site of an ancient abbey. Rustic villages like Beauraing, Rochehaut and Hotton also offer Ardennes charm.

  • Durbuy. Durbuy is an exceptionally charming village and Belgium's smallest official city. It serves as a scenic base in the Ourthe River valley for exploring the Ardennes' forests and trails.
  • Dinant. Dinant's dramatic setting slung along a Meuse River bend below towering cliffs draws visitors to its medieval landmarks like the fortress bearing city views.
  • Bouillon. Bouillon liesembedded within a Semois River curve crowned by its fairy tale medieval castle which overlooks the Ardennes forests.
  • Spa town. The town of Spa retains fame as the birthplace of mineral springs wellness tourism which once drew European aristocrats to enjoy its reputed healing waters.
  • La Roche-en-Ardenne. Captivating La Roche-en-Ardenne makes an atmospheric central base for Ardennes adventures with its romantic castle ruins looming over the thickly wooded Ourthe valley.
  • Han-sur-Lesse. Han-sur-Lesse provides easy access to enter into the vast underground labyrinths formed within its limestone caves illuminated by subterranean rivers and lakes.
  • Val Dieu. Atmospheric Val Dieu is famed for the namesake abbey where its monks follow time-honored traditions to produce distinctive bottle-fermented Belgian beers.
  • Rochefort. Alluring Rochefort delivers a foretaste of Ardennes charm with the medieval remnants of its hilltop castle and valley dotted with country hotels that beckon hikers.
  • Stavelot. Historic Stavelot expands around the extant stone structures of its ninth century abbey whose towering Gothic facade now hosts performances during summer arts festivals.
  • Beauraing. Beauraing draws Catholic pilgrims to its wayside shrine where apparitions of the Virgin Mary appeared to youths in 1932, leaving visions of the future.
  • Rochehaut. Rochehaut's scenic riverside setting causes it to overflow with tourists and hikers bound for the spectacular views attained atop the iconic Botassart Belvedere overlook nearby.
  • Hotton. Hotton provides adventurous access points for explorers to climb deep down through unique caverns formed by subterranean waterways boring elaborate displays into ancient limestone.

What is the most beautiful part of the Ardennes?

Many travelers point to the dramatically scenic views found along Belgium's Semois River as it winds through rugged forested hills and cliffs as the most naturally beautiful part of the Ardennes region. The area around towns like Bouillon and Rochehaut provides breathtaking views from overlooks like the Botassart Belvedere. Other exceptionally pretty areas lie along river valleys like the Lesse near Dinant and Celles and the Ourthe by La Roche-en-Ardenne. Dense oak and pine forests cloaking rocky peaks and limestone cliffs also contribute to the Ardennes’ beauty.

What is Ardennes Belgium famous for?

The Ardennes region of southeast Belgium is famous for its outdoors-oriented tourism centered views and activities, with forests and valleys providing the backdrop. It sees renown for mountain biking, hiking, canoeing and kayaking. The area also holds history as a World War II battle site during 1944's Battle of the Bulge. People claims to recognition include hosting famed spa towns along mineral springs, producing distinct hams and pâtés, and supporting a variety of wildlife. The outdoor-oriented town of Durbuy has additionally drawn the title of the smallest official city in Belgium by land size.

When is the best time to visit Ardennes?

The most ideal times to visit the Ardennes region for comfortable weather and manageable crowds generally fall between March to mid-June during spring and mid-September through October in autumn. Summer is considered peak tourism season with July and August bringing the warmest weather but also larger numbers of visitors. Wintertime draws enthusiasts to the Ardennes’ high country for seasonal snow sports. But outside ski resorts, many hotels and restaurants limit operations in winter months when rainy days and cold nights prevail.

>Is Ardennes in France or Belgium?

The Ardennes spans adjacent sections of both northeastern France and southeastern Belgium . Belgium claims the majority share with its portion extending across much of the provinces of Namur, Luxembourg and Liège south of Brussels. The river valleys, dense forests and rugged hills associated with the Ardennes cross this large portion of southern Belgium. France's Ardennes department sits along Belgium's western border, mainly containing high plateau areas on the edge of the Ardennes geographical region.

What is the giant's tomb in the Ardennes?

The Giant's Tomb refers to a dramatic natural rock structure situated in a bend of Belgium's Semois River near the town of Bouillon in the Ardennes. Shaped roughly like an above-ground burial mound, legend claims it was the resting place of a giant slain by a Roman soldier. The moss-covered stone outcropping towers some 250 feet over the surrounding wooded valley, offering picturesque views from overlooks like the nearby Botassart Belvedere.

How many days should someone spend in Ardennes?

It is recommended for visitors to spend between 4 to 7 days in Ardennes, to make enough time for seeing top highlights in the Ardennes region of Belgium. At least 2 full days should be budgeted for visiting some of the charming historical towns and views along rivers like the Meuse and Lesse. Another 2 days would properly allow for outdoor recreation like hiking forested trails, biking backroads or kayaking waterways. Extending to 5 days would provide time for exploring regional World War II history sites or touring an underground cave system as well.

Is it worth to visit the Ardennes?

Yes, it is definitely worth visiting the Belgium's Ardennes as the region offers plenty of rewarding places to visit within its landscape of rolling wooded hills, winding river valleys, limestone cliffs and outdoor recreational access. The small villages provide local culture, regional culinary flavors and historical allure worth discovering. And few other areas so close to central Europe preserve such extensive natural wilderness vistas. The remote beauty and variety of sights make the Ardennes a worthwhile Belgian destination for nature and culture interests.

How to get to the Ardennes?

How to get around in the ardennes.

As mentioned above, the easiest way to get around the Ardennes is by car as a car allows you to visit every village, local producer, and sight with ease. If traveling by car isn't an option for you, check here for train routes in the whole of the Ardennes. If you want to travel by bus, TEC is the company that operates the local bus lines in the Belgian Ardennes. For Luxembourg, check the Mobilitéitszentral . I haven't found any solid info on local, small-scale bus transportation in the French Ardennes so if anybody knows more about this, feel free to let me know in the comments!


Ardennes Pinterest image

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Dominique Love says

This is one of the best travel blogs I’ve found.

I’m in the hospitality industry and have been coordinating a massive weekend in the Ardennes for my birthday. Our group is 75 strong coming from the States. I studied in the Ardennes many years ago and wanted to share the beauty of the region with my friends. Although I know enough to get me in trouble, this blog gave me the best food and beverage ideas for our group. I had been searching and searching for special experiences and then I landed here and it was pure gold! Thank you!!

Thanks so much for letting me know you found it useful, Dominique! I hope you have a wonderful trip!

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The Ardennes

ardennes belgium best places to visit

The Ardennes, situated in the south-east of Belgium, are one of nature's unspoilt areas, rich in fauna and flora, with vast forests of broadleaf and fir, hills and fast flowing rivers. Visitors can wander through the many picturesque villages nestling in the valleys where traditions and folklore still live on, and where the region's arts and crafts can be enjoyed.

Springtime in the Ardennes is the season for walking, cycling, fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Horse riding, climbing and mountain biking are other examples of popular sports in the Ardennes. The keen mountaineer has an exciting choice of challenges. In Winter, the Ardennes are a fun paradise for downhill and cross country skiers, or perhaps you prefer tobogganing and snow scooter racing. There is action, even underground. Some of the caves are certainly worth a visit.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Amongst the greenery lie the silent witnesses of the past of the Ardennes, such as castles, forts and citadels. They come to life again during special events and displays where knights and their shield bearers turn the neighbourhood into a battlefield.

There are accommodation facilities to fit every budget. There is a choice of holiday cottages, shared accommodation, chalets and 'bed-and-breakfast' accommodation. Alternatively, why not spend the night in a beautifully stored castle?

The office for the promotion of tourism 

The heading 'Ardennes ' on the web site Visit Wallonia  is a rich source of information and inspiration for the tourist who is looking for a relaxing holiday in the south of Belgium: river tourism, nature reserves, regional produce, caves, golf, sport, taking a cure, cycling trips, brochures and lots more.

The most beautiful villages

Discover the most beautiful villages in the Walloon province on the Beaux Villages web site. You will first get a brief description of around twenty picturesque villages and then a virtual foretaste and photographs. Tips for hungry stomachs, overnight accommodation options and general information complete the site.

Tourism attractions

The Tourist Attractions web site, makes it easy for you to organise your trip perfectly. Every attraction on the website has a complete, information page.

Cyclists and hikers will find a network of green and safe routes on the 'Ravel of the Walloon region' website (fr).

ardennes belgium best places to visit

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The must-see culture and heritage

Majestic Place Ducale in Charleville-Mézières

The fortified castle of sedan, the largest in europe, war and peace museum.

  • Rocroi, the starry city

In the footsteps of Rimbaud

Nature and leisure essentials

The Meuse Cycle Route/EuroVelo 19

The loop of the meuse at monthermé.

  • The Rocks of the 4 Aymon Sons
  • The Roc la Tour

Old Forges Lake

  • Lake Bairon

The Ardennes on video

Explore the Ardennes on video

Facing the impressive Monthermé loop

One Ardennes, 3 countries

ardennes belgium best places to visit

By motorhome in the Ardennes

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Cycling in the Ardennes

On foot in the Ardennes

On foot in the Ardennes

Pleasure in the Ardennes

On the water in the Ardennes

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Mountain biking in the Ardennes

ardennes belgium best places to visit

On a motorcycle in the Ardennes

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Ardenne Ecotourism for responsible holidays

  • Find your accommodation
  • Restaurants

Nature leisure activities

  • Cultural visits
  • Well-being in the Ardennes
  • Gastronomy and terroir
  • Pratical information

Meditation at Roc la Tour

The Roc la Tour site in Monthermé - © Les Droners

The great nature escape

Couple Place Ducale

Place Ducale in Charleville-Mézières - © David Truillard

Let yourself be surprised

Inspiration Loop of the Meuse in Monthermé

The Meuse loop at Monthermé - © Les Droners

Rejuvenate in nature

ardennes belgium best places to visit

The fortified castle of Sedan - © Laetis

Step into history

ardennes belgium best places to visit

The South Ardennes Greenway - © David Truillard

On the way to freedom

Wild boar

The Ardennes wild boar - © Denis Mignon

Closer to animals

Paddle on the Lac des Vieilles-Forges

The Vieilles-Forges Lake - © Les Droners

For a moment of serenity

The ardennes.


Lake of Vieilles-Forges


On the water

A motorcycle

Hiking in the Ardennes

In the Ardennes, walking is a pleasure, nature an undisputed queen. One-day walk or multi-day roaming, you will find your happiness here for hiking.

Hiking in the Ardennes

The road to Santiago de Compostela

ardennes belgium best places to visit

From the Ardennes massif to the forests of the Argonne or the valleys of the Thiérache, the Ardennes offer lovers of cycling a playground accessible to all. For the more athletic, the Ardennes massif also offers beautiful mountain biking circuits.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

The South-Ardennes Greenway

The Meuse by bike

The Meuse by bike

Pénichette on the Canal des Ardennes

Water is an important component of the Ardennes department. Rivers, rivers and lakes dot the landscape and offer a range of recreational and sporting activities.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

The lakes in the Ardennes

Pénichette on the Canal des Ardennes

River tourism

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Small roads full of greenery and bends, circuits designed especially for bikers and a label that guarantees bikers a welcome adapted to their needs... Bikers, you are welcome in the Ardennes!

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Rimbaud-Verlaine road

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Bikers welcome, the Ardennes by motorbike

Prepare your stay....

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Unusual accommodation

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Bed & Breakfasts

Tree climbing park Le Chêne Perché

All our offers

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Gastronomy & terroir

There are many opportunities to get together and celebrate life in the Ardennes. Its soil is rich, tasty and the Ardennes people are friendly. Sharing is their watchword. Welcome to the Ardennes, a world of tastes and good food where life is good.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

The fortified castle of Sedan

All our highlights All the events

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Highlights 2024

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Beer festival in Charleville-Mézières

ardennes belgium best places to visit

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Long exposure of stunning and popular waterfalls in the Belgian Ardennes, Waterfalls of Coo, province of Liege, Wallonia, Belgium. Beautiful nature and sunny day.

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The Ardennes

If you’re looking for outdoor activities, fresh air and greenery, head for Belgium’s southeastern corner. Here you’ll find meandering rivers that are ideal for low-intensity kayaking. A whole series of dramatic cave systems have been sensitively equipped for visitors. Forested hills and deep valleys shelter appealing small towns topped by picture-perfect castle ruins. And in midwinter the slopes that edge the Hautes Fagnes fenlands might get enough snow to offer a weekend or two of skiing. As winter comes towards its end, the fabulous carnivals of Stavelot, Malmédy and Eupen burst with revelry. OK, so some of the Meuse Valley cities look dauntingly grimy, but scratch the surface and you'll find history, great hospitality and a wealth of attractions hiding history beneath the careworn exteriors.


Must-see attractions.

Château de Bouillon

Château de Bouillon

Slouching like a great grey dragon high on Bouillon's central rocky ridge, Belgium’s finest feudal castle-ruin harks back to AD 988, but it's especially…

Bastogne War Museum

Bastogne War Museum

This highly recommended modern museum takes you into the heart of WWII, with an audio guide featuring four imagined voices of civilian and military…

Blégny Mine

Blégny Mine

For one of the best industrial-experience tours you'll find anywhere, don a hard hat, jump in the cage lift and descend through a pitch-black moment into…

La Chocolaterie Darcis

La Chocolaterie Darcis

Playing a 21st-century Willy Wonka, one of Belgium’s foremost chocolatiers has turned his modern factory into a superb interactive museum experience. Walk…

Fourneau St-Michel

Fourneau St-Michel

Some 10km north of St-Hubert towards attractive Nassogne village, Fourneau St-Michel is a superb open-air museum featuring around 50 historic buildings…

Grand Curtius

Grand Curtius

Splendid Grand Curtius unites four disparate museum collections in the former mansion-warehouse of a 16th-century Liège arms dealer. The building's red…

Église St-Jacques

Église St-Jacques

Arguably Liège's most fascinating church, this architectural hotchpotch was founded in 1015 and retains a heavily patched-up 1170 west end whose…

Liège-Guillemins Train Station

Liège-Guillemins Train Station

Liège's main train station, around 2km south of the centre, is an incredible 2009 icon designed by Santiago Calatrava. Great for semi-abstract landscape…

Purchase our award-winning guidebooks

Get to the heart of The Ardennes with one of our in-depth, award-winning guidebooks, covering maps, itineraries, and expert guidance.

The Ardennes and beyond

View from the stairway of the Montagne de Bueren downwards to the city center of Liege, Belgium

Paulina on the road

Perfect Weekend Breaks in Belgium: The Ardennes

By Author Paulina

Posted on Published: June 7, 2018  - Last updated: January 25, 2024

How to spend the perfect weekend break in Belgium

A guide to the best things to do in Ardennes, Belgium on a weekend break

I am a huge fan of weekend breaks! Who isn’t, right?

It’s just the perfect way to discover the surroundings of your current base. It’s not only a way of slow traveling but also to travel in a more sustainable way.    

Now that I am back in my home country, Luxembourg , I love to discover its surroundings with “ new ” eyes. In the end, even home countries can satisfy the chronic wanderlust of a frenetic traveler like me. Luckily there are a lot of great day trips from Luxembourg .

short breaks to belgium, overlooking a village in ardennes

Let me take you on a weekend break, right across the Luxembourgish border. To the green lung of Belgium: the Ardennes ! A region that will make every foodie’s and outdoor lover’s heart beat faster!

Belgium seems to have something to satisfy any traveler’s needs. Bruges ’ the most romantic town in Europe (for me), Brussels has the urban lifestyle, the coast is for relaxation seekers, Antwerp for fashionistas, Liege for the off-the-beaten-track traveler…

I have become a convert for cheap weekend breaks to Belgium! Whenever I can, I take one of these short breaks to Belgium to explore further.

The good news is that there are many options for short breaks in Belgium, especially in Ardennes, so you can sample this unique country.

If you’re not sure where to start, you can find some tremendous Belgian Ardennes vacation packages. But read on for inspiration!

Find all locations on a map at the end of the post!

I have been a guest of Ardennes Marketing. All my opinions, as always, are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you buy through them, I will earn a small commission that will help me run this blog. All opinions are always mine. Thanks a lot!

Where to stay in ardennes, belgium.

belgium weekend break, sitting along the river in ardennes

There are plenty of Ardennes vacation rentals available. However, if you’re looking for a Belgian Ardennes hotel, here are my top recommendations!

THE Place to Stay in Ardennes, Belgium

  Le Florentin (spacious, luxury rooms with selected interior design)

Woodstone Hotel Au Coeur de Lacuisine Hotel Le Barbouillon

Hotel Panorama Château de Grandvoir (stay in a real castle) Le Gastronome

Hotel Sanglier des Ardennes Hostellerie Le Prieuré De Conques Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III Hotel des Ardennes

Table of Contents

1. Torgny, the most beautiful village in Ardennes, Belgium

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When you enter Torgny in the Gaume region, also known as the southernmost village of Belgium, you might feel like in Southern France for a second.

Nestled in one of the most remote, southern corners in Belgium, close to the French border, Torgny is famous for its Mediterranean-like charm. 

Indeed, the hand-hewn stones, colorful flowers growing along the ochre-colored house fronts with their red curved tiles, rather remind Southern France than Wallonia, Belgium. 

But Torgny is not only reminiscent of the Mediterranean by the outside, but it also boasts a very particular micro-climate that allows the cultivation of wines.   

The best way to explore and enjoy the beauty of Torgny is by strolling around and absorbing the Mediterranean vibe.

I loved to see how only 200 inhabitants cherish their village, and each house front is covered by a different type and color of flowers. 

Torgny can also be visited by day trip from Brussels .

Book here your Ardennes tours

weekend trips to belgium, window with white shutters in ardennes

Exploring Torgny feels like traveling back in time within one of these classical Southern French movies. Just a perfect way to spend your weekend in Belgium. 

If you can’t get enough of cute, picturesque villages, you might want to visit more villages bearing the label “ Wallonia’s Most Beautiful Villages ” such as Celles,  Clermont-sur-Berwinne, Crupet, Laforêt, Nobressart, Ny, Ragnies, Soiron, Sosoye, Soulme or Wéris .

Without any doubt, Durbuy completes this list of the most beautiful villages in Belgium.

Avoid tourist traps and get the “ Belgium Like a Local ” itinerary. – Get it  here .

visit ardennes belgium, beer glass on table

2. Hiking in Ardennes, Belgium

weekend break belgium, walking through the woods in ardennes, belgium

The Ardennes region in the Belgian Luxembourg province is heaven for hiking and trekking lovers. In case you love well-indicated trails leading through lush green, dense forests, Ardennes will be like your playground. It’s one of the best hiking places in Belgium .

Indeed, the region is very variated when it comes to landscapes as high plateaus contrast with picturesque valleys created by the rivers Ourthe, Semois, Salm , or Lesse.  

Hundreds of well-maintained trails adaptable for every level make it very hard to choose only one. The longest and most famous trails are the  Transardenneaise , the Transgaumaise-Trans Semoisienne , or the Escapardenne-Eisleck Trail connecting Belgium to Luxembourg .

This trail can also be done if you are based in Brussels since it is one of the best hiking trails near Brussels .

weekend trip to belgium, hiking in ardennes

We didn’t go for any of these super long hikes (we wanted to see as much as possible from the Ardennes in one weekend). Instead we opted for the playful trail “ Sentier des Fees ” (“The Trail of the Fairies”) between Virton and Etalle  (at the parking of Croix Rouge crossing, see map below) in the Gaume region below the Ardennes.

Indeed, the setting reminded me of an enchanted forest and I wouldn’t be surprised to spot a little fairy… The trail is about 1.5 km and leads through a magical forest, with curious rock formations, home to the fairies of course.

During the summer months, thematic trails are organized for kids (and supposed grown-ups like me) where a fairy will guide you through the enchanted woods and you’ll need to meet certain challenges to work for the fairies.

But the Ardennes region cannot only be explored by foot but also by bike , by horse or following the routes of former stagecoaches . It’s simply a paradise for people that enjoy traveling slow and sustainable.

You can find here a selection with the most popular hikes in the Ardennes, Wallonia .

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3. Visit Orval Abbey in Ardennes, Belgium

weekend breaks to belgium, walking around orval abbey

You can’t leave the Ardennes region in southern Belgium without having visited at least one of its legendary Trappist abbeys.  

Not only are all of them absolutely stunning attractions and spiritual retreats, but they also produce delicious food and the world-wide coveted Trappist beers. 

There are a few Trappist abbeys in the Belgian Luxembourg province, but we opted to visit the imposing Orval abbey in the Gaume region, south of the Ardennes . Surrounded by lush forests, Orval Abbey is close to the French corner and one of the remotest corners of Belgium. It’s an absolute oasis of peace, tranquility and spirituality. 

Supporting the Cistercian regulations, the monastery boasts a cheese factory, bakery and confectionery. All of their products can be found in the restaurants or grocery shops in the Ardennes region. 

belgium weekend break, standing inside the orval abbey

The roots of Orval abbey go back to 1070 when it was founded by Benedictine monks. Later on in 1132, the abbey was incorporated into the Cistercian Order. Many locals gave their lands to the monastery hoping for the eternal prayer of the community.

Slowly, Orval Abbey became one of the richest monasteries in southern Belgium.

However, wars and fires disrupted the routine several times. After the passage of the French Revolutionaries, the abbey was left abandoned for over a century. It simply became uninhabitable due to the massive destruction. 

The old abbey was used as a stone quarry as long as it was seen worth to be protected by the Belgian government. Soon, the territory was sold again to the Cistercian Order and became a new home for French monks.

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I particularly liked the contrast of the old, medieval ruins with the modern, imposing abbey which boasts gorgeous Art Deco details. Monks came back to Orval in 1927 and they follow the spiritual traditions of the Trappist Order until today. 

Only a part of Orval abbey can be visited as several patios and buildings are restricted to the monks and accommodated guests at the guesthouse. Guests can even eat together with the monks and the meals are often prepared with Orval beer and the delicious Orval cheese. I’d might start thinking to do a retreat at Orval abbey…

Other Trappist abbeys in southern Belgium that are open to the public (and brew delicious artisan, Trappist beer) are Abbey of Our Lady of Scourmont in Chimay, and Abbey of Our Lady of Saint-Rémy in Rochefort. Visiting Trappist abbeys is just the perfect road trip for your weekend in Belgium. 

Don’t forget to stop by at one of the 2 restaurants ( À l’Ange Gardien and L’Hostellerie d’Orval ) near the abbey to taste some typical Belgian meals prepared with Orval cheese and beer. 

Avoid tourist traps and get the “ Belgium Like a Local ” itinerary. Get it  here .

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4. Trappist Beer Tasting in Ardennes, Belgium

cheap weekend breaks to belgium, beer tasting in orval

Of course, you cannot visit Belgium without tasting (at least) one of its world-famous Trappist beers.

The Belgian Luxembourg province boast several small and larger breweries producing high-quality beers like l’Ardwen, la Woinic, la Cuvée d’Arthur, la Margoulette, la Sedane, l’Oubliette…

However, the most intriguing beer productions are the Trappist beers that are only produced in monasteries.

Only 12 beers in the world can bear the label “Trappist”: the beers of A chel, Chimay, La Trappe, Orval, Mont des Cats, Rochefort, Westvleteren, Westmalle, Mont des Cats  Stift Engelszell, Zundert (NL), Spencer (USA) and Tre Fontane (IT). Most of them are thus produced in Belgium.

In order to be a Trappist beer, the breweries need to respect strict standards when it comes to production, advertising, and communication.

The beer must be produced within the walls of a Trappist abbey, either by monks or under their supervision. 

Spiritual life should still be more important than the beer production and the brewery shouldn’t be a profit-making venture. The income from the beers should cover the production fees, expenses of the monks, and maintain the buildings and ground of the abbey. All the rest is supposed to go into charity, social welfare , and people in need of help.

things to do in the ardennes belgium, beer and cheese tasting in orval

When it comes to marketing, the advertising language of the beers should be marked by honesty and modesty and with respect to the religious setting of the beer production.

As we visited Orval abbey, we couldn’t leave without a Trappist beer and cheese tasting at the À l’Ange Gardien which served us 3 kinds of Orval beers and 3 different Orval kinds of cheese . A delight!

Orval beer was first brewed in 1931 by a brewmaster originally from Bavaria. It has a fruity note with a little bitter hint. The brewing process only uses spring water, hop cones, barley malt, candy sugar, and the special Trappist yeast.

The special characters in the Orval beer production are the 2 stages in the brewery process.

First, in the brewing room, a large quantity of very fine hops are added, creating the famous bitter taste and is the reason why the beer keeps for a longer period of time. In a second stage, hops are once again added. These 2 stages produce the very characteristic Orval aroma.

The Orval beer makes a great match with the Trappist cheese from the Abbey, an uncooked, semi-soft cheese , with a natural washed rind. It is not very strong in taste, but characteristic, thus it appeals to a large public. Just the perfect way to enjoy your weekend break in Belgium.

Orval beer and cheese can be enjoyed in the surrounding shops and restaurants of Orval abbey. However, the restaurants next to the abbey created a unique menu card incorporating Orval cheese and beer in their pasta, meat dishes, or even their desserts! It’s the perfect stop after visiting the abbey.

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5. Bouillon Castle

breaks to belgium, view from the bouillon castle

The town of Bouillon will immediately enchant you by its fairytale setting . It is one of my favorite places to visit for Belgium short breaks.

Located along the Semois river, this charming town with its towering castle on a rock, boasts an impressive history that goes back to the medieval ages.  

Indeed, the castle of Bouillon was first mentioned in 988, and still today, it impacts its size and good condition.

In 1082, Bouillon Castle was inherited by Godfrey of Bouillon , who sold it to the Bishop of Liège in order to finance the first crusade. The castle was later fitted for heavy artillery by Vauban, Louis XIV’s military architect in the late 17th century. 

In order to have the best view of the castle , I recommend taking the road to Le Panorama. If you want to enjoy a view on the backside of the castle, you should take the road down to the gothic bridge from 1935 on the Semois river in order to admire the castle in all its beauty.

Sitting on the old bridge and being surrounded by lush forests just made me feel like a fairytale. 

Bouillon Castle, one of the prettiest Belgian castles , is open to visitors and the entrance fee includes a falcon and owl show . A treasure hunt can be organized upon request. Visiting the Bouillon Castle is definitely a highlight of your weekend break in Belgium.  

Schedules and opening times depend on the time of the year you want to visit.

Related: The best hotel in Bouillon

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6. Town Center of Bouillon, Belgium

visiting the ardennes belgium, view of bouillon

After visiting the castle, you shouldn’t leave Bouillon immediately! The charming city center of Bouillon is perfect for strolling around and along its river.

And of course, enjoy Belgian cuisine in one of its numerous restaurants. In fact, Bouillon is perfect for a foodie day trip !

Also known as the “pearl of the Semois” river, Bouillon is one of the most important tourist attractions in the Belgian province of Luxembourg.  

For those that are interested in the medieval past of Bouillon, I recommend visiting the Musée Ducal who boasts a dedicated section to the crusades and the architectural evolution of Bouillon castle.  

When in the city center of Bouillon, you’ll pass along the Liege Bridge , which was the first structure to be built over the Semois River.

It was part of an important trade route connecting Verdun and Liege. No wonder that the town is often considered as one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium .

If you hope to stay in Bouillon when you visit Ardennes, Belgium, I recommend the Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** , one of the prettiest hotels in Bouillon.

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Following the Semois river to the north, you’ll also pass along the stronghold of French-Brittany which is part of the remaining ruins of the city fortification.

It is a particularly picturesque place located near the river which invites you to sit down for a moment and enjoy the place in all its beauty.  

I particularly liked how different each quarter of Bouillon was. There’s the old town, right below the castle which has vast streets, open plazas, and bright colored houses.

Then, right next to it, you’ll find yourself in the Quartier de Bretagne (Brittany Neighbourhood) where soldiers from Brittany used to live.

They were in charge of the protection of the town in the 17th century. The houses have a very particular style and it is the perfect place to relax.  

image 0 1 7 4 - Perfect Weekend Breaks in Belgium: The Ardennes

7.  Chocolate Tasting in Ardennes, Belgium

why you need a weekend break in ardennes belgium, chocolate tasting

Chocolate is the undoubted star in Belgium. It doesn’t matter the region or the town, you’ll always find a shop selling the most creative chocolate creations. A chocolate tasting is definitely a must-do on your weekend break to Belgium. 

Even though most Maitre Chocolatiers are located in the larger Belgian towns such as Brussels , Antwerp or Bruges , the Ardennes, and the Gaume region boasts several chocolate makers as well.

READ: Where to Eat Traditional Food in Brussels

I visited Les Chocolats D’Edouard , Chocolat Consultant, and ice-cream maker in Florenville, aka the man that you need in your life . And, dear readers, after this visit, I see chocolate and ice-cream with different eyes . There’s a before and after having tasted the ice-creams of Edouard.  

Following living for 8 years in Italy, where Edouard needed to adapt his knowledge about Belgian chocolates to the Italian public. After working in Turkey and Lebanon, he came back to Florenville where he opened his shop, tea-room, and atelier.

Visiting Edouard is not about eating, but about “ giving yourself a pleasure ”. From the tea-room, you have a direct into the atelier where Edouard’s team is preparing tasteful delicacies. 

weekend breaks belgium, sitting down for ice cream at Edouard Maitre Chocolatier

But first, let’s talk about chocolate! Edouard prepares his creative chocolate creations with only the best and finest ingredients. Quality and selection standards are very high.

He generally prefers the combination of 1 or 2 high-quality ingredients than mixing 10 of less quality. His creations are real and surprising in taste. Eating chocolate at Edouard’s is like going back to the origins of chocolate making. 

Edouard’s chocolates are creative but not daring. It’s all about the absolute quality standard of the primary ingredients.

The combination of the finest cocoa and top ingredients from all over the world results in such alluring creations like melting praliné with rosemary, chocolate with violet flowers, black chocolate with black tea from China, and with a hint of pear and hazelnut.

The one that will definitely leave you speechless is his Gianduja with the finest hazelnuts from Piemont. When it slowly melts in your mouth, you’ll get an idea what heaven must taste like. 

If heaven tastes like chocolate, paradise must have the flavour of Edouard’s ice-cream ! Edouard learned the art of ice-cream making in Italy and nowadays he gives lessons at the University of Ice-Cream in Bologna! And trust me, eating ice-cream will never be the same again after having tasted Edouard’s Black Chocolate or Madagascar Vanilla Ice-cream!

His artisan sorbets are a refreshing and light mix of fruits like pineapple, mango, and banana or pineapple, mango and basilic!

Edouard shares his god-like knowledge with anybody who’s interested in doing a workshop at his atelier. Here, you’ll learn about the fine art of combining flavors with chocolate and the history of chocolate production. Tailor-made workshops are available upon request.  

Edouard will be one of the reasons why you should include Florenville in any Ardenne, Belgium itinerary. And even if it means a detour, I would run miles for his ice-creams!!

LES CHOCOLATS D’EDOUARD Place Albert 1er, 36 B-6820 Florenville

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8. Visit Ardennes Sausage Factory and Tasting

belgium short breaks, sausage tasting in orval

You’ll leave never Belgium being hungry! Especially the Ardennes region is famous for its hearty and delicious food.

But the Belgian Luxembourg province has something more to offer than only beer and chocolate: le Saucisson d’Ardenne , the Ardennes Sausage. You just can’t miss tasting them on your perfect weekend in Belgium. 

Recently recognized as a protected geographic product, the Ardennes sausage is a dry sausage with pork or mixed pork and beef meat. After being minced and spiced, the meat is stuffed into the natural gut.

It’s then fermented and smoked with beech and oak wood and finally dried. The main characteristic of the Ardennes sausage is its pronounced smoked taste. 

In fact, the Ardennes sausage was only created by the producers of Ardennes ham to enhance its by-products. 

The other star of Ardennes’ meat production is the Ardennes Ham which is obtained from the pig’s hind leg by immersion into saltwater, dry salting or rubbing with salt, maturing in cold storage and finally being smoked using different wood types. In order to wear the label, the meat must be produced in the Belgian province of Luxembourg. 

Several factories can be visited, but we opted for the Salaisons G. Blaise (G. Blaise Saltings) in Florenville founded in 1910. The craft of salting meat is family-run since three generations. The mid-scale factory is specialized in high-quality artisan products based upon traditional methods and recipes. 

Blaise Salaisons produces Ardennes ham, pâtés, regional specialties , a

nd, of course, the Ardennes sausage. I particularly liked the creative variations of the traditional sausage by adding Orval beer, shallots, or even honey. 

But the best of the Blaise Salaisons is definitely the power ladies behind this business! Indeed, the business is managed by women for 60 years!

You can still greet Andree , the wife of the founder aged 96, at her butcher shop where she follows her passion for selling top quality, artisan products. Stephanie , Andree’s granddaughter, is running the company today with her aunt.

She also manages Le Florentin Hotel and a few shops in the region. A real business lady to look up to!

Visits can be arranged as part of your stay in the Le Florentin *** or upon request here .

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9.  Canoe Ride on Semois River

short break in ardennes belgium, kayaking down semois river

The Ardennes region offers a wide range of possibilities for those that are looking for a more active getaway. You can choose among equestrian excursions, skiing (in winter), golf, swimming and climbing activities.

But is there a more relaxing and enchanting way to enjoy Ardenne’s beauty than by canoe ? While there are several routes on different rivers that can be explored by canoe, we went from Poupehan to Frahan with Semois Kayaks .

Semois Kayaks  also rents kayaks, Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUP), and pedalos . Kayak and canoes routes can be adapted to your needs upon request.

It is an easy ride of 1 hour (there’s the option to do 4 hours as well) which will let you immerse in Ardenne’s beautiful natural landscapes . I did the ride with my sister and it was the perfect opportunity to chat while enjoying the absolutely relaxing movement of our boat. A canoe ride makes any weekend trips to Belgium even more relaxing.

After your ride, you might want to enjoy a refreshing bath while you wait for Kayak Semois’ pick-up service. Followed by some crunchy French fries or a Belgian chocolate ice-cream at their friterie in Poupehan.

If you don’t want to rent a kayak, you can bring your own whitewater inflatable kayak .

Check rates here

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10.  Food in the Ardennes, Belgium

weekend breaks in ardennes belgium, plate of belgium food

In case you might still be hungry, you should also try other typical dishes from the Ardennes. The lands of the Belgian Province de Luxembourg have very rich soil which makes it easy to grow a large variety of vegetables and Northern European fruits.

The large forests gave birth to a long tradition of wild game meals and the rivers teem with fish like trout, carp, and perch.

You can’t miss indulging typical Belgian food during your weekend break in Belgium.

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Other typical meals (some of them can be found in other parts of Belgium too )  that you need to try when visiting the Ardennes region are:

  • French Fries: The best ones are sold in a traditional friterie . These fry shops can be anything from a small truck or established restaurant with a dining room. They also serve all kinds of other deep-fried food ( frikandels, currywurst, bitterballen , chicken skewers…), but the main star of the kitchen is the crispy French fries. What makes Belgian fries so different? The perfect fry is two-fold! The potato must be soft and fried twice. You can choose among a large variety of sauces in any friterie
  • Boterhammen / Tartines : Slices of rustic bread and an uncovered spread, often pâté or soft cheese, typically accompanied by a glass of beer
  • Filet américain: One of my favorite Belgian meals. Finely minced ground beef eaten raw and cold. Usually served with fries. When served as a dinner, it is mixed with onions and capers like steak tartare , but it retains the name américain . You can optionally add chopped onions, mayonnaise, Tabasco, egg yolk, capers, salt, and a bunch of other things.
  • Blood sausage: Type of meat sausage mixed with blood and breadcrumbs. Even if the mention of ‘blood’ might scare you from this, but you should give it a try! It can be served grilled, sauteed, barbecued or eaten raw and best served with potatoes and apple sauce.
  • Wild game terrine with mushrooms
  • Pâté gaumais:  Pâté with pork meat, wine and herbs
  • Pikes and trouts
  • Gratinated endives with ham and Bechamel sauce

Where to enjoy Belgian food in the Ardennes region:

More elaborated Belgian cuisine: Le Florentin L’Auberge de Rochehaut

Traditional Belgium food: Friterie La Grignotte La Vieille Ferme Chez Betty

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11. Visit Durbuy, the smallest town in the world

radadesh durbuy things to do

If you’re looking for a short weekend break, Belgium is home Durbuy, the smallest town in the world. But don’t worry, it still has some great things to do. Plus, isn’t it just cool to say you visited the smallest town in the world?

The top site in Durbuy is the Castle, which seems to take up half the city and has an interesting history. There is also the nearby Topiary Park, a must for anyone who loves beautiful gardens and unique green spaces.

If you can, I recommend a visit near Christmas, as there is an abundance of things to do in Durbuy during winter , including one of the best Christmas markets in Belgium .

12. Visit the Bastogne War Museum

It’s hard to imagine a weekend trip to Belgium without visiting the Bastogne War Museum. This is an essential spot in the Ardennes, Belgium for history buffs.

The museum is dedicated to the Belgian Ardennes role in WWII, and focuses on the Battle of the Bulge. In case you’re unfamiliar, this was the last major German offensive on the Western Front during WWII. The Allies won and it was an important victory.

13. Go Hiking in Ourthe Valley

hiking in belgium

Some of the best weekend breaks to Belgium are for hiking. And hiking in Ourthe Valley is definitely a great reason to visit Ardennes, Belgium!

The Ourthe is a 165 kilometre long river that runs through Ardennes, Belgium. Naturally, the hikes along it are stunning! Of course, if hiking isn’t your thing, then you can also cycle or canoe Ardennes.

No wonder that the area is considered home to some of the best hiking trails in Belgium .

14. Enjoy a Trappist Beer in Chimay

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Absolutely no Ardennes, Belgium weekend break is complete without a beer tasting in Chimay. Just make sure to check into a nearby Belgian Ardennes hotel so there’s no need to drive home afterwards.

The Chimay Brewery has been owned and operated by the monks as the Scourmont Abbey since 1862. However, most the local pubs and restaurants also serve Chimay. If you like cheese, make sure to ask for a Chimay cheese, as well – also made the abbey.

And yes, the monks can drink, so they know their product is worth the hype!

15. Do a day trip to Liege

day tip to liege, belgium

A great Ardennes weekend option is a day (or overnight) trip to Liege. This city isn’t for everyone, but I enjoyed my time here. 

If you arrive by train, you’ll be blown away by the giant, curved silver ceiling that welcomes you to Liege. From there, wander through the picturesque city center and check out some of the best things to do in Liege .

The number one must do is to enjoy a Liege waffle! Liege waffles have rounded edges, and while you can find them throughout Belgium, they originated here!

If you can, I highly recommend a visit to the High Fens Nature Reserve, a marshland area just outside of Liege in lower Ardennes.

Why visit the Ardennes, Belgium?

the ardennes belgium, green shuttered house in ardennes

In that sense, Ardennes  and the southern Gaume region, in southern Wallonia, is for outdoor and nature enthusiasts . And foodies ( the common point of all Belgian regions )! If you need a short break, Belgium will impress you, and the Ardennes is ideal for weekend breaks.

Ardennes, also spelled “Ardenne”, is a region of extensive forests, hills and enchanting rock creations covering most of the Belgian provinces of Namur, Liege , and Luxembourg .

It also stretches well into Germany and France. This post will mainly focus on the southernmost part of the Ardennes region: the Belgian Luxembourg province.  

Where is the Belgian Luxembourg province in the Ardennes?

The main towns of the Belgian Luxembourg province, the south of the Wallonia region (le Luxembourg Belge), are Durbuy , Bouillon , Bastogne, and Arlon, the provincial capital. For this weekend break itinerary, I mostly recommend sites in the western part of the Belgian Luxembourg province. 

You might wonder how the Belgian Luxembourg province ended up having the same name as the bordering Grand Duchy of Luxembourg ? Well, the territory of the Belgian province used to be part of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg until 1839.

However, the western, French-speaking region became part of a new country – Belgium, while the Germanic-speaking part became the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.  

As the Ardennes region is mostly covered by large, dense forests with the Semois and Ourthe rivers creating almost fairy-tale-like landscapes, the area is particularly coveted among outdoor and nature lovers. Tourism in the Ardennes is still small-scale and ecologically minded.  

Make sure to stop from time to time in one of its countless restaurants and enjoy the food from its local producers. 

I hope some of these, admittedly very personal, highlights of my visit to Ardennes Region in southern Belgium could convince you to include the region in your travel plans. Hopefully if you are considering a short break, Belgium is now on your radar!

Have you been to the Ardennes, Belgium? Did you enjoy it? I would love to hear about the things you loved (or loved less) in the comment form. 

⚘  Avoid tourist traps  and get the “ Belgium Like a Local ” itinerary. It’s 9,99€ only. Get it  here

Map: Highlights of Ardennes, Belgium

weekend breaks in belgium, things to do in ardennes

Where is Ardennes, Belgium?

It is a region of southeast Belgium, and extends into France, Germany and Luxembourg.

Where to stay in Ardennes, Belgium?

There are many great options for where to stay in Ardennes, Belgium, but my number one recommendation is Le Florentin in Florenville.

What are the most beautiful villages of Wallonia?

The Wallonia villages often listed as most beautiful are Celles, Clermont-sur-Berwinne, Crupet, Laforêt, Nobressart, Ny, Ragnies, Soiron, Sosoye, Soulme, Torgny or Wéris. My personal favorite is Torgny. Although it is technically a city, I also include Durbuy on this list as it is the size of a village!

the perfect weekend break in belgium the ardennes natural paradise near the luxembourg border for hikings trekking and cycling beer tastings medieval abbeys and belgian chocolate belgium chocolate belgian ardennes - Perfect Weekend Breaks in Belgium: The Ardennes

Hola! I’m Paulina, a seasoned travelette who crossed the Atlantic Ocean by Boat HitchHiking. On my blog, find expert insights for an extraordinary holiday through outdoor and sustainable travel like hiking, cycling, and sailing. Let’s embark on unforgettable journeys together! 🌍🚀

ardennes belgium best places to visit

The Ardennes Travel Guide

Belgium’s Ardennes region, situated in the south-eastern part of the country, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by nature and adventure enthusiasts. The picturesque landscape, lush forests, winding rivers, and rolling hills make it an idyllic destination for anyone seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Table of Contents

Quick planning guide

Ardennes accommodation.

  • Hotels and B&B’s via
  • Holiday Homes via Belvilla
  • Campsites via ASCI Eurocampings

Most popular destinations

  • Durbuy area
  • Dinant area
  • Bouillon area
  • Language : French
  • Public Transport : Trains by NMBS , Busses by TEC

Location and geography

Ardennes map

The Ardennes region start in France and stretches out over the south east of Wallonia towards Germany. The Belgian Ardennes spans over 3 Walloon provinces; Namur , Luxembourg and Liège.  The city of Namur is considered the central gateway to the Ardennes due it’s strategical location at the junction of the rivers Sambre and Meuse, whilst Liège forms the eastern gateway.

Popular Destinations in The Ardennes

ardennes belgium best places to visit

A city located in the province of Namur, Dinant is known for its citadel, which offers stunning views of the Meuse river. The city is also home to a number of other historical attractions, including the church of Notre-Dame, the castle of Dinant, and the statue of Adolphe Sax.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

A small and picturesque town located in the province of Luxembourg, Durbuy is known as “the smallest town in the world”. It is a popular destination for tourists, who come to enjoy its medieval architecture, narrow streets, and charming atmosphere. The town is also home to a number of restaurants and cafes, as well as a number of shops selling local crafts.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

A town located in the province of Luxembourg, Bouillon is known for its medieval castle, which is one of the largest and most impressive in Belgium. The town is also home to a number of other historical attractions, including the church of Saint-Christophe, the ramparts of Bouillon, and the ruins of the abbey of Clairefontaine.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

La Roche en Ardenne

A town located in the province of Luxembourg, La-Roche-en-Ardenne is known for its medieval castle. The town is also home to a number of other historical attractions, including the church of Saint-Nicolas, the ramparts of La-Roche-en-Ardenne, and the ruins of the abbey of Saint-Hubert.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

A town located in the province of Liège, Vielsalm is known for its beautiful scenery, which includes the Ardennes forests and the lakes of the region.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

The High Fens

A high plateau located in the province of Liège, the High Fens is known for its unique landscape, which includes moorlands, forests, and lakes. The region is also home to a number of wildlife, including deer, wild boar, and wolves. The High Fens is a popular destination for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing.

Rochehaut Panoramic View

The Semois Valley

A valley located in the provinces of Namur and Luxembourg, the Semois Valley is known for its beautiful scenery, which includes forests, rivers, and cliffs. The region is also home to a number of historical attractions, including the castle of Rochefort, the abbey of Villers-la-Loue, and the ruins of the abbey of Maredsous.

Top things to see and do in the Ardennes

A nature lover’s paradise.

The Belgian Ardennes is home to several nature reserves, including the High Fens and the Semois Valley . These vast areas of unspoiled natural beauty are perfect for hiking, cycling, and wildlife watching. Some of the must-visit natural attractions include:

  • The Caves of Han : A network of underground limestone caves with awe-inspiring stalactites and stalagmites.
  • Waterfalls of Coo : A beautiful set of waterfalls that cascade over a rocky hillside and offer a refreshing mist.
  • Spa : A quaint spa town nestled in the heart of the Ardennes that is known for its healing mineral springs.

Ardennes landscape

Winter Sports in Belgium: The best places to go skiing and snowboarding

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Signal de Botrange: A Gateway to Adventure in the High Fens Region

Rochehaut Panoramic View

Semois Valley: A national park in the Ardennes

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Hiking at Le Hérou: Natural park of the two Ourthes

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Barrage de La Gileppe – Discover the Gileppe Dam and Lake

ardennes belgium best places to visit

Chateau Crupet: The smallest castle in the Belgium Ardennes

Last Updated on 23 March 2024 by BertBeckers

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The Ardennes, which stretches to the South and East of Wallonia, is a real paradise for nature lovers and undeniably the most enchanting part of Belgium.

The hills offer, here and there, a rugged, windswept wilderness. Elsewhere, the gaze meets with thick forests, deep river valleys sprinkled with gorgeous villages. Head a little further on and you will in turn, marvel at spectacular underground cave systems and green peaks.

Outdoors can be enjoyed with equal pleasure through the year. In summer, rivers sparkle beautifully, vegetation offers vibrant palettes of green: well-marked walking trails demand that you get your boots on . In winter, a layer of snow often covers the high ground: perfect for skiers and the more intrepid hikers.

The region is also notable for its cuisine: game, wild boar, cheese and the world-famous Ardennes smoked ham and pâté.

And almost everywhere you venture, you come across traces of the two World Wars. The Ardennes staged the in August 1914 and the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944/45 – the last conflict to be fought on Belgian territory. There are numerous memorials, cemeteries and museums dedicated to the combatants in the towns of Bastogne , La Roche, Sankt-Vith, Malmedy , Bure and Hotton .

The region is surprisingly easy to reach – approximately 120 miles from the Channel ports. With its pure air and natural beauty, the guarantee of a warm welcome and the option of a stress-relieving break or some thrilling sporting activities, the Ardennes have something for everyone.

Come to Wallonia – and make tracks to our remarkable hill country.

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Enjoy a travel through time aboard the authentic steam train in the three valleys, between Mariembourg and Treignes

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The Labyrinthe de Durbuy, an off the beaten path theme park in Belgium

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Belgium: Driving Through the Best Towns in the Ardennes

Posted by Shane | Jun 25, 2014 | Belgium , Europe | 0

Belgium: Driving Through the Best Towns in the Ardennes

We soon discovered ‘the classic’ Ardennes town: located along a river with houses built into cliff walls, a church spire in the distance, and always, always a castle perched on the very highest point overlooking it all. Which makes them all seem as enchanting as the last. Here are our picks for the best towns in the Ardennes:

Dinant is built along the river with a very impressive rock face and music constantly playing everywhere. What music you ask? Hits of the 80s delivered out of speakers (also from the 80s) mounted to all the buildings… or maybe it’s just that nothing has changed for 30 years?


The city overall has a musical theme, as the saxophone was invented here by Adolphe Sax. Fun fact, but we came for the views!

Close to the French border is Bouillon (like soup bouillon), which we found to be a little gem. We liked this even more than Dinant with its castle up on the hill and narrow streets lined with ice cream shops. It was the perfect spot to enjoy lunch.


Esch Sur Sure

The Ardennes has always been one of the most strategic locations in Europe dating as far back as the Roman Empire until as recently as World War II (Battle of the Bulge). Given that, this area has impressive examples of defensive fortifications that use the landscape to their advantage. Perhaps the best (and cutest) example is in Esch Sur Sure in Luxembourg where there is a fortress and castle on a hill surrounded by a river and quaint town below.


La Roche en Ardennes

La Roche en Ardennes also has similar enchanting characteristics that make it one of the holiday resort towns for the Dutch and Flemish.

Notice the pattern yet?


Overall the Ardennes is a beautiful place to explore. Driving between towns is fun, with tiny winding tree-lined roads sometimes only wide enough for one car. We definitely recommend a road trip around here if you get the chance!

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1 ArdenneS, 3 COUNTRIES  

The Ardennes region covers a little bit of each of three countries: France, Belgium and Luxembourg... between   magical forests , spectacular landscapes, inviting valleys , ancient fortresses, and   picturesque towns and villages … The Ardennes also boast the closest hills to Lille, Brussels, Luxembourg or Paris!

Landscape in the Ardennes

A region in the heart of Europe

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15 iconic sites

City break :  Liège, Namur, Dinant...

Citytrips: Liège, Namur, Dinant...


Our Ardennes identity is a state of mind and shared values, such as courage, resistance, an attachment to our roots, and a desire for sharing and togetherness...  we  bid you welcome, bienvenue, Wilkommen or Wëllkomm ,  to the Ardennes!


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Major events


Inspirational, sacred, the Ardennes forests are a wonderful storybook featuring fairies, elves, wolves and the devil... No less than eight forest ranges waiting to be explored on foot, on horseback, by bike...


Hiking in the Anlier Forest

Ballooning across the Ardennes sky, picture by Julia Lafaille

Ballooning across the Ardennes sky

Donkey trekking in the Ardennes, picture by Laura Le Guen, Globeblogueurs

Donkey trekking in the Ardennes


Yummy… Delicious waffles from Liège! Chocolate , craft beer and  smoked charcuterie . Come try all our local specialities and discover the savoir-faire of the Ardennes!


Meat balls in beer

A gourmet hike with a local flavour

Cuisine d'un autre temps au Tchar Scaille

Food from another era at the Tchar Scaille

Achouffe brewery

The time I visited the  famous Achouffe brewery


Imagine crossing borders in a  kayak , on a  horse  or on a bike , in the  Semois valley , on a  voie verte cycle path  or via one of the  nature parks . An adventure that's  100% nature !

Adventure on Tailles plateau

I tried bivouacking in the Ardennes

On a découvert 3 pays en 3 jours

I took my family to 3 countries

Toutes les routes touristiques

The Ardennes by camper van


The Ardennes region still features the marks of its  troubled history , across its  landscapes , through its  traditions and in its very flesh. Of the deep-rooted cultures of the Ardennes, the  Celtic culture  still remains! 



I transformed my familly into  a tribe at the Prehistomuseum

4 places pour le 20ième siècle

Immerse yourself in the Middle Ages at Reinhardstein Castle

The Family of Man exhibition in Clervaux castle

Visiting the "Family of Man" exhibition in Clervaux

ardennes belgium best places to visit

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14 Cooler Destinations in Europe to Help Beat the Summer Heat

Posted: May 17, 2024 | Last updated: May 17, 2024

<p>Following some record-breaking heat in Europe over the past few summers, you may rethink your European travel plans for summer. While the summer heat in Europe is rising, plenty of beautiful, cooler destinations remain to check out! These destinations offer some of the best Europe offers without the back-breaking heat. Check out this list of 14 cooler destinations in Europe that’ll help you escape the summer heat.</p>

Following some record-breaking heat in Europe over the past few summers, you may rethink your European travel plans for summer. While the summer heat in Europe is rising, plenty of beautiful, cooler destinations remain to check out! These destinations offer some of the best Europe offers without the back-breaking heat. Check out this list of 14 cooler destinations in Europe that’ll help you escape the summer heat.

<p>Perhaps you want to avoid visiting the same old tourist traps and following the crowds. If you are looking for new and exciting adventures that will leave you with unforgettable memories, look no further. From stunning mountain landscapes to vibrant cultures and delicious cuisine, these destinations are the getaways you never knew you needed.</p><p class="entry-title"><a href="">12 Countries That Are Underrated Traveling Experiences You’d Enjoy</a></p>

1. Slovenia & the Alps

What better way to beat the heat than to go up into the mountains? Slovenia is a beautiful country with tremendous charm and unique cities. One of the most iconic sites in Slovenia, Lake Bled, offers a cooler alternative to popular spots, such as Lake Como in Italy. If you want an even cooler experience, go further into the Slovenian Alps for stunning mountain views and temperatures that keep you cool.

<p><span>With its stunning natural beauty and commitment to sustainability, Oslo epitomizes the high standard of living associated with Nordic countries. The city’s residents enjoy high salaries and a comprehensive social welfare system, which, while contributing to a high quality of life, also results in elevated living costs. Expenses, such as dining, entertainment, and mainly imported goods, are significantly higher here compared to other cities. Yet, Oslo’s focus on environmental preservation, public services, and community well-being offers a balanced lifestyle, justifying its high costs for many who value its green spaces, cultural respect for nature, and overall livability.</span></p>

2. Oslo, Norway

For a cool city destination, check out Oslo, Norway. This magical city is the capital of Norway and hugs the waters along its peninsula, providing stunning views and cooling breezes. While there are fun options for activities around the city, such as gallery hopping, trying delicious cuisine, and boutique shopping, you can also get out of the city easily. Whether you want your adventure to be ziplining, hiking, mountain biking, or more, Oslo gives you a great jumping-off point to enjoy nature and a hip city scene to return to!

<p>Though England often gets ridiculed for its lack of sun and warmth, it can be a blessing when heat rips through the rest of Europe! Consider Cornwall if you’re looking for a UK destination with a beach vibe without the scorching heat. In addition to exploring the beaches around Cornwall, you can hike around the rocky coastline, delve into Celtic culture, or visit the local historic mines. No matter your choice, you’re guaranteed cooler temperatures than in other European beach towns.</p>

3. Cornwall, UK

Though England often gets ridiculed for its lack of sun and warmth, it can be a blessing when heat rips through the rest of Europe! Consider Cornwall if you’re looking for a UK destination with a beach vibe without the scorching heat. In addition to exploring the beaches around Cornwall, you can hike around the rocky coastline, delve into Celtic culture, or visit the local historic mines. No matter your choice, you’re guaranteed cooler temperatures than in other European beach towns.

<p>You’ll want to avoid Paris during the summer if you’re trying to dodge the heat. However, that doesn’t mean you need to prevent France altogether. Chamonix is one of the best places to visit in Europe over the summer because it combines the magic of the mountains with the summer sun. Located on the border between Italy and Switzerland, this iconic town at the base of Mont Blanc has stunning views and spectacular outdoor experiences. Don’t worry. If you are hoping for more luxury, there are also stunning resorts and spas to explore.</p>

4. Chamonix, France

You’ll want to avoid Paris during the summer if you’re trying to dodge the heat. However, that doesn’t mean you need to prevent France altogether. Chamonix is one of the best places to visit in Europe over the summer because it combines the magic of the mountains with the summer sun. Located on the border between Italy and Switzerland, this iconic town at the base of Mont Blanc has stunning views and spectacular outdoor experiences. Don’t worry. If you are hoping for more luxury, there are also stunning resorts and spas to explore.

<p><span>Denmark, the land of Vikings, is a Scandinavian wonder famed for its high quality of life. Known for its commitment to sustainability, Denmark is one of the world leaders in wind energy and cycling culture.</span></p><p><span>The Danish concept of ‘hygge’, which represents comfort and contentment, permeates every aspect of life here. From the colorful waterfront of Nyhavn to the historic castles and modernist architecture, there’s a wealth of sights to explore.</span></p><p><span>And let’s not forget Danish pastries! Denmark embodies the essence of ‘ happy living ‘ with a strong emphasis on work-life balance, excellent healthcare, and a safe living environment.</span></p>

5. Copenhagen, Denmark

While Copenhagen is more often pictured with snow-capped roofs, summer is also an excellent time to head there! With temperatures regularly in the 70s, you’ll escape the worst summer heat in Copenhagen. Plus, you’ll be able to explore the city’s iconic canals, visit Hamlet’s castle, and bike around the city – all without breaking a (significant) sweat! As a bonus, Copenhagen also has regular outdoor entertainment throughout the summer. So, if you visit during this season, you may be able to catch some of the performers outside at the Tivoli Gardens.

<p><span>Traveling to Iceland can be surprisingly affordable, particularly if you’re off the U.S. or Canada’s east coast. The country’s stunning landscapes and unique vistas offer an unparalleled experience that becomes richer with every step you take. The journey to Iceland might not set you back as much as you’d think, with flights potentially as low as $200, depending on your timing and departure airport. </span></p><p><span>Once you arrive, Iceland continues to impress with its cost-effectiveness. Food expenses are notably low, and the country’s most mesmerizing sights remain untouched by the commercialization that affects many other tourist destinations. Iceland proves that an extraordinary adventure doesn’t have to come with a remarkable price tag.</span></p>

6. Reykjavik, Iceland

Located between North America and Europe, Iceland provides many travelers a convenient, cool getaway. Iceland has many natural wonders best explored during the summer since they are more accessible now. Due to its northern location, Iceland also boasts cooler temperatures than much of Europe. There are many beautiful national parks, from waterfalls and glaciers to natural hot springs. If you’re into music, you can even catch a concert in the stunning Kerid Crater. No matter where you want to go, Reykjavik is the place to start any Icelandic adventure!

<p><span>Galicia, nestled in Spain’s northwest corner, is a culinary paradise celebrated for its distinctive food culture. The region specializes in traditional dishes that tantalize the taste buds with classic spices and cooking methods. Favorites include boiled octopus, hearty stews, and fresh seafood platters that showcase the area’s rich maritime resources. Visitors can indulge in typical Galician fare such as Caldo Gallego, a robust local soup; Pimientos de Padrón, small fried green peppers; and Tarta de Santiago, a delicious almond cake. A trip to Galicia offers an authentic taste of its culinary heritage, making it a must-visit for food enthusiasts.</span></p>

7. Galicia, Spain

Do yourself a favor and skip Madrid or Barcelona if you’re trying to keep cool during your summer travel! Instead, opt for a trip to Galicia, Spain. Often referred to as the “Spanish Ireland” for its similar scenery, Galicia is in the north of Spain. With constant winds along its rocky cliffs, this city maintains a much lower temperature than the rest of Spain. Even so, there are beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and islands to explore to your heart’s content. It’s the best place in Spain to keep calm and enjoy your vacation!

<p><span>Dublin, the lively capital of Ireland, offers a blend of historic charm and modern vibrancy that’s hard to resist. It’s known for its friendly locals, cozy pubs, and the world-renowned Guinness Storehouse.</span></p><p><span>Literary buffs will love exploring the city’s rich literary history, with landmarks dedicated to famous writers like James Joyce. Dublin’s stunning parks and gardens are perfect for a relaxing stroll.</span></p><p><span>With its warm hospitality and cultural treasures, Dublin is a must-visit city that won’t break your bank.</span></p>

8. Dublin, Ireland

Many people have a visit to Dublin, Ireland, on their bucket list, and summer is the perfect time to go! The city is bustling at this time of year, with tourists and locals out enjoying the weather. With many of the main attractions near each other, you can take advantage of the sun and cool air to wander around Dublin and soak in the culture. You can take in the city’s heritage or get out of the city to enjoy nature. If you’re willing to get further out of town, you can experience the beaches along the Irish Sea. It’s a great mix of history and modern life!

<p>European small towns have such a charm about them. The capital cities often overlook them, but if you ever get a chance, it’s worth catching a train journey to some of the smaller, less visited towns. These places are where you will get a real sense of what life is like in the country. That’s not to say there won’t be any tourists; you just get a different feeling we can’t explain until you get there.</p><p class="gb-headline gb-headline-56c7eb13 gb-headline-text"><a href="">17 Beautiful Small Towns You Must Visit While in Europe</a></p>

9. Ardennes, Belgium

Again, an escape to the mountains ensures an escape from the hot temperatures below. There are few better places to explore the mountains than Ardennes, Belgium. This hilly location is one of the most popular cities in Belgium precisely because of the great hiking, camping, and biking opportunities that abound. With cultural sites, such as the Castle of Bouillon, scattered around, you can immerse yourself in Belgian culture and nature at the same time. And all without braving the heat of other European destinations!

<p>This idyllic little mountain town is known for record-breaking low temperatures and, thus, makes an excellent destination for anyone looking to cool off. Berchtesgaden National Park holds Funtensee, the famous lake. With towering mountains, you’ll enjoy beautiful views and exceptional outdoor activities. If you’re already visiting other European locations, this peaceful town is also an easy add-on to other adventures since it is just 10 hours from Brussels by train. If you’re sweating it out this summer, don’t miss a dip in this scenic lake.</p>

10. Berchtesgaden, Germany

This idyllic little mountain town is known for record-breaking low temperatures and, thus, makes an excellent destination for anyone looking to cool off. Berchtesgaden National Park holds Funtensee, the famous lake. With towering mountains, you’ll enjoy beautiful views and exceptional outdoor activities. If you’re already visiting other European locations, this peaceful town is also an easy add-on to other adventures since it is just 10 hours from Brussels by train. If you’re sweating it out this summer, don’t miss a dip in this scenic lake.

<p><span>Brussels, positioned at the crossroads of European cultures, has a rich culinary history and culture, making</span><span> it a top European destination.</span><span> Famous for its Belgian chocolates, crispy fries, and aromatic waffles, the city offers much more than these beloved treats. Its diverse cuisine includes bustling markets, Michelin-starred restaurants, and cozy </span><span>bistros</span><span>, each presenting a unique dining experience. Meals in Brussels blend French sophistication with hearty Flemish influences and global touches, creating a distinctive culinary identity. This dynamic mixture invites visitors to explore and savor the complex flavors that define Brussels’ food culture.</span></p>

11. Brussels, Belgium

Suppose you’re looking for great food and nightlife without the oppressive heat; head to Brussels, Belgium. As the capital city of Belgium, Brussels has a high concentration of cultural attractions, such as museums, palaces, and churches. As you explore these artistic elements, you can also enjoy excellent shopping, dining, and nightlife options. Since Belgium is the administrative capital of the EU, it has a high level of diversity and can cater to just about any traveler. You’re bound to find something to fit your fancy in Brussels!

<p>While many tourists forget about Glasgow, it has some incredible attractions and a temperate summer climate. It has a more laid-back attitude than nearby Edinburgh, but it has a thriving arts scene! Spend your days wandering around the Burrell Collection with works by notable artists like Cezzane and Degas. Check out a local whiskey distillery or the coffee shop culture by popping from place to place. There are also fewer better places in Scotland to enjoy live music. So, if you fancy hopping into a pub for a brew and some tunes, Glasgow is the spot for you!</p>

12. Glasgow, Scotland

While many tourists forget about Glasgow, it has some incredible attractions and a temperate summer climate. It has a more laid-back attitude than nearby Edinburgh, but it has a thriving arts scene! Spend your days wandering around the Burrell Collection with works by notable artists like Cezzane and Degas. Check out a local whiskey distillery or the coffee shop culture by popping from place to place. There are also fewer better places in Scotland to enjoy live music. So, if you fancy hopping into a pub for a brew and some tunes, Glasgow is the spot for you!

<p><span>Amsterdam is celebrated for its picturesque canals, historic architecture, and liberal culture. However, the city’s narrow streets and canals can become congested with tourists, bicycles, and cars, making it challenging to enjoy the serene beauty many expect. The focus on some tourist-heavy regions, such as the Red Light District and coffee shops, can also overshadow the city’s rich artistic heritage and tranquil parks. Visitors looking for the quintessential Dutch experience may find it in less crowded neighborhoods or nearby towns.</span></p>

13. Amsterdam, Netherlands

In Amsterdam, you get everything you’d expect from a European capital city without the oppressive heat. With the cooler temperatures, you can wander along the scenic canals and explore important cultural sites without overheating. Check out the Royal Palace for a luxury look, or pop into the Van Gogh Museum to be stunned! No matter your choice, the weather won’t stop you from exploring this unique and wonderful city.

<p>For a chill vacation, consider visiting Sweden. Specifically, the port town of Göteborg provides a lovely mix of cool weather and historical sites to explore. Göteborg was initially established as a strategic port city in the 17th century but has become a tourist hotspot. It is a convenient jumping-off point for visiting the nearby archipelago. The locals also tend to be out in full force during the summer, enjoying the magnificent weather. That means you can have a more immersive vacation experience if you choose to do so!</p>

14. Göteborg, Sweden

For a chill vacation, consider visiting Sweden. Specifically, the port town of Göteborg provides a lovely mix of cool weather and historical sites to explore. Göteborg was initially established as a strategic port city in the 17th century but has become a tourist hotspot. It is a convenient jumping-off point for visiting the nearby archipelago. The locals also tend to be out in full force during the summer, enjoying the magnificent weather. That means you can have a more immersive vacation experience if you choose to do so!

<p><span>Austria’s charm for retirees is found in its low crime rate, exceptional healthcare, and rich cultural life within its historic cities like Vienna and Salzburg. The healthcare system here is lauded for its efficiency and quality, ensuring retirees have access to excellent medical care. Living in Austria also means immersing oneself in a world of cultural experiences, from world-class music and art to historic architecture. Additionally, Austria’s central location in Europe makes travel to neighboring countries both easy and enticing, offering endless opportunities for exploration and adventure in retirement.</span></p>

Cooler Spots to Visit This Summer in Europe

Whether you want to explore Northern Europe, head to the sea, or wander into the mountains to escape the summer heat, rest assured Europe still has destinations to fit your needs. While the heat may make visiting some classic European destinations unpleasant, there are still plenty of beautiful destinations where you can travel in comfort! So, we encourage you to look at this list and pick a place (or two) to visit. Happy travels. Hope to see you in Europe this summer!

<p>$1000 may not stretch far in the U.S., but there are many countries where it is enough for a comfortable lifestyle, one where you don’t need to sacrifice your safety or quality of life.</p> <p>One key factor influencing the cost of living is the local currency’s exchange rate. A stronger home currency can amplify your purchasing power abroad, making essentials like food, rent, and transport more affordable.</p> <p>Another aspect to consider when looking for countries where you can live well for $1000 or less is the local economy. Countries with a weaker economy often have lower costs of living, as wages are lower and goods and services are more affordable.</p> <p>Whether your heart yearns for rolling hills or sunny beaches, there are diverse locations worldwide where you can enjoy a good life for less.</p>

18 Countries Where You Can Live Well for Under $1000 a Month

$1000 may not stretch far in the U.S., but there are many countries where it is enough for a comfortable lifestyle, one where you don’t need to sacrifice your safety or quality of life. One key factor influencing the cost of living is the local currency’s exchange rate. A stronger home currency can amplify your purchasing power abroad, making essentials like food, rent, and transport more affordable. Another aspect to consider when looking for countries where you can live well for $1000 or less is the local economy. Countries with a weaker economy often have lower costs of living, as wages are lower and goods and services are more affordable. Whether your heart yearns for rolling hills or sunny beaches, there are diverse locations worldwide where you can enjoy a good life for less.

  • Read More: 18 Countries Where You Can Live Well for Under $1000 a Month

<p><span>Are you dreaming of retiring somewhere that offers a fantastic quality of life without breaking the bank? </span><span>Imagine <a href="">spending your golden years</a> exploring new cultures, enjoying beautiful scenery, or just relaxing in a place where your retirement income stretches further. If this sounds like your kind of adventure, then you’re in for a treat!</span></p><p class="entry-title"><a href="">15 Countries Where Retirees Have Amazing Quality of Life</a></p>

17 Destinations in Europe That Are Cheap and Fun to Visit in the Summer

From Rome’s mighty Colosseum to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Europe is home to some of the world’s most iconic tourist attractions. The only downside to visiting them? It isn’t cheap. These places are so popular that everything from accommodation to tours can be prohibitively expensive.

  • Read More: 17 Destinations in Europe That Are Cheap and Fun to Visit in The Summer

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Things to Do in Monino, Russia - Monino Attractions

Things to do in monino.

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ardennes belgium best places to visit

1. The Central Air Force Museum


2. Church of St. George

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Laika monument.

Laika carried on somewhat of a clothes to newfound wealth story as she started life as a destitute crossbreed meandering the bouleds of Moscow before she was chosen by the Russian space program to wind up the principal creature to

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House With Animals

Local people have taken to calling the building the "House with Animals," as its earthenware bas-help is packed with a gathering of inquisitive animals. Against the setting of delicate blue-green paint, the white figures look as if they have a

Aquarelle Train On The Moscow Metro

It is frequently discovered coincidentally, as it runs its standard course simply like some other metro auto, regardless of appearing as though anything besides a customary traveler prepares. Situated on the Sokolnicheskaya Red Line, this prepare is quickly discernable from

In actuality this is one of the most terrific city squares on the planet and can nearly ensure, it will blow your mind. This walker just square with the exception of the odd limo coming all through the Kremlin is situated

Miniature Moscow

A detailed lighting framework makes the model exceptionally practical, with each window sparkling with brightening, there are lighting ieties amongst sunshine and evening. Indeed, even the windows of the watercraft on the stream are lit up. Unfortunately, no Soviet support the

Ride In Moscow Metro

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Golosov Ravine

It is a profound gorge in Moscow, Russia, between the Kolomenskoe Hill and Dyakovo Hill. The gorge has a few springs and a creek gushing at its base. Up in the gorge, on its left half, there is a Neopagan

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The recreation center extends along the banks of the Moscow River and is partitioned into two sections . The first is fundamentally important to kids or those endeavoring to engage them, as it contains a scope of funfair rides and rollercoasters

Izmailovo Kremlin

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Institute Of Russian Realist Art

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The biggest ringer on the planet lies on a platform situated on the grounds of Moscow's Kremlin. Cast in 1735 at the demand of Empress Anna Ioanovna, a niece of Peter the Great, the colossal chime has endured a long

Outlined and worked after the primary arrangement of atomic tests by the Soviet Union, these tests uncovered that the ideal profundity for the shelter's storehouse must be no higher than 165 feet underneath ground with a specific end goal to

Peter The Great Statue

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Monument To The Conquerors Of Space

Taking a gander at the transcending landmark, people would be pardoned for believing that the space race is still particularly alive. Ascending on a 350-foot high tuft of smoke and buildup, the Monument to the Conquerors of Space remembers Yuri Gagarin's

Moscow State University

The principle working of Moscow State Lomonosov University looks more like a bit of view from a Batman motion picture than the home to the most esteemed organization of advanced education in all of Russia. You can come here and

St Basils Cathedral

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State Historical Museum

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State Darwin Museum

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Top Things to Do in Balashikha, Russia

Places to visit in balashikha.

  • 5.0 of 5 bubbles
  • 4.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 3.0 of 5 bubbles & up
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ardennes belgium best places to visit

1. Malenky Puppet Theater

ardennes belgium best places to visit

2. Balashikha Park

ardennes belgium best places to visit

3. Monument to Street Cleaner

ardennes belgium best places to visit

4. Rock Fountain

ardennes belgium best places to visit

5. Temple of Archangel Michael

ardennes belgium best places to visit

6. Palace Pekhra-Yakovlevskoe


7. Monument to Fallen Soldiers-Brothers

ardennes belgium best places to visit

8. Transfiguration Church

ardennes belgium best places to visit

9. Mystical Castle

ardennes belgium best places to visit

10. Homestead Gorenki

ardennes belgium best places to visit

11. Alexander Nevskiy Cathedral in Balashikha

12. balashikha museum of history and local lore.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

13. Arena Balashikha Ice Dome

ardennes belgium best places to visit

14. Protection of the Holy Virgin in Balashikha

ardennes belgium best places to visit

15. Art Gallery of The City District

ardennes belgium best places to visit

16. Grave of Michael Lunn


17. Temple of St. Catherine

ardennes belgium best places to visit

18. Alekseyevskiy Pond

ardennes belgium best places to visit

19. Temple of Pochayevskaya Icon of Our Lady

ardennes belgium best places to visit

20. Temple of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in the Trubetskoy

ardennes belgium best places to visit

21. Lover's Bridge

ardennes belgium best places to visit

22. Temple of St. Vladimir

23. fairy tale children's model puppet theater, 24. saltykovka flea market.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

25. Lisya Gora

ardennes belgium best places to visit

26. Ecodrom Ekvilibr

27. temple of the prelate nicholas, 28. balashikha chapel.

ardennes belgium best places to visit

29. Zoodvorik Zolotoi Fazan

ardennes belgium best places to visit

30. Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker

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ardennes belgium best places to visit


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ardennes belgium best places to visit

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ardennes belgium best places to visit


  1. Belgian Ardennes

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  1. The Ardennes Travel Guide

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    Don't forget to visite our new space 1914-1918, explaining all the fights that took place in dinant during the first world war. 3. Montagne de Bueren. Montagne de Bueren is a steep staircase of 374 steps leading (roughly) from the flats of the river basin to the highest…. 4.

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    5. Step back in time to World War 2. Source: bastognewarmuseum. The war museum. The war museum in Bastogne is very immersive and evocative, using audio guides with actors to truly set the scene of the war. As you would expect, the museum covers the build up to the war as well as the key events of the war itself.

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    Its most famous towns are Spa, Verviers, Chimay, Bastenaken, Neufchâteau en Malmedy in Belgium. The Belgian Ardennes make up most of the Ardennes. This huge area is located in the south of Belgium. The Ardennes are called a middle mountain range, due to its limited height. The highest point is the Signal of Botrange in the High Fens with 694 ...

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    The best of the Ardennes. Discover our top 10. Things to do with the kids in the Ardennes during the winter school holidays. The best remembrance sites in the Ardennes. The best Ardennes breweries. The most beautiful castles in the Ardennes. The best walks round beautiful villages with a restaurant. The best restaurants with views.

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    Discover the best attractions in The Ardennes including Château de Bouillon, Bastogne War Museum, and Blégny Mine. Lonely Planet. Destinations. Planning. Inspiration. Shop. Search. Saves. ... The Ardennes. Few of Belgium's numerous castles have an interior that beats the memorable Château de Modave. The most arresting of the well-preserved ...

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    It is located at Place des Guillemins 2, 4000 Liège, Belgium. ... When is the best time to visit Ardennes? The most ideal times to visit the Ardennes region for comfortable weather and manageable crowds generally fall between March to mid-June during spring and mid-September through October in autumn. Summer is considered peak tourism season ...

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    Just a stone's throw from the Mardasson, the Bastogne War Museum brings you into the turmoil of the Second World War and the battle of the Bulge through three visit experiences. 5. Domaine Des Grottes De Han. Visit the Domain of the Caves of Han and experience a magical encounter with the sheer majesty of nature.

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    The Ardennes. The Ardennes, situated in the south-east of Belgium, are one of nature's unspoilt areas, rich in fauna and flora, with vast forests of broadleaf and fir, hills and fast flowing rivers. Visitors can wander through the many picturesque villages nestling in the valleys where traditions and folklore still live on, and where the region ...

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    Welcome to the official website of the Ardennes Tourist Development Agency. All information for your stay. Ardennes ADT. The destination. ... To help you prepare as best as possible for your visit to the Ardennes, here are some dates to remember. April 4 to 7, 2024: Circuit of the Ardennes with for the first time the "favorite monument of the ...

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    The Ardennes. If you're looking for outdoor activities, fresh air and greenery, head for Belgium's southeastern corner. Here you'll find meandering rivers that are ideal for low-intensity kayaking. A whole series of dramatic cave systems have been sensitively equipped for visitors. Forested hills and deep valleys shelter appealing small ...

  12. Perfect Weekend Breaks in Belgium: The Ardennes

    Happy Girl in Belgium! Some of the best weekend breaks to Belgium are for hiking. And hiking in Ourthe Valley is definitely a great reason to visit Ardennes, Belgium! The Ourthe is a 165 kilometre long river that runs through Ardennes, Belgium. Naturally, the hikes along it are stunning!

  13. The Ardennes Travel Guide

    The Ardennes Travel Guide. Belgium's Ardennes region, situated in the south-eastern part of the country, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by nature and adventure enthusiasts. The picturesque landscape, lush forests, winding rivers, and rolling hills make it an idyllic destination for anyone seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle ...

  14. The Ardennes: a perfect cure for wanderlust

    The Belgian Ardennes. The Ardennes, which stretches to the South and East of Wallonia, is a real paradise for nature lovers and undeniably the most enchanting part of Belgium. The hills offer, here and there, a rugged, windswept wilderness. Elsewhere, the gaze meets with thick forests, deep river valleys sprinkled with gorgeous villages.

  15. Towns and villages

    There are two Petites cités de caractère (Charming small towns) in the Ardennes, a network created in 1975 in Brittany to help small communities with exceptional heritage buildings to protect and restore them and to help them develop cultural tourism initiatives to stimulate their local economies. The network was expanded to include the Ardennes region in 2014, and now includes Mouzon and ...

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    The Ardennes is a renowned large forested region in southern Belgium / Luxembourg that is full of thick trees, jagged cliffs, and many charming towns nestled into the valley walls. Our goal for the day was to drive around, get lost, and find some hidden spots in this beautiful region. We soon discovered 'the classic' Ardennes town: located ...

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    The Ardennes region covers a little bit of each of three countries: France, Belgium and Luxembourg... between magical forests, spectacular landscapes, inviting valleys, ancient fortresses, and picturesque towns and villages… The Ardennes also boast the closest hills to Lille, Brussels, Luxembourg or Paris!

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