The High Fens (Hautes Fagnes in French), located in the eastern parts of Belgium, are Belgium’s largest nature reserve. The park stretches between the cities of Eupen in the north, Monschau in the east, Spa in the west and Malmedy in the south. The High Fens consist mainly of raised bogs, and low, grass- or wood-covered hills, moorland and forest.
The highest point in Belgium
The highest point in Belgium is located in the High Fens at Signal de Botrange with 694 meters above sea level. It should be noted that we’re not standing on a mountain top, but on a plateau. The landscape was formed during the last ice-age about 10.000 years ago.
Weather and climate at the High Fens
Due to it’s location and altitude, the High Fens are known to have a slightly different climate then the rest of the country. In general, temperatures are always a few degrees lower and the area experiences more rainfall. During winter, the High Fens are most likely the first place in Belgium to catch snowfall.
Hiking at the High Fens
Regardless of the time of year, the High Fens are a perfect destination for both short walks and long hikes through diverse landscapes. The unique scenery changes with the seasons, offering equally enjoyable long winter walks and short summer hikes. Keep in mind that the area has a colder and wetter climate compared to the rest of Belgium. Once the sun sets, the temperature can cool down fairly quickly, which can be a significant concern during the winter months. Be prepared and bring some extra rain gear.
For your safety and to preserve the delicate nature, always stay on the assigned paths. Certain parts of the area may be closed off due to fire hazards. A general no-fire policy is in place.
High Fens Hiking startpoints and destinations
Here are a few idea’s for your hiking destinations in the High Fens:
Lakes and dams
As the highest point in Belgium, the High Fens act like a spongy roof, collecting a large amount of water. Most of the water is absorbed by the peat soil before being released again, forming the source of several rivers in the area. The majority of this water is collected in three huge lakes with a dam, which acts as a water reservoir responsible for a large part of the drinking water in the Liège Province.
High Fens tourist map
Where to stay at the High Fens
There are numerous accommodations available in the area, mainly holiday homes located in the southern parts of the High Fens near Malmedy and Butgenbach. It’s possible to find a basic cottage or apartment for under €50 per night. For more luxurious or larger accommodations, prices can range up to €150 per night or more.
Winter sports at the High Fens
Due to the relatively cold climate in the High Fens compared to the rest of Belgium, this area has the highest chance of snowfall during winter. Therefore, it’s no surprise that several ski centers are available for cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, and traditional sledging.
For a full list of all ski centers in the High Fens, you can visit this link: Ski Centres in the High Fens
With this comprehensive travel guide, we hope to have assisted you in planning your adventure in the stunning High Fens. Enjoy nature, respect the environment, and have an unforgettable time in this breathtaking nature reserve. Happy travels!