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.
- Location and geography:
- Getting around at the Belgian Ardennes
- Popular Destinations in The Ardennes
- Top things to see and do in the Ardennes
- The Ardennes Tourist Map
- Where to stay in the Belgian Ardennes
- Ardennes itinerary
- Outdoor Activities in the Ardennes
Location and geography:
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.
Getting around at the Belgian Ardennes
The best way to explore the region is by car. Public transportation is limited, and some of the best sights are off the beaten path. Therefor is the Ardennes region the perfect destination for car travels and camping trips.
Popular Destinations in The Ardennes
A charming little town on the riverbanks of the Meuse river
The world’s smallest town in the heart of the Ardennes
Located close to Baraque Fraiture
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. 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.
The Belgian Ardennes is a hub of adventure sports. From kayaking and rafting to rock climbing and zip-lining, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the popular adventure activities:
- Kayaking on the River Lesse: A scenic kayak trip through the Ardennes’ lush landscape, with breathtaking views of the river and forests.
- Rock Climbing in Freyr: A challenging climb with stunning views of the Meuse River and the Belgian countryside.
- Adventure park in Durbuy: Soar above the treetops and take in the panoramic views of the Meuse Valley.
Historical and Cultural Attractions:
The Belgian Ardennes is steeped in history and culture, with charming towns, ancient castles, and museums. Here are some of the must-see historical and cultural attractions:
- Citadel of Namur: Enjoy sweeping views of the city from this impressive fortress dating back to the 13th century.
- Citadel of Dinant: Marvel at the stunning cliff-top fortress overlooking the Meuse River, which played a vital role in defending the region in the Middle Ages.
- Durbuy: Explore the charming medieval town with narrow cobbled streets and delightful cafes.
- Bastogne War Museum: Pay tribute to the soldiers who fought in World War II at this poignant museum, commemorating the Battle of the Bulge.
- Fortress of Bouillon: Experience a glimpse into the past at this well-preserved medieval fortress, offering breathtaking views of the Semois River.
The Ardennes Tourist Map
Where to stay in the Belgian Ardennes
Looking for a place to stay in the Belgian Ardennes? You’ll find a wide range of accommodation options to suit every taste and budget, from cozy guesthouses and B&Bs to luxury hotels and campsites. Popular towns to consider include Spa, Durbuy, and Dinant.
Vacation rentals & Holiday Homes
If you’re after a more private and flexible option, vacation rentals and holiday homes are a great choice. These properties offer a home-away-from-home experience and can range from cozy cottages to spacious villas. Many boast stunning views of the surrounding nature, making them perfect for a peaceful retreat. They also come equipped with all the amenities you need, including a fully-equipped kitchen and comfortable living areas and bedrooms, as well as outdoor spaces like terraces or gardens.
Booking a vacation rental or holiday home can also be a more cost-effective option, especially for families or larger groups, as they often accommodate more guests than a traditional hotel room and you can split the cost among the group.
Holiday parks are another popular choice for visitors to the Belgian Ardennes. These parks offer a range of accommodation options, including cottages, chalets and caravans, and are typically set in stunning natural surroundings.
Holiday parks often come equipped with a range of amenities and activities, making them an ideal choice for families with children. Many offer swimming pools, playgrounds, sports facilities, and organised activities and entertainment.
- Center Parks Les Ardennes is a holiday park located in Vielsalm
- Roompot Parc la Clusure is a holiday park located in Tellin in the province of Luxembourg
Campsites at the Ardennes
Camping is a fantastic way to experience the natural beauty of the Belgian Ardennes. There are many campsites in the region, ranging from basic sites for tents to more luxurious options for caravans and motorhomes. Many campsites are located in the heart of the forest or near the rivers, providing a truly immersive experience in nature.
Camping is an excellent choice for those who want to disconnect from the stresses of modern life and spend time in the great outdoors. It’s also a budget-friendly option, as camping fees are generally lower than other forms of accommodation.
Campsites often have amenities like toilets, showers, and electricity, and some may offer additional facilities like swimming pools, playgrounds and shops. If you’re looking for an adventure in the Belgian Ardennes, camping can be an excellent way to do it.
ASCI – Eurocampings is a great source to find quality camping grounds throughout Europe, with 141 ASCI checked campsites in Belgium.
For more information about camping in Belgium, please check the corresponding page.
When starting in Namur, you can follow the Meuse River upstream towards Dinant, a beautiful charming town on the riverbanks in the centre of the Meuse-valley. From Dinant you can either head down south towards the Semois valley and Bouillon near the french border, or head down east through the hearth of the Ardennes. The valley of the Semois is known for its dense forests, beautiful river meanders and of course the historical town of Bouillon. From here on you can travel back up north east through the hearth of the Ardennes, or down to France or Luxembourg, wherever you’d like to go!
The so called hearth or centre of the Ardennes consists out of the region between Dinant, Durbuy and Bouillon. Durbuy is considered to be the smallest charming town in the world. Another small town worth visiting is Rochefort, not only famous for it’s abbey and beers, but also for the caves of Han-Sur-Lesse.
In the eastern part of the Belgian Ardennes you’ll find the world-famous town called Spa, well-known for it’s wellness centre and bottled water. La Roche-En-Ardenne is another small historic town with an ancient castle up the hill. Further down east you’ll reach Malmedy and the start of the “High Fens’ “The High Fens” or ‘Hautes Fagnes” in french.
If you only want to visit the eastern parts of the Ardennes, then Liege will be your gateway. Although the city might look grim at first sight, it’s well worth the visit if you can scratch the surface!
Outdoor Activities in the Ardennes
The dense forest, hills and cliffs with meandering rivers are the perfect terrain for several outdoor activities. Camping in the Ardennes is quite popular and you’ll find many campsites for tents, caravans and motorhomes. However wildcamping is strictly forbidden.
There are countless hiking routes through nature with various sights and terrains. Some of the popular hiking routes are located in the valley of the Semois. Cyclist and mountainbikers will also love the variation of terrain and beautiful scenery the Ardennes has to offer. You can find the best hiking and mountain-biking routes on www.routeyou.com
Kayaking and Canoeing is also quite popular in the Ardennes. From spring to autumn you can rent kayaks or canoes on several places. The Ourthe and Semois rivers are perfect for beginners. The Lesse river has a bit more sensation to offer with a few small waterfalls. For more information check the kayaking and canoeing in the Ardennes page.
But there is more! You can also go caving, climbing, abseiling or learn several other survival skills.
The Belgian Ardennes is a natural paradise that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature lover, adventure enthusiast, or history buff, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do in this beautiful region. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to explore the unspoiled beauty of the Belgian Ardennes. Don’t forget to try some of the local delicacies and immerse yourself in the region’s rich history and culture. Happy travels!