The Belgian Ardennes, located at the East side of Belgium, is the perfect place for outdoor lovers. Here you’ll find beautiful nature and cosy towns where you can do all kinds of sports and activities. In July, I’ve spent a midweek in the Belgian Ardennes. I would like to share my itinerary of these days with you as an inspiration for your own trip to the region. In this itinerary you’ll find the places we visited and the activities we did.
Day 1: Reinhardstein castle, arrival in Houffalize
As we live in the Eastern side of the Netherlands, it’s only a short driving distance to Houffalize and the Belgian Ardennes. In total, it takes around 2,5 hours to get from my home town towards Houffalize, the place where we rented a holiday home. Of course it really depends on where you’re travelling from, but I’d definitely recommend to have a (rental)car when travelling to the Belgian Ardennes. In this way it’s easier to reach all kinds of places in this region.
Before we drove to Houffalize, we made a stop on the way at Reinhardstein Castle, located near Robertville. You can visit the castle itself through a guided tour, but the environment is also perfect for hiking. It’s such a natural environment where you walk through forests and come across, among other things, a waterfall. During your hike you’ll get some amazing views over the castle. We didn’t actually went into the castle but did some hiking around it.
After our stop we drove further towards Houffalize. Our holiday home was located just outside of the town center, but had a perfect location in the middle of nature. The house also included a sauna, which was a really nice extra. Houffalize isn’t very big, but has everything you need: from a supermarket to a bakery and from restaurants to several accommodations. After settling down in the house, we went to have dinner at La Grande Bleue, a Greek and Mediterranean restaurant which serve delicious food. From our holiday home it was only a 15-minute walk to the center and restaurant.
Day 2: La Chouffe brewery, Durbuy and hiking
The second day we had planned a visit to the La Chouffe brewery in the town named Achouffe. Because of the Corona situation, we were obligated to make a reservation beforehand per e-mail, so that’s what we did. There are tours in French, Dutch and English and we sent an e-mail to make a reservation for a tour in Dutch. The only space left available was this at 11 A.M. Arrived at the brewery, we signed up at the desk and first got a guided tour through the brewery. Afterwards, we also got a beer tasting. It definitely was a nice visit and would recommend it to all beer lovers. I’ve written more about our visit to the La Chouffe brewery in this article.
After Achouffe, we had the idea to make a short walk somewhere. I read online that the surroundings of the Hérou natural park are very beautiful and we were nearby, so we drove towards this park. When we arrived, we discovered that the hike we were planning on doing was going to be quite intensive (looking at the heights). We didn’t wear the proper shoes, so we decided not to hike this trail. May be it would be something for you though.
So that’s how we decided to drive further towards Durbuy: an old, picturesque little city where you can wander through the small streets and enjoy a drink at one of the many terraces. Although this place can be quite touristic and crowded, it really is a must visit when you’re nearby.
After our visit to Durbuy, we went back to our holiday home. Just across the road of our house, there was a forest where we went for a long hike. Really nice to know that you can have a good walk in a beautiful environment, just outside the door of the accommodation. It was a perfect late afternoon activity.
Day 3: the Caves of Han
Well, Wednesday was a quite rainy day so we needed to think about what to do on this day. Before travelling to the Ardennes, I already came across the Caves of Han when doing my travel research online. This park looked really nice and we definitely wanted to go there during this week (read more about the Caves of Han by clicking here). The park consists out of two parts: the actual Cave of Han and a Wild Park. Since the weather wasn’t that great, we decided to only pay a visit to the cave, as hereby it doesn’t matter how the weather is like. After a long queue we enjoyed a really nice, guided tour.
After visiting the Caves of Han, we didn’t do much more. We stayed in our holiday home, as it was still raining. We cooked a nice meal and played some card games in the evening.
Day 4: hiking and a family visit
Yay, the weather was much better when we wake up on Thursday! That meant for us: hiking time! We decided to drive back to Achouffe to hike the “In the Fairies Valley” trail, which is a popular, but really great trail. It took is approximately two hours to hike the trail and really enjoyed it.
After our hike we went on a family visit: the uncle and aunt of my boyfriend also happened to be in the Belgian Ardennes at the same time as us (and not that far away), so we planned on visiting them. We had a nice rest of the afternoon and enjoyed a delicious dinner at their place.
Day 5: return to home
Our last day. We didn’t had anything on the planning anymore so we packed our luggage and drove towards home in the Netherlands. We’ve had an amazing stay in the Belgian Ardennes.
So this is how we’ve filled in our midweek in the Belgian Ardennes. We’ve done some really fun activities and hiked several great trails. Hopefully our itinerary will give you some inspiration for your own trip to the Belgian Ardennes. Would you like to read some more about the hiking trails we did? I’ve written an article about the three hikes which you can find by clicking here.