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near Val Benoît, Wallonia (Belgique)
This cycling tour takes you along the Ourthe River from its mouth into the Meuse in Liège to Vieuxville and back. Highlights include cycling paths along the river bank, quiet climbs with views across the Condroz and Ardennes, the view at Roche au Faucons (last few meters access on foot only), and the rock faces at the river near Sy. The route uses RAVeL cycling paths along the river banks, but also includes climbs on both sides of the valley with great views. The tour is suited for the racing bike, although there is a short stretch of semi-paved cycling path near the Ourthe canal in Liège, and the bridge at Palogne requires demounting your bicycle. The bridge in Tilff was closed to construct a new one (work continues into 2021), but a pedestrian temporary bridge was provided. You can find places to eat and drink at e.g. Liège, Tilff, Esneux, Pont-de-Sçay, Comblain-au-Pont, Comblain-la-Tour and Hamoir. There is free parking in Liège at the start of this tour (Boulevard Emile de Laveleye).
From the start you follow the Quai des Ardennes along the Ourthe to Pont de Fétinne near its mouth and then cross the Meuse on the Pont de Fragnée. You cycle opposite the Ourthe river mouth to the Passerelle La Belle Liégeoise where you cross to the Parc de la Boverie for more views of the Meuse and the Ourthe. You then cycle to and along the railway bridge across the Ourthe and follow the Canal de l'Ourthe, partly on cobblestones and partly on a semi-paved cycling path (no real problems for a road bike). Through Angleur you go to Chênée and then climb the hill to Embourg. This climb is between houses but quiet until you get to the main road with the tank memorial. You climb along the main road to Les Cours and then descend to Tilff. Here you follow the RAVeL cycling path along the Ourthe to Méry where you cross the river and follow the cycling path on the other side. At Hony you change banks again and climb to the higher parts of Esneux and then descend again to Esneux on the river. You continue on the RAVeL and cross the river at La Gombe on the railway bridge and follow the Ourthe and the Ourthe canal to Chanxhe for another change of river bank and a steep descend from the railway bridge. On roads you continue to Rivage where the Amblève flows into the Ourthe and you cross the Amblève to Pont-de-Sçay. On the RAVeL you follow the Ourthe to Comblain-au-Pont and then on to Comblain-la-Tour. Here you leave the valley for a steady climb to Xhoris. Here you directly descend again to Hamoir on the Ourthe, where the next climb waits on a bit larger road to Filot. Again you directly descend again towards Sy, followed by a slight climb to Vieuxville. Here you ride to a pedestrian bridge at Palogne at the end of a small road and cross the Ourthe. You now turn back towards Liège. The first stretch is on a bumpy RAVeL along beautiful rock faces. There are a lot of kayaks and boats on this stretch. You then ascend to Verlaine-sur-Ourthe and return to the Ourthe via the N831 to Hamoir. Here is a new stretch of paved RAVeL along the Ourthe before you continue on the main road to Fairon. Here is another climb to Geromont where you have a nice view over the valley. The descent on bad asphalt takes you to Comblain-au-Pont for the start of the next climb to Mont. All these climbs take you very quiet countryside with wide views. You descend to Poulseur where you take the main road to Esneux. Here you change to cycling path (watch the sidewalk bump) and past Esneux you take a nice stretch of cycling path along a large meander of the Ourthe towards Hony. In Hony waits the last climb of the day, quite demanding to the Roche Au Faucons, and then on to Boncelles. It is worth stepping of your bicycle at the Roche au Faucons for a great view across the Ourthe valley, with the large meander you cycled along from Esneux. You cannot take your bike, but it is a few meters climb on foot to the great viewpoint. In Boncelles you follow the N663 main road to Tilff. In Tilff, they are working on a new bridge, but you can take the pedestrian bridge with your bicycle. Back on the right bank you follow the Ourthe and cross it again on a cycling bridge. From here, the RAVeL takes you all the way to Angleur where you end up at the point where the Vesdre flows into the Ourthe. A bit further is a large weir where the Ourthe cascades down to Meuse level. A bit further is your starting point.
Here you cycle along and cross the Amblève river which flows into the Ourthe near this point
Bridge across the Ourthe, which is completely being renovated at this moment. I read the work continues into 2021, but you can cross on a pedestrian bridge. The upside is that there are few cars now on your descent from Boncelles.
Canal with bridge and cobblestones
You cross the canal at a lock which is no longer in use and continue along the canal and the Ourthe
Climb from Hamoir to Filot on a bit larger road.
Climb to Geromont where you have nice views of the Ourthe valley. Climb steep in places. See https://climbfinder.com/en/climbs/cote-de-geromont-fairon
Climb to Mont from Comblain-au-Pont. See also https://climbfinder.com/en/climbs/cote-de-mont-comblain-au-pont
This climb is quiet steep at the start, then descends, and climbs on to Boncelles. The climb is described on https://climbfinder.com/en/climbs/roche-aux-faucons, apart from the first few hundred meters which are different, and not easier. The climb on to Boncelles is not described here. The climb is quite busy with cars.
Quiet climb to Xhoris. The climb is described on https://climbfinder.com/en/climbs/cote-de-xhoris, but you do not climb all the way to the top as described on the climbfinder website.
Bridge on the RAVeL cycling path
Between the plane trees is a a cycling path along the Ourthe
Here you cross the Ourthe along a railway bridge
You descend from Xhoris towards Hamoir through quiet countryside with great views.
From Filot you descend to Sy through quiet countryside with great views
The cycling path takes you along a big meander through a quiet valley
Village on the hill above Chênée. The climb is between houses on a quiet road, and here you arrive to the main road with a tank monument
Village on the Ourthe. Watch out for the sidewalk you have to mount here.
Cemetery in Esneux on the hill.
Village on the Ourthe. A new paved cycling path takes you from the village along the Ourthe
Cycling/pedestrian bridge across the Ourthe
Weir and cascade in the Ourthe.
Park on an island in the Meuse close to the Ourthe mouth
Bridge across the Meuse to Parc de la Boverie
Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists
Bridge across the Meuse near the Ourthe river mouth
Bridge across the Ourthe just before it flows into the Meuse
Railway bridge with the RAVeL cycling path next to it. At the end a steep descent.
Cycling path along the Ourthe between Tilff and Hony
Cycling path between Esneux and the railway bridge at La Gombe
Cycling path between the railway bridge at la Gombe and Rivage
Cycling path between Tilff and Angleur on the Ourthe
The viewpoint on a rocky outcrop across the Ourthe valley is worth demounting your bike and climbing a few meters. The viewpoint is about 60 meters from the road.
Small road to Palogne where you cross the Ourthe
About 900 meters of semi-paved cycling path along the Ourthe canal, no problem on a road bike.
You find steep rock faces plunging in to the Ourthe on the other side from the cycling path. A lot of kayakers here.
Verlaine sur Ourthe is a small village with the center a bit uphill from the river
View at Geromont across the Ourthe valley
Walking bridge to get across the Ourthe to the RAVeL