Discover one of Italy’s most beautiful paradises of valleys and mountains
When we think of Belgium, we often imagine famous cities like Ghent, Bruges or Brussels. Nevertheless, beyond an urban weekend escapade, this country boasts fascinating landscapes and forests. These 10 trails in Belgium are the perfect options to discover the B side. This alternative side is full of magic and charm that can always be topped off with some local treasures like a Belgian waffle (or beer) as a reward.
Did you know that you could do the Way of Saint James from Belgium? The Belgian cities of Liege, Brussels and Mons appeared long ago in the travel journal of the monk Hermann Künig. There are various Jacobean routes throughout Belgium like the Via Gallia Belgica, the Via Brabantica, the Via Scaldea, and the Via Brugensis. The latter begins in the city of Brussels and is made up of hundreds of kilometers. Nonetheless, we can also follow different Saint James shells all across the city. If you get lost, no need to worry. Just like the pilgrims of yesteryear, you can use the Milky Way to guide you.
There are fairytale worthy places in Belgium. One prime example is “Hallerbos” (Halle’s Wood), located in the town of Halle. Only 9 kms by train from Brussels, this blue forest becomes especially magical around the end of March. The first three weeks of spring is when the hyacinths come into bloom, creating enormous natural blue carpets amidst the trees. The official trail is about 10 kms long and it is a marked path. We recommend giving it a visit during the week as Saturdays and Sundays tend to attract more visitors.
On the left-hand side of the Meuse River, on its way through the Namur Province, emerge the Marche-les Dames rocks, a fascinating place near the eponymous town which is just perfect for following routes among woods and cliffs. You can begin with a visit to the Notre-Dame du Vivier Abbey and walk on a marked path which follows the river. This path is also often visited by climbers. In fact, at the beginning of the 20th century, King Albert I fell from the top of one of these cliffs in an accident, or perhaps not, no one knows for sure!
On its way towards the province of Luxemburg, the Semois River draws a loop around the towns of Laviot, Frahan, Rochehaut and Poupehan. Along a loop trail called “Les Crêtes de Frahan et le Parcours des Échelles” (The Ridges of Frahan and the Ladder Route) we propose crossing forests, bridges, and going up different ridges using a kind of ladder that has been built up for visitors. Get your camera ready and take a unique photograph of this pretty panorama.
The Wallonian region unveils some of the most beautiful scenery in Belgium. One of them, without a doubt, is the Bayehon Waterfall, one of the most important ones in the whole country. The main trail starts from the nearby town of Longfaye and crosses a forest of marked paths with rustic wood bridges. The trip is especially pretty in autumn, right when the trees give off various ocher, green and red hues. After completing the path, which barely goes over 9 kms, you will come across this marvelous waterfall.
Believed to be one of the most beautiful rivers in Belgium, the Hoëgne defines part of the essence of the small village of Hockai. From “Pont du Centenaire” (The Centenary Bridge), you can go on the Hoëgne walk along the river and moss-covered trees and wood bridges until you reach the “Pont de Belleheid” (Beauty’s Bridge). This gentle adventure with little elevation gain is ideal to go on with the whole family.
Educational trails are necessary at a time like this, when climate change awareness is indispensable. The best example in Belgian lands is that of La Fagne de la Poleûr in the High Fens, a plateau in the Liege Province which is perfect for discovering the various ecosystems in the area. This trail has been adapted for people with reduced mobility and goes on for 3 kms, even though we could go out further to swing by the Poleûr and Herbôfaye ponds. The path is dotted with signs explaining everything about the flora and fauna found in the area.
Lake Nisramont is located in the east of Belgium, where the Ourthe River crosses the municipality of Roche-en-Ardenne. Nearby, forests flourish on gentle slopes. This loop trail starts off at the Nisramont dam and surrounds the lake gorge. Apart from hiking, you can also go kayaking. What’s the best surprise? Watch beavers crossing the path as they get back into the water. We do recommend gearing up with comfortable shoes to follow this path.
Kemmelberg has always been a mountain full of stories, from the first settlements of Celtic tribes that go back 2,500 years up to the ferocious battles of World War I. This nearby spot to the famous city of Flanders, is made up of various monuments that keep this history alive, such as the Monument to the French soldiers (a 17-meter column) or “The Ancestors - Les Ancètres” (small structures woven with willow branches which represent flint tools, menhirs and ashes).
Sheep out to pasture next to the river, paths along gentle hills and castles frozen in time. This is the trail that connects the Meuse and Lesse Rivers crossing the Furfooz Natural Reserve. This paradise is located near Dinant, a magical city where you can visit the superb, renaissance style Walzin Castle. Owing to its gentle slopes, this trail is ideal for cyclists as well.