4 Day Belgium Ardennes Tour
This is a 3 Night, 4 Day tour where we spend a day on the Ourthe, then a day on the Lesse which are rivers in the Belgium Ardennes.
The Ardennes are remote, hilly and wooded and offer beautifully quiet streams in dramatic surroundings.
This tour is scheduled to run on demand. If you are a group of between 4 and 14 then choose your own dates and we will do our very best to arrange it.
Fully Guided whilst on the river & trail
Full minibus support throughout
Transfer to & from Arrival/Departure point
All accommodation in B&Bs & small Hotels
All breakfasts, lunches and evening meals
Canoe the Lesse and Ourthe rivers
See some beautiful Chateaux and villages along the way
Visit some small museums about WW2 and Medieval times
Taste some Trappist Beers
All canoes, paddles & life-vests
The price is €1095 per person.
Groups of more than 14 can be accommodated on special request. A private tour for 1 or 2 persons can be arranged with a surchage.
The tour meets & departs from Brussels Midi Railway station at about midday or at close airports by arrangement. We can also make arrangements for ferry crossings to/from Dover if required.
The Ourthe and the Lesse are both tributaries of the Meuse which flows through the Ardennes, the rural and largely wooded hill country in the south of Belgium in French speaking Wallonia. We will drive to the Ardennes in the early evening of our first day.
Our first paddle will be on the next day and we will paddle a 21km (13m) stretch of the Ourthe river from Nisramont to Roche-en-Ardennes through the beautiful Gorge Herou.
On the next day we will then canoe a 24km (15m) stretch of the Lesse river from Houyet to Anseremme, following the river as it meanders through a deep and wooded valley to the Meuse.
The valley famously follows the route of a small local railway in a valley which has no road. We will pass the the tiny National Park of Furfooz, with its Roman ruins and also the splendid Chateau Walzin.
On the morning of our last day we will return to Brussels for a train at about midday. Unlless of course we've made other arrangements.
Day 1. Arrival and first meeting.
You will be met at our arranged meeting point: usually the Eurostar Station (Gare du Midi) in Brussels. We will then have a 2 hour drive to Cendron-Celles and the Auberge de la Lesse.
We will aim to arrive at our hotel in time for dinner. If we can find time we will make a cafe stop in Chimay along the way or some other point of interest.
Day 2. Paddle on the Ourthe
After a hearty breakfast we will drive to La Roche-en-Ardennes in the morning (about 50 minutes) to begin our paddle of the Ourthe river from Nisramont back to La Roche.
We will canoe through the beautiful Gorge Herou and negotiate some minor rapids as the river meanders wildly.
Somewhere near the small village of Maboge we will pull over on the bank, or on an island, for a picnic lunch. After lunch the river opens out into a wider valley as it approaches La Roche.
A 50 minute drive, via a Trappist cafe in Rochefort, will return us to our hotel.
Day 3. Canoe on the Lesse river.
After breakfast we will drive to Houyet (about 30 minutes) to begin our descent of the Lesse river down to Anseremme, following the river as it meanders through a deep and wooded valley to the Meuse.
The valley famously follows the route of a small local railway in a valley which has no road. We will pass the the tiny National Park of Furfooz, with its Roman ruins and also the splendid Chateau Walzin. We will find our lunch spot around here.
At the end of the day a very short drive will take us to our hotel.
Day 4. Farewells
After a leisurely breakfast we will return to Brussels in time to catch a midday train home.
If we have time we could stop for a visit to the Citadel at Dinant.
Auberge de la Lesse
We shall stay at the Auberge de la Lesse for all 3 nights. It is situated on the banks of the Lesse
The Auberge is about 2 hours drive from Brussels, for our arrival and departure and about 50 minutes from La Roche-en-Ardennes where we begin our paddling on the second day, and about 20 minutes from where we start and finish canoeing on the third day.
What we see
We will not be able to visit everything listed on these pages. Many of them are close to where we stay or canoe and some of the others we will be able to visit in-between our paddles and hikes.
Trappist Breweries: We will make every effort to visit Orval for those that are interested and we can endeavour to find the beers themselves wherever we are staying.
Museums & Sites Florennes - Musée Spitfire
Rochefort - Museum of the Countal Castle
Rochefort - Malagne the Gallo-Roman
La Roche-en-Ardenne - Museum of the Battle of the Ardennes
La Roche-en-Ardenne - Pottery Museum - `The Sandstone of La Roche'
An old panoramic train will bring you to the entrance of the caves, a guide will lead you through 3km of increasingly beautiful chambers and passages and a romantic exit on barges on the subterranean river.
Castles and Gardens
The Feudal Castle of La Roche Perched on the Deister rocky spur, this site has over time housed a Neolithic residence, a Roman, the house of the Kings of the Franks. Overhanging the city and the Ourthe, nestled in the middle of nature, it truly makes La Roche "The pearl of the Ardennes". Despite all the changes endured by the castle the actual ruins with their towers, arrow slits and oubliettes, have retained the feel of feudal times.
The Castle of Veves If Cinderella ever hosted a ball, it must have been there. This picturesque, turreted feudal castle dates back to 1410. Perched dramatically on a rocky outcrop overlooking the picturesque village of Celles, it is still lived in by the same family and is fully furnished. It illustrates what life was like from the Middle Ages up to the 18th century.
The Castle of Lavaux-Ste-Anne This castle portrays seigniorial life in the 17th and 18th centuries. You’ll never see another castle like this medieval oddity, a moat-encircled collection of domes with an impressive collection of stuffed animals inside. There are also three museums: a museum of daily life in the 17th and 18th centuries, a museum of rural life in Famenne in the 19th and 20th centuries and a natural history museum.
The Castle and Gardens of Freyr Named after the Scandinavian goddess of beauty, Freyr (1554) is located along the River Meuse. Most of the orange trees originate from the Court of Lorraine and are nearing 350 years old, which are brought inside during the winter. The gardens are in the style of Le Nôtre and are surrounded by mazes made of hornbeam hedges. The castle and gardens are listed as a Major Walloon Heritage Site.
The Chevetogne Provincial Estate The Chevetogne Provincial Estate is the perfect destination for day trips, weekends and stays devoted to relaxation and leisure activities. The vast estate has everything a family could want, all in one place: leisure areas, paths for strolling through woods and gardens, sports fields and fabulous playgrounds, all in keeping with the vast scale of the site.
The Citadel of Dinant On a cliff above the River Meuse, the citadel offers views of the town and countryside. This fortress was built in 1051 to defend the city against invaders. It is reached either by cable car or by the 408 steps cut into the hillside.
The Abbey of Maredsous Built in 1872 by Benedictine monks in a neo-Gothic style, this monastery offers pilgrims and tourists a beautiful architectural ensemble. Take a guided tour of the church and grounds including the gardens, library, cemetery, school and workshops.
Walking in the Ardennes by Jeff Williams
This guidebook describes 32 varied day walks and one longer route in the Ardennes, an area which lies mostly in Belgium but extends into both Luxembourg and France, with easy access from the English Channel ports. It's an area of beech and oak-forested hills divided by deep, winding valleys with wide, shallow rivers. Medieval castles and fortified farmhouses abound, perched above the villages. The walking possibilities are endless, all without the large height gains that are a feature of routes in the European Alps. Relics and museums of the WW2 'Battle of the Bulge' abound, a bonus for military history enthusiasts. Given the huge variety of other entertainments including kayaking, cross-country biking, even just playing at the water's edge, it's a great family destination. And there's the beer? This guide is illustrated with clear custom-made maps and contains lots of information about the vivid history of the area, as well as all the practical accommodation needed to plan a trip, including accommodation, food and drink and advice on when to go.
Good Beer Guide Belgium by Joe Stange and Tim Webb
Recommended reading in the Rough Guide to Belgium, this guide to breweries, beers, and bars is acknowledged as the standard work for Belgian beer lovers, even in Belgium itselfBuilding on 20 years of research, this is not just a beer guide, but a side door into the culture of a nation. Information for tourists traveling to one of the great beer nations includes comprehensive advice on getting there, being there, what to eat, where to stay, and how to bring beers back home. Tourists are guided to more than 600 quirky beer cafés of every style and genre, and also given background history and an insight into all of Belgium's eccentricities. Full-color throughout with both province-by-province and city maps, this guide is suitable for both leisure and business travelers, as well as for armchair drinkers looking to enjoy a selection of Belgian brews from their local beer store.
The newly updated, full-color Rough Guide to Belgium and Luxembourg is the definitive guide to this underrated corner of Europe. Detailed accounts and crystal-clear maps reveal every nook and cranny of both countries, from the best Belgian beer bars to comic shops, chocolate, and carnivals.The Rough Guide to Belgium and Luxembourg is packed with historical context and well-informed insights into the superb sights, museums and galleries of the big cities Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, Brussels, and Luxembourg City but it also departs from the urban centers for the forests and moorland of the Ardennes, the windswept beaches of the north coast, the WWI sites of Flanders, and Luxembourg's remote hamlets.You'll find gorgeous photography and color maps throughout, plus author picks, themed itineraries, and, of course, the lowdown on the best hotels, cafés, restaurants, and shops across every price range, giving you clear, balanced reviews and honest, first-hand opinions.
Belgium: Long United, Long Divided by Samulel Humes
This concise history describes the traditions and transitions that over two thousand years have developed in Belgium in a sense of shared identity, common government, and a centralized nation-state - and then over a few recent decades paved the way for Flemish-Walloon schism that now threatens to break up Belgium. It responds to the question: Why does a government, unified for more than 600 years, no longer seem capable of holding together a linguistically divided country.
In tracing the evolution of Belgian governance, Humes describes why and how the dominance of French-speaking propertied elite eroded after having monopolized the land's governance for centuries. The extension of suffrage, combined with the rise of literacy and schooling enabled labor and Flemish movements to gather sufficient momentum to fracture the Belgian polity, splitting its parties and frustrating its politics. The presence of the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has, in a tangential way, enable the Belgian separatists to discount the merit of a national government that is no longer needed to defend the country militarily and economically.
Ardennes 1944: Hitler's Last Gamble by Anthony Beevor
From the bestselling author of Stalingrad, Berlin and D-Day, Antony Beevor's Ardennes 1944: Hitler's Last Gamble tells the story of the German's ill-fated final stand. On 16 December, 1944, Hitler launched his 'last gamble' in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes. He believed he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp, then force the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. Many were exultant at the prospect of striking back. The Ardennes offensive, with more than a million men involved, became the greatest battle of the war in western Europe. American troops, taken by surprise, found themselves fighting two panzer armies. Belgian civilians fled, justifiably afraid of German revenge. Panic spread even to Paris. While many American soldiers fled or surrendered, others held on heroically, creating breakwaters which slowed the German advance. The harsh winter conditions and the savagery of the battle became comparable to the eastern front.And after massacres by the Waffen-SS, even American generals approved when their men shot down surrendering Germans. The Ardennes was the battle which finally broke the back of the Wehrmacht.