Belgium Explore with this route planner provided by Visit Belgium.

Explore Belgium by Province

Belgium  Explore with this route planner provided by Visit Belgium.

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Namur (E 411)Namur strategic position on the Meuse and Sambre made it the ideal military site. The imposing citadel still stands and can be visited. In the charming and busy town you will also find an archeological museum that houses a beautiful treasury of Hugo d’Oignies, composed of delicate 13th century metal work in gold and silver.  The satirical irreverent artist Felicien Rops, native of Namur has a museum devoted tohis work, well worth a stop.
AnnevoieOn the way to Dinant stay on the west bank of the Meuse (N 92) and visit the gardens of Annevoie. Surrounding an elegant house of the 17th and 18th century these are a combination of traditional French and romantic Italian styles and famous for their fountains, canals, cascades and other creative uses of the water of the natural springs.
MaredsousTake the yellow road5km south west of Annevoievisit de abbey of Maredsous where you can taste monk’s beer and cheese.
DinantAnother of those cities that was always at war with its rival neighbors. The very imposing citadel must have made the citizens feel safe. Perched on a rock it overlooks the river.
Freyr castleJust outside of Dinant (follow the Meuseriver) Freyr is a beautiful castle in Renaissance Mosan and Louis XV style,surrounded by gardens designed by the counts Beaufort Spontin , again with inspiration from Le Notre in the 17th century . It also has an excellent view of the Meuse and the rocks on the other bank.   Cross the Meuse to Furfooz via the Walzin Castle.
VevesCross the Meuse direction Furfooz ( N 910) to one of the bestpreservedmedieval castles in Belgium standing imposingly in a bucolic setting.
CellesContinue on N 910 to Celles a beautiful village with a Romanesque church ofthe 11th century in pure Mosan style. Pay attention to the tombstone of theBeauforts in black Dinant marble.HanAt the door of the Ardennes, one-hour drive from Brussels, the Caves of Han are among the largest, most renowned and beautiful caves in Europe and thoroughly deserve their 3-star rating in the Michelin guide: entry aboard a 100-year-old tram, multilingual guided tours, sound and light show and exit along the underground river.   The Caves are situated in beautiful natural surroundings,  which host a Wildlife Reserve where European wild species roam in their natural environment.Next to the world-famous Caves of Han,  a Wildlife Reserve extends over 250 hectares of pure nature, where several European wildlife species roam in their natural environment : deer, boars, wolves, lynx, European bisons and many others.  The Reserve is visited in safari-car or by foot.
LIEGELiege is a historical city on the river Meuse, dating back to Charlemagne. With a wonderful central location, it is only one hour from Brussels by train or car and just two hours by Thalys from Paris to the new Liege-Guillemins Station designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava.
SPAThis town gave its name to all spas in the world. The waters have been famous since Roman times. Crowned heads such as Queen Margot, Queen Christine of Sweden, Peter the Great and also our own King Leopold II come here to drink and bathe in the waters, soak in mud baths and walk in the beautiful forests. Spa is also home to the oldest casino in the world, construction began in 1763 by the prince-bishop of Liege.
Today, the Pearl of the Ardennes is a place to enjoy outdoor theater performances in the summer, music festivals and the surrounding forests offer ideal hiking and biking paths.
FRANCORCHAMPSThe world famous Spa-FrancorchampsFormula IRace Track calls this forest town home. With advance notice, you can even live out your childhood fantasy of becoming a formula 1 driver and take a spin on the track.
STAVELOTThis Ardenne village is most famous for its annual lent carnival. In the St. Sebastian church you can admire a 13th century reliquary of St. Remaclus.
MALMEDYThis charming town is set in a hollow surrounded by steep wooded hills. Continue toReinhardstein castle, an imposing fortress resuscitated from its ruins according to 17th century drawings. At onetime the family Metternich was owner of this castle.
EUPEN.This stretch of the N68 highway from Malmedy to Eupen is one of the most beautiful in Belgium, going right through the HAUTES FAGNES natural reserve. In the park the SIGNAL DE BOTRANGE marks the highest point in Belgium (2.277 ft).  On a clear day you can see as far as the city of Aachen in Germany from the top.
From Eupen you can go back to Liege or on to Brussels.
BOUILLONThe city of Bouillon goes back to the first crusades when Godefroid of BOUILLON went to Jerusalem. To pay for the travel expenses he had to sell his castle, whose existence dates back to the 10th century, to the Prince Bishops of Liege. From one of the towers there is a sweeping view of the meandering Semois river .
The small city of Bouillon is a pleasant spot to stay and from where you can take lovely hiking trips in the beautiful forests all around.
ORVALThis Benedictine abbey was founded in 1070, and later, during the 12th century, it became one of the most famous Cistercian monasteries in Europe. The monks still brew beer and make their own cheese today.
BASTOGNEIt was here that the Germans made a last attempt at an offensive with Antwerp as their target. The allies rebuffed the attack in one of the bloodiest battles of the war known as the Battle of the Bulge. The MARDASSON is the monument honoring the American soldiers who fought and died here.
NADRIN& La Roche en ArdennesTwo pleasant holiday villages in the Belgian Ardennes with great inns and delicious restaurants.

South West of Brussels: Hainaut Province
Brussels – > Beloeil – Tournai – Mons – Nivelles – Waterloo -> Brussels – a 157 miles trip
Beloeil (Highway E19)

The castle belongs to the family of the princes of Ligne since the 14th century. It has wonderful gardens, a 15acre basin designed by a disciple of Le Notre. Inside, the castle has a museum like collection of fine furniture, tapestries, family portraits and memorabilia.

 

Tournai (via Stambruges to E42 )

A city already important in the roman times and later under King Clovis was an important tapestry – weaving center in the 15th and 16th century. The Romanesque cathedral is one of the most imposing and original buildings in Europe. Inside the church look for the treasury containing the silver and gold reliquary of Nicolas de Verdun. The town has a nice main square with the oldest belfry in Belgium just around the corner. The Fine Art Museum was built by Victor Horta.

 

Mons

Mons was developed around a castle and a monastery in the 7th century. A magnificent church in Brabant Gothic style houses the 18th c. Golden Chariot which annually carries de reliquary of St Waudru through the streets of the city. The procession ends with the pageant of the battle of the Lumecon, between St George and the Dragon. Guess who wins¦ A beautiful baroque Belfry stands on the highest point of the city from where there are great views of the surrounding countryside and the ruins of the castle of the Counts of Hainaut as well as an 11th c. Chapel.

 

Just outside Mons, visit a coal mining industrial archeological site le Grand Hornu. A remarkable complex in neo classical style where the workplace and homes are integrated. It is now a museum, check with the local tourist office in Mons for special exhibits that are regularly organized in this spectacular space.

 

Nivelles (E42 leads into E19)

This very old town goes back to Carolingian times.The most important monument to visit is St, Gertrude’ Collegiate church. A very impressive Romanesque abbey church consecrated in the 12thcentury by Henry III (yes of France). The size and simplicity inside and outside are striking. The archeological basement consists of the ruins of 5other churches, from the 7th to 10thcentury, which preceded the Romanesque one.

 

Waterloo (E19 to belt around Brussels, then follow directions to Antwerp and get off at N5 to Waterloo). This is the famous battlefield where Napoleon was defeated by the combined forces of Wellington and Blucher.

 

South of Brussels: Namur Province

Brussels – Namur – Annevoie – Maredsous – Dinant – Freyr –  Veves – Celles – Brussels (97 miles)

East of Brussels: Liege Province

Liege -Spa – Francorchamps – Malmedy – Stavelot – Reinhardstein – Eupen -Liege (78 miles)

South East of Brussels: Luxembourg Province

Bouillon – Orval – Bastogne – Nadrin – La Roche en Ardennes

 

 

A Belgian Beer Route

Brussels – Chimay – Dinant – Maredsous – Rochefort

Destination 1: Brussels
Spend the day café hopping in Europe’s capital. Begin on theGrand Place, then work your way to Halles St. Gery. End at La Mort Subite (At The Sudden Death), named after a game some of the regular patrons played when the brasserie first opened in 1910.
Throughout the day, you may notice a number of non-descript alleys. Take a moment and walk down one… you may discover your favorite brasserie hiding there!Do Not Miss:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Destination 2: Chimay
The city of Chimay is located at the edge of the Hautes Fagnes. Nature lovers will enjoy the trails through the forest or across the country. But the highlight of the day will be the Abbey Notre-Dame de Scourmont, where the trappist monks have been producing their famous beer and cheese since 1862.

Do Not Miss:

Chimay Trappist Abbey

The Historical Center of Chimay

Castle of the Princes of Chimay

Suggestion: Stop by Charleroi on your way to Chimay. The city is right along the route, making it a great place to do some sightseeing while you stretch your legs.
Sights in Charleroi:

 

Destination 3: Dinant and the Maredsous Abbey
A short trip from Brussels is Dinant, birthplace of the saxophone. This picturesque town is boxed between the Meuse River on one side and a cliff on the other. Next to Dinant, you’ll find the lush grounds of the Maredsous Abbey founded in 1872, which produces three kinds of beers, a blonde, brune and triple.

Do Not Miss:

 

Destination 4: Rochefort
The Val de Lesse region is known for its exceptional nature, with forests, rivers, castles and caves waiting to be explored by foot, bike or even on horseback. However, for the beer connoisseur, you’ll want to tour the grounds of the Rochefort Trappist Abbey.

Do Not Miss:

Suggestion: On your way back to Brussels, take some time to stop in Namur, the regional capital of French-speaking Belgium. Take a Stroll through the historical heart of this romantic city, located where the Sambre and the Meuse Rivers converge.

Sights in Namur:

 

 

 

 

From Brussels To Liege

Day 1 –  Brussels (Pick a themed walking tour of Brussels)

Day 2 – Liege (Train: 1 hour or Highway E40: 61 miles)

If this is your first trip to Liege, click here for a list of the Must Sees of Liege.

 

 

Liege – the Hidden city

Visit Liege like a local by taking a stroll along Rue St. Gilles, a long street lined with shops. Or wander through the “Carre” district, an extensive quarter of pedestrian streets near the Cathedral. By day, this neighborhood is bustling with shoppers browsing the trendy boutiques for the latest fashions. By night, Le Carre becomes the place to be for nightlife in Liege. Many of the best shops in town are located in 18th century mansions with stone facades and wooden floors that have been carefully restored to their original state. To enjoy a stunning view of the city take the picturesque “Sentier des Coteaux”. Don’t forget to check the splendid Opera house and to browse through some of Belgian’s best bookshops.

The Place Saint-Lambert is one of Liege’s main areas where people meet up and hang out. It was landscaped by the architect Paul Strebelle. On the east side of the square look for modern buildings, each of one in a different color and done in a different style. The Square and its district is also refered to as the “Ilot Saint Michel” and is sure to become a masterpiece of modern Belgian architecture.

Above the street level, there is a series of secret gardens . They look semi-private, so you will have to go through a half-closed gate, climb steps and cross a bridge to reach a strange elevated garden that looks down on the old brick houses around Saint Croix Church. Sounds like a secret missions, but it’s worth the effort!

 

Castles, Gardens and Charming Villages
Brussels – Dinant – Lavaux St. Anne – Grottes de Han – Rochefort – Marche en Famenne – Modave – Huy – Namur – Brussels (142 miles)
Lavaux-St-Anne: Take the N94 to Lavaux-St-Anne, a hunting castle now a museum of Hunting, Game, Falconry and Nature.

 

Han sur Lesse and the Grottes de Han (N86 left at Lavaux-St-Anne) – A giant calcareous cave cut out by the Lesse river some 10km long can be visited. One of the rooms called, Chamber of Wonders, has the mysterious magic of a crystal palace. Rochefort – Charming town on the Ourthe river is fishing hiking and biking paradise.

 

Marche en Famenne to Durbuy – Stay on N86, beautiful road to Durbuy which is another charming small town ideal for fishing, walking, biking. Take N641 to Modave castle.

 

Modave Castle – Begun in the 13thcentury the Count of Marchin restored it in the 17thcentury to its present glory. Beautiful inside and outside. Lovely views of Hoyoux valley.

 

Huy – Continue on N641 to Huy. The collegiate church in flamboyant gothic style was finished in the 15th century and is famous for its rosewindow 30ft in diameter. Alsovisit the treasury with a rich collection of Mosan gold and silver and two magnificent reliquaries from the 12th and 13thcentury.

 

Take the N 643 to E411 back to Brussels

 

 

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Driving Routes in Belgium

Exploring the internet and checking out tourist board guides, I have found the following driving route suggestions in Belgium.  They are not comprehensive and I would welcome additional suggestions.

This first suggestion is from the Rough Guide website.Rough Guide to Belgium

“Belgium’s southern reaches are a striking contrast to the crowded, industrial north, for it’s here in the south that the cities give way to the rugged wilderness landscapes of the Ardennes. Beginning in France, the Ardennes stretches east across Luxembourg and Belgium before continuing on into Germany, covering three Belgian provinces en route – Namur in the west, Luxembourg in the south and Liège in the east. The highest part, lying in the German-speaking east of the country, is the Hautes Fagnes (the High Fens), an expanse of windswept heathland that extends from Eupen to Malmédy. But this is not the Ardennes’ most attractive or popular corner, which lies further west, its limits roughly marked by Dinant, La Roche-en-Ardenne and Bouillon. This region is given character and variety by its river valleys: deep, wooded canyons, at times sublimely and inspiringly beautiful, reaching up to high green peaks. The Ardennes’ cave systems are also a major pull, especially those in the Meuse, Ourthe and Lesse valleys, carved out over the centuries by underground rivers that have cut through and dissolved the limestone hills, leaving stalagmites and stalactites in their wake.

Bruges

The obvious gateway to the most scenic portion of the Ardennes is Namur, strategically sited at the junction of the Sambre and Meuse rivers, and well worth a visit in its own right. The town’s pride and joy is its massive, mostly nineteenth-century citadel – once one of the mightiest fortresses in Europe – but it also musters a handful of decent museums, some good restaurants and (for the Ardennes) a lively bar scene. From Namur you can follow the Meuse by train down to Dinant, a pleasant – and very popular – journey, before going on to explore the Meuse Valley south of Dinant by boat or taking a canoe up the narrower and wilder River Lesse. From Dinant, routes lead east into the heart of the Ardennes – to workaday Han-sur-Lesse, surrounded by undulating hills riddled with caves, to prettier Rochefort, and to St-Hubert, with its splendid Italianate basilica. The most charming of the towns hereabouts, however, are La Roche-en-Ardenne to the northeast, a rustic, hardy kind of place, pushed in tight against the River Ourthe beneath wooded hills and renowned for its smoked ham and game; and Bouillon, a picturesque little place whose narrow streets trail alongside the River Semois beneath an ancient castle. Bouillon is situated close to the French frontier, on the southern periphery of the Belgian Ardennes and within easy striking distance of some of the region’s most dramatic scenery, along the valley of the Semois.

AntwerpOstendMons

If you’re visiting the eastern Ardennes, the handiest starting point is big and gritty Liège, an industrial sprawl from where it’s a short hop south to the historic resort of Spa and the picturesque town of Stavelot, with its marvellous carnival. You can use Spa or Stavelot as bases for hiking or canoeing into the surrounding countryside and to venture into the Hautes Fagnes, though the attractive little town of Malmédy is slightly nearer.”

Read more: https://www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/belgium/ardennes/#ixzz3yXzxmE66

Brussels

Eastern Belgium is also covered in this guide:

Tourist information for Eastern Belgium:

Belgium, easily accessible from the UK and perfect for a short break, is a land of contrasts. The bustling cosmopolitan city of Brussells, the great port of Antwerp, the medieval gem that is Bruges, are perhaps best known, but Mons, Tournai, Ghent, Liege and Ieper all have something to offer. The flat lands of the north give way to rolling hills and woods which in turn rise to the lovely and unspoilt Ardennes region, perfect for walking cycling and canoeing amongst deep valleys and wooded hilltops. In the far south east is the lovely Duchy of Luxembourg, where the hills of the Ardennes extend to the outskirts of the city, which is well worth visiting in itself.

Map of Eastern Belgium

Towns and places of interest in Belgium and Luxembourg:
Click the place names to book hotels at great prices.

The Ardennes
The Ardennes comprise almost half of Belgium. Beautiful wooded hillsides plunge into deep ravines riddled with caves. Small towns and villages shelter under steep hillsides. Rivers wind their way through undulating countryside. Wonderful walks are everywhere, never difficult but always rewarding. Canoeing, boating and mountain-biking are popular, and cross-country skiing in winter.

Namur
Namur is the gateway to the very lovely western Ardennes. The town is dominated by a magnificent citadel – reached by cable car – posesses some good museums, and the narrow streets close to the river house some excellent restaurants and lively bars. Near the town is the Abbaye de Floreffe. Travel by boat from Namur to Dinant, surrounded by steep cliffs and with a citadel of its own. Enjoy the wild scenery of the nearby river Lesse by canoe, or visitRochefort, situated amongst perhaps the most beautiful scenery in the Ardennes with ample opportunity for walking, canoeing and mountain-biking.

The Ardennes
La Roche-en-Ardennes is a beautiful and romantic town, topped by a ruined castle and surrounded by hills. Good restaurants and bars make this an excellent base for the wonderful countryside around, where all levels of walking, mountain-biking and canoeing take place. Further southwest isSt Hubert, deep in the forest and an excellent centre for easy walking. Visit the nearby Euro Space Centre and the Parc a Gibier animal park. Bouillon, close to the French border, has a superb castle, an interesting museum, several decent restaurants, and is a great centre for exploring the wild and lovely Semois valley and wooded hills. The forests and hills continue all the way to the border with Luxembourg.

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Liege is a large industrial city but is the gateway to the eastern Ardennes, the main town being Stavelot, with pretty streets and an abbey. Here also is Spa, supposedly the first health resort in the world. Further east is theHautes Fagnes, a wild and open heathland plateau.

Luxembourg
Luxembourg is more than just its city. The rocky hills of the Ardennes extend into the Duchy, and there are more than 130 chateaux and castles. The scenery is lovely, ranging from the Ardennes to the gentler slopes of the river Moselle in the southeast, flanked with vineyards. Luxembourg city enjoys a spectacular setting, straddling the green gorges of two rivers. Visit the Old Town on the upper plateau and enjoy the sturdy ruins of its fortifications. Descend by elevator or steps to the valley floor. Eat at the many good restaurants and take in the lively clubs and bars.

There are several round trips for bikers that offer good sight-seeing routes too on

Best routes for bikers

There are other websites that give good routes but they are few and far between, especially for motorhomes and campervans.

There is a new publication due out in March 16f called All the Aires Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg that lists the motorhome stopovers.

Campsite guide Campsites in Belgium

Visit Belgium has suggested itineraries.

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