After eating way too many Easter eggs, we put on our sweatpants and went looking for a bit of exercise and fresh air in Wallonia. Turns out the south of Belgium is a great place to climb in trees, build a dam and walk on wood. 3 x hiking in Wallonia!
The Mirwart Forest
Last summer we discovered the Mirwart Forest, when we stayed in a holiday home nearby. It rained virtually every day (well thanks Belgium), but usually around 5 pm the sun came shining through. Our cue to come crawling out of our shelter and smell the lovely perfume the summer rain leaves behind.
‘Yuk!’ the kids shouted, when we suggested to take a hike. It’s their common answer, every time we use the H-word. Because hiking is boring, everybody knows that, don’t they? (visualize the eye rolling and bored body language). Ten minutes later they were far too busy to even look at us, let alone complain. They just needed to be reminded of the pleasures of building a dam in a tiny river. The name of that river by the way is la Lhomme. How cute is that?
You can discover the 1.350 ha of nature in four routes, or hike like Pippi Longstockings would do: just wander around and see where you end up. A very useful tool for that is the app Maps.Me, that allows you to download maps of the whole region (or any other region in the world, for that matter) and use it offline. Getting lost becomes quite difficult this way (we leave it up to you to decide if that’s good or bad).
Naturepark Hoge Venen-Eifel
In the east of Belgium, near the charming towns of Malmedy and Eupen, you find the Naturepark Hoge Venen-Eifel, the oldest nature reserve of our country. Time and again we end up in this vast wilderness, whenever we are in need of exercise and oxygen.
In winter it looks like a fairy tale with the snow covered trees, but in summer it’s gorgeous as well.
Don’t forget to visit the Visitors Centre of Botrange, where you can discover everything and more about this unique moor, one of the most valuable in Europe.
And of course there’s also the must see of the nearby Signal de Botrange, the highest point in Belgium (694 meter above sea level). Probably because 694 m sounded a bit random, they built a small tower to add up to a neat height of 700 m. And yes, as a rather flat country we are proud of this (we all learned to appreciate the little things).
The awesome animal- and adventurpark of Forestia in the province of Liège is a perfect place to take a hike with children, even very young ones.
But it is in the adventure park that most kids will rejoice. The reason is obvious: you get to climb the trees here. With a helmet and safety rope, of course. There’s all kinds of trails, from very easy to well, rather nervewrecking.
It’s not for the faint of heart. Our kids decided to work their way up, first the Grizzly trail, followed by the Falcon and finally the Eagle’s Nest. The word ‘exciting’ gets a whole new dimension here (granted, our mother hearts skipped a beat from time to time, much to the joy of the children, because frightening your mum to death is quite cool no?) There is even a trail for two year olds, so younger siblings don’t need to stay at home.
Looking for an amazing activity in Wallonia? Try fishing for beginners!