You are here

Winter walks in Wallonia, nature's fairytale

(c) WBT-Arnaud Siquet
(c) WBT-Arnaud Siquet

Feeling the snow crunch beneath your feet, discovering forests turned into fairylands covered with a blanket of white, taking the time to admire these transformed landscapes, taking a deep breath of fresh air... All this and much more makes winter walks in Wallonia so irresistible.


Forget the cold, wrap up warm and pull on your hiking boots for a walk like no other, where you can discover the region in a whole new light. Wallonia's diverse (and wintry) landscapes range from wandering hikes in the Ardennes, rewarded by breathtaking views, to leisurely strolls through welcoming villages or right in the heart of the rolling countryside of the Pays de Herve, Condroz, the Eastern Cantons or the Fagnes — all magical at this time of year. The possibilities are as endless as the routes are varied. You can stroll along waterways, climb ridges or hike through the Ardennes forests. If you're a photo enthusiast, Wallonia never fails to please with its photogenic spots ("Instagrammable" for the young ones among us). To help you choose, VisitWallonia suggests some great winter walks. There's something for everyone, from leisurely walks to sporty hikes and family outings.

Rural excursions

When you think of "winter walks", the first region that springs to mind is, of course, the Fagnes, so beautiful in winter. Between Eupen, Monschau, Malmedy and Spa, the Hautes Fagnes-Eifel nature park with its exceptional peat bog landscape is a must for hiking fans. For example, the signposted Fagnes loop walk. Beginning at the Signal de Botrange, Belgium's highest peak (694 m), the route takes you over the peat using the small elevated wooden paths.

The Eastern Cantons are also waiting to be discovered. Hiking here is pure pleasure surrounded by breathtaking scenery. And even more so in winter. The Our valley, the Saint-Vith region, the Eupen area and Lake Butgenbach offer great family walks. The network of walks stretches over 1,300 km of marked trails. The long-distance footpaths (grandes randonnées, GR) are often very rural and peaceful routes. From the lake of Robertville, don't miss Reinhardstein Castle. Resting on its eagle's nest, this mighty fortress will challenge you from the outset as you conquer its steep paths. And don't forget "Napoleon's nose", the rock resembling the emperor, offering a magnificent panorama over the Warche valley.

The Spa region has no shortage of lovely walks. High above the spa town, at the Annette et Lubin hill, just a few meters from the baths, a pleasant hike takes you through the beautiful woods of the state reserve. To the north of Spa, it is worth making your way up to explore the wildest parts of the lovely stream, the Ru du Grand Chawion. Thanks to its mirrored effect, the pond is even more beautiful when blanketed in fresh snow.

The Liège Ardennes offer a wealth of beautiful winter walks. In Stoumont, the walk from Roftier to Rahier crosses grasslands and countryside. On various stone slabs along the way, you'll find poems praising the region and its photogenic panoramas. Departing on the Vecquée walk from the Stoumont tourist office, you can feast your eyes on landscapes so spectacular you wouldn't be blamed for believing you've been transported to Canada. With the walk around Lorcé in Stoumont and its magnificent views over the valley, you'll find yourself immersed in the forest on relaxing paths. After an adventurous hike? Near the Baraque de Fraiture, starting from the pretty village of Malempré, prepare to be delighted by nature sleeping under a blanket of fresh snow.

Looking for a rural hike accompanied by the sound of trickling water? The Hoëgne valley walk is a route of around ten kilometres along the river. Don't be afraid of the twists, turns and climbs, simply follow the path and the trail is fun for all the family.

The province of Liège also offers a whole host of other places to be discovered in the snow. From Moha in the Hesbaye region, discover the limestone valley of the Mehaigne, the village of Longpré and the Château du Temple. Don't miss the Moulins loop in Tavier-Anthisnes, in the rolling countryside of Condroz.

Breathtaking panoramas

There are countless magnificent viewpoints throughout the province of Luxembourg. Departing from La-Roche-en-Ardenne and passing through the surrounding villages, this 14-km hike forms a loop of forest paths, crossing the Ourthe river and offering superb views over the parks, the Ourthe valley and the feudal castle.

In Nadrin, the magnificent promenade du Hérou is well worth a visit. The succession of rocks plunging down to the river will fill you with wonder as you let yourself be guided by the trickling waters of the Ourthe. Listed since 1937, the Hérou site features a wild landscape of forests, rocky escarpments, fir forests and the meandering Ourthe River. In Recogne, the promenade des bisons through the snow-covered grasslands will plunge you into the heart of the Wild West.

Discover the countryside around Vissoule, near Houffalize, crossing a marsh using log steps. Departing from the village of Erneuville, the Maquisards walk along country lanes will take you to Tenneville and its forests. At Botassart, in the municipality of Bouillon, in the very south of Wallonia, the Tombeau du Géant (the Giant's grave), from which you can admire the meandering Semois river, is a must. Photogenic and unforgettable.

Charming discoveries

The province of Namur also boasts some lovely spots for winter walks. The one over the Dinant bridge takes you through the Florennes state-owned forest, with its ancient oak groves, recognised as a Natura 2000 site, and then through the Villers-le-Gambon forest. Another walk in Dinant, around the Château de Walzin, is one of the most beautiful in Belgium, and it's certainly a romantic experience to catch a glimpse of the castle from your hiking trail. You'll pass by the Aiguilles de Chaleux — quite a climb, but well worth the effort.

Thanks to its exceptional flora and fauna, the Viroinval region is also a favourite spot for nature lovers. The Ry d'Alise hike takes you through the Viroin-Hermeton nature park. There's lots of ups and downs, but the reward is a breathtaking view of the valley and the surrounding villages. Not far from there, the Fondry des Chiens site in Nismes is well worth a visit. You'll be in for a surprise with a view of this chasm, over 20 m deep, and the result of thousands of years of rain erosion. But, as you've probably already guessed, that's not the only surprise that awaits you on your winter stroll in Wallonia.  


By Jacqueline Remits

Linked articles