Photo by: Ric Martins, Creative Commons
If you’re in Belgium and looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of cities like Ghent and Brussels, the Ardennes is a clear answer to your wishes. The Ardennes, a part of Wallonia, is a chain of rolling hills and sprawling forests that extends from Belgium and Luxembourg to the outskirts of France. Aside from having an abundance of greenery, it is also a hotspot of natural reserves and rivers.
Ardennes is also an appealing tourist destination for the adventurous types. The vast forests offer hunting, while the hills are suitable for cycling and trekking activities. If you’re in for a short and pleasant walk, you can visit the Parc National de Furfooz. The 4-km circular walk through the park leads you to a scenic view of the town and to several Roman architectural remains. The choice of sports activities does not slow down even in the cold Ardennes winter, where guests can enjoy a little skiing and snowboarding as well.
The Ardennes also holds a part in history. In World War II, the town bore witness to the Battle of the Bulge, a surprise attack by the Germans on the British and American forces. Story has it that they only got as far as Dinant, the fortress of the Allied troops. You can tour the Citadel of Dinant during the day, an enormous WWII fortress perched high above a cliff. Because of some unrestricted sites, most guests are advised to join a tour group, instead of venturing in the citadel alone. The Ardennes American Cemetery also lets you absorb Ardennes’s rich WWII history. The cemetery has a carillon that plays the US National Anthem every day, as homage to the fallen comrades who had been buried there. If you’re quite the patriot, it would prove to be a truly emotional experience to visit this one-of-a-kind resting place.
Whether you’re longing for the crisp air outdoors or for the awe of historical landmarks, Ardennes more than satisfies both of your wishes. A tiny respite from the gray inner cities, Ardennes offers a little peaceful recreation to tourists and natives alike.