Diving in a lake, splashing in a river, sliding along the current… There is nothing better for letting off some steam, recharge, reconnect with nature and cool off in summer! Good news: The Ardennes is full of natural freshwater areas where swimming is allowed and safe. These places are sometimes closer than we think.

“Wallonia, land of water”: this is the tourist theme chosen by the Walloon Region in 2019. This is our chance to recommend some freshwater spots – lakes and rivers – for swimming in the Ardennes!

The valley of Ninglinspo (Aywaille): full of sensations

The Ninglinspo is the only torrent in Belgium. Flowing from the summits near Liège, close to Aywaille and Remouchamps, it flows tumultuously through the woods to finally arrive in the Amblève. The site is superb (it is not for nothing that it is classified as an exceptional heritage site of Wallonia) with sensations to match.

Ready to take a dip?

Forget the chlorinated, artificial and expensive water parks. The valley of Ninglinspo offers a first-class playground with waterfalls, natural pools and water slides. No, it’s not too good to be true.

And to deserve your swim ;p, we propose a 6 km walk around the Ninglinspo to discover the breathtaking surrounding landscapes.

The beach of Maboge (La Roche-en-Ardenne): swimming, kayaking and barbecue

For the setting, imagine Maboge, a small village set in a beautiful forest area at the edge of the Ourthe. Can you visualise the picture? Add a beach with free access and everything you need to spend a lovely day with family or friends: a reception pavilion, barbecues and a playground for children. Our advice: pack a warmer change of clothes and blankets because once the swim is over, you will probably want to stay and enjoy the evening by the fire. Even in good weather, an evening in the forest by the river can get pretty chilly.

In the water!

Maboge is also a starting point for a descent of the Ourthe by kayak. Perfect for those who want to add a little variety to the aquatic pleasures!

Plan your water-themed getaway

These idyllic places rest on the virtues of water but also of the forest. And that is best savoured by taking your time. What if you organise your stay in the Ardennes around aquatic pleasures? Close to these natural swimming areas, we offer holiday rentals, some of which feature a swimming pool and/or a Jacuzzi.

Lake of Robertville (Waimes): aquatic pleasures in a green setting

Close to Malmedy, the dam built on the Warche in Robertville has created a lake of 62 hectares. The charm of the place? A hilly forest surrounds the lake, offering magnificent views at any time of the day and in any weather. Furthermore, we already gave you a preview when we introduced you to this short walk from the Robertville dam to the Castle of Reinhardstein, which is ideal with children.

Fun for all tastes!

The lake is professionally managed with a delimited swimming area and equipped with cabins, showers, cafeteria, and lifeguard. It offers plenty of water pleasures for all: from rowing boats, pedal boats and motorboats to other fun amenities, like a diving board and water trampoline. The place is very family-friendly and also offers a sandy area and a playground for young children.

Paying access

The beach of Nawés (Herbeumont): the wild charm of the Semois

If we had to list the top 10 things to do in Belgium at least once, in your life, a dip in the Semois would be in it. And Herbeumont is the perfect place for that. Set at the foot of the impressive viaduct of Conques, the Nawès beach is typical of the valley of the Semois: rocky and lined with lawns. The site is upstream of a dam, which allows maintaining a water level of 1 to 1.20 m. For a little extra comfort: you will find cabins and benches at your disposal.

People with reduced mobility are welcome!

This site is one of the rare natural bathing places accessible to people with reduced mobility: with an accessible path and an entry point into the river by a slightly inclined plane.

Relaxing with the little ones

The “small beach of Antrogne” is also in Herbeumont, at the confluence of the Semois and the brook of Antrogne. It is more suitable for toddlers who can wade happily and safely (not unguarded, of course) in the small stream. Access is by an easy path, and there is a barbecue area — all you need for a good time with your family.

© Histoires de Semois

© Histoires de Semois

VENNtastic Beach (Lake of Bütgenbach): sand or forest, why choose?

Often, the heart sways between a trip to the sea or the Ardennes. We want to save you this dilemma. In the heart of the Worriken leisure centre and surrounded by majestic forest, the VENNtastic Beach, with its 8,000 m² of fine sand, is worthy of its name. In the water, there is a supervised swimming area with a paddling pool for small children, islets of relaxation to chill in the middle of the water, and anchored floating games for maximum fun. On the sand, you won’t get bored either with a playground, beach volleyball and beach football

Finally, those who like something more can try the sit-on-top kayaks, pedal boats or go a little further, still on Lake Bütgenbach, for sailing or windsurfing.

In short, VENNtastic Beach is a delight for all ages and all desires, from the most chill to the most energetic!

This lake in the High Fens definitely has everything to please

Under Cover

What if it starts to rain unexpectedly? No problem, the indoor pool awaits you.

Paying access

© PaperPlane Productions

Good to know

The river bed is made of uneven and unstable rocks. For your comfort and safety, bring water shoes, bathing will be much more pleasant and safe.

These bathing areas are also starting points for strolls at the edge of the water… So you can have a plan B, if the weather is capricious or just one more activity to enjoy the place (after a good night of rest, for example).

We remind you that these swimming areas are natural, it is important to respect and preserve nature.

More beautiful pictures!

Do you like beautiful photos giving you the feeling of diving in nature? So join our community on Instagram, you will be served!