If you enjoy combining a good walk in nature with a delicious meal, the small town of Durbuy in the Belgian Ardennes is undoubtedly the perfect place for you. I tested the “Durbuy’s Loop Trail” for you, an epic trail in the smallest town in the world. After this 6 km walk, I set off in search of the ideal place to take a break and taste the local cuisine. And here I am to share my advice with you.
Pl. aux Foires, Durbuy
Durbuy in short
Of course, I knew that Durbuy was a small picturesque medieval town in the Ardennes, but still, I wanted to learn more about my hiking destination. Did you know that Durbuy was formerly a small island? Its round shape reveals that there was a time when the river bypassed it entirely. The name “Durbuy” was not pulled out of a hat. This Celtic name is indeed composed of the words “dur” (wood) and “bu” (water). This green region also suggests all kinds of outdoor activities such as kayaking, mountain biking, horseback riding, adventure sports and walks. Inspiration for a trip to the Ardennes: check!
##On your marks, get set… Go!
On a Wednesday morning in March, our intern Magali and I were ready at 10:30 to start the “Durbuy Loop Trail”. Neither of us had done this walk before, so all the information was welcome! The first thing we did was download the app “Sity Trail”. Armed with our application and indications from the tourist office lady, we began our walk through the nature of the Belgian Ardennes!
Or maybe not?
Frankly, it wasn’t easy to get started. As a novice, I was very happy to be accompanied by a hiker as experienced as Magali! Unfortunately, the application, the signposts and the indications of the tourist office lady were often contradictory… So, we took the wrong way more than once! But it means that we had the chance to discover even more beauties! #PositiveThinking
Durbuy’s Loop Trail
Our journey was as follows:
We started from the “Place aux Foires”, a square in Durbuy town center. You will find the tourist office as well as numerous restaurants and souvenir shops there. Many walks start from this location. For a perfect walk, we decided to follow the blue rectangles. If you cross the entire “Place aux Foires”, you will arrive near the famous Anticline of Durbuy. It is an imposing rock more than 300 million years old that has the shape of an inverted “U”. It is worth taking a picture of!
As soon as we got passed the Anticline, our journey began in the woods. You will find paved and forest paths here. It is not a straight line, so get ready for a few turns. We also had to climb some steeper sections now and then. It had rained there, so some sections of the trail were quite muddy. Fortunately, I had other shoes with me… here is a golden tip for nature walks!
After a short climb, we finally arrived at the Belvedere viewpoint. I had been looking forward to this. The sublime 300-meter-high view over the old town and the meanders of the Ourthe River is really breathtaking. There, you will also find a small path leading you back to the “Place aux Foires” in around 10 minutes. But that was not our direction. We had not finished our walk yet!
It was time to move on to the second section of our walk in the forest. We crossed the “Bois de Chapli” which is smaller, but no less charming! We enjoyed the various melodies of birds, the smell of beeches as well as a certain feeling of “isolation”. It is like being in the middle of nowhere while are you are actually very close to the busy town of Durbuy. A perfect walk to relax and have a deep breath of fresh air. This trail undoubtedly belongs to our top 10 of the Ardennes!
A peaceful feeling wells up within you as you walk further. We then saw beautiful meadows, fields and plains: a completely different landscape, but still as relaxing. Our Sity Trail application mentioned that we were almost at the end of our walk. We were slightly tired, but determined to reach our final destination. And there we arrived, on the bank of the River Ourthe… The view there was really worthy of a postcard! We are now proud of ourselves when we watch our photos and videos. Mission accomplished!
After the walk: filling up on energy (Yummy!)
Walking is a great appetizer. Our attention was drawn to “Le Grand Café” located on the “Place aux Foires”. It is an elegant brasserie that offers a nice view over the square. The service was friendly, the menu was varied and the prices were reasonable, which was actually unexpected in such a tourist location.
Since I was not familiar with the region of Durbuy, I swapped my usual pasta dish for the 18€ “Tourist Menu”. This tourist menu consisted of the daily soup, a local trout or half a cock and a dame blanche for dessert. And some hot tomato soup after a winter walk does indeed a lot of good! As main course, I chose the trout and Magali chose the half cock. We both found these dishes delicious! As side dish, we had a salad and a portion of chips which we were not able to eat up. Why? Because I had to save room for the dame blanche… which I was able to eat up, after all. It’s all about choice!
While eating, we were still talking about the walk and decided to organize this kind of outings more often. All you have to do is live here and experience this every single day… what could be more fantastic? Julie talked about it in her interview of a holiday house owner in Durbuy. Since we still had not had enough of this beautiful town, we decided to go to the centre and take pictures of the medieval roads and picturesque buildings.
Why you must try this walk too
This walk is perfect to discover Durbuy and its surroundings in just two hours, the distances are indeed quite short. Since it is also possible to end your walk with a delicious meal, this outing is then perfect to combine nature and gastronomy! You will thus experience a wonderful activity and you will certainly bring beautiful memories back home.
The strong points of the” Durbuy Loop Trail”
- You go through beautiful places that allow you to take beautiful photos (the Anticlinal, the Ourthe River with its bridge and the Belvedere panorama);
- The route is not monotonous, you go through both flat and steeper sections, bends, narrow paths and paved paths ;
- There are shortcuts to go back to the “Place aux Foires”;
- The wooded environment is perfect for geocaching ;
- The walk is appropriate for each season;
- On the way, you will find benches overlooking beautiful panoramas;
- Although there is nothing on site, you are a stone’s throw from the centre of Durbuy with many eating and drinking possibilities.
The weak points of the “Durbuy Loop Trail”
- The information about the route is not consistent, the differences between the signposts, the information from the tourist office and the mobile application were rather confusing..;
- A section of the walk goes through asphalt roads with few, if any, sidewalks. It may be dangerous, which is why I do not recommend this walk for families with young children;
- There were no picnic areas along the way (but benches with a view).
Where can I get the map of the walk?
- “Sity Trail” has topographic maps that you can view online or download to be able to view them later when you are offline. This app allows you to easily find your perfect walk. We used the online map and followed the route thanks to the GPS function. The application is available in 4 languages (French, Dutch, English and German)! Attention: this application is free for one week.
- Would you rather have an “original” paper version of this map? You may buy one at the Durbuy tourist office for € 0.60 or another map showing the 4 walks of Durbuy for € 1.
Are you ready?
I hope I have inspired you and shared enough information about the walk. If a novice like me could do it, everybody can! Share my advice with your friends and go on an adventure together in Durbuy. Because… #Sharingisloving, right?
Share your experience in the comment section: I would like to know how it went for you, extra advice is always welcome!