The Ardennes are the perfect place in Belgium for a weekend getaway! This weekend it was time to discover the beautiful region of Bouillon. A small town in the heart of the Belgian Ardennes and only a short drive away from the border of France.
Bouillon is especially known for its medieval castle, overlooking the river Semois. Chateau de Bouillon is the face of the town and visiting it is one of the top things to do in Bouillon.
A lot of people will visit the town of Bouillon on a day trip but there’s so much more to do in the area that I strongly advise you to make a weekend of it!
Besides exploring the charming town itself there are a ton of beautiful hikes to discover and also two of the most impressive viewpoints in entire Belgium!
Within this guide you’ll find all of the information that you’ll need to plan yourself a perfect weekend getaway in the Belgian Ardennes. From the best places to stay, the top things to do in Bouillon and where to go for finger licking food at a very decent price!
- Plan your trip to Bouillon in Belgium
- 🗺 How to reach Bouillon
- 🗓 When to visit the Ardennes in Belgium
- 🏨 Where to stay in Bouillon
- 🇧🇪 Fun Things To Do in Bouillon
- 1. Visit the castle of Bouillon
- 2. Climb the Bouillon Belvedere
- 3. Wander around the quaint town of Bouillon
- 4. Visit Le Moulin de l'Épine – a suspension bridge in the Ardennes
- 5. Hike the Tour de Bouillon
- 6. Admire Le Tombeau du Géant in Botassart
- 7. Hike Les Echelles de Rochehaut
- 8. Admire the viewpoint over Frahan
- Where to eat in Bouillon
- Planning a trip to Belgium soon?
A Weekend In The Ardennes – 8 Fun Things To Do In Bouillon
After traveling abroad for several weeks this year it was finally time to discover a new part of my own country Belgium. This weekend it was time to explore the town of Bouillon and its surroundings.
In the Middle Ages Bouillon was a lordship within the Duchy of Lower Lorraine and the principal seat of the Ardennes-Bouillon dynasty in the 10th and 11th century. The most famous of the Lords of Bouillon was Godfrey of Bouillon, a leader of the First Crusade and the first ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Plan your trip to Bouillon in Belgium
🏨 Find the best accommodations on Booking.com
💰 Get reliable travel insurance from World Nomads
🎒 Pack a power bank and hiking shoes.
📚 Read Godfrey Of Bouillon and Hidden Belgium
🚘 Rent a car to travel around Belgium with SunnyCars.com
🗺 How to reach Bouillon
The easiest way to reach Bouillon, and pretty much every other place in Belgium, is to go by car. Let’s just say that the public transport in Belgium doesn’t have the best reputation. But for those of you that don’t have another option I will also list these details below.
If you don’t have a car yourself it’s always a good option to rent one. It will save you a lot of time and you’ll be able to do a lot more in a single day. You can rent a car withSunnyCars.com where you don’t need to worry about any hidden or additional costs. This way you’ll still be able to get the most out of your weekend!
The E46 runs by Bouillon which makes it very easy to reach. There’s also plenty of parking space in the city centre itself so you don’t need to worry about that either. The other most interesting places outside of Bouillon are also very easy to reach by car.
The town is connected with the Wallonia TEC bus network. Bus 8 connects train stations Libramont and Beatrix (bus stop in town centre) to Bouillon every 2 hours.
🗓 When to visit the Ardennes in Belgium
My favorite time to explore the Ardennes is Autumn! There’s nothing I love more than a crisp Fall morning, fog is hanging in the air and leaves are starting to turn orange. And don’t you just love the sound of leaves crisping underneath your hiking boots?
It also doesn’t hurt that while Fall is still a popular time to visit the Ardennes it’s a lot less crowded here than during the Summer months. And you know me, if there’s anything I really don’t like it’s sharing a hiking trail with hundreds of other people. Just thinking about it sends shivers to my spine.
🏨 Where to stay in Bouillon
Hotel de la Poste
Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III is centrally located in Bouillon, on the banks of the Semois river and the promenade. It offers a stunning view over the Chateau de Bouillon and is the perfect place to start all of your adventures!
The historic building anno 1730 has a classical interior. The rooms have an authentic interior, and most offer a panoramic view of the river valley and the castle.
Hotel La Ferronniere
Hotel La Ferronniere is a 19th-century mansion overlooking the town of Godfried just 500 m from the centre of Bouillon.
This charming hotel has a gastronomic restaurant and comes with a beautiful wellness. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a busy day of exploring the town of Bouillon or after an adventurous hike.
🇧🇪 Fun Things To Do in Bouillon
1. Visit the castle of Bouillon
The castle of Bouillon is one of the most remarkable monuments in the province of Luxemburg in Belgium. It overlooks the town of Bouillon and the river Semois and stands proud on top of a ridge surrounded by trees.
If you’re a bit of a history geek then this castle is a must visit for you! You’ll get a taste of the medieval history of the castle which dates back to 988.
To reach this marvelous piece of architecture you’ll have to hike up the ridge through the small town streets. Once you’ve entered you’ll make your way through a drawbridge and you’ll get to explore the interior of the castle and its fascinating history.
Don’t forget to head down to the basement where you can still take a peek at the former dungeons and torture chamber. You can finish off your visit with a panoramic view over the gardens from the 16th century tower.
💡 TIP – From the 1st until the 4th of November in 2021 you can join a guided night tour through the fortress of Bouillon with torches.
- Opening hours – From 10am until 5pm (6pm during the weekends)
- Entrance fee – €15
- Duration – 1 to 2 hours
📖DISCOVER THE OTHER 26 MOST BEAUTIFUL AND IMPRESSIVE CASTLES IN BELGIUM
2. Climb the Bouillon Belvedere
Lace on your hiking boots and head towards the most beautiful viewpoint over the city: the Bouillon Belvédère. This look out tower stands proud at a height of 385 meter and consists of several different levels from where you can admire the picturesque city below.
There’s a total of 161 stairs to be conquered and if that wasn’t enough the official hiking trail to the Bouillon Belvédère starts at the Pont de Cordemoy. From here you have to follow hiking trail number 7 and after a steep incline thorugh the forest of about 30 minutes you’ll find yourself at the bottom of the lookout tower.
💡 TIP – If you’re not able to hike up the trail you can also reach the Bouillon Belvédère by car. However, if you don’t really have to I strongly advise you against it. The road leading up to it is more like an abandoned forest road with a lot of bumps and rocks that could potentially damage your car.
3. Wander around the quaint town of Bouillon
Bouillon is a small picturesque town which makes it perfect for an early evening stroll. Walk alongside the river Semois and enjoy a local beer on one of the many terraces.
The best view over the town is from Rue de l’Ange Gardien which pretty much means the Guardian Angel street. You’ll have to walk up a small hill but trust me, it’s worth it!
4. Visit Le Moulin de l’Épine – a suspension bridge in the Ardennes
This small suspension bridge became one of the many Instagram hotspots in Belgium during the past year. And unfortunately it shows, especially since you can reach it by car as well. Don’t expect to have this place to yourself and in all honesty I was a little bit disappointed after already witnessing some incredible suspension bridges in Germany and Switzerland.
But if you’re hiking the Tour de Bouillon you’ll come across this bridge and then it’s definitely worth a short stop!
5. Hike the Tour de Bouillon
This is one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Bouillon and must do during your weekend in the Ardennes if you like hiking. It’s a 7.15km hike that will take you along some of the most beautiful viewpoints in the entire area.
You’ll start from the Pont de Cordemoy and you’ll tackle an elevation of 364m in total. The entire hiking trail is marked as number 7 and with small red rectangles along the way.
Some of the views you’ll encounter along the way:
- Pont de Cordemoy
- Le Moulin de l’Épine
- Abbaye Notre-Dame de Clairefontaine
- Bouillon Belvédère
Route Type – Loop Trail
Difficulty – Moderate
💡 TIP – Make sure to wear proper hiking shoes cause parts of the trail can be slippery. I always turn to my beloved Danner Mountain Light hiking boots and so far they’ve gotten me through some of the toughest hiking trails i’ve ever done.
6. Admire Le Tombeau du Géant in Botassart
Le Tombeau du Géant, also known as the Giant’s grave, is one of the most important and impressive places in Belgium. It is hidden deep in Wallonia and the only way to get here is by car. It got its name because one of the bends in the Semois at this point seems to enclose a coffin of gigantic proportions.
This viewpoint near Botassart is super easy to reach by car. There is a big and free parking space available, which is only 2 minutes walking from the viewpoint!
I consider this place one of the most beautiful places for Autumn foliage in Europe!
💡 TIP – If you’re hiking the Tour de Bouillon (hiking trail number 7) you’ll have the option to also include a short hike to the main viewpoint as part of a small detour. You’ll see an arrow towards Botassart right after you’ve passed le Moulin de l’Épine.
7. Hike Les Echelles de Rochehaut
One of the most adventurous hikes to do in the area of Bouillon is “Les Echelles de Rochehaut”, also known as the “Laddertjeswandeling” in Dutch.
Distance – 7km
Elevation – 350m
Level – Moderate
This hike is also known as hiking trail 43 and starts in the small town of Rochehaut, which is only 15 minutes driving from Bouillon. The best place to park your car is at the panorama viewpoint of Frahan and from here it’s only a short walk until you reach the start of the hiking trail.
What makes this hike so adventurous is that you’ll have to climb through steel ladders and that you’ll have to pull yourself up from time to time. The hiking trail can be pretty steep in some places but all in all it’s never dangerous.
Just make sure to wear decent hiking shoes and avoid the trail on rainy day cause the rocks will be very slippery.
Along the trail you’ll come across a ton of beautiful viewpoints and these rocks are also the perfect place to drink some water and eat a sandwich.
💡 TIP – Start your hike in the early morning to avoid the big crowds. This is one of the most popular hikes in the area and otherwise you’ll probably end up waiting in front of the ladders for people to go through.
8. Admire the viewpoint over Frahan
The viewpoint over Frahan is definitely one of the most picturesque places in Belgium! It’s sometimes also referred to as the little sister of Le Tombeau du Géant.
There’s a pretty big parking lot located right next to the viewpoint and if you walk down a little from the city centre you’ll come across stairs where you can get off the road and onto the grass field below.
💡 TIP – Definitely taste one of the local beers in Rochehaut at one of the many terraces.
Where to eat in Bouillon
Probably one of the best tips I can give you for your weekend in Bouillon is to go have dinner at La Vieille Ardenne. This local restaurant and authentic restaurant is located in the heart of Bouillon and I can promise you, you won’t leave hungry!
All of their dishes are locally made and with fresh ingredients. Every day they offer a menu for only €25 where you can choose from 5 different entrees, 5 different main courses and 4 different deserts!
I highly recommend this place and literally everyone at our table devoured everything on their plate!
Make sure to reserve a table from before if you’re planning on going in a weekend cause they tend to be full. We made a call one day before and we’re still able to get seated with 8 people.
Planning a trip to Belgium soon?
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