How to best describe Nutchel in a nutshell? – I know, stupid joke, I blame the Winter blues!
Well Nutchel is one of the most brilliant concepts in Belgium at the moment where you can feel one with nature and at the same time make the child in you come alive!
It’s the perfect place to escape from all the negativity that surrounds us these days and you’ll feel like life is a little more normal again.
Think spacious wooden cabins with giant steel windows to look outside, a sizzling fire that you’ve made yourself and fairy lights and candles to light up the room.
A Weekend At Nutchel – The Perfect Hideaway in Belgium
We’ve all been craving the outdoors a lot more the past year and I am certainly no exception to that. The second lockdown hit me like a brick and with every newsflash that I heard I felt my positivity towards the future slowly drain.
So you can imagine my excitement when I was invited to spend a couple of days at Nutchel, a forest camp hidden away deep in the Ardennes in Belgium. I jumped around like a little kid and crossed off the days on my calendar longing for that one weekend in January to come!
Essential things to know about Nutchel
Nutchel is a forest camp where you’ll be cosy and comfy but don’t expect an abundance of luxury. Their vision is going back to the basics and that’s exactly what happens here.
There’s no artificial heating, instead you’ll make your own fire in a stove to keep warm. There’s a ton of wood available and if you follow the instructions you’ll be able to light your own fire in no time. Trust me on this one. None of us had any experience and in less than 10 minutes our cabin was cosy and warm!
Tip – If it’s a rainy weekend make sure to collect enough wood so it has time to dry inside.
There are a couple of electricity outlets available but they won’t do much more than charge your phone so leave your hairdryer at home. Most of them are also used for the fairy lights.
After sunset you’ll be able to light up your cabin with candles, fairy lights and oil lamps that are present on site!
We brought a bunch of food and drinks with us but it is possible to order a bbq-selection. A good idea is to look at the weather chart before your stay. If they predict a lot of rain I wouldn’t go for the bbq menu since it’s placed outside and has no coverage.
There are plenty of pots and pans present to make a delicious home made meal. Oh and you can cool your drinks and food in the cooling container inside your cabin. It comes with several cooling elements so everything stays fresh.
Upon arrival (or by email) you can order a delicious breakfast basket. I highly recommend doing this at least once during your stay since it’s only €12 per person and you get a lot of value for that price!
Tip – The chocolate paste was to die for and all products come from local vendors!
There are 4 different types of cabins and some even come with a hot tub! We stayed at the Canopy cabin and it was perfect for a group of 4! Do keep in mind that you’ll be sleeping in the same room.
Arriving at Nutchel
Nutchel Forest Camp is located in Martelange, a tiny village close to the border of Belgium with Luxembourg. Due to its location it is best to go to Nutchel by car.
If you’ve read any of my articles on Belgium you already know that our public transport isn’t the best. Since Nutchel is located near a small town in the South of Belgium it would take you a very long time to reach your destination.
It’s pretty easy and straight forward to reach the forest camp and there’s a parking lot right at the entrance. You can’t drive up to your cabin with your luggage but they do provide golf carts to help you out with everything!
Tip – Try to light up the fire as soon as you arrive and heat up some water on the stove. There are warm water pitchers and extra blankets in your cabin if you would need them for sleeping.
Check in is available from 3PM until 7 PM and runs very smoothly. You’ll be given the key to your cabin and then you’ll be ready to hop on one of the golf carts. Someone will also come with you to explain how everything works so no need to worry about that!
What to bring during your stay at Nutchel?
What’s more fun than an evening filled with fun board games? Grab your favourite one with you or if you don’t have any inspiration why not try playing ‘Ticket to Ride’? A super fun board game that will keep you busy for at least an hour!
Make sure to bring a flashlight with you as well and a pair of warm slippers for inside. Nutchel is like I said a forest camp so it can become pretty muddy outside and you’ll need to take your regular shoes off when inside.
Bring enough to drink, eat and snack. The breakfast box does come with cold milk and orange juice but apart from that there is only tap water available. It is however possible to order wine when you take the BBQ-meal!
For the kitchen – salt, pepper, olive oil, zip lock bags. If you’re staying at Nutchel while restaurants are still closed I recommend bringing some sandwiches with you as well.
For the bathroom – shampoo and daily skin care products. There’s a fresh bar of soap present in the shower and make sure to check if towels are included in your booking. I know they are if your cabin has a hot tub or with the Canopy cabin.
Below you can find my favourite skin care products from Kiehls, they are a true lifesaver with these colder temperatures and prevent my skin from becoming too dry and breaking out.
For the bedroom – Your bed will be freshly made upon arrival and there are extra blankets and hot water pitchers if you would need them. Grab your comfiest pair of joggers and pyjamas and you’re good to go!
For outside – Since Nutchel is located at the edge of a forest and in Belgium you’ll want to bring proper hiking shoes and a rain jacket for sure! Make sure to bring along a comfy sweater as well and a cosy hat so your ears don’t get cold! Below you can find some of my personal favourites that I take with me on a trip like this!
Nutchel’s nearby activities
Go for a walk in one of the nearby forests
There are 4 different hikes that start in the village of Martelange (10 minutes walking from the forest camp) and their starting point is at the wooden tower right before you enter the centre. We did the yellow hike which was about 10km long but don’t expect anything too spectacular. A big chunk of the hike wasn’t in the forest and they also cut down a lot of the trees unfortunately.
Visit some of the most beautiful places in the Ardennes
The are a ton of stunning places not too far away from Nutchel so if you’ve listened to me before and you came by car you’ll be able to see some stunning landscapes! Go for a hike at Botassart and admire the Giant’s grave or take a day trip to Chiny and go to the beautiful view point Rocher du Hat. Both destinations are about 45 minutes driving from Martelange!
Cross the border and visit Müllerthall
The area of Müllerthall is located in Luxembourg and is often referred to as “little Switzerland”. It’s only 45 minutes driving and makes for the perfect day trip! Make sure to stop by the fairytale waterfall Schiessentümpell.
Final thoughts on my stay at Nutchel
I had an incredible stay at Nutchel that didn’t come a weekend too soon to be honest. It’s the perfect weekend getaway to recharge your batteries and disconnect a little. The wooden cabins all have that rustic charm and the large glass window by the fire is the perfect place to relax with a book or cuddle with your loved one.
The cabins are all pretty close to each other but there are long curtains present if you want a little more privacy.
If you have reduced mobility you may find it hard to navigate through the property or to get in the shower since the step up is pretty high.
Under normal circumstances they also have a small store in the forest camp but for now it remains closed.
I think if you’re looking for a unique hideaway in Belgium and you want to experience that holiday feeling in your own country you can’t go wrong with Nutchel!
So grab your beers, boardgames and let’s go!
Charlotte Lint is the founder of Charlies Wanderings.
Charlotte has traveled all over the world and is based in Belgium where she also owns her very own dental practice.
She is an expert on writing efficient travel guides and finding unique places to stay.
Every month she helps over 134.000 people discover the most beautiful places in the world through her detailed travel guides.