Hiking in Belgium

Hertogenwald Forest, Eupen. Babbling brooks amidst the silence

Buy a map in Eupen and follow one of the many trails through the forest

I am particularly fond of this area as it was my first encounter with the Ardennes. It offers a splendid mixture of landscapes: impenetrable, silent, coniferous forests; deserted moorland stretching to the horizon; and picturesque babbling brooks. It can be reached by taking the N67 south-east from Eupen. Actually I recommend a stop-off in Eupen, an interesting and bustling little town. In the tourist office (Markplatz 7) you can pick up a map of the area.

Leaving Eupen and halfway to Monschau is the Ternell Nature Centre. This old forester’s house was built in 1770 and transformed two hundred years later into a museum and information centre. You can park in the car park and head off into the forests. My favourite route is the one heading north-east from the nature centre into the forest.

The babbling Getzbach

The first time I walked this route I had to cross the River Getzbach by taking off my boots and socks and wading across. When I returned a few years later, I was quite disappointed to find a bridge had been installed. But at least it kept my feet dry!

Next to the nature centre is a tavern serving snacks. When I first discovered this place about 20 years ago it was a great café where you could pick up basic food items like cold drinks and sandwiches for your walk. Or after your walk you could refresh yourself with simple snacks and hot soup. Now it’s been “upgraded” to a bistro-type eatery with a fancier – and more expensive menu. However, don’t let that put you off; try it and let me know what you think. Oh by the way, when ordering, don’t forget that you are in German-speaking Belgium!

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