Sports & Outdoors

Outdoor activities in Belgium's La Roche-en-Ardenne

La Roche-en-Ardenne in Belgium is the perfect place to holiday for hiking, walking, cycling, and exploring the countryside.

If you’re looking for a countryside getaway that means you can pack your hiking boots or bicycle, Roche-en-Ardenne is the place for you. 

Lying beside a bend in the River Ourthe, the small town of La Roche-en-Ardenne is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Ardennes. Don’t be fooled by its size however, as you are surrounded by breath-taking scenery with plenty of room to explore. There’s even a medieval castle to discover. 

Driving to La Roche-en-Ardenne from Calais

The Ardennes start in France and continue through three provinces of Belgium: Namur, Luxemburg, and Liege. La Roche-en-Ardenne is in Belgium and has a long history dating all the way back to between 850 and 520 BC.

It will take around 3 hours and 30 minutes to drive to the town from Calais, via the E42. This isn’t the longest of journeys, but if you wanted to plan some stops we recommend Lille or Namur. 

A stone castle partly ruined under blue skies and surrounded by a green landscape

The Nisramont lake and dam

Lake Nisramont is the rather beautiful result of a dam constructed on the River Ourthe to generate hydroelectricity for the surrounding towns. It’s a popular picnic-spot and a great place to swim, try kayaking, boating, or fishing. 

There is a well-marked trail that hugs the shore that you can walk or cycle to take in the lake and dam from every angle.  

Beach and river swimming at Maboge beach

Maboge is a charming village near La Roche-en-Ardenne with its very own beach. Why not stop by and swim in the river or try your hand at paddleboarding? While it’s less sandy than a traditional beach, it’s still a very popular space, especially in summer when the nearby cafeteria sets up a pavilion and serves refreshments.

A calm river flowing towards hills covered in trees with a pebble covered bank

La Roche game park

Just 2 km from the town centre lies the Parc à Gibier or game park. Along the 1.2 km walking trail here, you might spot stags, hinds, fallow deer, mouflon, wolves, lynx, wild cats, foxes, owls, and various farm animals. Be sure to bring your camera to snap your favourite animals.

La Roche game park has a cafeteria and children's play area, plus a souvenir shop to take home a memory or two.

Hiking La Transardennaise

As well as La Roche, Bouillon is another beautiful town in the Ardennes and La Transardennaise is a 160 km hiking or mountain-biking route between the two. It’s one of the best ways to appreciate the scenery and is divided into comfortable stages, with plenty to see along the way. 

Created in 1980, La Transardennaise is a major GTA (Grande Traversée des Ardennes) hiking route, marked with yellow and white signs and passing through Saint-Hubert and Nassogne. You’ll see forests, valleys, and plenty of wildlife, but be sure to pack sturdy footwear as it covers some trickier ground in sections.

An expanse of green fields and hills covered in trees with a river flowing through the centre

The Ourthe Valley and river

Staying in or visiting La Roche-en-Ardenne means you can easily explore the Ourthe Valley and river, both rich with flora and fauna. As well as the castle and town at La Roche, we recommend the Grotte de l’Abîme, or Cave of the Abyss at Comblain-au-Pont. These underground halls were first discovered in 1900 when a dog fell into the original passage, a chasm 22 meters deep. Be sure to say hi to the large families of bats who come to take their naps there.

And of course, for the outdoor enthusiasts you can easily trek or bike across the landscapes, or head down onto the water with a boat or paddleboard.

Start your La Roche-en-Ardenne adventure with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

Ready to explore? Travel from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle and from there you are ready to enjoy everything this town and its surroundings has to offer.

Or, if you’re looking for a camping trip while you’re in Belgium, try our guide.
 

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