We soon discovered ‘the classic’ Ardennes town: located along a river with houses built into cliff walls, a church spire in the distance, and always, always a castle perched on the very highest point overlooking it all. Which makes them all seem as enchanting as the last. Here are our picks for the best towns in the Ardennes:
Dinant is built along the river with a very impressive rock face and music constantly playing everywhere. What music you ask? Hits of the 80s delivered out of speakers (also from the 80s) mounted to all the buildings… or maybe it’s just that nothing has changed for 30 years?
The city overall has a musical theme, as the saxophone was invented here by Adolphe Sax. Fun fact, but we came for the views!
Close to the French border is Bouillon (like soup bouillon), which we found to be a little gem. We liked this even more than Dinant with its castle up on the hill and narrow streets lined with ice cream shops. It was the perfect spot to enjoy lunch.
Esch Sur Sure
The Ardennes has always been one of the most strategic locations in Europe dating as far back as the Roman Empire until as recently as World War II (Battle of the Bulge). Given that, this area has impressive examples of defensive fortifications that use the landscape to their advantage. Perhaps the best (and cutest) example is in Esch Sur Sure in Luxembourg where there is a fortress and castle on a hill surrounded by a river and quaint town below.
La Roche en Ardennes
La Roche en Ardennes also has similar enchanting characteristics that make it one of the holiday resort towns for the Dutch and Flemish.
Notice the pattern yet?
Overall the Ardennes is a beautiful place to explore. Driving between towns is fun, with tiny winding tree-lined roads sometimes only wide enough for one car. We definitely recommend a road trip around here if you get the chance!
Beer of the Day: Vedett. This is a stereotypical Belgian Pilsner for those who need a break from all the heavy ales. It is quite clean and tastes light and refreshing. Perfect for a hot day while people watching in the main square!