Weekend to the Ardennes with kids: from Louvain-La-Neuve to Torgny
Do you want to go to the Ardennes, the southern part of Belgium, with your family for a weekend? But not sure where to go? We explored the region for 3 days and followed an amazing itinerary through the heart of the Ardennes with Torgny, the southernmost village of Belgium, as the end destination.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of our route and some of the most beautiful places to visit in the Ardennes, Wallonia.
We’ll discover the street art of Louvain-La-Neuve and the beautiful city of Namur, situated where the two rivers Sambre and Meuse meet. We visit the beautiful gardens of Annevoie and go treasure hunting at the Vêves castle. After a space adventure at the Euro Space Center, we end our journey in the most southern village of Belgium, Torgny.
In total this itinerary is about 300km. Continue to read to discover our entire route with all its activities, restaurants and accommodations.
Day 1: via Louvain-La-Neuve we discover Namur
1. Explore Louvain-La-Neuve with a fun street art walk
After leaving Brussels (without any traffic jam 😉), we arrive in Louvain-La-Neuve, a student city situated about 20 kilometers below Brussels. We search for the starting point of the Kosmopolite Art Tour, a walk that takes you to the most beautiful murals of this city.
In 2012 and 2015, this city hosted a graffiti festival. That’s why you can find some amazing art in the streets of Louvain-La-Neuve. It’s not always easy, however, to find the right path in between the small streets, so you could book a guide if you’d prefer that.
The walk itself is about 5 kilometers, but there are enough shops and little bars on the way to have a drink, amidst the students, of course! More information and a map of the walk can be found here.
2. Take the steep cable car to the citadel of Namur
If you’re taking a road trip through the Ardennes, you can’t miss a visit to Namur. We park our car at the Place Saint Aubain, right in the centrum of Namur and close to the start of the cable car. Keep in mind that you’re only allowed to park here for 3 hours.
It’s only a 10 minutes walk to the ground station of the cable car, where you can buy your tickets. The kids are very excited, daddy a bit less as he has a fear of heights 😉.
From the cable car, we have a fantastic view over the Sambre, Meuse, and Namur. After a few minutes, we safely arrive at the top of the mountain. An experience you can’t miss in Namur! Order your tickets here.
3. Discover the underground network of the Citadel in Namur
Once you’re on top, go to the left to the entrance of the Citadel van Namen. There’s a little tourist information center where you can get a map of the citadel.
Walk in the tunnel and reach Terra Nova. This is the official visitor center of the citadel. Here you meet your guide for a walk through the underground network of the citadel.
Our guide speaks Dutch, which means our kids can follow everything he says. First, we get more information on the history of the citadel with an interactive screen. Afterward, we continue our walk deep into the earth. Don’t forget an extra sweater though, it’s only 12 degrees in the underground passages.
There’s more than 7 km of underground passages. The kids are happy we only walk a small part of it. During our walk, we see many projections with lots of information on how they built the underground network and the armies of Spain, Austria, France, and Belgium used it.
After 1,5 hours we’re outside again. On our way back, we enjoy the views over Namur and the structures of the Citadel. We can absolutely recommend this tour, especially with kids as well! Everything is very visual and interactive. A top experience in Namen!
4. Explore the Meuse with a boat of Les Capitaineries de Namur
After all those underground stories, it’s time to have some fun above the ground. We walk across the Meuse in the direction of Les Capitaineries de Namur. There’s a little electric boat waiting for us.
You don’t need a license for these kind of boats. Everybody can rent one of these and tour the Meuse themselves. We don’t need to worry, captains Yuna and Hanne (our kids 😉) have everything under control.
Floating on the Meuse, we get a beautiful view of Namur and the Citadel. Next time we’ll bring a glass of cava, though. Same rules on the water, however, no drinking for the captain…
When we return, we enjoy a nice drink on the floating terrace of Les Capitaineries. We have to be honest, we were very lucky with the weather. It was nice and sunny at 25 degrees.
If you want to book an electric boat or kayak, you can do that here.
5. Enjoy a well-deserved dinner in Namur at l’Huile sur le feu
After our boat trip, we cross the Meuse again and explore the city of Namur. We’re pleasantly surprised by how cozy and pleasant it is.
In one of the central esplanades (de Rue de Marchovelette) you can find the small Italian restaurant L’Huile sur le feu. They offer an attractive menu by aiming to keep all the dishes as delicious and simple as possible.
We have a little table outside. After a well-deserved glass of Prosecco, we are spoiled with carpaccio, fresh pasta and so much more. It’s a true little gem, this restaurant! We advise you to book ahead, which is possible here.
6. Spend the night at the amazing “Hotel Vedette” in Profondville
Tired but satisfied, we leave for Profondville, a small town situated at the Meuse only 15 minutes from Namen. We are welcomed at Hotel Vedette by Nathalie and Tom. They renovated this static old house into a beautiful boutique hotel full of charm.
We slept in a superior double room with a fantastic bath tube! Our kids stayed across the hall in another one of these luxurious beds. They decorated all rooms in dark, relaxing colors. It matches perfectly with the light, green environment.
Do you want to spend the night in this hotel? Check it here.
Day 2: From the water gardens of Annevoie to the castle of Vêves
1. Start the day with a large breakfast at Hotel Vedette
After a lovely night, we can enjoy a delicious breakfast in the amazing breakfast room of Hotel Vedette. Everything is ready when we arrive.
We get to enjoy the yummiest breakfast: a basket with bread, cheese, and meat from a local farm and e delicious egg prepared by Nathalie. And of course, a glass of champagne is offered as well. The kids feast on the choco paste, jam, and cornflakes.
We can’t imagine a better start to the day.
2. Get lost in the beautiful water gardens of Annevoie
Situated only 10 km from Profondville, you can find the water gardens of Annevoie. Following the map, we start our walk through the greenery.
These water gardens were constructed over 250 years ago. Building the fountains, they only used the principles of communicating vessels and water pressure.
This means no extra means such as electricity or pumps are used. Caused by the difference in height, the natural water pressure creates waterfalls and fountains.
For the last few years, they even maintain the gardens completely natural and organic. That means no pesticides or weed killers are used. In many spots, they leave the grass long, which helps the insects and birds a lot.
In the center of these extensive gardens lies a beautiful castle, currently renovated. But you don’t even notice that while strolling through the gardens.
Book your ticket for the water gardens of Annevoie here.
3. Enjoy your lunch on a terrace in Dinant
Dinant is situated in between the water gardens of Annevoie and the castle of Vêves, our next destination. Perfect for a lunch break in the beautiful city lying on the river bans of the Meuse.
We walk along the waterside and go across the bridge to enjoy the famous view over the citadel, church, and colorful houses. Afterward, we enjoy a delicious lunch while watching the boats float by on the Meuse.
We’ll definitely return to Dinant to discover some more of it!
4. Go treasure hunting in the magical castle of Vêves
After our lunch in Dinant, we drive through the forest, looking for the fairytale castle of Vêves. There we’ll enter a treasure hunt, where Yuna and Hanne have to look for the holy grail dressed as princesses.
With its beautiful towers and amazing woodwork, this is without a doubt one of the most beautiful medieval castles of Belgium. And the fact that it’s still owned by count Hadelin de Liedekerke Beaufort, adds to the fairytale feeling of the place.
Our princesses have to search tips throughout the property and the lovely decorated rooms in order to crack a code to open the treasury.
After enjoying and searching the castle for about 1,5 hours, the treasure hunt is finished. What’s located in the treasury has to remain a secret, of course…
You can book your tickets here for your own visit to Vêves castle.
5. Explore Celles, a lovely village in Wallonia
Close to the castle, you can find Celles, a charming little village situated between four hills. Right next to the Roman church are some nice little terraces to enjoy a drink.
Have a local beer before you climb the stairs to the Hermitage of Saint Hadelinus.
6. Enjoy a delicious dinner and lovely night at La Barrière de Transinne
After an amazing day, we arrive at La Barrière de Transinne, located in the heart of the province of Luxembourg. This beautiful hotel with a gastronomic restaurant lies only a few kilometers away from the Euro Space Center that we will visit tomorrow.
Alexandre, the friendly manager of the hotel, greets us and shows us around. We sleep in the chalet next to the restaurant, which has a beautiful view over de lush garden. Two spacious rooms are reserved for us, lying right across from each other in the hall, so the kids don’t need to worry.
After a nice starter on the terrace, we are ready for our gastronomic diner. For Yuna and Hanne, it’s the first time they will try some true ‘haute cuisine’! The menu has been adapted here and there for the kids, and they love it. We end with a delicious dessert based on Guanaja chocolate with peanuts and popcorn!
For more information and reservations look here.
Day 3: From Euro Space Center to Torgny
1. Breakfast at La Barrière de Transinne
Again, we wake up with a radiant sun. After a delightful shower in our spacious bathroom, we join the breakfast buffet.
There are freshly baked pastries, salmon, eggs, freshly made orange juice, and so much more. After this fantastic start of the day, we are ready to go and explore space at the Euro Space Center.
2. Become an astronaut for one day at the Euro Space center
As a kid, on our way to France, we often drove by the Euro Space Center. And now we can finally visit it! We are at least as enthusiastic as our kids to become an astronaut for one day!
You have to reserve your ticket before you go (because of Covid). You can scan the QR code on your wristband at many activities, and by the end of the day, they tell you if you are ready to become an astronaut.
We start with one of the top attractions, the Moonwalk / Marswalk XP. Here you can experience how it feels to walk on the moon and on Mars. You’re 6 times lighter on the moon and 3 times lighter on Mars. With the virtual reality glasses, it feels as if you’re walking there for real.
In the planetarium, we get an overview of all the planets, what their surface looks like, how many moons they have, and if extraterrestrial life would be possible.
Later, we explore Mars village where we learn everything about the red planet. Yuna and Hanne can even control their own Mars explorer while driving it over the planet.
In the building, there is a nice restaurant, with all kinds of dishes. We tried the fries and spaghetti which were both tasteful and not expensive. If it’s nice weather, you can eat your lunch outside.
In the afternoon, we attend the Space Tour that takes you on a journey through space history. We all get a headset, and the kids get their own adapted version of the information so they can understand everything. Through the interactive screens, we can test our knowledge about space in different quizzes.
If you want to feel how it is to be launched in space, you can try the Space Rotor. It allows you to experience real G-forces.
You step inside a big centrifuge, that spins really, really quickly. Because of this speed, it presses you against the wall. When the floor suddenly drops, the G-forces keep you pressed against the wall without any support from the floor. A very strange feeling that, luckily, only lasted for a couple of minutes.
F1 pilots and astronauts experience these G-forces for much longer and therefore need to train heavily to be able to cope with them.
To end our day, we do all the interactive activities that test if you are ready to become an astronaut! Through the QR code on our wristband, we can check our individual scores. The kids passed with flying colors and are all ready to enter space!
Euro Space Center is a must for a road trip to the Ardennes! More information and tickets for the Euro Space Center can be found here.
3. Discover Torgny in the most southern point of Belgium
After our exploration through space, we continue our journey to our end destination, Torgny, the southernmost village of Belgium.
It’s one of the most beautiful villages in Wallonia. We immediately get why. When we arrive, it feels as if we are in the Provence. Caused by a micro-climate, hundreds of flowers, herbs, and even grapevines grow in this area.
In the Visitor Centre, we pick up a basket of local products and take it with us for a walk through the village. You can also pick up a map there with a nice walk through the town and surrounding area.
First, we climb the hill so we can admire Torgny from above. On a picnic bench, we enjoy some fresh strawberries and delicious fruit juice.
Torgny turns out to be the perfect ending to our fantastic weekend at the Ardennes! We can totally recommend visiting this little town and choosing this as the end destination of your 3-day itinerary through the Ardennes and Wallonia.
If you want to spend the night here as well, check the best hotels in Torgny here.
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