Weekend in Malmedy
2020 is the year of the staycation. Although a few do travel abroad, most Belgians stay massively in their own country. This summer we too are exploring our own country a little better and a visit to the Ardennes cannot be missed. Last weekend we could be found in beautiful Malmedy.v You can read about our excursions and experiences below.
We never say “no” to a new road trip, far or near home.v The Ardennes is the most touristic area in Belgium and that is entirely justified. You will find charming towns and villages, vast nature and beautiful sights. In addition, (as a Fleming) you imagine yourself to be abroad for a while due to the variety of architecture, customs and, of course, the French or German language. So you really don’t have to go far for a nice vacation or even cross national borders. It can be done in Belgium as well. After all, vacation is a period of doing fun things, a sense of relaxation. You can experience that everywhere. If you’re open to it, at least.
There are countless beautiful spots to be found in the Ardennes. This time we chose the surroundings of Malmedy since there is a very varied nature to be found there. In addition, Malmedy is easily accessible and ideal to visit for a weekend trip or short vacation. Although there are several attractions in (the vicinity of) Malmedy, you can still see them all in a relatively short time because they are located close to each other.v Malmedy itself is also a charming town. You’ll be all the way around it in half a day but it’s very beautiful. The surrounding towns and villages are also worth visiting. This German-speaking piece of Belgium caught our attention.
Our first excursion was Rocher de Falize, a huge rock in the countryside. Here you can enjoy an amazing view over the green Malmedy. Most of the time you are all alone and that makes it doubly enjoyable, the ideal place for a picnic or a moment of reflection. But you have to be careful because the rock is high up and there is no fence. So be sure to be careful and avoid dangerous situations. You also don’t have to hike far at all to get to this point. You park your car by the side of the road and within a few minutes you are at this spot.
After our visit to Rocher de Falize, we headed to another natural phenomenon nearby.Cascade de Bayehon is a nine-meter-high waterfall in a green, peaceful setting. This place is more popular and therefore busier than Rocher de Falize. But definitely worth visiting! Here you imagine yourself in an exotic country for a moment. You can enjoy a refreshing footbath in the river or simply contemplate the waterfall and surroundings. We found it so beautiful that we returned there in the evening to have the area just for ourselves. Highly recommended if you like to avoid other tourists. You don’t have to walk far for this place either. You park the car further down the road and walk about 10 minutes to the waterfall. The walk is also well marked with signposts. This place is also easily accessible by bike.
If Belgium is known for anything, it’s the numerous castles you’ll find all over the country. In Wallonia you have, in our opinion, the most impressive as the scenery there is often breathtaking and that makes the whole picture fairy-tale like. The Reinhardstein castle is one of those wonderful castles situated in the middle of the nature of Malmedy. It is very touristy but if you take one of the hiking trails, you can quietly enjoy the view here. The whole scene has something fairy-like about it. You can also visit the castle itself but we let that pass us by this time due to the corona measures. We prefer not to spend time with too many people in the same space and we prefer nature to culture for a while.
Malmedy has many beautiful forests. In the spacious surroundings you will find, for example, the river Ninglinspo and the adjacent forest. Again, a popular spot with tourists and we totally understand why that is. This forest is surrounded with waterfalls, dams, streams and different types of plants and trees giving it something magical. It looks like a fairy tale forest. You can take brisk walks there. We opted for the 6 kilometer walk but we should already add that in reality it is much longer (or at least it feels like it!). Most of the hike you are climbing rocks or walking through the water. So sturdy walking shoes are a must! For children, this forest is also a nice place to play. Only we would not recommend the long walks to small children. After all, some parts are dangerous or very exhausting. So not ideal to do with kids. However, playing in one of the dams or pieces of river is a fun option!
De Hoge Venen
Some extra tips for Malmedy
We would like to give you some additional tips for a visit to Malmedy and its surroundings. This is to make your trip as pleasant and smooth as possible. First of all, we recommend that you secure your place to sleep in advance. There are not that many hotels in the area and during the summer months they are usually well filled. It is also best to book other accommodations such as a vacation home in advance. In times of Covid-19, it is also best to book restaurants and other catering establishments in advance.
We have noticed that in the Malmedy area there are still very few places where you can get a table without a reservation. And very many choices in terms of restaurants you don’t have anyway. And during hikes, always bring water and a snack, because you never know how long you will effectively take over a hike. A vacation in the Ardennes undoubtedly also requires adaptation of equipment. Choose decent hiking shoes and easy, breathable clothing. And bring a raincoat. After all, the weather in Belgium can turn quickly. And nothing is more annoying than going on a long walk with bad footwear or sticky, soggy clothing.