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Amazing Ardennes – Belgium’s Best Kept Secret

  • Durbuy, Belgium © Piers Smith-Cresswell

    Belgium, Ardennes, Durbuy, Group Travel © Piers Smith-Cresswell
  • Panoramic view of Dinant © WBT-JP Remy

    Dinant, Belgian Ardennes, Belgium - Panorama © WBT-JP Remy
  • Dinant and the Citadelle ©OPT, JLFlemal

    Dinant and the Citadelle, Belgium, Ardennes
  • Les Jardins d'annevoie with fountain in foreground © WBT-JP Remy

    Les Jardins d'annevoie, Belgian Ardennes, Belgium © WBT-JP Remy
  • Jardins d'Annevoie

    Belgium, Ardennes, Jardins d'Annevoie
  • La Roche-en-Ardenne, Belgium © Dominik Ketz

    La Roche-en-Ardenne, Belgium Ardennes
5 day tour
From £349 per person - minimum 25 passengers

NEW TOUR!

Often forgotten and overlooked, the Ardennes is an undiscovered gem. A vast and exciting landscape, it extends through the south of Belgium and into Luxembourg and France. Among the dense forests and rolling hills, there are numerous charming towns and villages to explore. This southern Belgian region offers an alternative to the busy and industrial north, with life moving at a slower pace. This is not only a destination for those interested in history – its unspoiled beauty offers something for everyone.

This tour encapsulates the essence of the Belgian Ardennes. Discover a cultural experience contrasting with those available in the larger cities of Belgium. On this tour, discover beautiful landscapes as you enjoy a scenic train ride and relaxing river cruise. You will also get the chance to sample the flavours of Belgium with a beer and chocolate tasting. And what’s more, visit the spectacular Jardins d’Annevoie, one of Belgium’s most famous gardens. A mere 3h30m drive from Calais, the towns and villages of this neglected and undiscovered area of Belgium offer plenty to visitors who are looking for something different, without having to travel too far from home.


Dates

17th May 2020


Suggested Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive

Having crossed the Channel at Calais, make your way through France and Belgium. Enjoy your first sight of the rugged and natural Ardennes landscape as you travel to your hotel in La Roche-en-Ardenne or Dinant. If time allows, begin exploring the area.

Day 2

Scenic Train – Yvoir to Ciney

This morning we head to the quaint little town of Yvoir to take a scenic train journey throughout the heart of the rugged Ardennes landscape to Ciney. Take in this unique landscape while you pass through at a leisurely pace, scarred by the the fierce battles of the 20th century. Its meandering rivers, rolling hills, deep caverns and thick forests all make up this magnificent though often forgotten area of Belgium.

You will alight the train in Ciney, a slightly larger town than Yvoir, with a long history stretching back to the Roman period. Ciney has also brewing its signature beers since 1450 – take the afternoon to stroll around this lovely town at leisure and perhaps try one of the local beers with steak-frites?

Day 3

Dinant and the Jardins d’Annevoie

This morning we visit Dinant, a pretty town that has become famous for both the imposing citadel perched high above the River Ourthe, and also for being the birthplace of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone. The quirky (and free) ‘La Maison de Monsieur Sax’ is worth a quick visit, as is the cathedral with its onion-shaped dome. We then enjoy a 45-minute river cruise along the River Meuse, watching the stunning scenery including the Bayard rock, the Love island, the Bridge St John and the River Lesse.

In the afternoon we visit the Jardins d’Annevoie. These truly magnificent 17th Century water gardens are full of ornamental lakes, fountains, water jets and cascades, all fed by gravity and without the use of any artificial power. Each May, the gardens hosts a Venetian Carnival Festival, a truly remarkable spectacle featuring people parading in full Venetian Carnival costumes. The gardens are regarded as some of the best, not only in Belgium, but also in the whole of Europe.

Day 4

Chocolate and Beer!

In the morning we head to Chocolatier Defroidmont, on the outskirts of Érezée. This is a unique place in an idyllic location. The museum tells the story of Philippe Defroidmont and his family, delving deep into the process of chocolate making “from cocoa bean to praline”. You may even get the opportunity to taste some of their produce at the end of the tour!

After a morning at the museum, we head for La Roche-en-Ardennes, for some time to potter around this famous town, and perhaps find a bite to eat or to explore its recent history. La Roche-en-Ardennes is also home to the Battle Museum, which is well worth a visit if time allows. The museum descriubed the fundamental role played by British troops in the liberation of the villages on the left bank of the River Ourthe between the 3rd and 16th January 1945.

To round of our last full day surrounded by these lush landscapes, we head to the famed Brasserie d’Achouffe, to tour the brewery home to ‘La Chouffe’ beers, renowned for their different varieties and the ‘Chouffe’ gnomes found on the bottles. Here we will have a tour around the brewery followed by a tasting of 4 beers!

Day 5

Depart

If time allows, take in some final sights and buy your souvenirs before departing from Ardennes.

Additional ideas

If you are interested in extending your visit, there are a number of additional attractions in the Ardennes worth visiting. Exciting attractions include the Ardennes battlefields, Belgian breweries and the Caves of Han where you can explore the underground caves with its amazing creations carved by the River Lisse.

For those who enjoy castles, the Freÿr Chateau is located on the banks of the River Meuse and the grounds evoke a feeling of Versailles with gardens the style of Le Nôtre. The superb Chateau de Lavaux combines Middle age and Renaissance architecture.  The only Ardenne castle in open countryside, it hosts three museums.


Suggested hotels

Floréal Hotel, La Roche-en-Ardenne ***

Located in a characteristic building amidst its own beautiful grounds, this holiday resort has its own heated outdoor pool, mini-golf course, tennis court and bowling lane. The Floréal La Roche-en-Ardenne offers a wonderful base on the banks of the River Ourthe and just 900 yards away from the historical town centre. Coach parking on-site.

Castel de Pont-á-Lesse ***

Located in the heart of the Ardennes, this renovated manor house is only three miles from the town centre of Dinant. The hotel rooms have satellite TV and black-out curtains for a comfortable sleep. Free bottled water and Wi-Fi are available in each room. The hotel has a bar, a restaurant and a terrace. The heated indoor swimming pool is a nice place to relax and swim a few laps. Coach parking on-site.


You might also like:

Flower Power: Floralia Brussels and Keukenhof Gardens

Lovely Lille and Beautiful Bruges

Glorious Ghent – A Taste of Flanders


5 days by Land and Sea
(Floréal Hotel, La Roche-en-Ardenne)
Half Twin Single Supplement Board Basis
17th May 2020 From £349.00 per person From £60.00 per person Dinner, bed & breakfast

 

5 days by Land and Sea
(Castel de Pont à Lesse, Dinant)
Half Twin Single Supplement Board Basis
17th May 2020 From £265.00 per person From £135.00 per person Bed & breakfast

Prices are also available on request for travel by air, or by train and local coaching. Alternative dates on request

Price based on exchange rate of £1.00 = €1.138. All prices are per person based on sharing a double or twin room and with one free place in a single room, based on a minimum 25 full fare paying passengers. Prices do not include UK coach hire or travel insurance. Dates are subject to availability. Smaller groups can be quoted for on request. Greatdays Holidays Limited is a member of ABTA (Y0380) which means you have the benefit of ABTA's assistance and Code of Conduct. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. Greatdays Holidays Limited has an ATOL licence (4279) and all of our air package tours are protected under this licence. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the Civil Aviation Authority will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any monies you have paid to us for an advance booking. All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this tour are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate. Our website policy is to use only copyright free images or images which have been authorised to us for free use by the owner. If you consider an image to be unauthorised or to be your property, please contact us immediately and if invalid we will have the image removed. If your image requires crediting or is missing a copyright statement then we will be pleased to add this to the webpage, contact us at info@greatdays.co.uk

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