Not to be confused with the Flemish Ardennes, the Ardennes are a region of wooded hills and small mountains in south-eastern Belgium, Luxembourg and northern France, which merge with the similar German/Luxembourgian Eifel region in the east.
This article is about the Belgian part of the region, which spans parts of Liège (province), Luxembourg (province) and Namur (province). See the French Ardennes and Luxembourg Ardennes articles for information on the other parts of the region.
The Ardennes - which encompass both densely forested and agricultural areas - are considered to be one of the wildest regions in the surrounding part of Europe, and are an excellent destination for hiking, mountain-biking, kayaking, rock climbing and other kinds of active holidays. It is a scenic region that is also home to a number of historic towns. The Ardennes are also famous for the 'Battle of the Bulge' that took place there in WW2 and, consequently, contain numerous memorial sites.
Although the geological boundaries of the region are defined by the rivers Vesdre to the north and Semois to the south, tourist guides will often include the adjacent Belgian regions of Condroz, Pays d'Herve, Famenne, Gaume and the Ostkantons, which have a similar character.
Though mainly worth visiting for its natural splendour and outdoor attractions, this region has a number of historic towns:
Province of Liège
Province of Luxembourg
Province of Namur
The towns of Liège and Namur are the ideal gateways to the Ardennes and adjacent regions.
To get there from France, you can either travel via Luxembourg, or take a bus to Dinant from Givet on the border and connected to the French railway network.
Regional trains on the following lines stop in the Ardennes, and provide a pleasant way to see the region:
The westernmost part of the Ardennes is served by the railway line from Liège to Couvin.
Buses are cheap and serve more destinations, though sometimes only once or twice a day.
Having a car is the only way to be fully mobile in the Ardennes.
On foot and by bike
Of course, walking or cycling might be the reason you decided to visit the Ardennes in the first place. In that case, the Ravel network of foot and cycle paths is highly recommended!