Hiking in Belgium: 20 Best Hiking Trails in Belgium
A guide to the best walks in Belgium including Wallonia Trail and hikes in Flanders Region
Belgium is an endlessly fascinating country. Its cities are both cosmopolitan and ancient, its history enthralling, and its Flemish-French rivalry legendary.
But Belgium is more than a weekend break in the heart of Europe. It’s also a hidden paradise for outdoor lovers.
With a gorgeous coastline and rolling countryside, hiking in Belgium is second-to-none. Whether you’ve got a city weekend planned or a few weeks’ backpacking in Belgium, there are routes across every part of the country.
Best of all, you can put your feet up after a long walk and enjoy traditional Belgian waffles in Belgium. What could be better?
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Best Hiking Trails in Wallonia, Belgium
1. La Roche à l’Appel Geological Park
Length: 8.5 km
Starting Point: Florenville
Nestled against the French border, this geological park is a real treasure, combining ancient forestry and great biodiversity that appeals to every nature lover.
Hikers begin at Florenville, pick their way across the streams that cut through the forest and explore the ancient town of Muno. The real highlight, however, is the climb to La Roche à l’Appel, the summit.
Hikers can choose between two winding paths with which to tackle this 360-meter climb, and those who reach the summit are rewarded with panoramic views over the South Ardennes.
Hikers can stop for a picnic or follow the signs to their way down back towards the car park where the trail began.
2. Belgian Leg Of Santiago Compostela Trail
Length: 60-200 km
Starting Point: Various (Aachen, recommended for the Via Mosana)
The Belgium leg of the Pilgrims’ Way extends southward to northwestern Spain where it joins with ancient tracks from other European countries.
All routes head towards Santiago de Compostela in Spain, where the tomb of Saint James was rediscovered in the year 813. Although traditionally a Christian pilgrims’ route, these trails are now just as popular with non-Christians.
Belgium hosts five main clusters of pilgrim ways, all of which deliver travelers through to France. Hikers can opt for a pilgrim’s pass, which, on completion of the trail, serves as a badge of honor in the walking world.
I recommend the Via Mosana, which starts from Aachen in Germany, but almost immediately crosses to Wallonia and introduces hikers to one of the most beautiful places in Belgium.
Of all the Belgium pilgrim trails, this 146km path is arguably the most enduringly popular. This is no wonder, as it combines forestry, rivers and open space, as it travels through Liege, Seraign, beautiful, dense forests, the pretty town of Namur, and finally to Profondeville.
3. Crossing The Semois Valley
Length: 15 km
Starting Point: Bouillon
This trail starts at the Bouillon Castle, in the far South-West of Belgium, only a few kilometers from France.
This is a fascinating example of feudal architecture in Belgium and lends itself to a happy hour or two. Once sated with medieval history, hikers will leave the castle in favor of the steep paths and forests that make up this walk.
But the tricky trail is worth it! The Pic du Diable viewpoint offers panoramic views over the tranquil Semios River, the Rocher de Pendu viewpoint showcases rural Belgium at its best, and the Clairefontaine Abbey is an archaic wonder.
Hikers will complete the circular route and finish at the car park, ready for a rest in a traditional guesthouse accommodation in Belgium such as the gorgeous Hotel de la Poste – Relais de Napoleon III **** , a sophisticated family-owned hotel.
4. Old Village of Wéris Hiking Trail
Length: 7 km
Starting Point: Wéris
The village of Wéris, 50 kilometers south of Liege, is consistently rated as one of the most beautiful attractions in Belgium. If you are thinking of what to do in Liege, Belgium, hiking is a great option.
Hikers will meander through the idyllic village, before setting off on a rural adventure through forestry and farmland.
If this weren’t enough, the landscape is prehistoric and holds secrets of the neolithic age. It’s also considered one of the best day trips from Durbuy.
In particular, the 8 km row of standing stones, which have been firmly set in the ground since 3000 BC, is bound to impress. Hikers can explore this bizarre prehistoric landscape, before continuing on the circular walk back to Wéris.
5. The Historical Walk in Waterloo
Length: 14 km
Starting Point: Waterloo
One of the most famous attractions of Belgium is the site of the 1815 Battle of Waterloo. This easy circular trail will take history lovers through the battle where 200,000 soldiers fought in a defining moment for the continent.
Starting off at the town of Waterloo, hikers trace the battleground, following in the footsteps of Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington. Monuments line the walk and give more detail about the historic battle.
Hikers can also climb up to the Lion’s Mound monument to survey the beautiful country below and imagine themselves transported back to the fateful battle day.
The walk ends back in Waterloo and from there, it is 20 km north to Brussels, which is one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium and well worth a visit.
Hiking is one of the coolest things to do in Brussels when you are staying in Brussels for more than 1 day. As you are close to Brussels, you’ll love my guide on where to eat traditional Belgian food in Brussels or the best hiking trails near Brussels.
6. La Fagne de la Poleur Didactic Path
Length: 3 km
Starting Point: Mont-Rigi, near Malmedy
This elevated walkway in the High Fens is wheelchair and pushchair accessible and is a great introduction to the moors and bogs that characterize East Belgium.
This trail is lined with informative posters that give details about the evolution of the area and the surrounding ecosystems.
Hikers should look out for the high and low bogs and streams that make this such a rugged area of Belgium.
Time the season right, and blueberries and cranberries will lie waiting to be picked and eaten! The path is circular, so hikers can return to the starting point ready for their next adventure.
7. Château de Franchimont
Length: 5 km
Starting Point: Château de Franchimont, Theux
In the heart of the Belgian Ardennes in the West of Belgium lies the remains of the imposing medieval fortress, the Château de Franchimont.
The castle has an intriguing history, being the site of ferocious medieval battles, and the rallying of Belgian troops at the outbreak of the Second World War. Hikers will be swept up in romanticism and historical imagination.
The trail itself starts alongside the castle ruins and continues into the rural market town of Theux, where the Mosan-style church is well worth a look.
Here, the hike finishes and walkers can opt to explore the pretty town, or head to nearby Spa, the archetype for thermal and massage therapies.
If you love the Ardennes, read my guide on how to spend a weekend in the Ardennes, Belgium.
8. The Orval Abbey Hiking Trail
Length: 11.5 km
Starting Point: Orval
Hikers start at the Notre-Dame Abbey of Orval, a beautiful Cistercian abbey in the far South-West of Belgium which was founded in 1132.
After exploring this Wallonian gem, hikers can begin on the trek, passing through forest and into Eastern France.
I recommend taking a good break-in Chameleux, which is one of the smallest and most beautiful villages in France.
Hikers will meander through the meadows of the valley, before re-crossing the border and arriving back at the Abbey of Orval for a well-deserved taste of Orval Abbey beer.
9. Château de Bouillon Hiking Trail
Length: 7 km
Starting Point: Bouillon
Visiting medieval castles is one of the top activities in Belgium, especially in Wallonia. They don’t get much better than the 1000-year-old Bouillon Castle in South-West Belgium, which peers down over the town and the Semois River below.
Hikers will start the trail at the Poulies bridge which looks across at the formidable fortress, once owned by a crusader, Godefroid de Bouillon.
The path edges alongside the calm Semois and hikers can peer through the tranquil forests to catch a glimpse of France, only a few kilometers to the west.
Following the red signs, hikers will finish the walk at the Poulies bridge and can wander into the quiet town of Bouillon for dinner for instance in BOM Food and Drinks or to get a closer look at the castle.
10. Escapardenne Trail
Length: 106 km
Starting Point: Wiltz (Luxembourg)
Starting in Luxembourg, this cross-border trail takes around 6 days to hike, allowing for plenty of stops at the 44 viewpoints that provide varied and sumptuous views of the changing landscape.
The trail winds through valleys, forests, hamlets, and open land, giving a real sense of space and inspiring true affinity with the landscape.
The first 3 days are spent trekking through Luxembourg before hikers spend the last 3 days in Belgium. It’s thus a great idea when looking for the best day trips from Luxembourg.
It really is a perfect opportunity for hikers to set off with just a backpack and sample life on the road, including trying the different accommodations of Belgium and Luxembourg. Read here about the best hotels in Luxembourg.
Once the route passes into Belgium, hikers travel through Houffalize, the site of the Battle of the Bulge in 1945, and Nadrin, where hikers can explore Roman remains from the 2nd and 3rd centuries.
The route ends in the Belgian town of La Roche-en-Ardenne, where hikers can rest their tired legs.
Best Hiking Trails in Flanders Region, Belgium
11. Hiking in the Zwin, Knokke
Length: 12 km
Starting Point: Zwin Nature Park, Knokke-Heist
Zwin Nature Park, on the coastline of West Flanders, is a haven for birds. Hikers on this circular trail can watch out for storks and migrating birds.
The trail begins and ends at the renovated Zwin visitor center, passing by beautiful viewpoints where hikers can admire the beaches in Belgium.
Length: 505 km
Starting Point: Aachen (Germany) or Wissant (France)
This long-distance route is part of a network of hiking trails that cross Belgium and connect the country to its European neighbors.
This trail stretches from the very west to the very east of Belgium, with the eastern portion characterized by rural landscapes, and the western path skirting through urban areas.
The trail passes in almost a straight line across the country, moving through Leuven, the outskirts of Brussels, Ghent, and Roeselare, as well as the beautiful country between these city spots. It’s thus a great option when looking for hiking trails near Brussels.
Hikers walking the length of the route will see the true variety of life in this country that, as BBC news Belgium reports, is split between Flemish and French communities.
However, hikers don’t have to commit to weeks of walking to experience this trail. Walking individual sections is just as fulfilling.
13. Scheldeland Walking Trail
Length: 148 km
Starting Point: Hulst
This trail is part of the pan-European GR 122 route, which ultimately forms part of the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail.
The Flanders portion of the trail leads from Hulst and takes hikers through back history into wartime battlefields, set against the backdrop of flower meadows and undulating hills.
The Flanders portion of the GR 122 heads through farmland, skirts the town of Ghent, and finishes just before the forest of Kluisbos, whilst the trail continues on to Wallonia, France, and eventually Spain.
Length: 244 km
Starting Point: Maastricht (Netherlands)
This forms part of the GR 561 pilgrim route and, after a day walking in the Netherlands, brings walkers on a meandering route through the countryside of northern Flanders.
Hikers will notice the distinctly Flemish feel of the villages and hamlets along the way and revel in the peace of the rural landscape, often empty except for a dazzling array of birds.
As with the other GR trails, hikers can choose to complete just a part of the track, although those who make it to the end will be rewarded with the quaint town of Diest, Belgium.
15. Vlaams Brabant Trail
Length: 176 km
Starting Point: Diest
Hikers looking for a long-distance trail could do little better than this idyllic route that brings together the best of Flanders; rolling hills, picturesque villages, and tranquil open space.
The GR512 trail is part of the web of long-distance walks across Belgium. As such, hikers can choose to continue on to connected GR walks or simply bask in the sense of comradery that exists between long-distance walkers.
The route heads south from the Diest skirts around Leuven, and finishes in the small town of Geraardsbergen. Hikers don’t have to commit a week to this trail, however.
Even those with 2 days in Belgium can saunter along a smaller section and immerse themselves in the Flemish countryside.
16. Hageland Circular Trail
Length: 220 km
Starting Point: Leuven
This 11-day trek loops around Flanders, beginning and ending in Leuven, a fascinating city that is the largest in Flemish Brabant. The Hageland is a pretty, hilly region and this walk is a delightful mix of gradual incline and flat land.
The trail moves through fields and forests, and even picturesque fruit orchards and vineyards, where hikers can stop to sample local beer or wine.
17. Vlaamse Ardennen Trail
Length: 157 km
Starting Point: Oudenaarde
This well-signposted GR route is a hidden treasure in Flanders’ crown and takes in deep valleys and impressive beech forests over the course of the 8-day trek.
The “Flemish Ardennes” of East Flanders is characterized by gentle hills, and this walk encompasses many viewpoints from which to survey the undulating landscape.
Hikers on this trail will follow roads, footpaths, and even the occasional bike route, all of which keep the path varied and exciting to follow.
The circular route passes through villages and open countryside, before returning hikers to Oudenaarde.
Best Hiking Trails near the Belgian Coast
18. IJzer River Trail
Length: 7.8 km
Starting Point: Roesbrugge
This route is nestled up against the French border and traces along the Yser River. The area is so close to the beach resorts of Belgium but holds a different kind of beauty.
Hikers on the “Dead Iron” path are met by high water, wet meadows, and, usually, solitude in this under-explored part of the world.
Depending on the weather, walkers will have to wade through water-logged paths, but the endless stream of birds and the beautiful views reward the effort.
The trail winds through meadows, and the occasional farm, before ending back in Roesbrugge, where hikers can dry their feet.
Length: 363 km
Starting Point: Zeeuws Vlaanderen (Netherlands)
This north to south walk traces the length of the border between Belgium and the Netherlands, often without a clear demarcation between the neighboring countries.
The border region is quiet, rural, and often empty, making it well suited to those looking for peace.
The entirety of the walk takes around 18 days to complete, but sections can also be done as a day trip from nearby towns for those who want to get a taste of rural escape in the most idyllic setting.
Hikers who brave the entirety of the trail will finish in the small town of Thorn, less than 2 km into the Netherlands, having been rewarded with a deep understanding of the landscape in this forgotten corner of Belgium.
Length: 200 km
Starting Point: Brugge
This trail is named after Tijl Uilenspiegel, a 14th-century Flemish prankster who played practical jokes on the authorities and is remembered with affection across Flanders.
Hikers on this route start in Bruges and head north through the Flanders countryside up to the coast around Knokke-Heist.
Walkers will cross the border into the Netherlands and head south into Belgium again, passing hamlets and villages before returning to Bruges.
This route is rural and peaceful, and hikers will be enthralled with both the quaint villages and the variety of birds and wildlife near the coast.
The route ends in Bruges, allowing hikers to explore both the countryside. If you are staying longer in Bruges, make sure to take beautiful pictures of the best photography spots in Bruges.
Extra: WWI Walking Tours
For those interested in history-focused hikes, Flanders offers a variety of World War One walking trails, ranging from 4.5 to 9 km long.
Hikers will immerse themselves in infamous battle scenes, visit memorials for the fallen, and learn about Belgium’s place in the center of European history.
Here, you have a great inventory of WWI-themed walking tours.
Short FAQ about Hiking in Belgium
You can visit the La Roche à l’Appel Geological Park, the Belgian Leg Of Santiago Compostela Trail, the Kempen-Maaspad, the Grenslandpad, etc. for hiking.
If you want to enjoy your walk, you can visit the Grenslandpad, the Uilenspiegelpad, or the trails in the Semios Valley as they are a great experience.
Crossing the Semois Valley, the Old Village of Wéris Hiking Trail, and The Historical Walk in Waterloo are the best hiking spots in Belgium.