15 Best things to do in Houffaliz (Belgium)

The town of Houffaliz in Luxembourg, Belgium, is located in the heart of the Ardennes.

Think pristine forests, steep mist-shrouded valleys and idyllic pastures.

Thousands of hectares of countryside surrounding Houffalize are reserved as a natural park, awaiting adventures on foot, water or mountain biking.

You can visit viewpoints with no sign of human life for miles, swim down the canyon, and explore the small villages that were drawn into battle during the Battle of the Bulge.

Houffaliz did not escape the bloodshed, and as a monument there is a German Leopard tank fished out of the River Wurth after three years of fighting.

1. Parc Naturel des Deux Ourthes

Parc Naturel des Deux Ourthes

Surrounded by huge protected spaces, Houffalize covers 76,000 hectares on the deep slopes of the Ourthe Valley.

The Parc Naturel des Deux Ourthes includes the western and eastern branches of Ourthe, which meet near Houffalize at the Nisramont Dam.

The countryside has an almost Nordic vibe, with cold winters, taiga and mist over the valleys.

As you hike, you’ll traverse moorland, peat bogs, sunny pastures littered with cows, fragrant woodlands, and occasionally encounter huge schist formations.

2. The Rock of Eru

Eru Rock

In the village of Nadrin, which is also part of Houffalize, the course of the Ourthe River is blocked by a huge schist outcrop 1.5 kilometers long, 80 meters wide and 80 meters high.

At Belvédère de Nadrin, you can stand on the edge of a ridge overlooking the completely uncivilized Ardennes.

Far below, shrouded in forest, often under a veil of mist, Ourthe winds its way through the mountains.

There is a restaurant next to the car park with its own observation tower and you can walk the 5.4km loop from the centre of Nadrin, down to the river and up.

3. Brasserie d’Achoffe

Bistro D'Achoffe

Even by Belgium’s lofty standards, the brewery 10 minutes from Houffaliz produces some top-notch beers.

Originally a hobby between two brother-in-laws, Brasserie d’Achouffe now produces 300,000 litres a year and exports to over 70 countries.

In 2006, the brewery was acquired by the Duvel-Moortgat group.

The signature beer is La Chouffe, an unfiltered beer with fruity and spicy (cilantro) notes.

The range also includes stouts, hoppy beers, spicy winter beers, citrus summer beers and a 2017 launch of fruit beers infused with cherries.

You can learn the secrets of the brewery on a 90-minute multilingual guided tour that departs at 14:00 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays.

4. Hutopia


If you’re in town with smaller clan members, with just a ticket, Houtopia is a multi-sensory indoor and outdoor attraction, updated in 2018. Inside is a kind of hands-on children’s museum, with up to 80 ingenious educational “experience stations” involving senses such as touch, sight, hearing and even taste and smell.

There are interpreters on call along the way to help kids get the most out of these activities.

Outside, Adventureland is like nothing you’ve ever seen.

There is a secure mesh bridge across Ourthe to the rocky right bank leading to a 30m enclosed slide back through the gorge.

5. Église Sainte Catherine d’Alexandrie

Église Sainte Catherine d'Alexandrie

The early Gothic church in Houffalize was built in the 1230s as a chapel in an Augustinian monastery.

The building suffered damage in the January 1945 bombing, but has some remarkable fixtures intact.

One is an eagle-shaped pulpit with outstretched wings, cast by Dinan goldsmiths in 1370.

Equally special is the 13th-century portrait of Thierry II in Houffaliz’s reclining tomb, carved from black limestone, dressed in chainmail, with a shield on the side and a lion at his feet.

6. Point de Vue du Vieux Château

Point de Vue du Vieux Castle

Next to Rue du Barrage (N843) in the small village of Filly, you can climb a promontory with a magnificent view of the Ourthe Valley.

This view is based on a lost castle.

At the foot of the ascent there is a state of the folklore figure Pogge.

This is a member of the Schaerbeek bourgeoisie of Brussels, known for its wit.

The monument recalls the help Brussels gave to Houffaliz after its total destruction on January 6, 1945.

7. Nislamon Barrage

Nislamon Barrage

Not far downstream where the western and eastern parts of Ourt meet, there is a dam built in 1958 to provide drinking water for the Bastogne plateau and the Ourt and Aisne basins.

For tourists, Barrage de Nisramont is a place to soak up the sun in the Ardennes countryside.

There is a 14-kilometer trail through deep forest on both sides of the reservoir, with barbecue grills and picnic tables.

This trail is moderately difficult but will reward you with awesome views.

In summer, you can rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards at the dam.

8. The Meuse and Moselle Canal Project

Bernestap Tunnel

Between 1827 and 1839, an ambitious attempt was made to connect the Meuse in Liege with the Moselle in the Luxembourg town of Wasserbilig.

The project will create a connection between the Meuse and the Rhine basin, but will require 400 kilometers of waterways and more than 200 locks.

These plans were supported by William I of the Netherlands, but were thwarted by the Belgian Revolution of 1830 and the advent of the railway.

The area is full of traces and in the city of Houffaliz you can see one of the toughest infrastructures.

The incomplete Bernistap Tunnel is 2.5 kilometers long and only 1,130 meters have been excavated.

Although not accessible, there are 15 kilometers of marked trails along the tow road, and the entrance can be visited to peek into the darkness.

9. Escapardenne Eisleck Trail

Escapardenne Eisleck Trail

Between Kautenbach in Luxembourg and La Roche-en-Ardenne in Belgium there is a famous hiking trail that stretches over 100 kilometers.

This road sign has two directions and is divided into five stages.

Houffalize goes northwest towards La Roche-en-Ardenne, at the end of the third stage, which puts you in a great position to try out a few days of hiking.

Head southeast on your way to Asselborn and you’ll be on the tow road of the unfinished canal.

Heading northwest towards Naderin, the views are spectacular as you cross the narrow ridge between the eastern and western river valleys of the Oulte.

10. Houffalize Panther (Panzer)

Houffaliz Panther

Where the N30 (Rue de Bastogne) turns into Rue Saint-Roch, in the shape of a Mark V Panther tank, it draws attention to the battle of the salient.

The vehicle belonged to the 116th Panzer Division, which occupied Houffaliz on 19 December 1944. The American counterattack began on January 3, and the Germans had to withdraw by the middle of the month.

During the battle, the panther was overturned in the River Urt and was recovered three years later.

Starting in 2017, the Houffalize Panther was taken apart and rebuilt in a two-year restoration.

11. Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Forêt

Chapelle Notre-Dame De La Forêt

In the woodlands north of Houffaliz, on the way to Summerland, there is a chapel that is an important part of the religious heritage of the 18th century.

The first mention of the building, which can be reached along a forest path, dates back to the mid-17th century, when a local bequeathed 50 guilders to build a chapel in honor of Our Lady.

The current hexagonal structure is a century later and has a distinct Moissanic character, with onion domes covering the chapel and front portico.

It contains five paintings of unknown age, the altar was made in 1766 and the panelling dates from 1768.

12. Tour de l’Ancienne Église Saint-Urbain à Dinez

Tour de l'Ancienne Église Saint-Urbain à Dinez

For photographers, there is a perfect little spot near Houffalize in the small village of Dinez.

Standing alone on the scenic hillside is the whitewashed tower of the former church of St. Urban.

Within a low enclosure, the church is now in the middle of a cemetery with some striking ancient monuments.

The tower dates back to 1755, and the rest of the church was demolished in the 1930s to build a replacement across the road.

One of the remaining elements of the old building is the baptismal pool.

13. Outdoor Center

Outdoor Center

The same company that rents out equipment at Barrage de Nisramont also organizes various adventures in the Ardennes, west of Houffaliz.

From the dam, you can kayak or raft down the river, take the amazing Ourthe to La Roche-en-Ardenne, all equipment is included in the price, and a shuttle bus takes you back.

Depending on the water level, there is an alternative route between Maboge and La Roche-en-Ardenne.

The Outdoor Centre also offers mountain bike rentals and can arrange rock climbing and abseiling trips through the area.

14. Carnival of the Sun

carnival of the sun

On the first weekend of August, Houffalize goes into party mode, a summer festival that has been going on for more than 20 years.

During the Carnaval du Soleil, there are parades, plenty of children’s activities, live music, fireworks displays and many interesting customs.

One of them is the coronation of the Sun King (Roi Soleil) and the Princess Carnival in front of the City Hall.

There is a children’s parade on Saturday afternoon, and the main event is a parade of more than 30 groups and floats.

15. Foire St. Catherine

St. Catherine

There is another annual event in November, which was first observed in 1338. The festival takes place on the Saturday before St. Catherine’s Day, and there’s a lot to do in one day.

The festivities are in full swing and there is a large market throughout the town.

You can watch a variety of street theaters and live music, and each year a Miss Catherine and a Mr. Catherine are chosen.

One of the most intriguing sights is seeing who can eat the rudest d’jotte, a local cabbage similar to a choucroute.

This recipe is so intertwined with the history of Houffalize that the townspeople are nicknamed “magneux d’jotte” (cabbage eaters).

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Houffaliz, Belgium
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