Visiting Durbuy: the smallest town in Belgium

Durbuy, the smallest town in Belgium, is located in Wallonia, in the province of Luxembourg. It used to be an important center of industry and commerce in medieval times, thanks to its location on the bank of Ourthe River. Today, tourism is the main activity in Durbuy. Its uniqueness and the well-preserved medieval architecture attract tens of thousands of tourists every year. Durbuy is famous for being the smallest town in Belgium, but it is certainly not inferior in beauty to any of the country’s other big and famous cities.

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Spend a magical day at the Ourthe River

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The Ourthe River is the right tributary of the river Meuse and is known as “the fishing paradise of Wallonia”. It is 165 kilometers long with calm and clean waters and, not surprisingly, it is also one of Belgium’s fishermen’s favourite rivers. Fishing, however, is only one of the ways to enjoy the Ourthe River. There are many kayak and sailing clubs. Alternatively, hiking along the river bank is always a good idea and will let you appreciate the gorgeous nature of the area. If you are visiting Durbuy, the Ourthe River is an unmissable landmark - if not for fishing or sailing, just for some beaching or a picnic on the bank.

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Durbuy Castles

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Like almost every other Belgian town, city or even small village, Durbuy also has its own castles, two in this case, each one of them enjoying a rich history with a pinch of monarchical piquancy. The Durbuy Castle, or Château de Durbuy, is situated on one of the banks of the Ourthe River. The current building was finished in 1880, but according to the old archives and some legends, the very first château was built before the year 900 A.D.

In medieval times, Château de Durbuy used to be one of the most important centers of commerce and industry in the region. Over the years, the castle was owned by a number of noble owners, from the House of Burgundy to the Count of Ursel. Today, the château is a pleasant place to visit for a picturesque promenade.

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Château Bomal-sur-Ourthe is a classical style castle located on a large set of terraces on the top of a hill, overlooking the Ourthe River and the town. It dates to the 18th century, and its current architecture was established by Jean Baptiste de Hayme around 1776. Today, the Castel of Bomal serves as a hotel, restaurant, venue for cultural events and a place for an impressive Sunday market. It is another magnificent place for a relaxing walk among nature!  

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The Labyrinth of Barvaux-sur-Ourthe

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The Labyrinth of Barvaux-sur-Ourthe is an exceptional experience you should definitely not miss. This interesting attraction in the heart of the Ardennes will make you feel like a character from a James Dasher book. The huge maze stretches over an 11 hectares cornfield, where at every turn, you could get yourself involved in a different magical and adventurous story. The attraction park is visited by over 70 000 tourists every year, and it is a preferred place for fun, adventure or just a walk for every visitor to the area.

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The Topiary Park

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It is a curious fact that the biggest Topiary Park in the world is in the smallest town in Belgium. The Durbuy Topiary Park, created by Albert Navez, hosts around 250 plants and sculptures made of Buxus. The oldest one is 120 years old but still looks green and youthful. It is a well-cared park, a real gem of Wallonia and a great piece of contemporary art. The Durbuy Topiary Park will charm you with its subtle humor interwoven into the sophisticated bush statues of Pamela Anderson, Lady in a Bathtub and Manneken Pis (of course).

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It is true that the biggest surprises are often hidden in small packages. This maxim fits perfectly with Durbuy, the smallest town in Belgium. When you enter the town, you can immediately see how tiny it is, but prepare to be amazed by how rich in surprises and wonderful landmarks Durbuy can be.

© iStock/Seiko

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