Durbuy is known as the smallest city of the world but with the biggest charm. Discover all the things to do during a visit to this little city in Belgium. From the city center to mysterious rocks, charming châteaus, amazing, quaint architecture, and Belgian nature at its finest - you’re sure to find something out of the ordinary here.
The fantastic Belgian duo Alena and Sean bring you their perspective on this area and talk you through all their favorite gems.
Durbuy City Centre
When you walk through the streets, you get a feeling like you’re in a fairytale village somewhere in the middle of France. Every street has its own beauty. You will walk by a lot of restaurants, shops and cozy bars. You might even run into a pirate! Don’t worry he is very friendly and has a beautiful shop and a cocktail bar, where you can get loaded to the gunwall.
Don’t forget to walk the oldest street of Durbuy, de Rue Daufresne de la Chevalerie. It is covered with stones of the Ourthe river. What is certain to catch your eye in this little town is a small butcher called ‘Boucherie Serge Bodson’. The butcher has a pig looking through the window at the meat.
So get yourself some snacks and local beverages and go to the street ‘Avenue Hubert Philippart’. There you can relax and enjoy your little picnic while looking at the Falize rock, the highest point of Durbuy.
Covid note: restaurants are closed, but open for takeaway.
Château de Durbuy
Durbuy Castle is fairly centrally located in Durbuy, right near the river. The current castle dates from the 17th century and was built on the ruins of the previous castle. Unfortunately the castle is private property so you can’t visit the inside, but you can certainly admire it from the outside.
It’s been said that you can get the best views of the castle on the higher viewpoint of Durbuy, the Belvédère. To enjoy this panoramic view, you can take the tourist train from Durbuy. It takes you straight to the Belvédère watchtower, where you can get a spectacular view over Durbuy and the Ourthe valley.
Château de Petite Somme
A short ride away from Durbuy, you can find this castle located in the heart of the Belgian Ardennes.
When the Hare Krishna (religious movement; a branch of Hinduism) bought the castle, it received a new name: “Radhadesh.” The new residents restored the castle and turned it into a spiritual oasis where you can see the residents walk around in the traditional Hare Krishna clothing and explore their local culture.
A visit can be combined with a meal at the restaurant, arrangements to take classes, yoga sessions, a visit to the beautiful temple room (which has an explanation of the Hare Krishna daily life and customs), and to top it off, a beautiful view from the castle tower of the natural Ardennes beauty. There is even a gift shop where you can buy a souvenir. Make sure to visit the bakery, where you can get one of the best chocolate chip cookies. You can also spend the night at the guesthouse!
If you want to enjoy the surrounding nature, there is a walking route with indicated signs that start at the château.
Dolmen of Wéris
Just a short 10 minute drive from Durbuy you can find the mysterious rocks at Dolmen of Weris. You would think that you’re in the village of Asterix & Obelix (read up on your comic books).
The Dolmen of Wéris are actually giant rocks stacked on top of each other. A quick (slightly creepy) history lesson: it’s been said that this monument was a burial site and excavations revealed human bone and tooth remains. No worries though, you can’t find those anymore! The Archeologists also dug up a polished ax, steel spears from the Neolithic era and coins and ceramics from the Gallo-Roman era.
The field road to the east of the Dolmen is located in the exact same place (albeit slightly higher) as where the Gallo-Roman road ran. Hence, the road is still called “Chemin des Romains.” So take in the mysterious history of the site while you’re there!
La Maison D’Hary Côt
Just a 2 minute walk from the Dolmen of Wéris you can find this cute restaurant - yes, it’s a restaurant! It was built by Dominique Noël. It took him seven years to build this beautiful quirky house!
We personally find this charming as this place looks a lot like the Weasley house from Harry Potter. A nice little spot to take some magical pictures.
Covid note: due to Covid-19 the restaurant seems to be permanently closed but, from what we have read, definitely worth visiting for some culinary excellence.
A rock of local legend! An easy 1,4 km walk east of the Dolmen of Wéris, Pierre Haina is a unique viewpoint you trekkers shouldn’t miss.
According to one of the legends, the Pierre Haina is the stop that closes an underground gallery. This shaft would lead deep into the centre of the globe, where the devil reigns in his hellfire. Sometimes the devil wanted to catch new souls and crawl out of his hell. He pushed the rock away and wandered around in the area. No one has ever seen him because before the cock crows he had disappeared again and the stone was back in his place.
But the villagers noticed that he had stopped by again: chickens were dead, quarrels broke out, disease came into the village. It had been enough for the Wérisiens! They came together and looked for a solution. A little girl, dressed all in white, brought freshly collected eggs from that morning. That was it! The devil dislikes pure white. From that day on, the Pierre Haina was whitewashed by the Wérisiens every single year.
To get to this rock you have to park the car in Wéris village. Look for the chapel, turn to the left and follow the signs that say ‘Pierre Haina'.