Most Beautiful Villages in Belgium - Ny & Weris (Wallonia)

This article first appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali
  
CYCLING THROUGH THE MEGALITHIC SITES & MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES IN BELGIUM

LES PLUS BEAUX VILLAGES DE WALLONIE
I came to know about this title called 'Les Plus beaux villages de Wallonie' which means 'The very beautiful villages of Wallonia'. There are 30 such villages in the whole of Wallonia and most of these villages are in the region of Pays de Famenne. Obviously, I really wanted to visit a couple of those. There are 3 relatively close to Durbuy and so, when I planned my Durbuy Itinerary, I set aside time to visit Ny & Wéris, 2 of the plus beaux villages de Wallonie (the one we missed was Chardeneux)!
The moment I went on a walking tour of Durbuy city, I realized why Wallonia came up with this concept - to preserve the villages as they are, with their authentic and innate beauty without commercializing it much, without letting many hotels or restaurants open up within its borders.

Les Megalithes Pays de Famenne a Velo Cycling route

Les Megalithes Pays de Famenne a Velo Cycling route

Weris La Maison des Megalithes Museum Places to see in Durbuy

Weris La Maison des Megalithes Museum Places to see in Durbuy

Weris Most Beautiful Villages in Belgium Wallonia Durbuy

Weris Most Beautiful Villages in Belgium Wallonia Durbuy

LES MEGALITHES - PAYS DE FAMENNE À VÉLO (CYCLING IN BELGIUM)
So what is Pays de Famenne? Pays de Famenne is the region that constitutes of the 6 municipalities that form the UNESCO Global Geopark (UGGP) of Famenne Ardennes. Yes, it is the same Geopark that includes Grottes de Han, Rochefort etc. 
Les Megalithes is a 22.7km long, loop cycling route in this UGGP of Pays de Famenne which touches all the important Megalithic sites of the region. It goes through Wéris, Ny and almost touches Hotton. Though we did not follow this exact loop, we managed to visit most of the places in this route.

Les Megalithes Cycling route: Node points network 65-66-68-69-70-73-67-65
Offical site (incl. downloadable GPX of the route): Pays de Famenne a Velo Les Megalithes route 

WÉRIS - MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES IN BELGIUM 
Wéris is now closer to my heart than most other Belgian destinations now. Why? It's a pre-historic site filled with several dolmens! Wéris is the best preserved Megalithic site in Wallonia. Wéris is a small village, and one of the most beautiful villages in Belgium. Wéris village has 8 streets in it. The most important of the places to see in Wéris, is the megalithic museum
One of the striking landmarks of the Weris vilage is the romanesque church of Saint Walburga. It dates back to 11th C CE. Though it has undergone changes over time, the square tower is the oldest part of the building. There are several tomb-stones & wooden statues here, with the oldest one dating back to 16th C CE of Sainte-Walburge. 
Just beside the museum is an adorable, authentic timber-frame house. There are several old stone houses in the village built in 17-19th C CE. The presence of Poudingue rock is also one of the uniqueness of the village of Wéris. This rock, made up of pebbles bound together by a strong natural cement, was used to construct buildings in the past and that's what we see in most of the old stone-buildings today, including the church.

LA MAISON DES MEGALITHES, WÉRIS
Megaliths museum in Wéris is called La Maison des Megalithes. It gives a good overview of the megalithic history including geography, geology, anthropology and more. There is also an insight into the lifestyle of the prehistoric people incl. how would they have lived? what would they have worn? how would they have constructed the dolmens and more! There is a little movie about the archaeological studies as well. The museum also has a cute little cafe perfect as a stop-over on the way while riding your bicycle!

Where is La Maison des Megalithes, Weris, Belgium (on Google Maps): Megalithes Museum, Weris
Durbuy to Weris distance: 10km
La Maison des Megalithes Opening Hours: 10:00AM to 5:30PM all days
La Maison des Megalithes Tickets: €3

Weris Dolmens Prehistoric Megalithic Sites in Belgium

Weris Dolmens Prehistoric Megalithic Sites in Belgium

Oppagne Menhirs Durbuy Prehistoric Megalithic Sites in Belgium

Oppagne Menhirs Durbuy Prehistoric Megalithic Sites in Belgium

Danthine Menhirs Durbuy Prehistoric Megalithic Sites in Belgium

Oppagne Dolmens Prehistoric Megalithic Sites in Belgium

Oppagne Dolmens Prehistoric Megalithic Sites in Belgium

MEGALITHIC DOLMENS & MENHIRS OF WÉRIS
Dolmens are megalithic tombs. They usually consist of a few vertically placed stones and a flat stone over them, that forms the cap-stone. Overall, looking like a small room. The dolmens were most likely used as group burial sites. Unlike Dolmens, Menhirs are single or a group of tall stones, that could remind an obelisk. The purpose of Menhir is still unknown. This region has 2 dolmens and 27 menhirs. 
My first stop in the Les Megalithes route was the Dolmen of Wéris. Dolmen of Wéris is located very close to the village of Wéris, which is why most people who visit the village, don't miss this dolmen. The Dolmen of Weris is dates back to 2000-1800 BCE (Neolithic Era to Gallo Romain Era). It has 4 vertical stones and 2 cap-stones forming 1 chamber. There are a couple of Menhirs just in front of it.
I happened to witness one of the most spiritual things here. A lady was performing some sort of prayer here walking through the Dolmen! I don't know where she is from, but being an Indian, I could relate to what she was doing. The practice of invoking the ancestors or praying to the forefathers is very common in India and I guess I was witnessing a very similar practice all the way in Europe, embedded in the local tradition here. It was very intriguing moment. Personally for me, as many of my regular readers would know, prehistoric sites of human activity is very close to me because I always imagine my own ancestors walking in those very spots doing their day-to-day activities. Watch her in the video below (only 1 min long)... If anyone knows who she is and what she is exactly doing, let me know! 

Also Read: Stonehenge in England; Megalithic burial of Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, MaltaMegalithic temples in MaltaMegalithic burials in India at ThirupporurSiruthavurPudukottai
My second stop was Menhir Danthine, which is a single stone and is located just on the side of the main road of N841. My third stop was Dolmen d'Oppagne. Unlike Dolmen of Wéris, there was absolutely nobody here! We had the entire place for ourselves and I managed to go inside the dolmen here which was quite an unusual experience. This has a much more complex construction than Dolmen of Wéris. This dates back to 2200-2000 BCE (Neolithic Era). Near both the dolmens some bones & pottery shards have been excavated. There are 4 menhirs just beside the dolmen of Oppagne. My final stop for the day was Menhir d'Oppagne.  Menhir d'Oppagne is located in the middle of cultivated farm land and can be spotted from the street. I didn't walk upto the Menhir, but just stopped on the street and took a few photos before heading back to Durbuy. 

Megalithic sites in & around Wéris (on Google Maps)Dolmen de Wéris, Menhir de DanthineDolmen d'Oppagne, Menhir d'Oppagne, Lit du Diable, Pierre Haina
Complete List of all Megalithic sites in the region: On Google Maps
Guided tour of these Megalithic sites: The Maison des Megalithes offers a variety of guided tours whose prices vary from €40 - €100 and they extended from 30 mins to 2:30 hours. I would personally recommend the 2 hours tour (€80) of "The megalithic site: commented walk through the dolmens of Wéris and Oppagne" or 1 hour tour (€60) of "The stones of legends: commented walk passing by pierre haina and the devil's bed: legends, archaeo-astronomy, reading of the landscape". These can be booked by sending them a message.


Ny Most Beautiful Villages in Belgium Plus Beaux Villages WalloniaDurbuy

Ny Most Beautiful Villages in Belgium Plus Beaux Villages Wallonia Durbuy

Ny Most Beautiful Villages in Belgium Plus Beaux Villages Wallonia Durbuy

Weris Most Beautiful Villages in Belgium Plus Beaux Villages Wallonia Durbuy

Ny Most Beautiful Villages in Belgium Plus Beaux Villages Wallonia Durbuy

NY - MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES IN BELGIUM
Ny is just simple and beautiful and literally, there's nothing more to say about it! Its a typical quaint little Walloon village! It is on the way from Durbuy to Hotton. There are exactly just 7 streets in this village of which one is the main, central street. The entire village is between 2 streams - Naive & Douyet. It is infact smaller and quieter than Wéris!
I was mesmerized the moment we entered inside the village - the wire atop (electric line?), was completely filled with swallows! The last time I had seen so many swallows together was in Eupen's Wesertalsperre Dam! As I reached the centre of the village, I was very much in the middle of one of the most beautiful villages in Belgium. The stone houses are such a beauty with one that dates back as old as 1761, made of stone, complete with traditional arched, semi-circle windows below the attic! Just beside it is a traditional timber-frame house. Some have a traditional well or hand pump as well. There's the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption at the centre!
One of the striking features of Ny is its Castle - Chateau de Ferme (Farm Chateau). Quite amusingly the Chateau did not serve any defence purposes. This was built in 1669 CE by François de Cassal, provost of Durbuy, and his wife Charlotte de Gozée. There might have been a moat here in the past, but there's none now. Its has several sheds & stables, a huge barn. Currently the Chateau is open to visitors only once a year when the Medieval Festival happens here. 
Another striking feature of Ny are its fountains. There are so so many fountains within these 7 streets! The water of most of the fountains here is not-drinkable (needs to be filtered/boiled). Finally, the little, winding path that goes from the Chateau de Ferme to Hotton is so so picturesque, that I can't put it in words. Watch the video (only 1:30 mins long)!

Where is Ny, Belgium (on Google Maps): Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Chateau de Ferme, 1761 house.
Durbuy to Ny distance: 9 km
Also Read: Things to do in Durbuy (including Durbuy itinerary for 1,2, or 3 days), Adventure Valley Durbuy

HOW TO REACH NY & WÉRIS
The best way to visit these villages by cycling. Though going by car is possible, I'd really suggest cycling. The roads are narrow and the route to reach these villages are so exquisite that you'll miss the bliss, if you go by car! If you're not much of a cyclist, the easiest option is to hire an e-bike at Durbuy or Hotton. E-bikes can be hired at Durbuy Tourist office for  €20-30 for half/full days. 


Les Megalithes Pays de Famenne a velo

Ny Most Beautiful Villages in Belgium Wallonia Durbuy

Ny Village Chateau Ferme Wallonia Durbuy

Ny Most Beautiful Villages in Belgium Wallonia Durbuy

TIPS FOR BIKING/CYCLING IN DURBUY
Here's the best of the tips for cycling in Durbuy. Most of the routes heading out of Durbuy has to go on Tier Moreau street (the street opposite to the tourist office). This is a steep climb. Keep you gear at lowest and energy at 2-3 to pedal through this easily. The street that continues - Neuve Voie is a shallow climb and then, the ascent is zero once you get to Rue du Gibet. Its just the initial 350m distance, that has a whopping 43m ascent! If its too difficult or tiring, just get down, roll the bike and walk along. It is only 350m!

HOTELS IN WÉRIS & NY
There are a few small, boutique hotels & airbnbs in both the villages. For luxury hotels you will have to find one in Durbuy. Read my review of Au Vieux Durbuy where I stayed. For budget hotels you'll have to stay in one of Liege Hotels or Namur Hotels.

WHERE TO EAT IN WÉRIS & NY?
There are few restaurants in Wéris including the little museum cafe at La Maison des Megalithes. However there are absolutely no restaurants or cafes whatsoever in Ny. The nearest town for a restaurant from Ny is Hotton (3.5km away) which has very many restarants, cafes & fast-food joints.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT WÉRIS & NY?
Any time, throughout the year, all these sites are open and can be visited. If you're planning to ride a cycle on the Les Megalithes cycling route of Pays de Famenne, you may want to skip winter (December-February) when it gets very cold when you're surrounded by so much of nature & greenery in the midst of Belgian Ardennes. 

P.S: I was invited by Wallonia Tourism to experience the region & the activities for review purposes, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Les Megalithes Pays de Famenne velo cycling route Plus Beaux Villages Wallonie Most beautiful villages belgium

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands

10 comments:

  1. These villages seem to be picture-perfect for a bicycle ride to explore. I'd imagine you can just feel the history and culture in these little places. I would love to visit Ny one day when I finally make it to Belgium!

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  2. I always thought that Belgium would be a quick stop. But your blog posts are showing me so many places to visit. Love adding in small villages when we visit a new spot. So many great sites and fascinating history. A good reason to stop when biking through this area. Those dolmens would make great stops. Especially when you managed to get inside one! Yet more reasons to add Belgium to our travel wish list.

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  3. I have always enjoyed to explore megaliythes but I have never seen the ones in Belgium. It reminds me of how ancient these places actually are. We also have something similar in Romania at Sarmizegetusa Regia (Unesco too).

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  4. The more I read your blogs fromBelgium, the more interested and surprised I get! I always imagined doing a joint trip to Netherlands and Belgium but it sees like i would need a good 10-12 days just for Belgium. Villages of Wallonia area are really very pretty and have such an old school charm. I am sure it was difficult to pick and choose some out of the 30. And I can totally see why Weris was so special for you, the megalithic museum is really a very interesting historic site!

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  5. The Museum in Weris caught my attention. It would be nice to find out how the people in the Megalithic era lived, as anthrology has always intrigued me. The villages of Wallonia are beautiful, indeed.

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  6. I always prefer the countryside to big cities, so I know I'm going to love these small villages in Wallonia. The fact that they have megalithic sites is a bonus. I can imagine myself going on a cycling trip to these places. Belgium sure has a lot more to offer beyond Brussels and Bruges.

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  7. I really like the idea of visiting Belgium by bike. Good to know that there are so many bicycle routes and 30 villages in Wallonia. It's impressive. I add Les Megalithes Cycling route to my list. I would love to visit Wéris with the megalithic museum.

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  8. I always think of Belgium for the cities, not so much getting out into the smaller villages. Thanks for introducing me to a number of interesting looking places that I"d like to visit on my next trip. Cycling from village to village sounds like a fun thing to do.

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  9. These villages are beautiful! I like the Megalithic Dolmens & Menhirs of Weris since I'm obsessed with rocks. Haha... Ny is so pretty. I think I want to spend some times there. But above all, I'm glad that they are more to preserve the villages rather than commercialize it. Can't imagine if you see hotels and restaurants at every corner. :-(

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