Top 5 Best places to see snow in Belgium

This article originally appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali

ULTIMATE TRAVEL GUIDE TO SNOW-HIKING IN BELGIUM

DOES IT SNOW IN BELGIUM?
Actually yes! Though you can't compare Belgian snow with Swiz Alps or Austrian Alps, the Belgian Ardennes has some amount of snow every year. However certain years are more snowy and more beautiful than the others. Thanks to the lock-down last year, lot of environmentally good things have happened including clearer skies in China, clearer canals in Venice, the Himalayas being visible from 200km away and in that list, Belgium has snow this year like how it was decades ago with one day when snowfall was 20cm in Belgian Ardennes and winter is not over yet!

Does it snow in Belgium?


Belgium Winter Weather

Does it snow in Belgium?

Does it snow in Belgium?

Does it snow in Belgium?

SNOW HIKING IN BELGIAN ARDENNES

This is the only place I've been to, so far, just because, this is the easiest place to reach from Brussels by train, to see snow in Belgium. I chose to go on a Monday, to avoid the weekend crowd. I took the direct train from Brussels Schuman to Libramont and it was quite intriguing to see the landscape change as I went, thanks to the weather. No doubt, even in summer or autumn when I took this route, it was picturesque, but now, it went from green to white!!!
There are ofcourse several waymarked trails. Though I didn't take the stroller, I couldn't take a difficult trail with Atyudarini. I was indecisive between 2 - the simplest 3km long Celtic trail and the 7km long Promenade de la Briqueterie. The Celtic trail is hands-down easiest for Atyudarini and it goes a little bit into the forest, but I wanted to go deeper into the forest, so I chose the next - Promenade de la Briqueterie. 

ATYUDARINI's (almost) FIRST SNOW - As soon as we stepped out of the railway station, Atyudarini was already too excited looking at all the snow. She stopped at every step much before we could reach the trailhead. She started to make snow-balls from the roadside snow, and it took so much time and effort that it was already more than an hour by the time we reached the trailhead. By the time we were a bit into the forest, I realized it would be a very long walk with Atyudarini's mood at that point, so I chose to cut short and took the right prior the right turn as in the trail map of Promenade de la Briqueterie, and headed to the point which connected to the Celtic Trail. The biggest plus point of this was, the trail was very very less walked, making it almost very pristine! The snow was abundant and the feet sunk in, unlike the main trail which was severely walked-over during the weekend (remember, we were there on a Monday?). While the snow over the trees was molten that day on the main trail, it was all still intact in this route, making the place look just so magical! Atyudarini stopped every now and then to make snowballs and throw at me and to make some snowman as well, of course.
It was a bit tricky to cross the highway where the snow was knee-deep for me, on either side of the road, which means it was chest deep for Atyu! But then we managed and continued and on the other side was a different kind of magic. Here was a Christmas Tree cultivation! The trees were short letting all the snowfall down and being a path less-walked-on, all the snow was on the group and it was knee deep everywhere, except the central path which was ankle deep! It was pristine white as far as the eyes could see! Both of us were totally mesmerized by the beauty of this landscape. 
It was a 5km hike, exactly midpoint between 3km Celtic Trail and 7km Promenade de la Briqueterie. While Atyudarini has already seen snow 2 years ago when in Brussels, she was too young then. Now, she could truly enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature!

Where is Libramont (on Google Maps): Libramont Gare
Map of Celtic Trail: via SityTrail
Map of Promenade de la Briqueterie: via SityTrail
Other Walking/Hiking trails in Libramont: via SityTrail
How to reach Libramont by train from Brussels: Direct train from Brussels to Libramont (2 hours travel). Here are some ways to get cheap Belgian train tickets.
Is it possible to go with a stroller to Libramont to see the snow: Follow the cycling path of Wallonia - Ravel W7 (Sur la route des Ardennes - On the Ardennes Road) towards Séviscourt. This is not a loop route, so you decide when to return back. 

One of the most interesting hiking trail of Libin is Le Sentier des Nutons Enchanted Park. This is a very short 1.8km path, but it is quirky because it is filled with so many Gnomes!!! These gnomes depict the dwarfs of the Ardennes legends. These art installations & sculptures are scattered throughout this route from sitting with a fox, to sitting atop a tree, to sitting over a stone beside a waterbody..... Yes, les Nutons du parc enchanté de Kaolin trail is stroller friendly!

Where is Libin (on Google Maps): Libin Gare
Where is Le Sentier des Nutons (on Google Maps): Parc du Kaolin 
How to reach Libin by train from Brussels: Reach Libramont and take TEC bus route 61. The travel time on the bus is 30 mins and with transfer, the entire travel time from Brussels is 3 hours! Not an easy place to reach by public transport!

Belgium Winter WeatherBelgium Winter Weather

Does it snow in Belgium?

Belgium Winter Weather

Le Sentier des Nutons Libin Enchanted Park
Le Sentier des Nutons, LIBIN - Pic Credit: Julie Fohal de l’OT de  Libin. Used here with permission.

Mirador Observation Point Saint Hubert Snow in Belgium
Mirador Observation Point at SAINT HUBERT - Pic Credit: Poorni Nagaraju - Beauty with Ease via Youtube. Used here with permission.

After Mont Rigi, Saint Hubert is the next place where most of the public headed to. Technically, this entire region with Saint-Hubert municipality in the centre, incl. Libramont, Libin, Nassogne, Tellin, Wellin and more come under le grande foret de Saint Hubert. 
At this instance, for snow-hiking, Saint-Hubert ideally means the Saint-Hubert aerodrome and the forest around it. There is a lot of parking space here. The first stop is ofcourse to see the aeroplanes covered in snow! The 2nd stop is Mirador Observation Point. This is a 5m tall tower meant to observe the wildlife in Saint Hubert Forest from atop, including deer, stags and rarely even boars & more! The tower has steps as well as a ramp. Right now, thanks to the snow, the ramp now serves as a snow-slide for kids! Another one of the places to see in Saint Hubert is the St.Hubert Monastery

SKIING IN BELGIUM FOR KIDS: The landscape is relatively plain and with short distances of downward slopes, this is one of the most preferred places to takes pre-school and primary school aged kids who can try their hand on skiing or sledging for the first time! 

MOCHAMPS: Close to Saint Hubert, just 8km away is Mochamps, which is the highest point in Tenneville municipality. The 6km long hiking trail called Promenade de Mochamps that goes through the forest reserve Fagne du Rouge Poncé, has an elevated wooden platform. This platform filled with snow makes the place so beautiful and super easy to walk as well. 

Where is Saint Hubert Aerodrome(on Google Maps): Aérodrome de Saint-Hubert
Where is Mirador Observation Tower(on Google Maps): Mirador
Where is St.Hubert Monastery (on Google Maps): Monastere d'hurtebise
Hiking trails in Saint Hubert: via SityTrail
Where is Mochamps (on Google Maps): Fagne du Rouge Poncé
Hiking trail of Mochamps (Promenade de Mochamps) - via RouteYou
How to reach Saint Hubert Aerodrome by train from Brussels: Its a bit too complicated... Direct train from Brussels to Rochefort and then change trains to reach Poix Saint Hubert. This is located about 10km away from Saint Hubert Aerodrome and there's no bus that connects the 2. The only option would be to hire a taxi for that short distance alone. TaxiLux operates in this area (Taxilux Ardennes contact number: +32 (0) 475 42 41 71). 
How to reach Mochamps by train from Brussels: The nearest railway station in Rochefort-Jamelle which is about 20km away from Mochamps. The best way to cover this short distance is again by taxi. TaxiLux operates in this area (Taxilux Ardennes contact number: +32 (0) 495 47 22 73). 

This was suggested to me by a local acquaintance and after seeing its map & photos I can't deny that Nisramont is the most picturesque location to see snow in Belgium. It the point where river Ourthe splits into 2 tributaries, so at the confluence of the 3 branches is the Nisramont lake & dam! A 15 km long trail goes up all the way to reach a viewpoint from where the panoramic view of the rivers is just too gorgeous. 

Where is Nisramont(on Google Maps): Lac de Nisramont
Walking trails in Nisramont: via SityTrail
Best hiking trail in Nisramont: via Wallonia Tourism. This is a 15km difficult hike that goes on either bank on the confluence of 2 tributaries of river Ourthe.
How to reach Nisramont by train from Brussels: Like Saint Hubert, Nisramont is also super complicated to reach by public transport. The nearest town Houffalize can be reached from Liege via TEC Bus Route 1011 or another nearby town Ramont can be reached from Marloie (Marche-en-Famenne) by TEC Bus Route 1. The total travel time incl. train from Brussels to Liege/Marloie and transfer to bus takes 2:30 to 3 hours.

Mont Rigi is the highest point in Belgium and its peak Signal de Botrange stands at a proud 694m height. This is a part of the Hautes-Fagnes National park (of which Eupen & Vennbahn cycling path are also a part). Being in such a height, Mont Rigi is the best place for skiing in Belgium, infact it is even possible for cross-country skiing at Mont Rigi.
Geographically, Mont Rigi is also pretty close to Spa, but not connected by public transport. The distance between Spa & Mont Rigi is only about 20km but the altitude difference in 450m!  
This is the best place to see snow in Belgium, esp. if you have a car. It is also possible to reach here by train from Brussels. In either cases, it is possible to reach very close to the destination both by car & bus. The best way to explain Mont Rigi & Signal de Botrange is...... the weekend after the first snow in Belgium, there was a severe traffic jam and zero parking space in Mont Rigi. It got so crowded that police had to control the influx of cars and blocked traffic from the next weekend onwards! All this inspite of the lockdown and traveling only with your bubble... 

Where is Mont Rigi (on Google Maps): Mont Rigi
Where is Signal de Botrange (on Google Maps): Signal de Botrange
Walking/Hiking trails in Mont Rigi: via SityTrail
How to reach Mont Rigi (Signal de Botrange) by train from Brussels: Direct train from Brussels to Eupen (1:45 hours travel) and then a bus (30 mins travel). Effectively takes 2:30 to 3:00 hours including transfer time.
Skiing in Mont Rigi, Belgium: via official site of Ost Belgien

Belgian Ardennes Snow hiking Libramont

Belgium Winter Weather

Snow in Belgium Mochamps Ardennes
MOCHAMPS in early winter vs now - Pic Credit: Remy Gauthier via Instagram. Used here with permission.

Belgian Ardennes Snow hiking Nisramont
Barrage de NISRAMONT - Pic Credit: Remy Gauthier via Instagram. Used here with permission.

Snow in Belgium Mont Rigi Signal de BotrangeSnow in Belgium Mont Rigi Signal de Botrange
MONT RIGI - Pic Credit: Mr & Mrs.Sandhu via Youtube. Used here with permission.

TIPS FOR WALKING IN SNOW-TRAIL & SNOW HIKING
  • Carry warm water in a good flask that would retain warmth in snow.
  • Carry food that tastes decent when its cold.
  • Wear proper clothing, esp. shoes.
  • If you intend to click photos with the phone, carry a fully-charged powerbank or have a separate camera.  

TIPS FOR SEEING SNOW & SNOW HIKING IN BELGIUM
  • Consider public transport, unless you're choosing a place that's not well-connected. Belgium is really well connected by public transport. Parking space is more problematic than taking public transport. 
  • Carry a few €0.50. Public toilets are usually pay-per-use with a coin-slot system.
  • Some areas are cordoned off during hunting season during winter all over Belgium. This happens only on weekends and the hatches are fenced and clearly marked. Keep an eye on that and don't wander off into these hatches. Hunting happens only on weekends, so if you go on weekdays, you need not bother about it!

TIPS FOR SNOW HIKING WITH KIDS
  • Choose a wise trail depending on your kid's ability (and yours too if your kids are very young; most likely, you might have to carry your kid once they get tired). Yes, there are stroller friendly routes, but they really aren't as picturesque as otherwise. Consider babywearing for babies - it's not only easier but your body warmth would keep your baby warm as well in the midst of snow!
  • Carry some easy to eat food for the kids - folded bread with peanut butter/nutella, cereal bars etc which can be handled easily while they're wearing their gloves and also if they get hungry in the middle of the forest with no place to sit!
  • Don't forget waterproof pants for kids. They put snow on themselves, they run, they fall, they lose balance in the fluffy snow, and if the pants get wet, they'll get cold and start shivering. Jacket/Coat would cover the top half, so don't forget waterproof pants.
  • Consider buying preloved (2nd hand) snow-gear for kids unless you're going on a long skiing holiday; otherwise the money spent is really not worth it! I bought Atyudarini's ski gloves & snow boots on Facebook Marketplace. The gloves were used by the first owner a few times and the shoes were never used! The thing is, kids, grow fast and clothing or shoes or gloves cannot be used for the next season. Atyudarini would use them probably 4-5 times before the end of February and by next winter, this size will not fit her already!

IS IT POSSIBLE TO TAKE A STROLLER IN THE SNOW?
If you need to take the stroller in the snow, the best idea is to find a Ravel route closest to your destination. Ravel is the path dedicated to walking, cycling, horse riding and wheelchair users, all over Wallonia. Here's an interactive map of Ravel paths all over Wallonia. Zoom in and click on a path to get more information on that. Do remember that this is not as picturesque as the forest routes with trees covered with snow on either side!

DOES IT SNOW IN BRUSSELS?
On a different note, why did I mention this is Atyudarini's 'almost' first snow, earlier? Well, here's her in ankle deep snow in Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels, 2 years ago!!! Belgium winter weather is somewhat similar to London weather. Its always cold and winter is wet & grey. Brussels snow happens, but only so much that it forms a thin layer. Normally, snowfall in Brussels is very very mild that it would melt away in a couple of hours... This particular snow day, 2 years ago was an exception!!! This happened in February 2019 after an unusually warm November 2018 and the entire snow of the season came down on one night!!! Snow in Brussels 2018-19 winter, is kind of a big deal! Atyudarini was way too young and doesn't really remember this. So for practical purposes, this year, at Libramont, was her 'almost' first snow!!!

Brussels snow Belgium Weather

Belgian Ardennes Snow hiking Libramont

Belgium Winter Weather Brussels Snow Pinterest Belgium Winter Weather Brussels Snow Pinterest

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

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience in this article with breathtaking pictures and for your great tips :)

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  2. I used to go to Belgium every winter and also spent one winter in Brugge and have never seen it snow! Never, not once in ten years. I seen more rain and wind than snow and sunshine. Thats Belgium! More chance of the snow towards the Ardennes than the west coast mind you. :D I think I have been unlucky so after reading this and seeing your photos, you are truly blessed to see this in Belgium. One day, who knows...I might get to see it snow in Belgium. :)

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  3. Belgium looks like a great place to see snow because it isn't too little and it isn't too much! Just enough to make the landscapes beautiful. Snow hiking is something I was recently introduced to, and as long as there is no ice I think those who are strong enough to brave the weather can be rewarded with white caps and beautiful scenery.

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  4. Your little one is so cute and brave to hike through the snow. This reminds me of the snow in Kashmir. I saw it like this for the first time in January 2019. It was so much fun being bathed in snowflakes which are like cotton balls. If I ever get a chance to see this part of Belgium, then the Celtic trail is on my list and the Le Sentier des Nutons Enchanted Park.

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  5. Snow is always fun, especially when you don't see it every year. Both for children and adults. I can imagine how your daughter stopped and wanted to do things with snow once you got out of the train. I like the sound of the trail with gnomes. And also at the Mirador Observation Point where kids can sled thru the ramp. It will be hard for parents to tell the kids it's time for them to leave.

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  6. I love this! When you live in areas that don't have months of winter with snow, it's so fun take your kids out for that short time that it is there. I agree with the proper snow gear especially for kids. They need to be waterproof and keep them warm. Especially those little toes and fingers. I often dress some wool socks or mittens under the shoes or actual snow mittens.

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  7. Even though I am not a huge fan of snow, there is something still very magical about it. The white fairy land and the trees that get covered with snow is something that is totally worth visiting. I have been to Belgium only once and I did not have too many days to see the places. I will try to visit it the next time during winters so I can stay at one of these pretty places.

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  8. Wow! I´m loving the winter landscapes! Here in Mexico it never snows, would love to be there during those months, the train rides sound so dreamy to look throgh, and as a hiking lover I have to try the snow hiking one day, it would be a new challenge!

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  9. With one of us being Belgian, we're always in Belgium every winter to visit but I (the non-Belgian) have personally never seen it snow over there. It's great to know there are spots like this where you could have a chance to see some beautiful, winter wonderlands. We'll definitely be adding these places for a little trip next winter - Mont Rigi is def our top choice out of all of them!

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