Things to do around Euro Space Center (Wallonia - Belgium)

This article first appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali
 
I went on a 2-days trip to Euro Space Centre. So, here are the unique places to visit and unique things to do in Wallonia, in this region, around Euro Space Center. Since this is not very easily accessible by public transport (though not impossible, it is not recommended if you travel with small children) I took a car to visit. Since I was had a car, I wanted to squeeze in all the places in the region that are difficult to reach by public transport. 

SITES TO SEE & THINGS TO DO AROUND EURO SPACE CENTER

Ecurie des Iles Unusual things to do in Wallonia
Pic Credit: Sophie Dekkers of Wallonia Tourism

Ecurie des Iles Unusual things to do in Wallonia


Ecurie des Iles Unusual things to do in Wallonia

Ecurie des Iles Unusual things to do in Wallonia

Ecurie des Iles Unusual things to do in Wallonia
Pic Credit: Sophie Dekkers of Wallonia Tourism

LES ECURIE DES ILES, HATRIVAL
Hatrival is one of the most fascinating places in Wallonia and one of the top places to visit in Wallonia, especially if you have an outdoorsy kid! I kid you not! Atyudarini might most probably mention Hatrival as her favourite place on earth! 
The local language in this region is French and it literally means horse stable. Ecurie des Iles literally means 'Islands Horse Stable'; 'Islands' being the name of the Horse Stable! While it is a proper horse riding training centre which conducts regular and holiday courses on horse riding, for tourists and visitors it has a very interesting horse cart experience which is why I visited the place.
Depending upon the number of people, the cart is bigger or smaller. The whole experience lasts for about 2 hours which includes the initial petting of horses, setting up the cart, the horse-cart ride as well as a snack board. The appetizer board is served on the horse-cart itself if there are more people and the cart is big enough to hold the food tray. If not, the snack board is served after the ride. Being a vegetarian, my snack board consisted of a variety of cheese, slices of bread, cakes, fruits, veggie salad etc. I imagine, otherwise, it would be more like a charcuterie board.
The experience begins with a tour of the horse stable and if the horses for up for it, you could pet them. The horse cart ride first goes into the village of Hatrival and then heads into the forest of Saint Hubert. First of all, here's a tip while going on this horse-cart ride - Wear extra layers of clothing. Do not underestimate the speed at which the horse goes. Moreover, the carriage is open (though there's a tent-like cover if it rains), so the wind really blows on your face. If the weather is cool, it can get pretty cold during the ride. 
The ride inside the Forest of Saint Hubert was magical. It was late autumn - early winter when we went and the ground wasn't visible inside the forest. Everything was covered with leaves and was in a beautiful brown color. There was not one soul around. It was just us and the horse cart. It was peaceful, magical and thrilling, all at the same time.

Where is Ecurie des Iles (on Google Maps)? Ecurie des Iles
How to reach Hatrival? The best way to reach there is by car. It is just 4km from Saint Hubert and 13km from Euro Space Centre, so it can be combined with any of these trips.
How to reach Ecurie des Iles by public transport: LeTEC Bus route 162B that connects Libramont and Saint Hubert stops at Hatrival Ecole. Ecurie des Iles is located 1km from the Hatrival Ecole bus stop. The journey time is about 20 minutes. While the frequency is pretty good on weekdays, there are only 6 buses per day on weekends. It is easy to reach Libramont by train from Brussels. So visiting Ecurie des Iles is a day trip by itself if you depend entirely on public transport. If you stay overnight at Libramont, visiting Ecurie des Iles can be a half-day trip.
Ecurie Des Iles timings: Open only by appointment. Contact Ms.Lisby Bastin at info@ecuriedesiles.be or 0032(0)496 26 25 56 to fix an appointment.
Ecurie Des Iles tickets: €20 per hour per person for a horseback/horsecart ride only and €35 inclusive of the appetizer board. 

Sentier des Nutons Libin Wallonia with kids

Sentier des Nutons Libin Wallonia with kids

Sentier des Nutons Libin Wallonia with kids

Sentier des Nutons Libin Wallonia with kids
Pic Credit: Sophie Dekkers of Wallonia Tourism

Sentier des Nutons Libin Wallonia with kids
Pic Credit: Sophie Dekkers of Wallonia Tourism

LE SENTIERS DES NUTONS - ENCHANTED PARK OF KAOLIN
After the amazing horse cart riding experience at Hatrival, our next stop was Libin. My idea was, of course, to try to fit in all the places that I cannot reach easily by public transport. Sentier des Nutons in Libin has been on my wishlist for quite some time and in fact, I had already recommended it in my article on Snow in Belgium
Les Sentiers des Nutons is a very short 1.8km trail dedicated to the mythological creatures of Ardennes - the Nutons. So what are Nutons? Nutons are elves like little, good dwarfs in the legends & folklores of the Ardennes region. It is believed that they live in caves & help people in exchange for food. 
As soon as we entered, Atyudarini spotted the 'book' and ran to it. Well, the book is a sculpture and is the official 'doorway' to enter the 'Enchanted Park of Kaolin'. Enchanted Park it is, which is why perhaps it started snowing at that very moment! Soon we came across a couple of Nuton cutouts and then a placard type Nutons beside a mushroom that says Nutons are friends of nature. Next is another 'book' that's flat on the ground with a Nuton sleeping in it, hugging a fox! An absolutely adorable sculpture. Atyudarini was so much in joy to see it. Further ahead are 2 little waterbodies in this area. Here's another little Nuton sculpture sitting beside the water and contemplating. Ahead in the trail is a tiny tunnel made of wooden logs where kids can walk through (the open path beside it for adults). There are different kinds of mushrooms grown all over these logs making it all the more interesting for kiddos. Then the passage takes a turn and here's an absolutely adorable Nuton fixing a shoe! 
The path finally reaches the starting point and here's a pavilion and a playground. The pavilion is perfect for a picnic lunch and then the parcours activities here are the perfect way to wrap up the visit. 

Where is Le Sentier des Nutons (on Google Maps)? Sentier des Nutons - Parc du Kaolin
How to reach Libin - Le Sentier des Nutons? The best way to reach there is by car. It is just 4km from Euro Space Centre and 10km from Ecurie des Iles. Being a very small area and pretty much in the middle of nowhere, there is no car parking here. You have to park your car on the side of the road. 
Visit Le Sentier des Nutons along with Euro Space Centre by public transport: Visit Euro Space Center. Either walk to Sentier des Nutons and get the last bus to Libramont/Poix Saint Hubert (OR) take the afternoon bus towards Libramont (15:04 on weekdays of school vacation; 13:04 on weekends) and get off at Libin La Kaoline and explore the trail. After the visit, head to the nearest railway station at Poix Saint Hubert. There is 1 bus (LeTEC bus route 806) at 17:50 on weekdays only to go to Poix Saint Hubert railway station. If you miss it or if you're there on a Saturday, be prepared to walk 5km to reach Poix Saint Hubert railway station from where trains are available to Marloie/Libramont and then to Brussels.
Le Sentier des Nutons Map: Le Sentier des Nutons Map
Le Sentier des Nutons working hours: 24x7
Le Sentier des Nutons tickets: Free

Best sheep cheese in Belgium Bergerie d'Acremont

Best sheep cheese in Belgium Bergerie d'Acremont

Best sheep cheese in Belgium Bergerie d'Acremont

Best sheep cheese in Belgium Bergerie d'Acremont

ACREMONT SHEEP FARM (BERGERIE D'ACREMONT)
Remember I saw cheese storage at Chateau de Bouillon? Well, that belongs to Bergerie d'Acremont, close to Beatrix. On this trip, I also managed to visit Bergerie d'Acremont (Acremont Sheep Farm).  Bergerie d'Acremont is run by Peter and Barbara De Cock-Vissenaekens and I met Barbara during my visit. This is one of the unique sheep farms in Belgium. Why? This is one of the farms where only local Belgian sheep are reared. The farm started in 1999 with just 20 sheep and today there are about 250 sheep here. The sheep are fed with fresh grass, alfalfa, clover etc and in winter, they're fed hay that's soy-free, corn-free and silage-free. Apart from these, they also have an orchard of about 50 fodder trees and 50 fruit trees etc. The end result - Bergerie d'Acremont produces some of the best sheep cheese in Belgium
Since it was freezing and had just begun to snow when we reached here, the sheep were all inside. After a quick tour of the farm (including petting & feeding the sheep), we headed to the restaurant. From here it is possible to see the storage area of cheese though entering it isn't allowed for hygiene reasons. The view of the greenery from here the restaurant is majestic. All dairy products are available here to eat & buy incl. yoghurt, ice cream, cheese etc. While Atyudarini had a flavoured yoghurt, I had a taster plate of the various varieties of cheese produced here including Oeillet du Chateau which is aged in Chateau de Bouillon.

Where is La Bergerie d'Acremont (on Google Maps)La Bergerie D'Acremont
How to reach Bergerie d'Acremont? The best way to reach here is definitely by car.
Visit Bergerie d'Acremont by public transport: The only option is to hire a bike at Libramont. La Bergerie d'Acremont is located about 15km from Libramont Gare
Bergerie d'Acremont timings: Saturday 2-5pm; Thursday 5-7pm. Also Tue & Wed 3-5pm only during school vacation.
Bergerie d'Acremont tickets: Free. Since entry is free, it is only right to make a small purchase at the farm shop.

Redu village of books Wallonia

Redu village of books Wallonia

Redu village of books Wallonia

Things to do in Redu Wallonia
Pic Credit: Sophie Dekkers of Wallonia Tourism

Redu village of books Wallonia

REDU VILLAGE OF THE BOOKS
One of the most unusual, amusing villages of Wallonia is Redu. While typical to any Walloon village, there's a beautiful church here in the area of just 5-6 streets with a population of just 400. But, unusual than any other village is, there are about 15 book shops in this tiny village! Of the 15, there are 2 that specialize in children's books and 2 that specialize in English books (I'm talking about a small village in the middle of nowhere in Wallonia, a French region!)
I did raid the kids' books stores more than the English books stores because the activity books there were just too good and I got each for just €2! Much recently, when we were on a week-long quarantine, these books proved invaluable!!!

MUDIA MUSEUM, REDU
When I entered Mudia Museum in Redu, I was totally taken aback. It is a fine arts museum with paintings of some major artists as well. It was definitely not what I'd have ever expected in a little village like Redu. There are more than 300 works of art of famous artists including Picasso, Brueghel, Herge, Magritte etc! 
True to its concept, this is the most 'fun' fine art museum that I've ever been to. How come? There are various digital displays that let you 'interact' with the art! For eg., there's a digital tablet in the pointillism area that lets you try pointillism yourself! The one that fascinated me the most is the digital version of  'Triptych of the Temptation of St. Anthony' by painter Hieronymus Bosch (early 16th C CE). It is quite a symbolical, eventful, diabolical, theatrical piece of art that describes the mental torments of St.Antony, which makes it interactive by default, but here at Mudia Museum, it literally comes to life! When you tap various aspects of the art on the touch screen, they get animated making it more 'theatrical'! Mind-blowing! I had no clue historic fine art museums could get this intersting. No doubt, this is the most interactive fine art museum I've been to!
The art chronology continues through Art Deco, Art Nouveau till Pop Art and there comes Marilyn Monroe. There's the iconic sculpture of Marilyn Monroe standing over the subway grating, as in The 7 year itch movie. But unusually her skirt isn't flying in the sculpture. But as I stepped towards the display, thanks to motion sensors, the skirt starts flying! I was again mind-blown!!! 

Where is Redu (on Google Maps)Redu Village Du Livre
Where is Mudia Museum in Redu (on Google Maps)Mudia, l'art autrement
How to reach Redu? 23km from Libramont and 25km from Rochefort Jamelle
How to reach Redu by public transport? Redu is the last stop of LeTEC Bus Route 61 from Libramont. The frequency of this bus is pretty less, so check its schedule before you plan your trip. Refer to my article on Euro Space Center for detailed information.
When is the best time to visit Redu? Easter weekend is when the big fest happens here that includes theatre performances, night story reading and more! Check their website's Agenda for upcoming days.
Mudia Museum Redu timings: Wed-Fri: 10:00AM to 5:00PM (till 6:00PM on weekends & holidays)
Mudia Museum Redu tickets: €15

Best fine art museums in Europe Mudia Redu

Best fine art museums in Europe Mudia Redu

Best fine art museums in Europe Mudia Redu

WHERE TO STAY NEAR EURO SPACE CENTER
Libin municipality is a relatively large area and where to stay in Libin would depend on the number of days your itinerary is and whether or not you have a car. If you depend on public transport, one option is, of course, to stay in Libramont and visit all these places on multiple day trips from Libramont. Overnight stay at Euro Space Center or Redu itself might be necessary if you have Euro Space Center on your itinerary.
Redu Hotels: 
Redu is an absolutely tiny village, but given its unique attraction, there are 2 major hotels here. Le Fournil and Le Cerf d'Hubert. However when I visited and I stayed at La Barrière de Transinne, in the town of Transinne just prior to Redu and the midpoint between Redu & Euro Space Center. 

LA BARRIÈRE DE TRANSINNE HOTEL REVIEW
La Barrière de Transinne was a simple, comfortable 3-star hotel with just 28 rooms. I stayed in a ground floor room which gave me access to the backyard and since it snowed well the night we stayed, we had such an abundance of fun early in the morning, making snowballs & throwing them at each other. In fact all the snow games began even before we had our breakfast. The room was absolutely comfortable and warm when it was snowing all night. The breakfast was nice, but as usual, true to most European hotels, vegetarians would have to fill up on bread. But if you eat meat & egg, the breakfast buffet was a delicious spread made of local produce.

Where is La Barrière de Transinne hotel (on Google Maps): Hôtel Restaurant La Barrière de Transinne
La Barrière de Transinne hotel phone no: +32 6165 5037
La Barrière de Transinne room rates: Room rates begin at €110 for double occupancy in a standard room on weekdays. Small, well-trained dogs are allowed at an extra payment. The rooms with the backyard are the ground floor rooms of the Chalet building (Superior rooms). You could request the ground floor rooms while booking.

WHERE TO EAT IN REDU?
Redu Restaurants: Two of the best restaurants in Redu are Le Fournil and Au Clocher. Both of them serve dishes made of local products. They both have a few vegetarian dishes on their menu which can be made vegan upon request. Au Clocher even has a nice, real fireplace and we were lucky to get a table just beside the fireplace!

WHERE TO EAT IN HATRIVAL?
Hatrival Restaurants: Hatrival being a tiny little village, there are absolutely no restaurants here. There are a few holiday homes here and they serve homemade, authentic Walloon food made of local products. As a part of the experience at Ecurie des Iles, we were served an appetizer board with enough cheese that was as good as a lunch!

La barrière de transinne hotel review

La barrière de transinne hotel review

La barrière de transinne hotel review

La barrière de transinne hotel review

La barrière de transinne hotel review

LIBIN & HATRIVAL ITINERARIES
ITINERARIES BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
1-day itineraries by public transport (train till Libramont & then LeTEC bus)
Option 1 - A day at EuroSpace Centre (maybe with Sentier des Nutons if time permits)
Option 2 - A day at Ecurie des Iles
Option 3 - A day at Redu
Option 4 - A day at La Bergerie d'Acremont

2-days itineraries by public transport (overnight stay at Libramont)
Option 1:
Day 1 - Libramont and La Bergerie d'Acremont
Day 2 - Ecurie des Iles (OR) Redu
Option 2:
Day 1 - Libramont and La Bergerie d'Acremont
Day 2 - Euro Space Center

3 or 4-days itinerary by public transport
Day 1 - Redu - Overnight stay at Redu
Day 2 - Euro Space Center (maybe walk to Sentier des Nutons but get the 15:04 bus to Libramont) - Overnight stay at Libramont
Day 3 - Ecurie des Iles (OR) La Bergerie d'Acremont - Overnight stay at Libramont
Day 4 - Libramont

Redu Wallonia restaurants and hotels
Warm goat cheese salad with gratin & acacia honey at Au Clocher, Redu

Unique things to do in Wallonia

Unique things to do in Wallonia

ITINERARIES BY CAR
1-day itineraries by car
Option 1 - Euro Space Centre & Redu
Option 2 - Euro Space Centre, Sentier des Nutons & La Bergerie d'Acremont
Option 3 - Saint Hubert & Ecurie des Iles

My 2-days itinerary by car (this is what I went on)
Day 1 - Ecurie des Iles, Sentier des Nutons & La Bergerie d'Acremont (overnight stay at Redu)
Day 2 - Redu & Euro Space Centre

3-days itinerary by car 
Day 1 - Saint Hubert & Ecurie des Iles (overnight stay at Saint Hubert or Redu)
Day 2 - Sentier des Nutons & Euro Space Centre (overnight stay at Redu)
Day 3 -  Redu & La Bergerie d'Acremont

HIKING IN LIBIN, REDU & TRANSINNE
If you're much into hiking there's one fantastic 62km hiking route that connects most of these places. It touches Paliseul; Bergerie d'Acremont is about 7.5km from Paliseul, so the route can be extended a bit to include all of these places. If you can walk about 15km a day this can be a nice 5-day itinerary with overnight stays at Libin, Maissin, Redu, Our and Palisseul.

Bergerie d'Acremont Pinterest Hotel Le Barriere de Transinne Pinterest

Ecurie des Iles unique things to do in WalloniaMudia museum Redu Pinterest

Sentier des Nutons Libin Pinterest Things to do near Euro Space Center

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. I wish I knew all about these beautiful places last summer, when I road tripped around Europe. I remember passing by the Euro Space Centre and admiring the space ship in front from the road. I did base myself in Namur though. The Sentier des Nutons looks so cute, I'd love to walk it. Same with visiting the Bergerie d'Acremont and see how they make the cheese.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The more I read about your stories on Belgium I more I am inclined to visit again. We only did the touristy things the last time. The Euro Space Centre would be fascinating place to visit. Love smaller places like Hatrival with abundant nature to give company. Thanks for this wonderful informative post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You made a good decision to visit Wallonia with your daughter. I think every kids will entertained and charmed by horses. As an adult I will have fun at the Enchanted Park of Kaolin, too, looking for Nutons. And, it is unbelievable to see number of bookstores in a town of 400!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I didn't think there were many interesting places to see around the Euro Space Center, Wallonia. I like the idea of a horse-drawn carriage trip. It's great to know that the trip includes the initial petting of horses, setting up the cart, the horse-cart ride, and snacks —perfect idea for a trip, especially for families. I haven't heard about Nutons before. I love the legends so I would like to visit Enchanted Park. I would also like to try cheeses from local farms. It's such a great article with lots of tips on preparing for the trip.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I didn't know there was a space centre in Belgium, this would be fantastic for my neice. Useful to know it gets cold on the face during the horse ride, I'll make sure to remember a scarf or gaitor for us both when we head here. Great to know that public transport can get you here, so your not needing a taxi.

    ReplyDelete
  6. There are so many exciting activities to indulge in and around the Euro space center. Wallonia is a quaint village and it was nice to see you enjoying horse cart riding in Hatrival and the Nutons at the Enchanted park. This is a wonderland for both kids and adults with the cute book sculptures.The varieties of cheese at La bergerie d'acremont look tempting and the redu village of books is just fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  7. There are so many activities to explore in and around the Euro space center. It was nice to see you enjoying horse cart riding with your kid at Hatrival. And the Enchanting park or les sentier de Nutons is a wonderland for both kids and adults with those cute book sculptures with Nutons or elves.The varieties of cheese at La bergerie d'acremont look tempting and the Redu village of books is just fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Horse ride would be the fanciest way to tour! Your outdoorsy kid looks so happy exploring Wallonia! Is that an open library/book exchange? I love this place now just by looking at your photos!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow! This is indeed fascinating. I think the kids would enjoy that tour in the horse stable.


    I did not realize there is so much to see and do. I am particularly interested in visiting the Mudia Museum. Thank you for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I didn't know there is a Euro space center and besides, there are so many things to do. The Enchanting park or les sentier de Nutons is somewhere I would like to spend the most time at. Thank you for reviewing so many spots around.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting...! Why not leave a comment.? And tell your friends..!!!
By commenting you accept to our GDPR Policy.