A weekend at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure (Eau d'Heure Lakes) - Wallonia, Belgium

This article first appeared on My Travelogue by Bhushavali

WHAT DOES LES LACS DE L'EAU D'HEURE MEAN?
Literally, Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure means Lake of the water of the hour. When I first heard of it, I thought it was something like 'need of the hour' meaning, and I was wondering if the lake was built to prevent drought or during a drought or something like that. Lost in translation! Well, it actually means, the Lake of 1 hour's water, meaning, the lake that would be filled if it rained for 1 hour and then the valley would be flooded (not now, in the middle ages). Ah well!!!!

Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure travel guide


Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure travel guide

Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure travel guide

Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure travel guide

Technically, this isn't one lake but a group of 5 lakes - Ry Jaune, Feronval, Flameprise, Plate Taille, and Eau d'Heure; a couple of channels, and the Soumoy River that feed them! Today the whole region is called together 'Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure', including the wooded areas & meadows around, it covers an area of 1800 hectares. There are tons of things to do and places to visit around Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure. Here's my weekend itinerary which was a perfect combination of relaxation & adventure. It is definitely one of the top weekend destinations from Brussels for solo travel, couples as well as families with young or older kids.

2 DAYS ITINERARY IN LACS DE L'EAU D'HEURE
TOP THINGS TO DO AT LACS DE L'EAU D'HEURE

DAY 1
JUST RELAX
Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure is kinda the place where you just want to sit down and relax beside the lake. It has the longest beach in Belgium! Well, though it is not the 'sea', with all its twisted, winding border, the actual length of the bank of the lakes is longer than the seashore! So, on a warm day, there are a lot of people here, but there's enough place for everyone! Pack your picnic and find a spot to just stretch your legs & relax. My suggestion - walk/bike a bit away from the parking/tourism office, at least a couple kilometers. As you get a bit farther the crowd thins and you can find such amazing, pristine, beautiful spots in total solitude even when the main area is super crowded, even on a sunny weekend day! 

Crocodile Rouge Amphibus at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

Crocodile Rouge Amphibus at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

Crocodile Rouge Amphibus at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

Biggest Dam in Belgium - Barrage de Plate Taille

LE CROCODILE ROUGE (RED CROCODILE) AMPHIBUS - TOP LAC DE L'EAU D'HEURE ACTIVITIES
After relaxing for some time at the banks of the lake, I headed to the tourism office of Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure which is the starting point of a very very unique ride - The Red Crocodile (Le Crocodile Rouge) Amphibus. What is Le Crocodile Rouge? Well, what does a crocodile do? It walks on land and floats on water as well. Similarly, an 'Amphibus' runs on land like a regular bus and goes on water like a boat! Absolute awesomeness. The starting point for the bus and the ticket office is at the Tourism office of Lacs de l'Eau de Heure. Soon the bus started and reached close to Golden Lakes Village where it turned and went 'into' the lakes and 'on' the water!!! I was super duper scared at the very possibility of something going wrong, but nothing did! From being at a height from the ground, like a window of a regular bus, to being half-sunk in water and being almost at the level of the water surface, it was quite a feeling that's inexplicable in words!!! The 'boating' then continued for about 45 minutes. The view is nice and it gets relaxing after a bit. There was also a fellow tourist with a dog! The dog had fun too with its head outside the window! I even spotted someone trying their hand at ziplining over the lake (more info below!).

Le Crocodile Rouge Amphibus tickets: €21 (for adults); €19 (under 12yrs of age)
Buy Le Crocodile Rouge Amphibus tickets online: via Parc du Rouge Crocodile official website
Where is Le Crocodile Rouge Amphibious ticket office (on Google Maps)? Parc du Crocodile Rouge
Le Crocodile Rouge Amphibus timings: Departures once every hour from 11:00AM to 05:00PM
Le Crocodile Rouge Amphibus duration: The entire activity takes about 1 hour. 

Biggest Dam in Belgium - Barrage de Plate Taille

Biggest Dam in Belgium - Barrage de Plate Taille

Biggest Dam in Belgium - Barrage de Plate Taille

Biggest Dam in Belgium - Barrage de Plate Taille

BARRAGE DE PLATE TAILLE (DAM) & SKYWALK - THE LARGEST DAM IN BELGIUM 
After getting back on the ground, the Amphibious went back to the Tourism office which is also the starting point of the guided tour of the Barrage de Plate Taille Dam. The dam can be accessed only by guided tour; so it is totally worth it even if you don't understand French/Dutch (they give an info-paper in English). 
Barrage de Plate Taille Dam is Belgium's biggest dam with 790m in length and 70m in height (with 20m of foundation)! At the beginning of the tour, the tour guide gives an explanation of the dams & their history with the help of models. The tour actually began through the Laser Game area and then went through an underground tunnel that's about 50m deep! It is definitely a bit scary to know you're there under a very heavy dam and with so much water!!! There are stalactites in the tunnel here. Unlike caves, where they grow so slow as 1cm for 100 years, here it is much much faster, like 3-5cms per year, which is why this requires much frequent maintenance to prevent it from breaking down!!! 
Once out of the tunnel, there's this majestic, monumental tower - Belgium's biggest dam - Barrage de Plate Taille. The next step is, of course, to take the elevator to go atop the tower. As soon as we reached atop, our first stop was to see the 4 big turbopumps on one side, and on the other side the majestic view of Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure. At the end of the corridor is that triangular skywalk section that you can see from afar. It was splendid. I did jump on the glass flooring of the skywalk, contributing much to the shock of fellow people on the tour. From there you walk across the street over a bridge and get out of the bridge onto the streets where the tour finishes. 

Guided tour of Barrage de Plate Taille Dam tickets: €10.50 (for adults); €9.50 (under 12yrs of age)
Buy Barrage de Plate Taille Dam tickets online: via Parc du Rouge Crocodile official website
Where is Barrage de Plate Taille Dam tour ticket office (on Google Maps)? Parc du Crocodile Rouge
Guided tour of Barrage de Plate Taille Dam timings: Departures at 10:30PM, 12:30PM, 2:30PM, 4:30PM
Guided tour of Barrage de Plate Taille Dam duration: The entire activity takes about 1.5 hour. 

Biking Routes RAVeL at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

Biking Routes RAVeL at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

Biking Routes RAVeL at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

BIKING/HIKING AROUND LES LACS DE L'EAU D'HEURE - TOP LAC DE L'EAU D'HEURE ACTIVITIES
After the tour got over by about 4:00PM, it was time for me to go around the lake on my bike! There are 2 major trails around the lakes - a 15km trail around Lac de la Plate Taille which is relatively flat, and a 20km trail around Lac de l'Eau d'Heure which has a bit of elevation.  These 2 are in the RAVeL network. Apart from these 2, there are quite a few hiking routes from just 2.8km to 24km! 
I biked through the 15km RAVeL route slowly, as the sun was setting, enjoying the tranquility of the place. As I got away from the main area, it was more and more serene. Inspite of the crowd in the main area, beyond about 5km away, there were so many spots, in total solitude, with the water crashing on the banks, it was just perfect. May it be alone or as a couple, this is one of the best places to visit in Wallonia to relax for a day or two. 

RAVeL paths around Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure: via RAVeL interactive map
Bike rental at Rouge Crocodile Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure: via Parc du Rouge Crocodile official website (possible for 2 hours, 4 hours or full day)
City Bike rental prices at Rouge Crocodile Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure: €11.00 & €16.00 for half & full day respectively
E-bike rental prices at Rouge Crocodile Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure: €18.50 & €25.00 for half & full day respectively

Bikes can also be rented at Natura Parc - more info on Natura Parc's official website

Night view of La Brasserie des Lacs

Lighthouse at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

Sunrise at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

Sunrise at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

DAY 2
SUNRISE AT LES LACS DE L'EAU D'HEURE
Golden Lakes Village Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure not just because of the comfort & other amenities, but more importantly for the view. The lake view rooms of the hotel have the best view of Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure from their balcony and terraces. I woke up early, just to catch the sunrise from my terrace. A portion of the greenery in front of the hotel, on the banks of the lake, is a property of the hotel. Soon after breakfast, I headed there, to just sit down and see the morning water slowly splashing against the banks. The birds were softly quacking, and 2 swans came to check me out! It was just so peaceful.

ZIPLINING AT NATURA PARC IN LES LACS DE L'EAU D'HEURE - TOP LAC DE L'EAU D'HEURE ACTIVITIES
After the total peace of sitting on the lakeside, it was time for some adrenaline rush, and I headed to Nature Parc. This is a typical tree climbing & ziplining series of tree-top, adventure activities. Unlike the similar other places I've been to (like Durbuy Adventure or Horsley Hills), here, the staff isn't present atop each tree! So, it was surprising and a teeny-weeny bit scary at first. But then, there was at least 1 staff standing under a group of tree-top activities and were just a call away. 

Natura Parc Tree Top Adventure Activities at Lac de l'Eau d'Heure

Natura Parc Tree Top Adventure Activities at Lac de l'Eau d'Heure

Natura Parc Ziplining. Things to do at Lac de l'Eau d'Heure

Natura Parc Ziplining. Things to do at Lac de l'Eau d'Heure

It began with an instructor who explains all the activities. Then there's a hands-on practice of how to operate the ropes & locks. Then, you're on your own! There are 7 courses of tree-top activities, of which the first one is for kids from 3 years of age onwards and 2nd is for kids from 7 years onwards. The first one for adults is the Marmot route and 2nd is the Squirrel route. While everyone began with the Marmot route, I was asked if I was ok with heights, and when I said yes, I was told I could go to the Squirrel route directly. It began with some ladder climbing and continued with a couple of ziplines, a couple of rope walking & plank walking, etc. The next is the Wood Pecker route which is a bit longer and has a bit more difficult tasks. The most awesome course is the Gorilla Route which has its course at 10+m above the ground, and has some crazy tasks like a Spiderman Jump where you jump off a platform and catch a vertical net and it finishes with the Tarzan Jump where you jump off of a platform that's 20m above the ground!!! Absolute adrenaline rush!!!
Apart from these 7 tree-top courses, there's this back-to-back series of zip lines including the longest one that goes across a part of Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure! After doing a couple of these courses, it was already noon and I got my veggie burger at the little kiosk there, found myself a nice spot on the banks of the lake, and had my quick lunch. 

Age limit for Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure Natura Parc3 & 7yrs for first 2 kids routes; 11yrs onwards for the rest 
Height limit for Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure Natura Parcminimum 160cm WITH arms raised for 3rd route onwards
Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure Natura Parc tickets: €32 (for adults); €16 & €27 (for children)
Buy Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure Natura Parc tickets online: via official website of Nature Parc
Where is Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure Natura Parc (on Google Maps)? Natura Parc
Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure Natura Parc timings: Varied timings! During the summer holidays (July & Aug) it is open every day from 10:00AM to 7:00PM (9:00AM on weekends). It is closed in winter. At all other times, it is open only during weekends & Wednesday afternoons. 

Mountain E-Scooter Trottinettes Electriques tout terrain Nature Parc Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

Mountain E-Scooter Trottinettes Electriques tout terrain Nature Parc Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

Rouge Crocodile Laser Game Lac de l'Eau d'Heure

Jet Skiing. Adventure activities at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

E-SCOOTER RIDE AT LES LACS DE L'EAU D'HEURE
After trying my hand at some tree-top adventures & ziplines, I headed to the next of the unusual things to do in Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure - All Terrain Electric Scooter. When I looked at those first, I got confused. I've been used to the small e-scooter, that looks like a kick-scooter in the cities, but this was unusual. This looks like a proper mountain bike with thick, all-terrain tires, but without a seat! The electric part of it? Well, it has a huge battery in order to support it which is attached to the bike with the help of the detachable wire....... while you wear the battery like a backpack! The handlebar has a GPS gadget. It was a very unusual experience riding it!!!! Truly an all-terrain vehicle. I went into the wooded areas with ease. 
Depending on the time you have you can either just explore the wooded areas there or go on a long ride around the lakes. Since I had already gone around the lakes by bike, I just stuck to the wooded areas here with the mountain e-scooter.

Age limit for Natura Parc All-terrain E-Scooter: minimum 8yrs of age
Height limit for Natura Parc All-terrain E-Scooter: minimum 120cm (4ft)
Weight limit for Natura Parc All-terrain E-Scooter: maximum 110kg
Natura Parc All-terrain E-Scooter Bike Parc tickets: Begins at €35 
Natura Parc All-terrain E-Scooter Bike Parc security depositapart from the ticket prices, a separate security deposit of €100 per scooter is to be made.
Buy Natura Parc All-terrain E-Scooter tickets online: via the official website of Nature Parc
Where is Natura Parc All-terrain E-Scooter Bike Parc (on Google Maps)? Natura Parc
Natura Parc All-terrain E-Scooter Bike Parc timings: 10:00AM to 4:00PM weekends only

OTHER THINGS TO DO AT LES LACS DE L'EAU D'HEURE
There are quite a few awesome, adrenaline-pumping, adventure activities to do in Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure - jet skiing, water skiing (like jet-ski but without a boat, and guided by a cable), wakeboarding, wakeskating, and kneeboarding. A bit further away from here is also the skydiving at Saint-Ghislain. I didn't try any of these in my 2 days at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure, so I have no review of these here.

LES LACS DE L'EAU D'HEURE HOTELS

There are quite a few charming B&Bs in and around Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure. There are 2 major hotels in Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure - Best Western Plus Golden Lakes Hotel and Landal Village de l'Eau d'Heure. I stayed at Best Western Plus Golden Lakes Hotel, so here's the review of the same.

Review of Best Western Plus Golden Lakes Hotel

Review of Best Western Plus Golden Lakes Hotel

Review of Best Western Plus Golden Lakes Hotel

Review of Best Western Plus Golden Lakes Hotel

REVIEW OF BEST WESTERNPLUS GOLDEN LAKES VILLAGE HOTEL IN LES LACS DE L'EAU D'HEURE
One of the best hotels in Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure with a perfect view of the lakes from the comfort of your own room! It is located just at the banks of the lakes, pretty close to Natura Parc. There is a village section of the hotel where there are individual cottages & villas, then there's the main hotel area with 79 rooms. Each villa can accommodate 4/6/8 persons. There are about 150 villas here. While the villas are perfect for a private time in complete solitude, I preferred one of the rooms in the main hotel on the upper floors with a balcony with a view of Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure. After all, staying in Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure would mean, being able to go to sleep and waking up with a view of the lakes! The parapet wall of the balcony/terrace needs a special mention - it is made of (unbreakable) glass, so the view is not barred at all, even for kids! 
There's a very nice restaurant here as well as a wellness area. The wellness area needs pre-booking. At the restaurant, La Brasserie des Lacs, it is also a good idea to reserve a table for dinner, especially during weekends and summer. As a vegetarian, I chose the Cheese Board as the starter. It comes with 5 varieties of Cheese and some fruits & nuts. It was nice. Since there was a lot of cheese in the starter, I chose a less cheesy main course - Mushroom Ravioli. The mocktail drink was a beautiful summery drink with Orange, Pineapple, Grenadine, and Lemon. It was so super refreshing that I ordered a 2nd one, to take to my room for the night!

Where is Golden Lakes Village Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure hotel (on Google Maps): Best Western Plus Golden Lakes Hotel
Golden Lakes Village Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure hotel phone no: +32 (0)71 31 71 19
Golden Lakes Village Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure room rates: Room rates begin at €80 for double occupancy in a standard room on weekdays. Standard rooms with Lakeview require a supplement of €15. The VIP rooms & apartment rooms always come with a lake view.
If you're staying here, it is also possible to rent bikes at Golden Lakes Village Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure.

BEST TIME TO VISIT LES LACS DE L'EAU D'HEURE
The best time to Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure is definitely in the summer - July & August, just like the coastal regions. However, summer can be a bit crowded and hotels can be a bit expensive. It is cheaper & less crowded to head here on a warm day in Spring or Autumn. 

Things to do at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

Places to visit at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

Places to visit at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

Golfing at Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure

WHERE IS LES LACS DE L'EAU D'HEURE
Where is Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure (on Google Maps): Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure
How to reach Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure by car? 100km from Brussels via Charleroi & Walcourt

How to reach Les Lacs de l'eau d'Heure by public transport? The nearest railway station to Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure in Walcourt which is about 11km away. One option is to bring your bike by train from Brussels and ride your bike for the last 11km from Walcourt to Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure.
Another option is to rent a bike at Walcourt. There is no Bike Rental at Walcourt itself, however, if you contact Crocodile Rouge (same as mentioned above) in advance, they can deliver the bikes at Hostellerie Dispa where you can collect it! Hostellerie Dispa is located just 350m (4 mins walk) away from Gare de Walcourt Railway station.
Third option is to take a bus to Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure. The nearest bus stop to Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure is Vergnies Habitation No:2. This bus stop is located at one end of Lac de l'Eau d'Heure. It is about 3km from Best Western Plus Golden Lakes Hotel and about 5km from Le Crocodile Rouge and Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure tourism office. 
The 2 buses that run through this route are LeTEC Bus Routes 132c and RBus which connect Walcourt & Chimay. These buses do not run during the weekends. There are only 4 buses per day during school vacation and 5-6 per day during school days. So precise planning is necessary. 
Ideally, take one of the trains from Brussels between 12 Noon and 1:00PM to reach Walcourt at 2:41, via Charleroi. There is a bus at 4:40PM and then at 5:49PM from Walcourt Railway Station that reached Vergnies at 4:56PM and 6:10PM respectively. 
While returning, take the last bus out at 5:23PM at Vergnies Habitation No:2 that reaches Walcourt at 5:46PM. From Walcourt take the train to Charleroi and then to Brussels!
With these bus timings & the mere time taken for the journey (about 3-3:30 hours including transfer times), it is almost impossible and worthless to do a day trip to Lac de l'Eau d'Heure from Brussels depending on public transport. You have to stay there at least for 1 night or more. If you depend entirely on public transport to visit Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure, you have to go on a midweek 2-day trip.
Update Mar 2022: Rbus has a deviation due to works and so doesn't go via Vergnies Habitation No:2. The next stop located about 500m away is Vergnies Ferme de Manensart which is still functional. Check the LeTEC Official website for the current timetable.

Is it possible to do a day trip to Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure by public transport: Yes, but it is too hectic and possible only on a weekday (not weekend)! Catch the first train out of Brussels to Charleroi at 5:37AM. Get the train to Couvin which reaches Walcourt at 7:35AM. RUN to the Bus stop. The LeTEC bus route RBus from Walcourt departs at 7:38AM! Luck has to work too, that your train doesn't delay even by 1 minute! You reach Vergnies Habitation No:2 at 8:00AM. To return catch the 5:23PM bus to Walcourt. This is the last bus, so don't miss it! Get the next train to Charleroi and back to Brussels.

Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure Pinterest Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure Pinterest

Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure Pinterest Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure 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. At Les Lacs De L'eau D'heure, you can do so many activities – it's the ideal spot for a weekend getaway! I'd like to try riding in the Le Crocodile Rouge – it looks like such a fun ride! Oh, and there's this zip lining and tree climbing excursion that I'm a little apprehensive about but would like to try! The ride on the e-scooter appears to be enjoyable as well.

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  2. Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure in Belgium seems to be the perfect place to enjoy with tons of varied activities. I would love to go biking and hiking here on the scenic path along the lake. I may try the tree top zip lining too (a bit scared of bees or flying insects troubling me while zip lining). My favorite however is the all-terrain electric scooter! It is impressive that the handlebar has a GPS gadget!

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  3. What a beautiful place! I love how peaceful the lake looks. I would definitely like to take a ride with the red crocodile, it looks pretty fun. Biking would be my choice of transportation over there too. Thanks for introducing this place to me.

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  4. The red crocodile ride seems like a fun thing to do here. And that tunnel - 50m deep - definitely intriguing. I love the host of activities that you can embark on here - from hiking to ziplines and even exploring using an ebike. Definitely my kind of a holiday

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  5. The Red Crocodile looks fun. I’ve always wanted to ride on an amphibious. Visiting a dam and learn about it is fascinated me. And the hike and e-bike looks cool, too. A combination of a trip that I like.

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  6. There's a lot to do around LES LACS DE L'EAU D'HEURE. Such a serene place to spend quality time. Would like to do hiking and cycling. Interesting fact you shared about the 1-hour rainwater lake :)

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  7. This looks like a perfect weekend spot to spend some time in peace. But what intrigued me about the place is its name. As you mentioned that if rains here for just an hour, the whole valley is going to get drowned. Sounds fascinating

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  8. This is quite a lot of interesting trivia. The longest beach in Belgium - that's something I'll definitely visit.And all those activities that you listed out, revolving around mother nature, have truly inspired me, to put a new Destination on my bucket list.

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  9. Eau D'heure Lakes seem to be a perfect place for a chill and a weekend, as it's five lakes and some channels. Great to know that it has the longest beach in Belgium. It offers so many activities that there is o time to get bored. I would like to take a trip on the Red Crocodile Amphibus. Also, the idea of biking in the area suits me well. I would like to take pictures from the skywalk, as the views are stunning, and visit Barrage de Plate Taille Dam as it's is Belgium's biggest dam.

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