In Wallonia, you can find some of the most beautiful places in Belgium to experience fall season. The hiking paths are covered with autumn leaves and the golden light is shimmering through the pines. On the last day of October, we went hiking in the valley of the Warche river, idyllically located in the East of Belgium. We did a short hike with some tough parts along the way, including the ascent to Reinhardstein Castle.
Location of the Warche Valley
The Warche river finds its source in Büllingen and flows into the Amblève river near Malmedy, not far from the German border. Did you know Belgium has three official languages (Dutch, French and German)? In the eastern part of Belgium, there is a German speaking community (especially in the cantons of Eupen and Sankt Vith).
Hiking tip: Panorama de la Warche
Just a few hundred meters after the starting point of this hike, we already catch the first glimpse of Reinhardstein Castle. In the distance, we can hear the Medieval music, coming from the castle on the hill. Today is a public holiday and so the castle is open to visitors. You can read more about this later on. We gradually climb to an impressive viewpoint (‘Nez Napoléon’, literally translated as Napoleon’s nose). It is a rock formation overshadowing the Warche valley. Just as we reach the highest point, a cold breeze sets up. The autumn leaves fall of the trees, swirling in the wind. We take our time to enjoy the exceptional view over the valley, before we hike down to the river. We briefly walk along the banks of the Warche river, before starting a steep ascent towards the entrance gate of Reinhardstein Castle.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION. The hiking path as described above is 5.2 kilometers long and is signposted from the lake in Robertville (with a blue rectangle). There is a small parking lot close to the dam, where you can get an overview of the hike. Be sure to wear sturdy footwear, as the hike consists of steep ascents and descents.
Located on a rocky outcrop above the Warche river, Reinhardstein Castle is the highest castle in Belgium. It dates back tot he 14th century! It was owned by different families throughout the years, until it fell into disrepair in the beginning of the 19th century. Years later, the castle was rebuilt under the supervision of Jean Overloop, a history teacher from Brussels. He instantly fell in love with the castle ruins and decided to save it from destruction. Luckily!
The reconstruction has been very succesful. When you visit Reinhardstein Castle, you can really feel the medieval atmosphere in between the stone walls. Even the museum guides are dressed in traditional costumes. As a visitor, you get access to a unique viewpoint, as well as to the castle’s interior. The first room you will see is the knight’s hall, which in my opinion is the most impressive room of the castle. It has a large fireplace, multiple tapestries and armors. These armors must have been so heavy to wear! In summer months, even candlelight tours are organised to spice up your medieval experience.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION. Guided tours are possible on weekend days and public holidays, as well as during school holidays (click here to get an overview of the timetable). A guided tour takes about 1 hour 15 minutes. Standard price is 10 euros (in 2022). Children up to 5 years old can visit the castle for free. For children above this age, a reduced rate has been set.