Did you know Belgium has over 3000 castles? It’s just incredible! These are my top 10 castles in the countryside of Belgium to visit with beautiful hikes around their domains.
1. Castle Modave
Located between Liège and Namur, in the valley of Hoyoux, lies the beautiful castle of Modave. The castle was built in the 17th century on a 60-meter-high rock with an enchanting view over the 450 hectares of nature. The castle is accessible to visit on different days. During the corona crisis, it is mandatory to make reservations online or by phone.
The gardens can be visited free of charge and there is no need to make a reservation. A nice walk around the valley of Modave is the "little Modave". At the reception, you will be given a map with the hiking trail or you can follow the red squares that are marked throughout the trail. The hike takes about 7,5 km until you return to the castle.
Corona update: Reservation needed before entering the castle, not needed to visit the garden.
Castle walk: 7,5 km
2. Castle Horst
Especially beautiful for its natural surroundings, this castle is located in Horst in the province of Flemish Brabant near a large lake. The family Horst lived here already in the 13th century and due to its old age, the castle is currently closed for renovations. The natural reserve around the castle contains over 50 hikes and is perfect for a day trip. There are multiple places for a nice picnic across the different roads. Create your own walk with the “wandelknooppunt” app in the app store and choose your length.
Corona update: Castle is under renovation but you can walk around the domain
Castle walk: around 50 possibilities
3. Walk from Castle Van Vêves to Castle van Walzin
Ever wanted to walk from castle to castle? Let’s do this! There is a walk of 15 km between the Castle of Vêves and the Castle of Walzin in the Ardennes. During the walk you will hike alongside the Lesse, giving you the opportunity to go for a little swim during summer or take amazing pictures as the one below.
This 15 km walk between the Castle of Vêves and the Castle of Walzin runs along the Lesse, through the Furfooz National Park. Along the way, you will discover some typical Ardennes landscapes. You will need about 4 to 5 hours for this walk.
Corona update: To visit the castle you need to make a reservation, the walk is accessible
Castle walk: 15 km for both castles
Reinhardstein was built in 1354 close to Malmedy in the Haute Fagnes around a beautiful forest. Once a year the organization Reinhardstein organizes the Medieval festivities to enchant the castle with its original charm. Throughout the year you can sign up for archery lessons on the castle domain. The castle is decorated with historical and temporary art that is complemented by the extraordinary art of new artists.
A beautiful walk of 6 km starts at the castle and goes along the Warche river and the dam, still having a good view of the castle. You will also walk next to the Nez Napoleon which is a steep cliff overlooking the Warche valley, giving you a nice view over the dam.
Another walk I recommend is starting from the 'Moulin du Bayehon' restaurant. Park your car there and take a right turn to start the hike. It's also around 5 km and you will enjoy a beautiful view over the castle and its surroundings. But even better, if you go to the left side once you are back at the restaurant you will go to "the cascade du Bayehon" which is a beautiful waterfall. Follow the red signs. Here you can choose to just go visit the waterfall and come back or follow the red signs which is a walk of 11 km going to the highest point of Belgium 'the Signal de Botrange'. Don't worry even though it is said to be the highest point it is actually a plateau. So no steep hills, this walk is for everyone.
Corona update: reservation is needed for the castle, you can walk freely around the domain
Castle walk: 6 km
5. Castle Vorselaar
Castle Vorselaar or also called Borrekens for the family name, was built in 1270 on the water. The lake is surrounding the whole castle giving it a magical look. The castle domain is enormous and is a good place to do multiple hikes in the green oasis surrounding the castle. Castle Vorselaar is not accessible to the public but you can visit the outside of the castle.
The walk around the castle is 7,4 km long and starts at the church in Vorselaar. From there you can walk on a car-free road in the forest to the castle.
Corona update: visiting the outside of the castle and the domain around it is accessible
Castle walk: 7,4 km
6. Castle Beloeil
Castle Beloeil is located near the province of Bergen and is a well-known castle in Belgium. With its 25 hectares of land, it is a beautiful place to spend the afternoon. The gardens are included in the castle visit but you cannot visit the gardens whiteout a ticket. This 15th-century castle is still up to today part of the noble Belgian family Ligne.
The walk around the castle starts at the tourist office in Beloeil and goes around the castle and its lakes. The walk is 6 km and gives you beautiful perspectives of the castle.
Corona update: Closed until further notice
Castle walk: 6 km
Castle Freyr is located in the province of Namen near the Meuse river. The surroundings of this pearl are unique. On the right bank of the Meuse, you have high cliffs that overlook the domain giving it a rustic look.
You have around 23 walks in the Meuse valley going from 2 km to 12km with marked walkways. The region has a lot to offer. If you want to have a map of all the hikes, you can buy it at the Tourism office in the center of Hastiere.
Corona update: reservation needed
Castle walk: 23 different walks
Castle Ooidonk is located near Gent and is a magnificent building built around water. Today the castle is still inhabited by the family t’Kint de Roodenbeke with their three children. Their home is visitable on Sundays from 2 PM till 5:30 PM. The gardens are also open during the week.
There is a beautiful hike that starts at the church in Ooidonk and that goes around the castle. The walk is 7,5 km and is perfect during summer because you can swim at the Vooselare put which is a natural lake. The walk is nicely marked with different signposts.
Corona update: closed until further notice, walk accessible
Castle walk: 7,5 km
9. Kasteel Marnix van Sint-Aldegonde
Castle of Bornem or also called after count Marnix van Sint-Aldegonde is located on the Schelde bank in the province of Antwerp. To visit this castle you need to make a reservation online or through the phone. Walk enthusiasts will find beautiful roads in the green oasis of the Oude Schelde.
Corona update: reservation is needed
Castle walk: Multiple walks starting from Bornem towards the castle
10.Castle van wijnendale
This moated castle in Wijnendale is located in the province of West-Flanders near Torhout. The Wijnendale forest around the castle is 180 hectares and perfect for every age, especially for children. The guides take children on a gnome hunt and the birthday boy or girl can also celebrate his or her birthday in the castle!
Corona update: Closed until further notice, forest accessible
Castle walk: Multiple walks around the domain and educational walks for children
I hope I've been able to inspire you to go out on a day trip to these beautiful castles. Let me know if you want to know more about castles or day trips in Belgium, and if you visited them feel free to share your experience with me.
Keep on dreaming and Fly Along!