How to spend a weekend in Durbuy, Belgium
Say Bonjour to Durbuy
Filled with winding cobbled streets, ancient stone houses and with a turreted castle in the centre, the medieval city of Durbuy (pronounced Dur-bwee) deserves to be on your travel horizon. Located in Belgium’s Wallonia region, the city is surrounded by rolling hills, pine-clad forests and rippling river bends. But it’s not just the storybook setting that draws the crowds, Durbuy also boasts the title of the world’s smallest city
Three things you must see and do
1. Take a train ride: The best way to get a feel for the city is to take a ride on Le petit train touristique. This tourist train winds its way through the city streets and up to a viewing tower positioned above the town. Climb to the top and you’ll get a birds-eye view over Durbuy – and see just how small the city really is.
2. Herd goats: Located in nearby Borlon is Chèvrerie de Borlon, a goat farm owned by the absolutely charming Géradine. Guests are welcome (although you must book visits in advance) and you can spend a half-day milking goats and taking them to the field or opt for a longer, full-day experience. It’s a wonderful look at local life and especially brilliant for kids.
3. Have an adventure: Durbuy has a lot of adventure activities to offer families including mountain biking, hiking and kayaking. It also has the Adventure Park, the largest adventure park in Belgium. This adventure and nature park features everything from tubing slides and bike parks to zipwires, climbing walls, an escape room and much more.
Best restaurants in Durbuy
For a tiny city, Durbuy packs a big punch when it comes to food. Make sure you visit the following restaurants:
La Bru’sserie is probably Durbuy’s most high-end restaurant but, don’t’ worry, it welcomes families and the food is fantastic. The menu features a selection of tapas and sharing plates and you can either choose a handful of dishes or go for one of the four- or six-plate tasting menu.
La Passerelle is set along the banks of a river with a great playground to keep the kids busy while the kitchen whips up lunch or dinner. The food is very good and the deserts, fantastic.
7 by Juliette is a laid-back restaurant with a characterful outdoor seating area and some of the best food in town. The restaurant specialises in tapas but not the traditional Spanish kind, rather the sharing plates here are based on local and seasonal produce and include light bites such as bruschetta, mini hamburgers and lamb kebabs.
Best ice cream
You’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere that doesn’t serve good ice cream in Durbuy (we tried – and failed – to find anywhere that didn’t get a big thumbs up from the kids!). However, if you’re looking for a place dedicated to ice cream then try the Australian Homemade Ice Cream.
Enjoy discovering the family-run shops and restaurants as you meander the cobblestone streets, including the guaranteed kid-favourite, Bonbon Chic. This pretty sweet shop sells locally made traditional chocolates and more modern candies like Beanboozles; you’ll struggle to get the kids out!
Where to stay
Chez Tante Alice is a charming B&B outside of Durbuy that offers four double bedrooms for guests. There are three double bedrooms upstairs and a further one downstairs. Guests are also welcome to use two cosy living rooms (with tea and coffee facilities as well as an honesty bar), as well as the flower-filled garden. The breakfast here is amazing!
Katja Gaskell is a travel writer recently returned to London, U.K. after 12 years of living abroad in Australia, India and Mexico. She's the co-founder of globetotting.com and is a firm believer that you can - and should! - take your kids everywhere. Katja has written across a range of titles for Lonely Planet guidebooks, tested luxury hotels for Mr & Mrs Smith and has contributed to publications including BBC Food, Hotelier International and The Australian.