The smallest town in the world, as the locals like to call Durbuy, lies in the middle of the Belgian Ardennes in the province of Luxembourg. Durbuy was initially given the status of a city despite a very low number of inhabitants by Jean de Luxembourg in the 14th century. Since then, Durbuy has enlarged in terms of population but the tourism office still likes to use this slogan even nowadays. According to me, this is one of the most charming towns in Belgium, so if you got some time, you should visit it. It is only a 90-minutes´ drive from Brussels, but you can also do it by train with a change to a bus in Barvaux.
What to see in Durbuy
I first visited Durbuy in 2009 with my Erasmus friends and since then I came back few more times as it became one of my favorite places in Belgium. The old town center is still somehow magic and charming; it is a maze of small cobblestone streets and grey stone houses, typical from the region, which invites you for a romantic walk. You can also please your senses in boutiques with local artisanal products such as the beer, famous sausages or honey cakes from the Ardennes.
There is a castle standing on the shore of the River Ourthe that flows through the city. I am not sure if this one is ever open for visitors, but at least it poses well on pictures. ? Sooner or later you will arrive in front of an interesting geological formation and an amazing result of tectonic activity – anticlinal layers of dolomitic limestone created a good-looking rock known as Le Rocher d´Omalius (as per the geologist who first described it).
There are some nice attractions also out of the center. Before arriving in Durbuy, you can stop at the Adventure Valley Park which has attractions for both small and adults, or visit the beautiful Topiary Park with trees and bushes shaped into animals and other figures. In the summer, you can take a kayak ride on the River Ourthe. And if you come in the second half of December, you will find here Christmas market which, according to the locals are even nicer than the fairytale Christmas market in Monschau.
What concerns the restaurants, choose wisely as some of them are only places created for tourists and the food is not good. Last time we tested a small restaurant/coffee place C’est de la faute de maman. It is a cozy place with a terrace and shabby interior inside (which you need to see as it is too cute!), located in a corner of one of the small cobblestone streets (Rue des Récolets 5). I had baked camembert with roasted potatoes and fresh salad with delicious dressing and a Belgian white wine. The service was lovely. A place to come back! If you like beer, taste the local artisanal ones such as La Durboyse or stop by in the minibrewery La Ferme au Chene where you can taste their excellent beer Marckloff.
And here are some pictures…
If you plan to visit Durbuy, you may need some official information: www.durbuyinfo.be
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