East Cantons Belgium: 3 Places to Visit

Many people don’t realize that Belgium, an undeniably small nation in Western Europe, actually consists of three distinctly different regions. There’s Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia, but there’s also a German-speaking region. This one lies in the far eastern corner of Belgium and, made up of three cantons, is known as the East Cantons Belgium.

Signal de Botrange, High Fens, Belgium. East Cantons Belgium
Signal de Botrange, highest point in Belgium

A Complex History

The East Cantons’ history is one of several political back-and-forths. After the Congress of Vienna, it became part of Prussia and, later, of the German empire. Following the First World War, the Treaty of Versailles incorporated the region in Belgium, where it became part of the province of Liège. The Nazis then annexed the East Cantons Belgium again during World War II, after which it was once again returned to Belgium.

This now peaceful and tranquil region is still predominantly German-speaking, although French and Dutch are spoken as well. The region also borders the Netherlands to the north and Luxembourg to the south.

The East Cantons are also known as Eupen-Malmédy, after two main towns in the region.

Fagne Wallonne, High Fens, Belgium. East Cantons Belgium
Fagne Wallonne, High Fens, Belgium

Nature Adventures

The highest region in the entire country, this is where you’ll find some of Belgium’s greatest natural attractions. The East Cantons are home to the Signal de Botrange, at 694 meters above sea level the highest point in Belgium. Because of its elevation, in winter, the East Cantons is typically the first and last winter sports destination in Belgium.

Particularly Baraque Michel and Baraque de Fraiture are popular ski and cross-country ski destinations.

Another major natural attraction is the High Fens – Eifel Nature Park, a huge area made up of pine forests, swamps and bogs. This is one of the top places to visit in the East Cantons.

Baraque Michel, East Cantons, Belgium. East Cantons Belgium
Baraque Michel, East Cantons, Belgium

3 Places to Visit in the East Cantons Belgium

1. High Fens – Eifel Nature Park

The oldest nature park in Belgium, the High Fens – Eifel Nature Park lies in both Belgium and Germany. It covers 700 square kilometers of meadows, wetlands, bogs and forests. These remarkable bogs date back more than 10,000 years and are an essential part of the region’s historic and cultural heritage.

Dozens of hiking trails, short and long-distance, crisscross the park. In winter, you can explore this magnificent place on well-marked cross-country skiing trails.

High Fens-Eifel Nature Park, Belgium. East Cantons Belgium
High Fens-Eifel Nature Park, Belgium

2. Eupen

Eupen is one of the three properly sized towns in the East Cantons—the others are Malmédy and Sankt Vith. The town serves as German-speaking Belgium’s capital. Dating from the 13th century, it’s a beautiful place, home to many centuries-old buildings and cobbled streets.

Its numerous restaurants, hotels and cafés make it the perfect base to explore the East Cantons and the nearby High Fens.

Reinhardstein Castle in Robertville, Belgium. East Cantons Belgium
Reinhardstein Castle in Robertville, Belgium

3. Reinhardstein Castle

There are a number of castles in the East Cantons Belgium, and many hundreds more in the rest of Belgium, but Reinhardstein Castle is among the most photogenic and beautiful. Perched on a rock in a deep valley near Robertville, this 14th-century stronghold now houses a fine museum exhibiting medieval armor, paintings and tapestries.

Guided tours take you through the castle’s main chambers, including the guards room, the apartments, the chapel and the imposing Knight’s Hall.

About Bram

Website: http://www.travel-experience-live.com

Bram is a Belgian guy who's currently living in the USA. For over four years now, he has been wandering the globe, with jobs here and there in between. So far, his travels have taken him to four continents and twenty-two countries. Bram likes to try different styles of travelling: from backpacker and adventurer to tourist and local, he has been all those stereotypes and probably will be many more in the future. You can follow his adventures on his travel blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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