While heading to the beach is the obvious choice during summers, I was also looking at the man-made beaches and lakes to visit and that’s how I came to know of the ‘longest shore in Belgium’ which is not on the actual coast but on the lakefront of Lac de l’Eau d’Heure. While a relaxing vacation, without doing anything is an option, it is also possible to make your trip to Lac de l’Eau d’Heure, a very active and adventurous one!
ABOUT LAC DE L’EAU D’HEURE
The name Lac de l’Eau d’Heure means, the lake of the water of 1 hour, meaning the lake would be filled if it rained heavily for 1 hour. This is a combined lake of 5 lakes and is the largest artificial lake of Belgium that lies at the border of Namur & Hainaut provinces. The large 2 lakes are Lac de l’Eau de Heure and Lac de la Plate Taille. The 3 smaller lakes that feed to Lac de l’Eau de Heure are Feronval Lake, Ri Jaune Lake and Falemprise lake. There are 5 dams within these 5 lakes including the biggest dam of Belgium - Barrage de Plate Taille which stands between the 2 large lakes. The 4 other dams stand across the other 3 smaller lakes as well as the tributary of river Sambre that feeds to Lac de l’Eau d’Heure.
LAC DE L’EAU D’HEURE ATTRACTIONS
HIKE / BIKE / RIDE AN E-SCOOTER AROUND THE LAKE
© Natura Parc
When the lake’s border is so long and interesting, it is only obvious that hiking or biking around the lake is one of the best things to do in Lac de l’Eau d’Heure.
There are 10 different way-marked walking trails, around and about Lac de l’Eau d’Heure, varying from just 2.2km to 24km catering to various interests like beaches, wooded areas, skiing, tree top adventures, golfing, gastronomy and more.
Both city bikes & e-bikes are available to hire at Crocodile Rouge as well as in the hotels here like Golden Lakes etc. Apart from biking, a very unique activity here is the e-scooter. It looks like a cross between a larger version of the kick-scooters and mountain bikes! These are called mountain e-scooters! The Natura Park’s Bike Park where you can hire this, is located a short walk away from the Plate Taille dam.
There are 2 Ravel Network paths around the 2 large lakes - The Tour of the Eau d'Heure Lake route which is 18.5km, goes across 3 dams with a view of the 3 smaller lakes and the tributary that feed to the lake. The route is very winding and has a bit of uphill & downhill section, though not too difficult. The Plate Taille lake tour route is 16.5km and is almost a flat terrain.
- Lac de l’Eau d’Heure Tourism office location : Route de la Plate Taille 99, 6440 Froidchapelle
- Map of the way-marked walking trails (in French. English version is available at the desk of the Tourism office onsite)
- Book your rental bike at Crocodile Rouge
- Book your mountain e-scooter at Nature Park Bike Park
- RAVeL routes around Lac de l’Eau d’Heure
NATURA PARK ADVENTURES
© Natura Parc
If you’re adventurous, the best thing to do in Lac de l’Eau d’Heure is to do the various activities of Natura Park Adventures including going on a Zipline over the lake! Unlike most other tree-top adventure parks, here there’s no staff atop each and every tree. So, there’s an educational explanation given at the entrance and then you’re free to go on any trail and do it at your own pace! There are staff on the ground and if there’s an issue, they’ll immediately attend to it.
There are 2 trails, Yellow & Orange trails, as soon as you enter, meant for children of 3-6 and 4-11 years respectively. The rest are for pre-teens, teens and adults. The following is the Marmot trail which is relatively easier and not too high up on the tree. The next one, the Tree Squirrel trail is also easy but the platforms are perched high atop the tree followed by the Green Woodpecker trail which is slightly more difficult. The Gorilla trail is really difficult and has quite a few suspensions! The last one, the Panther trail is also really difficult and specially needs upper body strength! If you’re not a cardio goddess, you may have to skip this! Ideally you begin at the Marmot trail and go up one by one. But you could skip the Marmot trail and directly head to the Tree Squirrel if you aren’t afraid of heights.
While all these trails have one or two ziplines in them, there’s a dedicated Zipline trail which is just a series of Ziplines including one fabulous one that goes across a portion of the lake! This is a single zipline of over 200m length which takes more than 30 seconds to cross, so you’re literally hovering over Lac de l’Eau d’Heure for 30+ seconds!!! Absolute thrill and adrenaline rush!
- Natura Park Location: Route de la Plate Taille 99, 6440 Boussu Lez Walcourt
- Buy your Natura Park tickets here
CLIMB BARRAGE DE PLATE TAILLE (DAM) & SKYWALK
© FT Province de Namur
Rouge Crocodile conducts a guided tour to go below and climb atop the Plate Taille Dam and going on this tour is one of the top things to do in Lac de l’Eau de Heure because not only do you get to see an impeccable view of all the lakes from atop but also you get to do a skywalk on the glass flooring perched 107m above ground!
The guided tour is in 3 parts, beginning from the explanation of the geography of the region and the history of the dam with miniature models at the tourism office. Then the tour goes underground explaining how the dam works, the water quality etc. Then the awesomeness - the climb atop the dam more than 100m above ground. The first stop is to see the 4 powerful pump turbines and then a short climb further ahead is the viewpoint! There are 2 viewpoints on either side of the tower. At the very edge of both the viewpoints are the skywalks, where the floor is glass and you get to the see the 100m of air beneath your feet with the dam crossing over at about 50m! The view from atop of all the lakes around is impeccable.
© Crocodile rouge
Is it a bus? Is it a boat? Well, it is an amphibian vehicle! It is an Amphibus. The tour starts in front of Lac de l’Eau d’Heure Tourism Office and the bus goes on the road till about Hotel Golden Lakes and then……... it goes on the lake, like a boat! It was unbelievable! After floating for about 30 mins on the lake, it climbs back onto the land and rolls like a bus, back to the starting point!!!
The boat ride is nice with fantastic panoramic views of the lake, the dam and I even got to spot someone trying out the zipline over the lake at Natura Park!
FOR THE KIDS - LASER GAME, CROCO GARDENS, FERRIS WHEEL
© Jean-François Baelden
While going atop the tallest dam of Belgium is cool, going under the same dam is cooler! The Laser Game is located under the tourism office, on the way to the dam. Complete with neon paints, the path to go inside the Laser Game transports you mentally to a sporty, a bit crazy mood! The game has been made all the more fun by adding smoke, fog, thunder, lightning and more. Who will lose the battle? You or the Croco? It was an absolutely fun thing to do, especially for the little ones!
Very close to the tourism office is the Croco Gardens, which is just too attractive for younger kids with its bouncy castle! Quite majestic in the landscape of Lac de l’Eau d’Heure is the Ferris Wheel and the view from atop it is gorgeous as well. If going up the dam isn’t your thing, make sure you go up on the Ferris wheel.
AQUACENTRE LES LACS DE L'EAU D'HEURE
© MT - Pays des Lacs - François de Ribeaucourt
When you’re on a vacation beside a lake, you’d obviously want to spend a lot of time in the water. While being in the lakes outdoor is fun, sometimes it is also nice to be indoor in a temperature-controlled pool, especially when the weather is a bit cold. While there are some fun, shallow outdoor pools, perfect for younger kids, the most awesome things here are the relaxing, rejuvenating and refreshing indoor pools complete with massage jets, water cannons, giant jacuzzi etc. It very much reminded me of Le Thermes de Spa!
EXTREME ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES AT LAC DE L’EAU D’HEURE
© Landal GreenParks
Jet Skiing is where you can ski, holding on to a high-speed boat. It is of course possible to Jet Ski at Lac de l’Eau d’Heure, but there’s also another very unusual type of skiing here as well - Water Skiing at Spin Leisure Park. It is very similar, but unlike Jet Ski, there’s no boat, but a moving cable atop helps you ski! There are quite a few ways to experience this including Wakeboarding, wakeskating and kneeboarding.
Btw, what do you think is the best way to ‘see’ Lac de l’Eau d’Heure? Not experience, just see! While climbing the tower or Ferris wheel is a good option, the best option is to get into a glider and fly over the lakes!!!
LAC DE L’EAU D’HEURE ITINERARIES
1 DAY ITINERARY OF LAC DE L’EAU D’HEURE (RELAXING / WITH YOUNG KIDS)
Morning - Visit the dam & climb the tower, Laser Game
Afternoon - Ferris Wheel & then find a place to relax on the shores of Lac de l’Eau d’Heure
1 DAY ITINERARY OF LAC DE L’EAU D’HEURE (ACTIVE)
Morning - Natura Park Treetop adventures & Ziplining
Afternoon - Hike/Bike/Ride an e-scooter around Lac de l’Eau d’Heure
1 DAY ITINERARY OF LAC DE L’EAU D’HEURE (ADVENTURE)
Morning - Jet Ski / Waterski and then Gliding
Afternoon - Hike/Bike/Ride an e-scooter around Lac de l’Eau d’Heure
2 DAYS ITINERARY OF LAC DE L’EAU D’HEURE
Day 1 Morning - Natura Park Treetop adventures & Ziplining OR Jet Ski/Waterski & Gliding
Day 1 Afternoon - Visit the dam & climb the tower, Laser Game
Day 2 - Hike/Bike/Ride an e-scooter around Lac de l’Eau d’Heure, find a spot far away in the route and just relax!
UNUSUAL ACCOMMODATIONS NEAR LAC DE L’EAU D’HEURE
© Golden Lake Village
Being a preferred domestic holiday destination, Lac de l’Eau d’Heure is filled with quite a few hotels, B&Bs and camping grounds.
One of the relaxing accommodations of Lac de l’Eau d’Heure is Golden Lakes Village. Spaced out to give a village-like feeling, these villas are very spacious that can easily accommodate 8 people. With its own kitchen including dishwasher & microwave oven, a balcony with a view and more, these cottages would make you feel at home completely. Within the premises is also a splendid gourmet restaurant if you’re in no mood to cook. There’s also a wellness area and sauna to make the trip to Lac de l’Eau d’Heure a totally relaxing vacation.
One of the very unusual places to stay near Lac de l’Eau d’Heure would be La Mouette Rieuse holiday home. How often have you seen a wooden boat, renovated and repurposed as a cot with a bed on it?!!! Here you’ll find it! It is located in Froidchapelle, a short drive away from Lac de l’Eau d’Heure. This charming little house has almost all the décor innovatively handmade using recycled items - a pulley for a shower caddy, a mirror with a bamboo frame, colanders for lampshades as well as a lot of nautical-inspired items. Of course, being a holiday home, it has all facilities in place including kitchen with oven & fridge, worktable, wifi etc.
Another charming holiday home very close to Lac de l’Eau d’Heure is Gîte L'Orée du Bois. This is also a small house that can accommodate one family at a time up to 6 people. Located just after the Golden Lakes Villages when you walk/bike from Lac de l’Eau d’Heure, this is a duplex house with 2 bedrooms and a fully equipped kitchen, as well as other facilities like a mini library, rocking chair, wifi etc. It is located just beside Aquacentre Les Lacs De L'Eau D'Heure.
About the Author: Bhushavali is an Indian travel blogger, currently living in Belgium. Her background in art history gives her the interest and insight to explore the historic & heritage sites in Belgium. Her primary interest is UNESCO Sites and she has visited 14 of the 15 Belgian UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as the UNESCO Global Geopark. Visit her blog here: My Travelogue by Bhushavali.