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Explore dense forests, stroll along medieval streets and learn about historic battles when you visit this scenic town by the Ourthe River in southern Belgium.

Durbuy is a small town on the banks of the Ourthe River, known for its narrow cobbled streets, ancient houses and a garden full of trees and hedges fashioned into unusual shapes. The picturesque place is part of the Ardennes, a vast region of forest, valleys and fast flowing rivers. Enjoy a range of outdoor activities including hiking, horse riding and kayaking.

Walking is the simplest, and possibly the most enjoyable way to see the town. Wander through its maze of medieval streets lined by old stone houses. Stop by one of the cozy restaurants to sample wood-fire cooked meats and locally made chocolates. Stroll by the river for a view of the magnificent Durbuy Castle. The privately owned building is not open for tours, but its turrets and impressive size are a scenic highlight.

Outdoor adventure is never too far away, with long paths for walkers along the river, as well as horse-riding and biking trails. Alternatively, try kayaking and rafting on the water. 

Durbuy is a good jumping off point for those wanting to explore Ardennes Forest. Cycle wooded paths and venture into cave systems full of stalactites and stalagmites. The densely forested area was also the scene of major battles during the two world wars of the 20th century. 

When you are back in town, tour Topiary Park where the shrubbery has been pruned into more than 250 figures. See such topiary shapes as kayakers, people sitting on a bench, jockeys jumping fences and women bathing. Visit Marckloff Microbrewery to watch the local light amber beer being brewed according to a method that dates back to the 14th century. Take the tourist train up the hill above the old town to the Saint Amour Jam Factory and observe jams and jellies being made. 

Reach Durbuy by driving or taking the train from Brussels, 73 miles (118 kilometers) away. In common with many places in northern Europe, the winters here are mild and the summers are cool.

During your vacation, make the short trip to nearby Wéris for the Neolithic dolmens, ancient stone tombs that were built 5,000 years ago.  

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