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The Ardennes: nature or adrenalin?

The Ardennes, with its acres of forests, rolling hills, nature reserves and ancient stone buildings has a certain charm to it. The natural beauty and possibilities for outdoor pursuits - including Belgium's only ski resort- make it a popular tourist attraction. And of course, don't forget the world famous Spa-Francorchamps race circuit near Daft Studios.

To Visit

Spa-Francorchamps Race Circuit

Route du Circuit, 55, B-4970 Francorchamps 0032 87 29 37 00 www.spa-francorchamps.be

The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps motor-racing circuit is the venue of the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix, and of the Spa 24 Hours and 1000 km Spa endurance races. It is one of the most challenging race tracks in the world, mainly due to its fast, hilly and twisty nature. Spa is a favourite circuit of many racing drivers and fans. The circuit probably demonstrates the importance of driver skill more than any other in the world. This is largely due to the Eau Rouge and Blanchimont corners, both which need to be taken at out to achieve a fast run onto the straights after them, which aids a driver in both a fast lap and in overtaking.

Casino de Spa

Rue Royale, 4, 4900 Spa 0032 87 77 20 52 www.casinodespa.be

The Casino in the town of Spa is the oldest in the world. It was opened in 1763 and nished in 1769 with the completion of the ball room and the theatre. The current casino building dates from 1918, being rebuilt after destruction during the rst World War. The Casino offers French Roulette, English Roulette, Black Jack, Slot Machines and Texas Hold'em Poker.

Alpine Ski Slopes Ovifat

Rue de pistes, 4950 Ovifat 0032 80 44 63 54 www.skialpin-ovifat.com

The Ardennes forest does not rise above 700m; but its hills boast a handful of ski areas, including Ovifat, just outside the town of Waimes. This is no more than a snowfield with a single drag-lift, whose highest point is 600m. Obviously, experienced skiers do not go there - which is precisely why it is such an enjoyable place. The sight of the Ardennes' rolling ocean of pine trees covered in snow and lit by a huge, pink sunset is unforgettable. In summer times, you can rent at Devalkart a go-cart style vehicle, a step or a trike to get down the hill... a pleasant way to enjoy the region!

Hiking in the High Fens

Route de botrange 131, 4950 Robertville 0032 80 44 03 00 www.botrange.be

Secluded woodlands, gushing waterfalls and hundreds of kilometers of forest trails – this can't be Belgium, can it? It can, if you're hiking in the Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve, in Belgium's beautiful Eastern Cantons. The Hautes Fagnes (High Fens) make up the largest nature reserve in Belgium, with an area of 4,501.2 hectares (11,123 acres). They are part of the 700km2 Hohes Venn-Eifel park which spans the Belgian-German border. The Hautes Fagnes are particularly special because of their 10,000-year-old alpine sphagnum bogs. The water that lters down through these bogs is the cleanest in Belgium. The bogs also create a microclimate, which sustains ora and fauna unique to this area of Belgium.

To Eat & Drink

Take 5 biker's pub

Deidenberg 86, 4770 Amel, Belgium 0032 80 341 602 www.cafe-take-ve.be

Take Five is a biker pub, at 10 km from Daft Studios. It is the ideal place to go and have a beer at night after a session. The owners Sophie & Alex are very warm people who'll welcome you with open arms.

Bellevaux Brewery

Bellevaux 5, 4960 Malmedy 0032 80 881 540 www.brasseriedebellevaux.be

It is not obvious to brew a beer that deserves a place in the rich Belgian beer tradition. Aspirations to brew the highest quality of ale products and careful refinement of taste and formula has resulted in four characteristic beers referred to as Blonde, Brune, Black and Blanche. Ardennes spring-water, the nest ingredients and craftsmanship are at the base of the beer at Brasserie de Bellevaux. During summer, this is the perfect spot to relax and have a beer on the sunny terrace.

La Menuiserie (Michelin starred restaurant)

Champagne 12 – 4950 Waimes 0032 80 44 44 85 www.lamenuiserie.eu

French Fries

There's several spots nearby where you can get some of Belgian's best French Fries.

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