Best time to visit Belgium

Kayaking & Canoeing in Belgium

Discover Wallonia from the water. The whole region is crisscrossed by smaller rivers

Best time: April–October

Kayaking & Canoeing
Kayaking & Canoeing

The rivers of the Ardennes are perfect for canoeing and kayaking. The main destinations to consider are the rivers of Ourthe, Lesse, Meuse or Maas, and Semois. They wind across some densely wooded areas and picturesque valleys.

Depending on the river and the route you choose, you may pass from 4-5 km to over 20 km. Some routes require having the basic skills and knowledge of navigating kayaks while the others are suitable for complete newbies. The experience you get depends not only on the route but also on the weather: your trip could be calm and relaxing or it could turn into a rafting adventure.

In general, it is possible to go canoeing and kayaking all year round. However, the weather conditions such as the water flow, the water level, and temperature should be considered. Sometimes, a river gets too low or too high or its stream gets too fast. It would make your trip more tiring, demanding, and even a bit dangerous. To avoid such inconvenience it is better to go canoeing and kayaking from April to October.

There's an option to rent a kayak online. Smeermaas is a popular departing point—the start of a scenic 21-km route along the Maas river, right on the Belgian-Dutch border.

Practical info

What are some rivers in Belgium that are suitable for kayaking and canoeing?

Belgium has several rivers that are perfect for kayaking and canoeing. The Lesse River offers enchanting castles and a picturesque valley, while the Ourthe River passes through view-rich woods and offers more challenging rapids. The Maas River runs from the heart of Wallonia and ends in the North Sea, dividing Belgium from the Netherlands. The Semois River provides calm or demanding routes with breath-taking landscapes. Show more

When is the best time of year to go kayaking or canoeing in Belgium?

It is important to pick the right time to kayak and canoe in Belgium, as it can be hot in the summer and chilly in the winter. While it is possible to kayak and canoe year-round, the best time is from April-end to October-end, when the weather is more hospitable. Winter may cause low-water levels, dry riverbeds, or dangerous rapids that can't be navigated by kayaks or canoes. Show more

What is the typical duration of a kayaking or canoeing trip in Belgium?

Choosing a river and route largely determines the duration of a kayaking or canoeing trip in Belgium. For novice kayakers and canoers, a 4-5 km route is easier, while longer and more challenging routes can last for several hours. A 21-km scenic route up the Maas River is perfect for those who want to take time and enjoy the vast landscapes of Belgium. Show more

Can beginners go kayaking or canoeing in Belgium?

Yes! Beginner-friendly kayaking and canoeing opportunities abound in Belgium, especially in Wallonia. The Ourthe and Maas Rivers offer gentler routes suitable for beginner kayakers and canoers. Kayak and canoe rental companies in Smeermaas provide essential safety gear like beginner-friendly routes, life vests, and helmets. High water levels can increase the challenging routes for inexperienced kayakers and canoeists. Show more

What is a popular departure point for kayaking and canoeing along the Maas River?

Smeermaas is the hub and popular departure point for kayaking and canoeing along the Maas River. Situated in the middle of Wallonia, near the Belgian-Dutch border, Smeermaas is a starting point for a 21-km scenic route that crosses the Belgian-Dutch border. Moreover, Liège, Jambes, and Namur serve as alternative departure points for the Maas River, offering different route distances and levels of difficulty. Show more

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Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva