Many of the Hiker’s Cabins in the Netherlands and Flanders are located alongside the national long distance walking routes.
In Belgium, these routes are designated ‘Grote Routepaden’ or GR trails. They are marked with red and white signposts, and sometimes in paint on roadside buildings or milestones. They are also shown on official touring maps. These routes have been designed to show you the most attractive parts of Belgium, such as the large nature reserves and areas of exceptional natural beauty. They traverse the open countryside and take in the most scenic parts of the country. It takes several days to walk an entire GR trail. There are also shorter trails with a more regional character, recognizable by the yellow and red signs. For more information, go to www.groteroutepaden.be.
In the Netherlands, the long-distance rambling and cycling trails are designated ‘Lange Afstand Wandelpaden’ (LAW) and, at the regional level ‘Streekpaden’ (SP). They form a nationwide network of trails which will take you through the most attractive parts of our country. Follow one of these routes and you are likely to find leafy lanes, tranquil woodlands and extensive meadows, the famous Dutch polders and numerous historic country estates. For the most part, the trails follow established roads so you are never required to stray too far from the beaten path. Some trails will take you through idyllic rural villages while others visit historic towns and cities. All routes are varied and interesting. For more information, see www.wandelnet.nl/themas/laws-streekpaden.
There is a national logo displayed by businesses which offer a special welcome to walkers, hikers and ramblers. Look for the ‘Wandelaars Welkom’ logo which indicates that the business offers:
- Convenient opening hours
- Maps and walking routes
- The use of a first aid kit
- Most importantly, staff will never turn up their noses at a pair of dirty hiking boots!
For further information, see www.wandelnet.nl/wandelaarswelkom (only in Dutch)
Take a break
There are many rest stops along the main walking routes, indicated by clear signs (‘Rustpunt’). They offer somewhere to take a break, have a drink or something to eat, use the toilet, change your socks and freshen up before continuing your journey. For more information see: www.rustpunt.nu (only in Dutch)