Fall head over heels – literally – for the Charleroi region and see the area from new heights. Whether you’re after a hot air balloon ride over picturesque lakes or looking to test your nerve 25 metres off the ground, the Belgian city and its surrounding countryside will send your pulse racing. Here’s our ultimate thrill-seeker’s guide to Charleroi.
Take to the skies and spend the day exploring the region from above at the Aerodrome de Cerfontaine. Choose from a variety of sky sporting activities such as skydiving, gliders, helicopters, microlights and hot air balloons. Watch the sun rise over the lakes and get a bird’s eye view of the village of Chimay. An unforgettable way to experience the area’s landscape, a trip to the aerodrome is a must when visiting Charleroi.
A nature lover’s paradise, Viroin-Hermeton park stretches between Ardennes and the Calestienne regions offering picturesque hiking trails and stunning scenery. Covering 12,000 hectares and eight villages, the natural park is home to a variety of rare vegetation and the famous Calestienne limestone strip responsible for the unique buttes in the northern part of the landscape. Discover the hardwood forests and escape the hustle and bustle for a little while as you conquer some of the more challenging trails in the reserve.
Try something new and hop on an authentic 1940s steam engine for a tour of three valleys. Beginning in Mariembourg, the Chemin de fer a vapeur des 3 vallees takes you through the villages of Nismes, Olloy/Viroin, Vierves and stops in Treignes where you can take a tour of the station’s railway museum. Crossing three rivers, the route covers 14 kilometres in total and takes two hours to make the round trip. Watch from the vintage carriages as castles and idyllic landscapes pass before your eyes. Whether you’re a train fanatic or just curious, this is without doubt one of the best attractions in Charleroi.
Work off all those Belgian waffles you scoffed at breakfast and see the sights on two wheels. Boasting ten trails over 100 kilometres, Les Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure is a complex of five artificial lakes backed by beautiful scenery, dams and a hydro-electric power station. Grab yourself a bike, hoist yourself up on to the saddle and race each other round the circumference of some of Belgium’s prettiest waters.
Take a walk through the treetops and go ziplining at Natura Parc. Not for the faint of heart, the adventure centre sits on the banks of Lac de la Plate Taille and offers a variety activities that’ll sweep you off your feet. Strap in and glide over the lakes as you complete the 200 metre long zip line that hangs high off the ground. Feeling brave? Release your inner Tarzan and swing through the forest after a drop of 15 metres from a platform hidden in the trees. Perfect for a large group or team building exercises, tuck into some local grub at the barbeque pits after and soak up the sun on the shores of the lakes for the ultimate adrenaline-filled afternoon.
Boasting a beach and water sports to beat the band, Espace Fun is an oasis of fun activities for all ages and levels. Sitting on the banks of the largest lakes in Belgium, the centre offers everything from stand up paddle-boarding and kayaking to windsurfing and sailing. Explore the lake’s aquatic flora and fauna in a way you never have before and try not to fall in as you tackle paddles and sails galore.
Visit the world’s first solar-powered ski lift and take on the challenges set out by Charleroi’s Spin Cablepark. Wetsuit up, grab some skis and hold on tight as two cables pull you round the 620 metre course. Whether you want to try water-skiing, knee boarding or wakeboarding, the park has something for everyone. doubling up as a leisure centre, after you’ve completed the circuit, swap the boards for volleyballs and refuel at the snack bar. Without a doubt one of the best attractions in the region, this place is definitely one to add to the list of what to do in Charleroi.
Thinking of flying to Charleroi soon? Make sure to tag us in your photos of the best things to do in Charleroi using the hashtag #ryanairstories, for the chance to be featured on Ryanair’s Instagram feed.
Flights to Charleroi
- Lucy Norris