There’s nothing quite like being near the water on a hot summer’s day. Sure, pools are great, but the sound of splashing water and being surrounded by nature is the real winner. There aren’t heaps of nature spots in Belgium where you’re allowed to actually go in the water, but we’ve found 10 where you can splash and swim to your heart’s content. Whether with the family or with friends, there’s one sure to please you and your chosen companions. Click on the markers for more info on your fave spots!
It’s important to note that swimming is only allowed in the presence of a lifeguard and remember two important things:
1. These swimming areas are natural - respect and preserve our nature.
2. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
Feel at one with nature and take a dip in the river
Settle in on the grassy bank, swim in the Ourthe river, and take in the peaceful, green surroundings of the charming Maboge village. Access is free and there are BBQs and picnic tables so you can truly make a day of it. You’ll be feeling the beach vibes in the peak summer months as the bar café opens with sunbeds - who needs the coast?!
Sun your way through the day on the lawn-lined river Semois and cool down in the water, perfectly levelled for a dip at 1m - 1.2m deep thanks to the dam upstream. There’s also plenty of cabins and benches to adopt for the day if you’d rather stay off the grass. If you’re with super little kids and would rather go somewhere with shallower water that’s more toddler-friendly, try the small Antrogne beach, a bit further down the river.
Get beachtastic away from the coast
Float your worries away as you relax, swim and explore the surrounding area of Lake Robertville. Recreational area Robertville-les-Bains offers up a lakeside sandy beach, decent sized swimming area with a diving platform and boat renting options. Rent a pedal boat, electro-boat or rowing boat to cruise on out into the lake and take in the natural beauty.
Lake Cherapont - Gouvy
This quiet lake is only five minutes from the Luxembourg border and a great spot for a chilled day out in the sun. There’s access to a pond, lake, and the river Ourthe so there’s plenty to feed your summer water fix with designated areas for swimming and fishing. Lay down your towel on the sandy beach and go for a swim or hike in the area before a nap in the sun.
Hit the beach in the Ardennes at this lake of activities. Visit VENNtastic Beach to feel like you closed your eyes and woke up on the coast - with 150m of sunbathing territory along with a large swimming area, inflatables, and boat rental. And when you want to return to the Ardennes, head off hiking or biking into the forest. What a combo!
Enjoy natural open-air swimming pool vibes
You’ll feel like you’re at the pool here and with a pontoon designed as a wooden deck, it’s the perfect place to dip your toes in the water before diving right in. If you’d rather get on the water than in it, head to the small pier and hop in a paddleboat to start exploring. There’s also a playground for the little ones and a skatepark if anyone wants to show off their skills.
This discreet yet accessible beach nestled into an estate in Walloon-Brabant has recently had a makeover featuring 200 tonnes of white sand to bring the shores to the natural open-air pool of Renipont. The perfect little paradise to enjoy with family and friends, relax on the sandy banks, float on the water or play on the slide before starting up your very own beach volleyball tournament on the court.
Pack your swimmers and your adventure shoes
A beach 30-minutes from Antwerp… who knew?! De Ster is a great spot to rent a paddle boat or simply lay out your towel, enjoy the sun on the beach and cool down in the lake. But you can also have the ultimate outdoor day out, with so many activities on offer it’ll make your head spin. Try the Aquapark and Monstersummerslide if you’re feeling adventurous. Or head to the designated water sports area d'Aquarena for stand-up paddle boarding, sailing, kayaking, and windsurfing. There’s also plenty of sports happening on dry land if you just can’t stop moving!
Domain Claire-Fontaine - Chapelle-lez-Herlaimont
Find this recreational mecca just south of Brussels, with something to please everyone. Nab yourself a spot on the large grassy area by the lake and take in the green surroundings as you go for a refreshing dip. There’s an Aquapark, slides and even a tree climbing trail if you’re feeling active, but there’s also paddle boats and fishing if you’re keen to relax.
It’s less adventure shoes and more explorer shoes for this one. The beach area here is a beaut, and with two areas designated to both adults and kids, it’s easy to relax, feel at ease and take a dip in this stunning setting. Before going for a swim make sure to explore the 12 themed gardens, get wild on the biotopes trail and try and spot some local wildlife.
A little extra…
Yes, this is number 11 and it’s something a little different. Sadly, you can’t swim freely here, you can still dive into the summer. We thought it would be rude not to include this cool place!
This super pretty quarry lake is hidden away by high rocky walls and is home to the local diving club. It’s a great spot for divers of all abilities and is about as close as you’ll get to diving a lagoon in Belgium. You can’t just wander in as you need to book your place, but it’s worth a visit for any keen diver as you’ll see sunken vehicles, vibrant plant life and heaps of fish.
You can also find all of these activities and more on our map.