Eupen

The Exekutive (Parliament) of the East Cantons, Klötzerban 32 (tel. 087/55-34-50), is in a handsome patrician mansion dating from 1761. Guided tours are free, but you can only make one by prior arrangement.

The baroque Sankt-Nikolaus Pfarrkirche (Church of St. Nicholas), Marktplatz (tel. 087/74-20-62), incorporating part of a 14th-century church, dates mainly from 1720 to 1726. Its two bulbous spires from the late 1890s have become symbols of the town, and the Aachen style of the exterior contrasting with an interior design typical of Liège reflects Eupen's position on the frontier between the German and the Belgian cities. The church is open daily; admission is free.

Hautes Fagnes: A Grand National Park

Eupen's main tourist value -- aside from its hotels, restaurants, cafes, and stores -- is that it is a gateway to the wide green yonder. Outside the town lies the Hertogenwald Forest, with many marked walking and riding trails. Beyond the forest, in the direction of Malmédy, is Belgium's largest national park, Hautes Fagnes Nature Reserve, a high, boggy moorland plateau with unique subalpine flora, fauna, and microclimate. You can access the reserve through Baraque-Michel and Mont-Rigi, though sections of it are closed for some weeks in spring because of the breeding season for the endangered Fagnes coq de bruyère (capercaillie); they may be closed on occasion in summer due to the increased fire risk. At all times you must stick to the boardwalks and signposted paths (unless accompanied by an official guide). A hike amid the stark beauty of the Hautes Fagnes (Hohes Venn in German) in the dead of winter is a memorable experience -- but be aware that the subalpine climate can suddenly change to subarctic, so only do this if you are properly clad and equipped.

For the complete lowdown on the Hautes Fagnes, visit the Centre Nature de Botrange (tel. 080/44-03-00; www.centrenaturebotrange.be), signposted off the road to Sourbrodt, which documents the reserve's history and ecology. The center is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Admission to the center is free; to the museum it is 3€ ($4.80) for adults, 2.50€ ($4) for seniors, 1.20€ ($1.90) for children ages 6 to 18, and free for children 5 and under.

Close by is the Signal de Botrange, a tower that marks the less-than-dizzying highest point in Belgium, 694m (2,276 ft.) above sea level.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.