The RAVeL network in Wallonia
The RAVeL is a long network of more than 1,430 km of environmentally friendly routes in Wallonia, running along abandoned railway lines and towpaths. The routes are reserved for non-motorised road users and allow for safe travel within a natural environment away from traffic. The RAVeL’s Line 38 is considered to be one of the oldest and most mythical cycle routes in Wallonia. Located in the East of the region, it connects the German border to Liège, via the Pays de Herve’s bucolic landscapes and farmland. It also forms part of the EuroVelo 3 route in Belgium.
Quality cycling facilities along EuroVelo 3
Thanks to the 2016-2019 RAVeL investment plan of Wallonia’s Ministry of Mobility and Public Works, we can now enjoy new signposted infrastructure. The new developments were mainly intended to fill in missing links and allow cyclists to travel to new town and city centres from the existing RAVeL network by developing continuous cycle routes. This does not only come in handy for local road users, but also for cycle tourists using the EuroVelo 3 route. Line 38 actually forms part of this cycle route and its inception has made it much easier for cyclists to travel.
EuroVelo 3 runs from Norway to Spain over 5,000 km, but certain stretches do need further development. This is not the case for the 210 km stretch across Belgian territory, however, as it is considered to be one of the most developed and signposted of the entire network.
Inaugurations to kick off the summer months
Many cyclists in the region are breathing a sigh of relief with the end of the construction works and the opening of the new sections. They had been looking forward for years to the construction of two new bridges that connect the RAVeL route along the Ourthe to Chênée and Line 38 to Vaux-sous-Chèvremont. This finally links up sections of the RAVeL with some of the most frequented routes in Wallonia. From asphalting to the construction of a new bridge near Hombourg’s old train station (Plombières) and the creation of a new 10 km asphalt track between Herve and Thimister-Clermont (one of the most beautiful villages in Wallonia), the new developments costed more than 6 million euros and the recent inaugurations drew large crowds. And with the summer months approaching, even more cyclists are expected to take advantage of the new infrastructure.
And that isn’t all - over the next two years more asphalting has been planned on Lines 38 and 39 between Thimister-Clermont, Aubel, Plombières and Aachen for a total cost of around 2.8 million euros.
You will therefore soon be able to safely travel the 55 km that separate Liège and Aachen on the RAVeL. The ultimate aim is to create a proper touristic cycle network between the Vennbahn cycle route, the Trambaan (cycling connection between Maastricht, Vaals and Aachen), Line 38 and the Meuse at the heart of the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion. This would further promote travelling by bike, develop the local economy; and facilitate travel for daily users.
More practical info on the RAVeLs.
More practical info on the EuroVelo 3 in English and French.
Author(s): Pro Velo, Omer Malak