Bastogne meets the profile of an idyllic, rustic Belgian town, with a rich history and a rather wide offering of tourist attractions. Like many Belgian towns, the location of Bastogne seems to have been very carefully selected: on a wide, highly elevated ridge. The result is a scenario where, standing in Bastogne, you get to view the surrounding (beautiful) areas from what can be termed as a vantage point.
So important has this town been over the centuries that the various monarchs who have conquered Belgium have always expressed direct interest in it. This goes as far back as the time of the Roman conquest. It was one of the towns that had impressive defensive walls, and is today host to many monuments whose architectural ingenuity is a marvel even to those who are not history buffs.
Getting around Bastogne
One fairly straightforward way to get around Bastogne is by bus. The city is host to a couple of bus stations. The first of those is the Bastogne Sud, with the second one being Bastogne Nord. In between there are bus stops placed in such a manner that you can get around most of the town by bus. An added advantage of getting around Bastogne by bus is that you also get a chance to take in much of what the city has to offer, in terms of general scenery on the way – with the bonus being that of seeing how people live around here.
You can, of course, also get around Bastogne by foot, given its compactness.
Things to see and do in Bastogne
If you have always been fascinated by the idea that towns and cities in the olden days used to have defensive walls, and you’d like to have a sense of just how those walls looked like, Bastogne is the place for you to be. This is thanks to the fact that the town’s defensive walls, which were erected in the 1300s, are still visible today. They are referred to as Porte de Treves, and they are a real marvel, especially when you consider the amount of effort and ingenuity that went into erecting them.
Another monument that is definitely worth visiting while in Bastogne is the Mardasson Monument. This is essentially a war monument, and a rather beautiful one at that, with a history you will definitely want to hear.
Since Bastogne is a historical town, you will do well to pay a visit to the Bastogne Historical Center (which isn’t really far from the Mardasson Monument). It is actually not a big historical center, but its small size belies the richness of what it has to offer.
You may have studied about the battle of Bulge, which is a source of considerable pride to the US Army. A relic from that battle, which still stands in Bastogne today, is the Sherman Tank. You will have a chance to savor most of the other things that Bastogne has to offer, in terms of sights and things to do, as you make your way to the location of this particular historical military tank.
To have a most comprehensive 411 on what Bastogne has to offer, it may be a good idea to start your visit with a stopover at the Bastogne information center. There, you will not only get maps of the town, but you may also have a chance to buy the various items that are on offer for sale.
The Animalaine is also worth visiting, if you happen to be in Bastogne during the months when it is in operation (April to September). This is essentially a zoo specializing in wool animals, and a museum. There are guided tours, and the Animalaine is also host to a nice restaurant where you can get a chance to sample local Belgian cuisine.