Veves Castle, often referred to as Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, is located in the picturesque town of Celles. We visited the Castle, so here is its history and how to reach it.
Veves Castle’s history
The Veves Castle is a unique castle located just outside the village of Celles (Namur). It has been owned by the same family for the last 800 years, and is classified as an exceptional heritage by the region of Wallonia.
Veves Castle has its origins between the years 670 and 714 when the military leader Pepin of Herstal ruled over the region. He mainly chose this location because of its military importance: near Saint-Hadelin, and located on a hill between Dinant and Rochefort so his army could control the passage.
Over the centuries, the castle was destroyed twice: once in 1200 and then by a fierce fire in the 15th century. The castle was repeatedly restored and kept its function as a military fortress until after the Middle Ages.
It was not until the Renaissance period that the fortress underwent its first transformation, which Louis XV later continued. During these transformations, mainly the layout of the interior, the woodwork, and the wall windows were modified.
From the 12th century on, the castle passed into the hands of the de Beaufort family, after Wauthier de Beaufort tied the knot with Ode de Bretagne. Since then, the castle has remained in the hands of the same family, which means that it has been in their possession for more than 800 years.
In order to maintain the castle, their descendants Aymar (1846-1909) and Hadelin (1887-1974) have set up an association with the goal of preserving the castle and opening it up to the public as a heritage. To this day, this historic building is still preserved as a heritage.
To preserve the Castle as a historic site, several restorations have taken place over the years; the last major repair dates from 1969 and has lasted until 1979. Thanks to these restorations, the Castle allows us to pass on different periods of history: from the Middle Ages to the present.
Key facts about Veves Castle
The Castle has been rebuilt and renovated over the past few centuries, so it resembles a mixture of different architectural styles. The oldest rooms in the castle date back to the 13th century, while many other rooms were added and transformed from the 16th through the 18th-century.
The most remarkable architectural structures refer to 15th-century military architecture. Still, most of the buildings that turned it into a fortress (such as the chapel, the stables,…) were dismantled in the 19th century.
|Built in||Foundations date back to 670, while the castle was rebuilt in the 15th century after a fire.|
|Names||Château de Celles, Château de Vêves, Veves Castle,…|
|Price||€8 for adults, €7 for retirees and students, €5 for children, and free for children younger than four years old.|
|Address||Rue de Furfooz 3, 5561 Houyet|
|GPS coordinates||50.2207° N, 4.9825° E|
Legends around Veves Castle
Since Veves Castle has been around for so many years, many local and urban legends found their origin in the neighborhood of Veves Castle.
One of the most famous legends that involve the Castle dates back to 1609 when a local woodcutter axed a tree and found the statue of the Virgin Mary inside. The figure was handed over to Baron de Celles (the Count of Beaufort).
On another occasion, the Baron’s baby son fell from one of the highest staircases in the Castle, after which everyone in the family came to pray in front of that statue of the Virgin Mary. The baby, who was on the brink of death, miraculously recovered.
To commemorate this event, the Count of Beaufort decided to build several chapels, one where the statue was found, and an additional chapel on his other domain around Brussels.
Our visit to Veves Castle
We visited Veves Castle as part of our road trip, during which we traveled through Europe for a week in a campervan including Wegelnburg, Schloss Lichtenstein, and Santuario Madonna Della Corona.
We passed by the Castle on the last day of our trip, when we were on our way back to Brussels. When we arrived at the Castle, the sun was about to set, and the entrance to the Castle was already closed. We didn’t have the time to take off our drone, but we did experience an incredible sunset.
While we were exploring the area around the Castle, our electronics were charging in our motorhome using the Ecoflow River Pro power station.
Although the parking was not equipped with electricity poles or showers, a noticed a few other campers which were parked and planning to spend the night (wild camping).
How to reach Veves Castle
Where Vêves Castle was located at an essential point in the Middle Ages, it is now a bit more remote: The roads around the Castle are not particularly well maintained, and public transport is therefore almost non-existent.
|BY CAR||You can drive up to the castle, where you’ll find a few free parking spots. It’s a 30 min drive from Namur, 1h15 from Brussels and a 1h15 drive from Liège.|
|BY BUS||There is no public transport with a stop at the castle, however: the castle has a partnership with a coach company … which might be handy for big groups or schools who want to visit it.|
|BY TRAIN||The closest train station is the station of Dinant, but you’ll need a cab (15 min drive) to reach the Castle.|
When to visit Veves Castle
Veves Castle is known for being one of the only castles in Belgium where the structure is so well maintained; the interior still refers to the Middle Ages and where most of the Castle is still accessible to visitors.
Visitors who would like to see the inside of the castle should consult the castle’s visiting schedule; Fortunately, the castle managers ensure that the castle is open on most weekends and public holidays, and large groups can make reservations all year round.
For photographers, we recommend that you mainly aim for a beautiful sunset, which is possible during the summer, autumn and winter!
What to do at Veves Castle
Veves Castle is located in Celles, a small Wallonian city. As a result, there are not a lot of different activities to do at and around the castle.
- Guided Castle tour. The Castle offers fully guided tours, available in French, Dutch, English, and even Spanish. These tours take about an hour of your time and will walk you through the history of the Castle.
- Treasure hunt. To entertain the kids, the owners of the Castle have invented a treasure hunt where kids get to dress up as knights and nobles as they search for a hidden treasure chest in the Castle.
- Hike. There are a few hiking trails in the area that passes by the Castle. There is even a route that runs from Castle of Vêves to the nearby Chateau Walzin.
Other attractions near Veves Castle
As it was a fascinating military site during the Middle Ages, you can find some of Belgium’s most impressive castles and ruins around Dinant. This makes it easy to spend an entire day visiting Veves Castle and its neighboring attractions.
- Walzin Castle. One of the most beautiful neo-gothic castles in Belgium; It’s located on top of a cliff, just above the Lesse river, and overlooking its surroundings.
- Naulette Caves. A large cave, located in Wallonia on the left bank of the Lesse. The cave was explored in 1866 by Edouard Dupont, who found some Neanderthal fossils that were substantial evidence for Charles Darwin’s (then controversial) theory of human evolution.
- Celles City. During the WOII Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, Celles was the furthest point where the German Second Armored Division advanced. This is why a German Panther tank can be found at the main crossroads of the village.
- Château de Noisy. Until October 2017, you could find a 19th-century neo-Gothic castle in Celles, located next to Veves Castle. However: the Castle has been completely demolished, as it was neglected and it was about to collapse.
What to pack when visiting Veves Castle
A visit to Veves Castle and its surroundings can quickly take up a full day, making it handy to bring some essentials with you.
|Essentials to pack|
|Peak Design 20L Backpack||This has been our go-to backpack for ages. It carries our camera and all our other essentials effortlessly, which is why we selected it as the best camera bag for traveling in 2023.|
|Hiking shoes||With this muddy and rocky environment, it was essential to wear the proper footwear.|
|LARQ Bottle||Staying hydrated is essential; that’s why we’re constantly carrying a water bottle containing UV-C Light technology; It neutralizes a lot of harmful bacteria and contributes to our zero-waste lifestyle.|
|Holzkern “La Concorde” Watch||Time flies when you’re having fun! Especially when you’re on a road trip or when you have a schedule in mind, that’s why we advise you to keep an eye on the clock.|
Photographing Veves Castle
To photograph the Veves Castle, you’ll want to take the weather and its seasonal conditions into account: A colorful forest or a snowy landscape is so much more helpful to create a unique photograph than when the leaves have already fallen.
The Castle is not marked as a no-fly zone, so you can fly here as long as you respect the local and the new 2021 EU Regulations. We included a short drone video from above the Castle as a muse for your inspiration.
As an experienced and published photographer, my camera bag grew throughout the years. It currently contains various cameras and lenses, each with its function and use – I’ve listed all of them below.
|Sony A7III DSLR Camera (review)||The Sony A7III DSLR Camera is a couple of years old now and is still one of the best options for travel photography.|
|Tamron 28-75mm Lens||My default Sony camera lens. I have a 67mm HOYA polarizing filter screwed on it as standard, which captures the sky more beautifully.|
|Macbook M1 Pro (review)||We edit our pictures on the new Macbook M1 Pro, mainly because it has a longer battery life is and more powerfull in editing.|
|Instax Mini 40 (review)||The power of this Instax camera lies in the nostalgic feeling it creates, which is why I use it to capture the vibe while staying in the moment.|
For aspiring photographers, landscape photography might seem like black magic. This is why we decided to break down the technical details behind this shot.
Post-production is the process of editing your picture in software such as Lightroom and Photoshop. This process helps you to improve the quality of your photos drastically.