The GR5 Trail - Benelux and Lorraine
The North Sea to Schirmeck in the Vosges mountains
Guidebook to walking the northern section of the GR5 - 1000km starting in Hoek van Holland and passing through the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Lorraine to Schirmeck in France. A long-distance route covering a variety of cultures and landscapes. The full GR5 from the North Sea to the Mediterranean is one of the world's greatest trails.
SeasonsA three-season trail, best between April and October. Abundant public transport links even make it possible to seize an opportunity to walk on the GR5 during fine days in winter.
CentresEnd points: Hoek van Holland and Schirmeck; numerous cities between them: Bergen op Zoom, Diest, Maastricht, Spa, Vianden, Echternach, Metz.
DifficultyThe GR5 Trail - Benelux and Lorraine, also known as 'The Northern GR5' is relatively easy: level terrain in the Netherlands and Flanders; hilly, but not difficult in Wallonia and Luxembourg; mostly gentle slopes in Lorraine. The final stages of the walk enter the Vosges Mountains, where trails are steeper. No special equipment is needed, just comfortable walking shoes; some people use trekking poles.
Must SeeVoornes Duin (Netherlands); Maten Nature Reserve (Flanders); Fagne de Malchamps (Ardennes); Little Switzerland (Luxembourg); Côte de Moselle hills and forests (Lorraine). Cities: Bergen op Zoom, Diest, Maastricht, Echternach and Metz. Museums: not just art (Pompidou-Metz); there are also museums dedicated to social history (Bokrijk), tugboats, flint, papier mâché and salt. Other highlights: historic churches and abbeys, medieval castles and modern fortifications.
Guidebook to the northernmost section of the GR5 - from Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands, through Belgium and Luxembourg, to Schirmeck in the northeast of France. Described over 49 stages, this 1000 kilometre section of the GR5 is relatively easy and ideal for those who don't want to hike up and down steep mountains - or not just yet.
Clear route description is accompanied by 1:100K mapping, together with information on points of interest passed along the way. Background information on landscape, wildlife and history is included, as is practical information - everything from clothing, equipment, food, drink and waymarking to maps, money and staying in touch - making planning and executing a trip as easy as possible.
One of the world's best long distance walking trails, the GR5, in its entirety, covers an impressive 1423 miles (2290km) on its way from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. This northern stretch - before the trail hits the depth of the Vosges. Two further Cicerone guidebooks cover the remaining sections of the GR5; 'The GR5 Trail - Vosges and Jura', and 'The GR5 Trail' which covers the route from Lac Leman to the Mediterranean.
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Carroll Dorgan was born and educated in the United States. Pushed by the absence of jobs for inexperienced history graduates where he happened to be living in 1975 and pulled by his wanderlust, Carroll pursued a teaching career for a decade in international schools in Iran, Belgium, England and France. He then returned to California to qualify as a lawyer, but soon moved back to Europe to practice international law in the Netherlands and France. In all of those places, he explored nearby hiking trails. Now retired, he can devote time to writing about those trails.View author profile
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