A touch of indulgence for hikers

Slenaken nestles in the Gulpdal valley just a few hundred metres from Belgium. Known as 'Heuvelland', or 'hill country', this border region of rolling countryside and large estates is a favourite with hikers. It's positively mountainous here by Dutch standards, and that explains the name of Hotel Klein Zwitserland ('Little Switserland') Wellness & Spa. you can set off walking into the undulating landscape from the door of the hotel. The rivers Geul and Gulp wind along their pretty valleys, and the footpaths weave like threads around the borders between the Netherlands and Belgium. 

Hillside woods

The paths lead you along the edges of hillside woodland that is unique in the Netherlands because of the clay and lime soil, and distinctive for the early flowering plants. On clear days you can see far across the borders in both directions. 

Photo credit: VVV Zuid-Limburg

Timber-framed houses

The rolling landscape is also renowned for its timer-framed houses, constructed with a skeleton of wood, straw and clay. Until the mid-19th century this was the standard building method in the region. It was inexpensive because all the materials were available locally. 

Turnstiles

In the days when many journeys were mad on foot, the shortest routes often led through the fields, and popular routes became footpaths with a public right of way. Where the footpaths cross the field boundaries, turnstiles known as stegelkes prevent the livestock from escaping. you'll come across them frequently as you explore the Heuvelland region. 

Photo credit: VVV Zuid-Limburg

Wellness for hikers

At Hotel Klein Zwitserland, the owner André Steinschuld and his partner and hostess Bianca Steinschuld offer an unforgettable experience. André is also a chef, and he has a knack of capturing the flavours of the region. His sister Diana has compiled the varied wine list. After a walk you can take a refreshing dip in the panorama swimming pool, with a view across the hills and valley. Keen hikers should be sure not to miss the wonderful wellness facilities, with a Finnish sauna, bio-sauna with colour therapy, steam bath, three 'experience showers', and a relaxation room.