Sports & Outdoors

Belgium's Hallerbos Bluebell Forest

Like a blanket of lilac-blue surrounded by towering green trees, the Hallerbos bluebell forest in Belgium is an enchanting sight like no other.

Take a trip to Belgium's Hallerbos bluebell forest this spring, to witness one of nature's greatest phenomena.

Located in Halle, in Belgium's Flemish Brabant, is Hallerbos, a forest that's blessed with a beautiful carpet of bluebells that flower during the spring. Although it's tricky to pinpoint the exact time the flowers will bloom due to the ever-changing weather, the best time to visit the forest is usually during the latter half of April, when the bluebells flower, and a sapphire glow envelopes the forest.

Exploring Hallerbos

The best way to explore Hallerbos, and the swathes of bluebells, is by following the four hiking trails that guide you through the woods. Three of the trails are marked with different coloured poles, with each covering different routes and distances for varying abilities. The Achtdreven Walk is just 1.8-kilometres in distance, and can be followed via the white and black painted poles. The Achtdreven route is designed for visitors with limited mobility, and provides plenty of picnic benches throughout the course, so that families can enjoy lunch with a view.

The two other marked routes are the Sequoia Walk, which is four kilometres long, and the Roebuck Walk, which is seven kilometres long. For Sequoia, simply follow the blue poles, which take you past conifers and giant Sequoia trees. The Roebuck Walk is marked out by yellow posts, which guide you through three of the four valleys in Hallerbos, where you can stop to take in the picturesque views, and wait patiently for wildlife to pass.

Follow the Bluebell Walk

Follow the Bluebell Walk

The one unmarked walking route is the Bluebell Walk, which takes you through the heart of the bluebells during the spring. You can find the map for this on the Hallerbos website.

Things to do in Hallerbos

On top of the magnificent nature, there's also the Forest Museum, a place where a variety of natural exhibitions are displayed throughout the year. During spring, the museum hosts an exhibition on spring flowers, which will explore the beautiful and unusual flowers of the forest that you'll get to spot during your visit. However, be mindful that the museum is only open on specific days of the year, so call up beforehand to double check opening times.

Explore the sights and sounds of Brussels

Explore the sights and sounds of Brussels

Wildlife in Hallerbos

Like most forests in Belgium, Hallerbos is alive with captivating wildlife that you and your family will love seeking out. The local community and government have become heavily involved with protecting the wild species that inhabit the forest and its surroundings, so a lot has been developed and built over recent years. In 2010, a bridge just outside of the forest was transformed into a 'wildlife tunnel', which enables animals to move safely on grassy marshland, instead of the road. As well as the tunnel, there's a 'wildlife fence', which was built to protect animals from the large highway that passes through the forest. The fence allows the deer, badgers and other animals to migrate from one part of Hallerbos to the next, without risk.

Get up close to these beautiful blue flowers

Get up close to these beautiful blue flowers

Outside of Hallerbos


Only a 16-minute drive from Hallerbos is Halle, a city full of charm and picturesque sights. After a day spent admiring the spectacular bluebells, Halle is a great place to go for something to do, or a bite to eat.

In terms of food, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to recharge in after a long hike through the woods, but a good choice is Boelekewis. Sip on great local wines and beers, and dine on quality cuts of meat, fresh salads and mouth-watering desserts, which you can enjoy on the restaurant's lovely outdoor terrace.

If you've booked a hotel, be sure to pay a visit to the city's Boon Brewery, a business that has been up and running since 1975. The brewery specialises in soft and fine Gueuze Lambic, and produces a range of deliciously refreshing beers that are perfect for spring, from red beers with hints of cherry to raspberry flavoured Lambic.

Dig into steak at one of Halle's many restaurants

Dig into steak at one of Halle's many restaurants


Just a short 30-minute drive from Hallerbos is Brussels, the capital city of Belgium. A hub of culture, great chocolate and brilliant sights, Brussels is a world away from the peacefulness of Hallerbos, but still a delightful place to spend a day or two after a journey through the forest. As with any big city, there's a lot to see and do, from the weird and wonderful architecture, such as Manneken Pis, to exploring the fascinating museums.

For a taste of the city's architecture, head over to the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, a Roman Catholic church that's a great example of French gothic design. The interiors of the cathedral are just as opulent as the exterior, and feature an incredible Baroque pulpit, which depicts the story of Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden, as well as the serpent being destroyed by the Virgin and Child. This famous piece was designed by Flemish sculptor, Hendrik Frans Verbrugghen, and is a must-see for any fans of art.

If you fancy exploring Belgium's comic-strip history, take your family along to the Belgian Comic Strip Center, which is part of the Comics Art Museum. With the permanent exhibitions, you can find out how the comic book strip was invented, and how it developed into an art form, by exploring the works of famous comic artists, such as Tintin's Hergé. On top of the permanent exhibitions, there are also plenty of fascinating temporary displays throughout the year for you to enjoy, and even a reading room, where you can all catch up on your favourite comic stories.

Getting there and around

Want to explore the magical wonders of Hallerbos' bluebell forest for yourself? It only takes a little over two hours to drive from Calais to Hallerbos, and with the journey from the UK to France only taking 35-minutes with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle you can be there and back in a day.

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