As spring finally makes its appearance in Belgium, the beautiful Hallerbos Forest rolls out the blue carpet enticing visitors from far and wide to take a walk in nature. Find out everything you need to know to visit the enchanting bluebell forest near Brussels!
Hallerbos Forest, Belgium is located in a sleepy town on the outskirts of Brussels. With a mere 31.000 inhabitants, this bolthole does not get much action, until the season for the bluebells in Belgium kicks off and it becomes absolutely jam-packed.
The 552 ha (1,360 acres) of woodland known as the “Blue Forest” in Belgium is truly one of the most beautiful places in Belgium to visit in Spring. Read on for the best time to visit, how to avoid the crowds and why the so-called Belgium blue forest should be at the top of your bucket list.
Bluebell forest in Belgium: Where is it located?
The blue forest of Belgium is located in the village of Halle, some 30 kilometers south of Brussels. If you have never heard of it before, believe me, you are not the only one. The proximity of Halle to the capital make it a perfect day trip from Brussels.
After finishing up your hike, head back to Halle and check out both the impressive 14th-century Basilica of our Lady of Halle and St. Martin’s church. Do not head home before tasting the local beer: Oude Geuze or Oude Kriek. Though personally, I find these beers to be a bit too sour for my taste.
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When is the best time to see the bluebells in Hallerbos?
CHECK BEFORE YOU GO | Bluebell Webcam
The Belgian bluebell is a fickle flower, it can bloom anywhere between late March and early May. The determining factor being the weather and the amount of sunshine the forest bed receives. Bluebells are the last of the spring flowers to bloom, right before the woodland canopy is sheltered from the sun by the fresh leaves on the trees.
As a rule of thumb, aim for the middle of April to the end of April. The season usually lasts about three weeks from start to finish. Don’t just take my word though, always double-check the above-linked bluebell webcam before you go.
Bear in mind visiting the Belgium bluebell forest is a very popular activity amongst locals. While the forest is large enough to accommodate many people, the surrounding infrastructure is not. Parking is very limited, either opt to come during a weekday or come near the end of the bluebell season.
Where to find the bluebells in Hallerbos Forest
Rest assured the Hallerbos bluebells are ubiquitous and thanks to their vibrant colors, easy to spot.
That being said the forest is 552 ha (1,360 acres), and the densest patch of bluebells is located in the southern part of the forest. This is also where you will find the signposted bluebell walking routes.
Hallerbos has two specific blue-bell routes respectively 4.8 km (2.9 mi) and 5.1 km (3.2 mi) long. Along these routes, you will see purple & white wooden markers indicating the direction to walk. The paths are cordoned off, to keep visitors from walking between the bluebells and damaging the flowers.
If you get lost, volunteers wearing purple vests are located at the various entrances of the forest. They speak English, Dutch and French and will help you find your way.
Map of the Halle forest and the bluebells
DOWNLOAD | The digital map of Hallerbos Belgium with the bluebell route
Upon entering Halle Forest from Parking 1 (P1) we were provided with a paper map of Hallerbos. The map is available in four languages (Dutch, French, German and English). Along the bluebell route, this very same map has been placed on the treetrunks, a large red dot indicating where you are on the route.
Extend your hike around the Hallerbos bluebells
DOWNLOAD | Maps of the various walks in Hallerbos
Halle Forest has more to offer than bluebells. If you are an avid hiker you might want to extend your walking route by adding on one of the three hikes to the bluebell route.
- REEBOK WANDELING (HIKE): 7 km (4.3 mi) takes you through the four valleys of Hallerbos. Signs are indicated with yellow signposts.
- SEQUOIA ROUTE (HIKE): 4 km (2.5 mi) meanders through the marge sequoias of Hallerbos Forest. Route indicated by blue signposts
- PLATEAU WALK: 4 km (2.5 mi) suitable for visitors with limited mobility wishing to see bluebells in Halle Forest. White/Black signposts indicate this hike.
How to get to Hallerbos Belgium
Visit Hallerbos Forest by public transportation (recommended)
By far the easiest way to get to the Belgium Hallerbos Forest is by taking the (free) shuttle from Halle train station. Read up on how to get to Hallerbos by public transportation.
Take the car
The quickest way to get from Brussels to Hallerbos is by car. However bear in mind parking is very limited, so make sure to come early. We parked on P1 (input Hogebermweg into the GPS), if that is full look into P11 (tap Houtveld in the GPS)
Explore by bicycle
OWN BIKE: Plenty of friends who live in Brussels undertake the yearly pilgrimage to the Belgium bluebell forest from Brussels by bike. Depending on where you live in Brussels it should take no more than 35 min to 1 hour to get to Hallerbos from Brussels.
RENT A BIKE: Opposite the main entrance of the train station in Halle you can rent bikes by the hour (weekdays 11.00 am – 07.00 pm); weekends and holidays the rental is free while supplies last (09.00 am – 05.00 pm). The ride is about 5km from Halle train station to Halle Forest.
Opening hours and entrance fee to Hallerbos Forest near Brussels
Good news, Hallerbos is public property and as such it is absolutely free to visit. There are no gates surrounding the woodland, therefore you can come and go 24/7.
Can I pick the Hallerbos bluebells
The answer is absolutely no! The Belgian bluebell is a very fragile flower and will die immediately upon being picked. The occurrence of wild bluebells in the forest, especially on this scale, is very rare. In order to preserve the bluebells, visitors exploring Hallerbos Belgium are requested not to touch, poke, pick or step on the flowers.
The bluebell route is entirely cordoned off, for this very reason. To stop over-eager hikers, photographers, and animals from causing damage. Dogs are to be kept on a leash at all times while walking in the forest.
Practical tips for visiting Hallerbos Forest Belgium
If you are planning a visit to the beautiful blue forest, Halle Belgium, these practical tips might be worth reading before you head out.
- TOILETS: During the Bluebell festival, various dixie toilets (portable toilets) are sparingly placed on P1 and in the middle of the forest (indicated on the above map). There is no toilet paper, so make sure to bring your own.
- RUBBISH BINS: There are very few bins inside the Halle Forest. Therefore if you do bring snacks, make sure to carry a small bag with you to hold on to your rubbish until you can discard it.
- WHAT TO WEAR: The hike around the forest is not hard and does not require specific hiking boots. At least not if the weather is good. If you are visiting Hallerbos after multiple days of rain, it can be very muddy, in which case sturdy walking shoes will make life a lot easier.
- FOOD & DRINK: There are no food or drink facilities inside the Hallerbos forest itself. But on a sunny day the chances are high you will find an ice cream truck near P1. The vendor sells a limited amount of (non-alcoholic) beverages and ice cream flavors. Payment in cash only. €2.5/scoop.
- FUN APPS TO DOWNLOAD: There is more fauna and flora to see than only the bluebells in Hallerbos. We used Plant Net app (only for Android) to identify the various flowers.
- AVOID THE FIRST WEEKEND: The “blue forest” is very beloved amongst us Belgians. If the weather is good, hordes of visitors descend upon the forest, especially on the first weekend. In practice, this means the forest feels slightly like Disneyland, and finding parking is virtually impossible. If you can try exploring during the week, or try and go one of the last weeks.
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