Hallerbos Hyacinten - Halle Bluebells Forest (Flanders - Belgium)

MYSTICAL BLUE FOREST OF BELGIUM

After getting really frustrated through the winter, especially after we had a tough day at Mechelen, I was really really looking forward for spring. We've begun to visit parks and Atyu has got on grass and soil since last few weeks. Ofcourse, the icing on the cake of Floralia Brussels! The very next week after Floralia Brussels, I headed off to Hallerbos!!!
Scroll down for Hallerbos 2021 updates.

Hallerbos Halle Bluebells Forest
Hallerbos Hyacinten Halle Bluebells Festival

Hallerbos Hyacinten Halle Bluebells Festival

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT HALLERBOS?
This year, as it is in the news everywhere, the weather has been cold for very long, delaying spring and making blooms really late. Floral blossoms like the Tulips, Bluebells, even Cherry Blossoms look picture perfect for only about 10 days every year. Before or after that, it is only OK, not so perfect! So planning for these from far away may not really give the best results, because you might decide, based on the dates of last few years and this year, it may turn out different! This year, by chance, I'm in Brussels and I needn't plan prior for the Bluebells. The day I got the info that the blooming has begun, I headed there within the next couple of weekends (the immediate next I was at Floralia Brussels)! 
If you're planning to visit, and you're in Belgium or even Europe, it is better to keep an eye on the official website of Hallerbos from the beginning of April. They announce the moment the blue carpet fills the forest. It is better to head there within 10 days from that point.  Normally, this is around mid-April, but you never know how climate change affects the exact dates every year!

BEST HIKING ROUTES IN HALLE BLUEBELLS FOREST (HALLERBOS)
especially when arriving by Public Transport
Even though there are several parking lots, while taking the public transport to visit Hallerbos, the best feasible starting points would be P1 & P8. There are 2 Bluebells tracks which are about 5km each and they meet at P8. I started at the P1. They are some lovely volunteers who guide with the details of where the best of bluebells viewing can be seen on that particular day. It so happened that this point was on the other track. However, we did a bit of short cut and headed to the Tranendal area which was the best are to see the blue carpet of Belgium, the mystical blue forest of Belgium, last weekend. 

Hallerbos Hyacinten Mystical Blue Forest of Belgium

Hallerbos Hyacinten Mystical Blue Forest of Belgium

Hallerbos Hyacinten Mystical Blue Forest of Belgium

Hallerbos Hyacinten Mystical Blue Forest of Belgium

Throughout the walking path were the bluebells in various density, but it wasn't really impressive. Apart from Bluebells, there were also Ramsons (Wild Garlic). By this time, Ramsons were already blooming with the white flowers (2nd pic above). And finally, we reached the Tranendel area. 

VISITING THE MAGICAL BLUE FOREST OF BELGIUM
How was it? It was unbelievable! I haven't seen anything like this in my life! The tall beechwood trees, with the fluorescent green leaves, on a blue carpet, topped with chill, mild wind and chirps of birds........ It's something I cannot express in words. You have to be there in flesh and blood to understand it! I could just stay there all day and yes, Mr.V & friends did have a tough time pulling me out of the place and yeah, they did give in and accepted to explore one more small track! It is just so so so so so so gorgeous... It is one of the best places to experience Spring in Belgium, one of the best things to do in Flemish Brabant, one of the best things to do around Brussels.

TIPS FOR VISITING HALLERBOS HYACINTEN BLUEBELLS FOREST
  • Bluebells are delicate plants and they 'die' when you stomp on them or pluck them! Even though Instragram may show dreamy pictures of people in the midst of bluebells, it is a very bad idea to walk in the midst of bluebells (+ you could be fined because they are protected plants in a protected area)!
  • Pack your picnic lunch. One - there are no restaurants or food kiosks in the vicinity. Two - it is an amazing feeling to eat (on those picnic benches) in the midst of the mystical blue forest of Belgium!
  • It is not really stroller/wheelchair friendly, though it is possible to manage with strollers (there are some steep climbs which may be very tricky with wheelchairs).
  • Wild Garlic (Ramsons) leaves are amazing. Wild Garlic pesto is just divine. However picking/plucking anything in this forest is a punishable offence, not just bluebells, but also Ramsons (Wild Garlic) or mushrooms. But around this season is when Ramsons are fresh and available in very many places all over Belgium where it is possible to pick them (however, foraging wild garlic is prohibited in Brussels region). For the best results, pick those Ramsons before they bloom.
  • Dogs on leash are allowed. 
  • Ofcourse, wear good shoes as the dirt track is pretty steep and rocky at some places.

It might be already too late to visit this year (2018). However, if you're in Belgium, you could still take a chance. If you're planning for next year, make sure to keep an eye on their official site since the beginning of April for the announcement of bloom!


Bluebells in Belgium Best spring destinations in Europe

Bluebells in Belgium Best spring destinations in Europe

Bluebells in Belgium Best spring destinations in Europe

HOW TO REACH HALLE BLUEBELLS FOREST HALLERBOS BY CAR:
There are a whopping 11 parking lots available around the Halle Forest. Refer to the map below for their location. The parking lots closest in the Brussels direction are P1 & P11.
Where is Halle Blue Forest of Belgium (on Google Maps): Hallerbos

HOW TO REACH HALLE BLUEBELLS FOREST HALLERBOS BY BUS:
From Halle Station to Hallerbos Parking 1: 3.5km (DeLijn bus 155 every 1 hr)
Nearest Bus-stop: Essenbeek Hallerbosstraat - 700m from Parking 1 (DeLijn route 155)
From Halle Station to Hallerbos Parking 8: 5.5km (DeLijn bus 114 every 30 mins)
Nearest Bus-stop: Halle Vlasmarkt  1.3km from Parking 8 (DeLijn route 114)

Free shuttle from Halle Station to the Hallerbos parking lot is available at the weekends during the bloom.

HALLERBOS BLUEBELLS WALKING MAP: Hallerbos Bluebells trail via the official website (opens/downloads as PDF)

HALLERBOS BLUEBELLS FESTIVAL ENTRY TICKETS: Free

HALLERBOS BLUEBELLS FOREST TIMINGS: 24 x 7

HALLERBOS BLUEBELLS FESTIVAL FACILITIES: 
  • Information points are available close to most of the parking lots. 
  • Makeshift toilets are available near Parking P1, P2 and P8. 
  • Picnic tables are available near Parking P1, P8 and 4 more along the walking trail. 
  • Cycle stands are available near Parking P5 & P8.

HALLERBOS HYACINTEN FESTIVAL 2021 Update
Due to lockdown & social distancing to curb crowds, the 'festival' is not happening. Obviously being a natural phenomenon, the flowers are in bloom, but like in the previous years, there are no facilities, no toilets, no volunteers and no information points to help the visitors. Their official website and social media are not updated with any information this year. Ideally, visiting Hallerbos in 2021 is very much discouraged and the officials would like us to spend the Spring and see the floral blooms in our own neighbourhoods!
Restrictions Hallerbos 2021: Though discouraged it is not prohibited. Visitors can visit and go on a hike in the pre-marked one-way route. There is no paper/online map available of this route. This one-way map is on display at Hallerbos Parking lots. There are no volunteers to tell you where's the best bloom for the day, so you'll have to take a chance and walk the entire trail to find (or not to find!) the best spot. 
Being an open forest, no reservation or time-slot booking is needed which also means weekends can get pretty crowded. Going on weekdays or early in the morning of weekends are the best, in order to avoid the crowds if at all you would like to visit. If you're going to reside in Belgium for at least another year, you may want to postpone the visit to next year.
The parking spaces have been extremely limited till the first or second week of May (till the flowers are in bloom). Street parking is possible in some areas. Only Parking P1 & P11 are open. The free shuttle from Halle Railway station is not operating this year, but the regular DeLijn buses are still functional. 
If you came here directly via Hallerbos 2021 update/link, scroll up / swipe up to read the entire article incl. how to reach by car/public transport, tips, map etc.

Hallerbos Bluebells Blue Carpet Forest Belgium Pinterest Hallerbos Bluebells Blue Carpet Forest Belgium Pinterest

Hallerbos Bluebells Blue Carpet Forest Belgium Pinterest Hallerbos Bluebells Blue Carpet Forest Belgium Pinterest

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands

20 comments:

  1. I think bluebells are one of the happiest variety of flowers, I just love the colour. I don't blame you for not wanting to leave, it looks so enchanting! Good tips for those with young families too, better to leave the pushchair behind!

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  2. Wow, what gorgeous photos! I've never seen a big field of bluebells in real life before, but it almost looks like the tall trees are floating on water from afar, doesn't it? I'd love to make it a mission to see this next time I'm in Belgium!

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  3. wow it looks like a location from fairy tale movies

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  4. Looks amazing! Especially the bluebells in the forest. I have never been to Belgium but I certainly didn't picture it looking like this. So green and pretty. Love it! I'm a big fan of spring flowers and always go out desert here in California to see any flowers they might have there.

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  5. I love the bluebells on the forrest background, it's like you said: magical! And your tip for keeping an eye on the official website is very important, I know I am guilty of just assuming things will be available when they are featured in a magazine. It's so important to double check! Thanks for the pictures!

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  6. Forest and flowers, and nothing else. A present for a photographer. Would be lovely to hand around there with my camera for a while.

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  7. Amazing, never knew much about these bluebells, and the entire stretch covered with them looks like a beautiful natural blue carpet, I am sure these kind of experiences are nothing less than magical. I can so imagine it and definitely wanna keep in mind during my visit

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  8. Belgium is so magical for such a small country. I love spring flowers so I would definitely want to go see the blue forest some spring. It's good to know that you have to bring lunch, but this seems like an amazing place for a picnic anyway.

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  9. Wow you presented it very well, this is such a beautiful place. Belgium is anyway a beautiful and peaceful place. My fiance is coming from Belgium and he told me that all the year there are 4 different types of flowers in some forest with different colors.
    He recommanded too to go in "Forest de Soignes" which is a very huge forest at the south exit of Brussels (not so far from Hallerbos). Thanks for your beautiful page =)

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    1. Hey! Thanks for the tip. Yes, I'm planning to go there later this month or next. Thanks much for the appreciation too. ��

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  10. Wow, your journey to Hallerbos is truly amazing! I've read your blog for quite long now and you've covered beautiful place always. I haven't heard about bluebells before and haven't seen it as well. I love that track leading to the bluebells is somehow amazing and the 5 kilometer stretch of it is really stunning. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

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  11. I have seen these kind of blue bells or natural carpet covering forest area in films. But is this real? I can imagine, how beautiful it must be looking with blue carpet on grounds and tall birch trees all around. I could listen the melodious sounds of chirping of birds from your video. This place is ethereal and I am adding this when I plan for Brussels.

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  12. I did not even know about bluebells being a sight to visit! This looks amazing! I LOVE your photos, you can see that these are so gorgeous!! I'll bookmark this, maybe I'll do this trip next year ��

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  13. I have never seen the Bluebells bloom. Truly, it looks like a blue carpet. Really a soothing sight.

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  14. First of all this place looks too good to be true. Bluebells is on the bucketlist. Love your pink dress and that first picture is <3

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  15. Its a photographers paradise! I wouldn't want to leave this place before exploring every corner of it. But to be honest, I had never heard of bluebells covering the forest ground.

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  16. Beautiful forest photos nicely captured 👍 I have never seen such forest before. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  17. Wow! The flowers within the forest look so surreal 😊 absolutely gorgeous! I have to put this down on the list of places for next spring.

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  18. I would love to see this wonderful blue carpet that fills the forest. Love nature trails and walking in the forest. This would be a dream trip for me.

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