Top 5 things to do in Hasselt - Japense Tuin, Lavender Fields & more... (Flanders - Belgium)

This article first appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali
 
WEEKEND GETAWAY FROM BRUSSELS - 2 DAYS IN HASSELT, BELGIUM

Hasselt is located in the north eastern region of Belgium in the Limburg province. I had already been to Hasselt to visit Bokrijk earlier and recently I visited again in July for the Limburg Lavendel. I took another trip to the province of Limburg to visit Tongeren & Borgloon as well about which I'll write another blogpost.
 
Limburg Lavendel Hasselt


Belgium lavender fields

Things to do in Hasselt

Belgium Lavender Fields Limburg Lavendel
  
Belgium is a small country but it has a little bit of everything - if Keukenhof has the best tulip show, there is a smaller Belgian Tulip Festival that happens here. Similarly, if Provence has the best lavender fields, there is a smaller Lavender Fields Belgium in Limburg! 
Limburg Lavendel is more like a small farm or a large garden and cannot be really classified as Lavender Fields. There are several rows of lavender plants and when I visited most were in full bloom attracting hundreds of honeybees. The aroma of walking between the plantations is just so blissful. 
The most surprising aspect is that it is free to enter. There is a cafe and the best way to support them is by buying something there. Ofcourse there is a shop with several lavender products. While it is completely closed only from Jan to Mar, and is open otherwise, the best time to visit Limburg Lavendel is Jul-Aug when the flowers are in full bloom. It may begin a bit earlier or go a bit later depending upon the climatic conditions every year. 

How to reach Limburg Lavendel: 8km from Hasselt railway station. Buses are available from Hasselt to Limburg Lavendel as well. Make sure to get the 51 number Delijn bus which runs approximately every half hour and the journey time is 22mins. The 2 other buses (H12/H21) take a very long route through the villages and the journey time is 46 mins!
Limburg Lavendel Hours: Mon-Sat: 1:00PM to 7:00PM (closed on fridays), Sun: 10:00AM to 7:00PM
Limburg Lavendel Tickets: Free!

Japanse Tuin Hasselt

Japanese Gardens Hasselt

Japanse Tuin Things to do in Hasselt

Japanse Tuin Hasselt Belgium
 
If you're with children, you could spend half a day easily here! I spent hours together here with my Atyudarini. Even otherwise, this is the best place to visit in Hasselt around lunch-time, so you could picnic here surrounded by trees & waterbodies & fishes!
Japanse Tuin Hasselt the largest Japanese Garden in Europe covering 2.5ha, set up in 1992. This is one of the best places for Belgium wedding photography! Every element here has a symbolic meaning and the trees here are the ones that normally grow in Japan including cherry blossom, apricot, pine, bamboo, camellia, oak etc. One of the very authentic features is the moss carpet - instead of grass, which is more commonly found to fill the soil, all over Europe, here it is moss. There is a beautiful waterfall that can be reached by a wooden platform bridge. There are recreations of some Japanese architecture including the entry gate, ceremonial tea house etc.
Koi is Japan's national fish (colored breeding variant of the common carp) and the waterbodies here are filled with so many of them! Don't miss buying fish-food at the entrance, esp., when you're with children. Atyudarini had the best time of her life feeding the fish here. Koi fishes here are huge and at the 'pebble-beach' area, they come half-way out of the water to eat the fish-food, so much that you could pet them like a dog!!!! 

How to reach Japanese Garden: 4km from Hasselt railway station (12 mins by bus or 30 mins on foot). 1.4km from Mode Museum. 
Japanse Tuin Hasselt Tickets: €6
Japanse Tuin Hours: Tue to Sun - 10:00AM to 05:00PM. Closed for winter from Nov-Mar
 
Modemuseum Hasselt Christian Dior Pondichery

Modemuseum Hasselt

Jenevermuseum Hasselt

Jenevermuseum Hasselt
   
Belgium's largest fashion museum. This was opened in 1988 with the private collections of Romanian scenographer and costume designer Andre√Į Ivaneanu that was about 19000 articles that represent how fashion has evolved from 1700s till today. Some of the key pieces here include the traditional clothing of 17th C, 'Pondichery' cape by Christian Dior made in 1948 (it was the year when India's Pondichery  was still a French colony!) and Alexander McQueen's 2010-11 dress inspired by Byzantine Empress Theodora. There were very many creations of Prada, Balmain, Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen & more. 

How to reach Modemuseum Hasselt: 1km from Hasselt railway station (8 mins by bus or 10 mins walk). 3 mins walk from Jenevermuseum.
Modemuseum Hasselt Tickets: €6 (included in Museumpassmusees)
Modemuseum Hasselt Hours: 10:00AM to 05:00PM

Jenever is the Dutch Gin made of juniper berries! So the museum is dedicated to the history and the production process of Jenever. The rooms for distillation, mill room, malting tower and more can be seen and are actually still in use. There is a digital map of the traditional distilleries all over the region, which also says the ones that still exist and the ones that have fallen into ruins.
The best part is the chance to try a couple of jenevers at the end of the museum visit. I tasted Sint Lambertus with 22% alcohol and my first reaction was, it tastes fruity, so much like Benadryl cough syrup!!!

How to reach Jenevermuseum Hasselt: 1.2km from Hasselt railway station (12 mins by bus or 15 mins walk). 3 mins walk from Modemuseum.
Jenevermuseum Tickets: €7 (included in Museumpassmusees, but the gin tasting isn't included in the pass)
Jenevermuseum Hours: Tue to Sun 10:00AM to 5:00PM
  
Instaroute Hasselt
Pic Credits: ©Dave Dance Photography. Used with permission from Chopiniana Balletschool

Bokrijk Cycling through the water
Pic Credits: ©Luc Daelemans (used with permission from Bokrijk)
  
Tourism Hasselt has come up with this awesome concept of Instaroute with stunning murals and huge prints all over the city which set the perfect backdrop for the perfect instragram shot. There are 17 such instagrammable locations in HasseltThe best photographs of this route can be found, obviously, on Instagram with the hashtag #instafarihasselt. There are a usual ones like the angel wings, cape etc as well as others like an alcohol bottle (for jenevermuseum), a ramp of a fashionshow (for modemuseum) etc. 

How to reach Instaroute Hasselt: Starting point in the map 
Map of Instaroute Hasselt: ZomerinHasselt

Read my earlier blogpost completely about Bokrijk. Its a domaine with the museum also in it. The 2 most important things to do in Bokrijk are to 'cycling through the water' and to visit the bokrijk open-air museum (openluchtmuseum), which is essentially a Flemish village frozen in time, a few centuries ago, complete with traditional windmills & watermills & houses & more.  

...or should I say as they say in Flemish - Wat te doen in hasselt...
One day itinerary in summer option 1: Limburg Lavendel, Japanese Garden, Museums & Insta route
One day itinerary in summer option 2: Bokrijk Museum & Domaine, Museums & Insta route
One day itinerary in winter: Bokrijk (only domaine incl. cycling through the water), Museums, Townhall & Insta route
Two days itinerary in summer: Day 1: Instaroute Hasselt & Bokrijk (Museum & Domaine); Day 2: Limburg Lavendel, Japanese Garden, Hasselt Museums

Brussels to Hasselt by car: 80km (about 1 hr drive)
Brussels to Hasselt trains are available twice every hour from Brussels Noord/Centraal/Zuid and the journey takes about 1:15hrs. Read more about finding cheap tickets in Belgian trains.
Hasselt can be easily done as multiple day-trips from Brussels.

Hasselt hotels are available in all price points and all major hotel chains have a branch here including Radisson Blu Hotel Hasselt, Park Inn by Radisson Hasselt, Holiday Inn Express Hasselt and more.  Some of the unique hotels here are from a local hotel chain called Different Hotels including Yup Hotel, Carbon Hotel, Hotel Ecu etc. Since I've always visited Hasselt on day-trips from Brussels, I don't have a personal experience in any. 

MY COMPLETE LIMBURG TRAVELOGUE (& other places to see in Limburg provincie): Bokrijk (Cycling through the water), Limburg Lavendel, Hasselt city centre, Tongeren, Borgloon (Doorkijkkerk - Reading between the Lines church), Lommel Sahara, Cycling through the trees 
  
Japanse Tuin Wat te doen in hasselt  Limburg Lavendel Wat te doen in hasselt

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

12 comments:

  1. Wow! It's cool that is free to enter. Most of the lavender fields we visited has an entrance fee. I am also excited to know that there's a cafe. I can just imagine myself staying there the whole afternoon. Anyway, will keep in mind the best time to visit as I would love to witness the flowers in full bloom.

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  2. I love the images of the lavender fields! I have been wanting to visit one with my daughter, but haven't made it. She loved the sunflower field we visited last year, so something like this would be perfect. The Japanese Garden would make it even better! Seeing the Koi fish would be awesome! Visiting the Modemuseum Hasselt sounds like it would be pretty cool to.

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  3. Hasselt seems like such a wonderful place to spend a few days, with all those lavender fields and the Japanese Gardens. I've never been in Belgium, so I'm glad I found out about this place. It's also wonderful that you can visit it as a day trip from Brussels.

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  4. Everytime i see a post featuring a laveander field, i curse myself for being too lazy to wake up and get in the bus, destined for a picturesque laveander field near Oradea in Romania. I haven't visited Belgium yet, but such pictures make me want to head out now. Its really surprising to know that the entry is free. Its like too good to be true.

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  5. Wow! Hasselt sure has a lot to do and explore! I love lavender farms and don't mind paying a nominal fee for getting access to the farms. But yes, when a farm is free and lovely like Limburg Lavendel, even if it is small - it would be a highlight of anyone's trip to Hasselt :D Also, this place has a Japanese Garden!! My husband and I have this thing where if a city we visit has a Japanese garden we make sure to visit it and just for that I am now going to add Hasselt to my itinerary when I visit Belgium.

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  7. Lavender Field are something i have been reading about this so much recently . I really would love to visit there for sure if I get a chance to visit Belgium. The Hasselt fashion museum does sounds amazing and interesting. It is good to know that Japanese Garden is the largest one in Europe, where you get to spot Koi fish as well.

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  8. Such a beautiful lavender fields, I did not know that they are in Belgium. It is an excellent idea for the weekend trip. Moreover, admission is free. I didn't realize that Japanse Tuin Hasselt is the largest Japanese Garden in Europe. So, I add it to my list. The collection looks impressive. Hasselt offers a variety of tourist attractions. I like your itinerary.

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  9. I hope to get to Belgium someday! I didn't realize they had lavender fields - I always think of France with those. They're beautiful. The outdoors seems so lovely there! The museum looks interesting, too - loved the fashions!

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  10. Through your post, I do realize that Belgium has a little of everything indeed. The lavender gardens are such a delight. And those are some lovely memories that you have captured in them. Japanese garden being the biggest in Europe was something that I had not known. Loving the discoveries that I make through your post.

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  11. Thanks for sharing this info, keep posting…

    Varun Sethupathi
    https://www.mallikaresidency.com

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