Brussels has one main advantage compared to other European capitals, it is green! Even though, the city centre and its cobbled street may often appear as quite mineral, you will find not less than 40 green spaces in the whole of the Brussels agglomeration. Brussels' parks offer a great variety of natural landscapes and in summer time, they welcome more and more outdoor bars which are perfect spots to enjoy a drink under the sun. Here is a selection of my favorites parks in the Belgian capital.
The Tenbosch park is the work Jean-Louis Semet, a tree botanist who changed it in a botanical garden and an arboretum before giving it to the city. Its plant heritage makes it one of the most interesting parks in Brussels. Tenbosch is also a great neighborhood park, which is perfect for having a rest and meet friends. It also has a playground area and is a refuge for many birds.
The Tournay-Solvay park has 7.5 hectares of varied natural landscapes, from the most maintained to the wildest green areas. Often unknown to Brussels inhabitants, it is nevertheless one of the most beautiful parks in the capital. It offers a particularly rich flora where exotic species coexist. The estate is also home to the ruins of the Solvay Castle, where nature has reclaimed its rights, making the castle a picturesque destinations for nature lovers.
(c) Flickr: Stephane Mignon
The forest de Soignes is definitely a must if you like going for long walks, and its great network of trails makes it great for mountain biking. However, if you are ready to get a bit further away from Brussels, and coming to visit around the middle of May, don't forget to go to the Hallerbos!
This park is located in Halle, just outside Brussels, but you will be astonished by the beauty of its bluebells carpet flourishing once a year.
A trip to the park is also a great occasion to treat yourself with a drink or a nice meal while being surrounded by nature! More and more Brussels parks now offer catering premises in the spring and the summer. Let's start by the most famous of all Brussels parks: the Bois de la Cambre.
This is one of the largest park of Brussels! Originally part of the 'Foret de Soignes' à 5000ha forest located in the south of the city, the Bois de la Cambre was originally planned in the 18th century. It has since then been a major gathering place for Brussels inhabitants for walks, sport and leisure. The Chalet Robinson, a typical Belgian brasserie and restaurant is located on an island in the middle of the park's main lake and welcome customers all year long. To get there you will need to cross the lake on a floating bridge!
Closer to the city centre, the Parc de Bruxelles, also know by many as Parc Royal, is the oldest park of the capital. Originally conceived and preserved as a neoclassical walk: it has wide paths which are sided by long grass beds creating lovely perspectives. To embellish the walks, the park has been decorated with many statues inspired by Greco-Roman mythology. Since 2017, the Parc de Bruxelles, also hosts the Woodpecker, a coffee place and a bar located in one of the kiosks of the park. It is a great place for a snack, and has a collection of games you can borrow to play with your friends on sunny days.
Cool things don't always happen in the south of Brussels! Bar Eliza opened in 2015 in Parc Elizabeth in Koekelberg, a municipality at the north of the capital. This is a definitely cool and chill ambiance, where pretty bulbs hang from the ceiling and all the walls and wooden furniture give a very warm appearance to the place. In spring and summer the bar hosts regular leisure events, bringing a sense of community to Bar Eliza.
Our two last stops will be at two different Brussels parks hosting similar bars called 'guinguette' which in the French dictionary defines as "suburban coffee place where people go to drink, eat on party days'. Well, Bar Maurice and Fabiola, are not that suburban since the first one sits in the Parc du Cinquantenaire, just a few street away from the EU quarter, and Fabiola rests in the Parc du Roi Baudouin, near the Atomium. And when it comes to drink and eat, these are definitely the places to go to on every summer days.
There are indeed many options if you would like to have a good time in a park in Brussels. This was my personal selection but, for a more complete encyclopedia of Brussels green spaces you can visit the Brussels Gardens website (in French or Dutch) and start building your own list. Enjoy!
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