Brussels has one main advantage compared to other European capitals - it is green! Even though the city center and its cobbled streets may often appear as quite industrial, you will find more than 40 green spaces in the entire Brussels agglomeration. Brussels' parks offer a great variety of natural landscapes, and in the summertime, they welcome their visitors in outdoor bars, which are perfect spots to enjoy a drink under the sun. Here is a selection of my favorite parks in the Belgian capital.
The Tenbosch Park is the work of Jean-Louis Semet, a tree botanist who changed it in a botanical garden and 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, perfect for having a rest and meeting 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 one of the most beautiful parks in the capital. It offers a particularly rich flora where exotic species coexist. The park is also home to the ruins of the Solvay Castle, where nature has reclaimed its rights, making the castle a picturesque destination for nature lovers.
The Forêt de Soignes is definitely a must if you like going for long walks, and its great network of trails makes it ideal for mountain biking. However, if you are ready to get a bit further away from Brussels, do not forget to go to 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 spring and summer. Let us start by the most famous of all Brussels' parks: the Bois de la Cambre.
This is one of the largest parks in Brussels. Originally part of the Forêt de Soignes, a 5000 ha forest located in the south of the city, the Bois de la Cambre was planned in the 18th century. It has since then been a major gathering place for Brussels' inhabitants for walks, sports, 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 welcomes customers all year long. To get there, you will need to cross the lake on a floating bridge.
Closer to the city center, the Parc de Bruxelles, also known by many as Parc Royal, is the oldest park in the capital. Originally conceived and preserved as a neoclassical walk, it has wide paths that 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 play with your friends on sunny days.
Cool things do not always happen in the south of Brussels. Bar Eliza opened in 2015 in the Parc Elizabeth in Koekelberg, a municipality in the north of the capital. This is a definitely cool and chill ambiance: 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 translates as "a 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 streets away from the EU quarter, and Fabiola rests in the Parc du Roi Baudouin, near the Atomium. And when it comes to drinking and eating, these are definitely the places to go to on every summer day.
There are indeed many options if you would like to have a good time in the parks of Brussels. This was my personal selection, and I hope it will help you to start building your list. Enjoy Brussels' parks!
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