Every year, during 2 – 3 weeks in the months of April and May, thousands of people (Belgians and foreigners alike) flock to a forest not far from Brussels to witness something unique and beautiful: the return of the bluebells.
This is the Hallerbos (Dutch for Halle forest), which covers a surface of 552 ha (1,360 acres), near the municipality of Halle. It was first mentioned in official documents in the 7th century, yet this is a relatively young forest. During World War I, the Germans destroyed most of it, so the forest was replanted during 1930 – 1950.
You can easily reach the forest by car, but if you want to see the bluebell carpet in spring, it’s better to take the train to Halle and then a free bus. The parking space is simply not big enough to welcome all the tourists!
Upon arrival, volunteers greet you and provide you with a map indicating all the paths. These will all take you along the bluebells, they just differ in length. At regular intervals, there are benches and picnic areas.
The forest is big enough so that it never feels crowded. 2 or 3 days before our arrival (in May 2018), heavy rains had tormented the Hallerbos, and the beauty of the bluebells had unfortunately started to fade.
You can easily spend a whole morning or afternoon in this fairytale-like environment…
In spring, you better check the website of the Belgian railways, for more information about the train and bus ticket. It is cheap and – again – the best way to go to the Hallerbos.
Join us for a trip to another corner of Europe in the next post!