You know that “happy place” people send you to…when you’re getting a needle, facing a dilemma or just need a quiet little escape? That place for me has been Hallerbos in Halle, Belgium since 2013 when we discovered it.
Literally translated, Hallerbos is the forest of Halle (bos meaning forest, and Halle being the town it is located in.) This place is such a magical retreat for me, and I’d love for you all to experience it!
Experiencing it is quite tricky, though, because this purple-carpeted forest is only at it’s magical peak for a few short weeks in the Spring months!
THE TIME TO GO: The forest is open year-round, but the hyacinth flowers are the reason the area is famous, and they are usually only around for a few weeks in the spring. Generally speaking, the end of March and/or most of April are the opportune times to see the forest in full-bloom. For example, this week (April 21) – is one of the last chances to see the purple and green beauty, as the flowers are fading fast!
You can even plan your child’s birthday party in Hallerbos!
HOW TO GET TO HALLE, BELGIUM:
Halle is located in the province of Vlaams/Brabant, and Halle itself is relatively close to Brussels. (When you’re in the forest, sometimes you can hear the plans flying in and out of Zaventem – Brussels – airport). The forest itself is fairly well promoted throughout the little town, with many signs pointing to the various parking lots (there are 10 surrounding the 1,360 acre forest).
If you’re arriving in Halle via public transport, you will most likely arrive at the train station, and from there you can catch a bus to some of the parking zones. You can find more information about reaching the forest via public transport HERE.
HOW TO GET AROUND IN HALLERBOS:
There are many hiking trails, biking trails and even trails to ride horses in this seemingly enchanted forest. There are paper maps available where you park your cars (there are several Parking sections, numbered 1-10) and there are also big maps located in several spots throughout the trails.
Biking: I loved biking the trails, because it’s really easy to see the majority of the forest in the few hours you spend there. There are several “biking” paths (of course these paths also allow walkers), and these paths are relatively smooth for bikers. (I am the clumsiest cyclist ever and I didn’t fall – so I think you should be okay!)
We also JUST realized this year that there are several cafe/bars to get a drink or snack located by the various parking lots (and usually there is an ice cream truck near parking 8!)
Walking: There are WALKERS ONLY trails, for people who would like to take their time through the forest without being surrounded by bikers and/or horses. While walkers can also use the biking trails, bikers are usually not allowed to use the walking trails.
There are several walking maps available HERE (a simple Google translate will allow you to read the website, as it is in Dutch).
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Please do not walk THROUGH the forest where there are no trails. There has actually been several items on the Belgian news that tourists/travelers/locals are slowly killing the forest ground by walking where there are no paths. If they are trampled one year, they will most likely have trouble growing the next. This is something that makes me SO angry every time we go, because we constantly see people just walking through the flowers (and this year there were actually forest patrol crews walking about to try to prevent this).
Enjoy this video of some of our absolute favourite areas in the forest; and don’t forget to show us your photos if you decide to visit! You can learn more about the forest and/or plan your visit there by visiting the Hallerbos website.
Being in this forest, surrounded by the beauty of nature…no cell reception, birds chirping, feeling the mud crunch beneath my feet as I walked hand in hand with the man I loved. This year, our annual trip came just weeks after learning we are pregnant with our first child, and being in this natural, beautiful place stilled my heart after days of researching pregnancy and excitedly telling everyone we know.
We tend to get caught up in the business of the world (whether it be excitedly announcing a pregnancy or stressing over the loss of a job), it’s easy to forget how blessed we are to live on this beautiful earth. Sometimes, what you really need is just to be silent in a beautiful place.
“Nature is one of God’s beautiful creations. Through nature, God is able to teach us, speak to us, and provide for us. For this reason, we can find in scripture that we humans are called to protect all which is of He has created. Use these Bible verses for a better understanding.” – John 1:3