Every year in April, tourists and locals alike flock to the Hallerbos in Belgium as if the forest can only be visited two weeks a year. Naturally that’s not the case, but it’s so that for two weeks the Hallerbos is turning into a blue fairytale-like forest covered in bluebells. Curious as my friend A. and I were, we decided to seek out the magic and pay a visit to the forest during the sunny Easter weekend.
SPOTTING THE HALLERBOS BLUEBELLS
The best time to visit the Hallerbos and catch a glimpse of the bluebells is different every year and depends on the weather, but generally the last two weeks op April are the best period to visit the forest. However make sure to check out the website of Hallerbos, as the organization is posting daily updates on the condition of the flowers. This way you know exactly when the timing is right to plan your visit.
A. and I did not do alot of planning for this trip and just drove to the carpark (P1), which was the most convenient for us. Upon arrival there are volunteers that provide you with walking maps and extra information about the Hallerbos, which came in very handy!
There are different walking paths spread throughout the Hallerbos and visitors are urged not to stray from them in order to protect the flowers. We decided to take the Bluebell Route, as that one was combining a lot of the locations where most bluebells can be spotted. However you will ran into plenty of bluebells in other parts of the Hallerbos as well. Visiting the Blue Forest has been on my to do list for a couple years now, and I’m really happy I was finally able to go, because it really is as beautiful as I expected.
WHEN TO GO TO THE HALLERBOS?
It’s recommended to visit the forest during the week, as most people plan their visit during the weekend. However as we both had to work, we visited on Saturday during Easter weekend around 10AM. We expected lots of people, but that wasn’t the case. It felt really peaceful and quiet to walk around there. The blue forest is 552 ha big, so it’s not as if everyone is walking in the same little area at the same time. I have to admit though that by the time we left (around 12.30 PM), it became much busier.
Restaurant tip: 3 Fonteinen
Hungry from all the walking? Well, we might have find the perfect spot for lunch you guys! Restaurant 3 Fonteinen is a 10-minute drive from the Hallerbos and is well-known for its delicious Belgian cuisine and Lambic beers. A. and I both went to college with the owner Thomas. So it’s kind of needless to say that we were pretty excited to have lunch at the restaurant that’s been in his family since 1953.
As the weather was super nice, we were able to sit outside and enjoy a nice glass of Rosé wine on the cozy terrace. On the menu we found all our favorite Belgian dishes. The asparagus season just started, so I ordered ‘Asparagus à la Flamande’ as a starter and A. picked shrimp croquettes. So yummy! For the main dishes I decided to go with a Beef Steak with pepper sauce and fries, which I really loved! My friend chose the Steak Tartare and was also really happy with her choice. Neither one of us are beer drinkers, but if you want to enjoy the Belgian experience to the fullest, ask for the beer pairings with your dish.