Special Openings in Belgium- Brussels Edition
Brussels is full of wonders- and even more so for those in the know! Quite a few of the city’s magnificent sights are available only a few times a year (or less). But not to worry about blinking and missing out. We’ve put together a short guide to upcoming seasonal happenings in the Brussels metro area.
Floralia Brussels- 6 April- 6 May, 2018, Castle of Groot-Bijgaarden. This gorgeous spring flower show covers the castle’s 14 hectare park and greenhouses with 1 million flowering bulbs. Against the backdrop of a 17th-century Flemish Renaissance castle, visitors will see fields of colorful hyacinths and daffodils, plus nearly 400 varieties of tulips. Single-entry tickets are 14 Euros for adults; multiple entry passes are also available. The castle is located on the west side of the city, off the Brussels Ring (R0), and near the Groot-Bijgaarden stop on STIB/MVIB Tram 19. More info available HERE.
The Royal Greenhouses at Laeken (Serres Royales de Laeken)- Open 13 April-4 May, 2018. Part of the royal château at Laeken, the royal greenhouses were built in 1886-87 for King Léopold II. (Fun fact- they were designed by Alphonse Balat, mentor of famed art nouveau architect Victor Horta.) The complex features over a dozen greenhouses, including a domed winter garden and a stunning array of both rare and common flowers and plants from around the world. There is a nominal admission fee for adults. The greenhouses can be reached on foot via the main gates of the chateau, off of Ave du Parc Royal. Free parking is often available on the opposite side of Ave du Parc Royal, near the monument to Léopold I, by turning onto Ave de la Dynastie. The closest transit stop is the Serres Royales stop on the STIB/ MVIB Bus 53. More info and photos available HERE. AWCB members can also join our organized outing- check the Members-Only section of our calendar for details.
Hallerbos (Blue Forest): Estimated Peak in Mid-Late April, 2018. Known as the “Blue Forest”, Hallerbos is famous for the beautiful carpet of bluebells that bloom there for a few weeks every spring. Peak bloom usually occurs around mid-late April, but Mother Nature always has the final word on the timing! The forest is located off the Brussels Ring (R0), near Halle. Admission is free. Parking and picnic tables are available on-site. More info, plus hiking/walking maps, available HERE.
Royal Palace of Brussels: Open July 22, 2018- September 2, 2018. Right in the heart of Brussels, the Royal Palace functions as the administrative offices of the Belgian Monarchy. Its impressive rooms also host special events and receptions throughout the year. The annual opening to the public coincides with the royal family’s holidays, and usually features special exhibitions. Entry is free, with a guide booklet available for a nominal fee. Click HERE for info and photos.
Open Churches Days: June 2-3, 2018. Churches in Brussels and throughout Belgium will participate in this year’s Open Churches weekend by creating welcoming experiences for visitors, including through guided tours, exhibitions and concerts. The 2018 theme is “the many faces of heritage”- telling the human stories behind the buildings and behind the artwork within them. Info on participating churches and events available HERE.
Flower Carpet: 16-19 August, 2018. Every two years, Brussels covers its Grande Place with a spectacular “carpet” of fresh flowers. No tickets are required to view the carpet up close, but visitors wanting a birds’-eye view can purchase advance tickets to the balcony of City Hall. Keep up to date on ticket sales HERE.
Royal Observatory “Portes Ouvertes”: 29-30 September, 2018. Belgium’s Royal Observatory, in collaboration with the Royal Meterological Institute and the Royal Aeronomy Institute, will open its doors to the public from noon-6pm on Satruday, September 29 and from 10 am-6pm on Sunday, September 30. Air, space and weather-related activities will be available for the whole family. Visitors may check the institution’s web site closer to the date for more details.