While we get used to all the social restrictions that have been in place for way too long, many of us try to find peace and quiet in nature. The same works for us. Long walks in the woods bring peace, while breathing in the uncontaminated fresh air. Why don’t you join us through the most beautiful nature in Belgium? Some of these places are actual National Parks in Belgium, while others are just stunning places to enjoy nature!
1. Hoge Kempen National Park Belgium
National Park Hoge Kempen is the largest National Park in the province of Limburg. The area covers over 12.000 hectares of pure beauty. Popular activities in this area are hiking, cycling, mountain-biking, and horseback riding. The park comprises pine forest, combined with a few natural ponds and splendid views over the meadows. National Park Hoge Kempen is one of the places where you can find stunning nature in Belgium.
The National Park comprises several areas, each of which has its own special atmosphere and activities. National Park Hoge Kempen is an extensive area of land. This means you can access it in different ways. There are 6 major gateways to enter the park:
1.a Terhills Maasmechelen
Terhills (previously Connecterra) is the main gateway to the park. There’s a large visitor centre where you can stock up on information and brochures. Near the visitor centre, you can also climb up the shaft tower of the old mining site, which is no longer in use. The history of mining in the area offers access to 3 mining hills. From the top of these hills, you get a stunning view of the surrounding nature. If you’re looking for some of the best panorama views in Flanders, this is the place to be!
Address: Zetellaan 54, 3630 Maasmechelen
Entrance: entrance to the park is free.
Did you know you can spend the night in the National Park? Check out the Terhills Hotel.
1.b Kattevennen Genk
The most special activity in Kattevennen is the Cosmodrome, where you can visit the planetarium and watch the stars and the cosmos. Aside from this, there’s a lot of beautiful nature to discover. In Kattenvennen, you can go horseback riding, play mini-golf, and watch the farm animals in the Heempark. A variety of different hikes take you along pine forests, quiet valleys, and small streams.
Address: Planetariumweg 19, 3600 Genk
Entrance: entrance to the park is free.
1.c Lieteberg Zutendaal
The Lieteberg gateway to the Hoge Kempen National Park in Belgium also offers a lot of possibilities for visitors. Aside from the microcosmos discovery and the underground insect centre, Lieteberg also hosts tons of hiking trails. You can also follow the barefoot path which takes your feet through a few different types of underground, like wood, grass, water, and other ‘stimuli’. The barefoot path is a 3 kilometer trail that is fun and interesting to follow.
Address: Stalkerweg, 3690 Zutendaal
Entrance: Access to the park is free, but expect to pay a small fee for the barefoot walk and the visitor centre.
1.d Mechelse Heide Maasmechelen
There’s more to see in Maasmechelen, aside from the Terhills site. Mechelse Heide is an important part of the Hoge Kempen National Park in Belgium. The park is accessible on foot and there are a few hiking trails you can follow through the flowering heathland. The Mechelse Heide is known for its beautiful purple meadows. There’s no visitor centre, as most people visit this area to walk through the peaceful nature and enjoy views over the purple meadow.
Address: Joseph Smeetslaan 280, 3630 Maasmechelen
Entrance: entrance to this park is free
1.e Pietersheim Lanaken
Pietersheim used to be a royal estate back in the 12th century. You can visit the water castle that has been restored into its former glory. Visit the royal castle park and enjoy the views from the top of the castle. Aside from the castle, this part of the Hoge Kempen National Park also hosts a petting zoo and quite a few hikes along cute streams and valleys with steep slopes.
Address: Waterstraat, 3620 Lanaken
Entrance: admission to both the water castle and the petting zoo is free. Access to the beautiful nature is also free.
1f. Railway Station As
Railway Station As is one gateway into National Park Hoge Kempen. This place used to serve the coal mining industry, but today it is a part of the cultural heritage in this national park in Belgium. The train station takes you back in time. This exact train station used to bring in miners from all over Europe to work in the coal mines in As.
There’s a 31 meter high watchtower, which offers views over the area. This part of the park is popular among bikers and mountain bikers. Don’t worry if you didn’t bring your bike, you can rent one through the As tourism office. If you’re not into biking, you can also follow one of the many hiking trails in the area.
Address: Stationstraat 24, 3665 As
Entrance: Entrance to the park is free.
2. Hoge Venen - Eifel Nature Park (partly in Germany)
The High Fens or Hoge Venen Nature Park is a large protected area in the East of Belgium, which crosses the border into Germany. A large part of the Hoge Venen and the Eifel nature reserve is located in Germany, but Belgium also hosts some of its glory! The area has been a protected nature reserve since 1957 and covers an area of over 67.000 hectare. It’s the oldest and best known nature reserve in Wallonia. This stunning nature park in Belgium has the most extreme climate and the highest mountains in the country. The forest is home to a large variety of wild animals, like boar, deer, wildcats, and more.
The best-known images for the Hoge Venen Nature Park in Belgium are the ones with the peat landscape and the wooden walkways crossing through. One of the highest peaks in Belgium, the Baraque Michel and the Signal Botrange, are both located inside this beautiful setting in Belgian nature.
Address: Route de Botrange 131, 4950 Waimes
Entrance: Entrance to the park is free
3. Sonian Forest - Zoniënwoud
The Sonian Forest or Zoniënwoud is a scenic forest, located only a few kilometers from the city centre of Brussels. With its location so close to the capital of Belgian, it’s impressive to know how large the forest really is. The area covers almost 4.500 hectare, and it’s a great place to watch trees that are older than 200 years. The Sonian Forest is a great place for long walks if you want to escape the bustling city of Brussels. You can also go cycling or mountain biking in this nature park.
The forest has multiple access points, so you don’t have to use the address we mention below. To find the best entrance for you, check out the official website to find more information. As you can image, each of these entrance gates offers a different view. So, if you want to explore this park fully, check out each entrance and have a walk (or a hike) in each location. A few extra reasons to get you to the Sonian Forest in Belgium:
- It’s the largest beech forest in Belgium
- There’s a special path for the visually impaired
- In this forest, you can watch Scottish Highland horses
- There are multiple places where your dog can run freely without a leash
Just to know: parts of the Sonian Forest are UNESCO World Heritage sites. This is mostly because the forest is one of 78 extraordinary beech forests in Europe. In the Sonian Forest, you can discover some of the oldest trees in Belgium, but also a plethora of other fauna and flora.
Address: Duboislaan 2, 1560 Hoeilaart
Entrance: Entrance to this stunning nature in Belgium is free
4. Het Zwin Nature Reserve
Het Zwin is one of the most specific and prominent places in this list. Every Belgian citizen knows about Het Zwin, even though they may never visit! Het Zwin is on the Belgian coast, near the Dutch border and Knokke-Heist. It has been a protected landscape since 1939.
Het Zwin is the perfect place to visit on a day trip from one of the beautiful beaches in Belgium or from Bruges!
People mostly visit Het Zwin to enjoy the sea views and for bird watching. Visiting the Mature Reserve is very relaxing, and it promises a lot of scenic views! There is also a visitor centre where you can learn about the history of the park. The visitor centre is also the place to be if you want to learn more about the fauna in flora inside the reserve.
Each month offers different views inside Het Zwin. If you want to see the seasonal changes, you can also get a yearly subscription to visit the park more frequently. To get an idea of the seasonal birdwatcher highlights: January is perfect for viewing the Eurasian Wigeon, while March offers sightings of the With Stork.
Het Zwin Nature Reserve is near Knokke-Heist at the Belgian coast. If you travel by car, type this address in your GPS. There’s a parking available for 5€ per day.
Address: Graaf Léon Lippensdreef 8, 8300 Knokke-Heist
Entrance: Entrance tickets for adults are 10€ for the entire day. Children can get in at a rate of 5€ for the day.
Entrance to Het Zwin requires buying a ticket. During pandemic times, you have to reserve your ticket in advance. This might change back to a more spontaneous regime when public life opens up again.
If you plan on using public transportation, that’s also a good option, because the Reserve is accessible by bus or by shuttle. You can find the accessibility options here.
If you need more information about Het Zwin to plan your visit, check out the official website.
Dogs are not allowed to enter the reserve.
5. Kalmthoutse Heide
Kalmthoutse Heide is a nature park on the border between Belgium and The Netherlands. Its name is actually the name of the location and the dutch word for moorland or heath. The landscape in this 60 square kilometer park is quite diverse. People who visit this place are usually looking for the long stretches of an untouched landscape of heath, sand dunes, various forests, and meadows. This place really gives you unspoiled nature. It’s one of the oldest, largest, and most diverse nature parks in Belgium.
In the Kalmthoutse Heide, you can go for a scenic walk in nature, but the park is also a great place for horseback riding, mountain biking, cycling, or a walk with your dog!
Good to know: Grenspark Kalmthoutse Heide is an official ‘silent place’. This means that it’s an excellent place for people who want to escape their loud and busy life. It doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to talk or make any noise, but it implies that they have taken measurements and this place is just really quiet!
Address: Kalmthoutse Heide has 4 separate gateways where you can enter the park, 3 of which are in Belgium and 1 in The Netherlands. Check the exact location of the gateways here.
Entrance: to the nature reserve is free, as long as you enter during daylight times.
Did you know: there’s a special place for campers near the entrance of the park. RV’s and campers can park there for 48 hours free.
6. Nature at some of the best Belgian beaches
Belgium also offers a few stunning beaches where you can enjoy nature. Even though Belgium isn’t a typical beach destination, we definitely recommend visiting at least one of the cute beach towns while you’re in the area. Read more about the best beaches in Belgium in our complete guide to the coastline.
7. Lommelse Sahara - Bosland Lommel
Bosland in Limburg is a unique place to visit and to explore nature in Belgium. The extensive park spreads out over 4 villages and it is the home of a broad natural diversity. Part of this park is an actual Sahara or desert, while other parts comprise peaceful forests and tranquil lakes.
Keep in mind that this nature park is also called Adventure Forest. The park has tons of activities for kids, like multiple adventurous treasure hunts, donkey walks, playgrounds, and a lot more. If you have kids, this might be one of the best places to get them into nature playfully.
For adults, the Lommelse Sahara is also a great place to find some peace. But if you like, you can also engage in a few cool activities, like cycling or mountain-biking. There are a few places where you can go horseback riding in the area.
Bosland Lommel stretches out over 4 villages: Lommel, Hechtel Eksel, Pelt, and Peer. You can access this beautiful stretch of nature in Belgium through various entrance gates.
The most common way visitors get in is here:
Address: Sportveldenstraat 10, 3920 Lommel
Entrance to this nature park is free.
Most of the separate activities are independent. You can expect to pay a small fee for these activities.
8. Two Ourthes National Park in Belgium
Deux Ourthes is a National Park in Wallonia, the Southern part of Belgium. This area is a great place to discover the beautiful Ardennes region of the country. In this park, two parts of the river Ourthe meet each other in a dreamy landscape. The most stunning part of this place is probably the horseshoe bend in the river which can be found in the town of Houffalize.
There’s a lot of natural beauty to be found, alongside the cultural heritage of the area. Don’t forget to visit the beautiful towns of La Roche-En-Ardenne, Houffalize, Bertogne, and Gouvy.
9. Grottes de Han
The National Park of Grottes de Han in Belgium is a must visit in the Southern part of the country. Aside from the beautiful nature you can find here, you can also go inside the prehistoric caves. They listed the caves as UNESCO World Heritage and it is a very popular place to visit in Belgium. You can either just visit the caves or let a guide take you into this amazing underground world. Check out the official website in order to book a spot during one of the mesmerising light shows.
The Famenne Ardenne Geo Park is in the same village and offers insight into a natural world of wonder. This safari park is the home of the European Big 5 animals: the bison, the brown bear, the lynx, the wolverine, and the wolf. Over 650 animals live inside this large domain.
The Domain of the Grottes de Han is in the town of Han-Sur-Lesse. There’s no parking on site, so you need to park your car in one of the parking in town.
In order to reach the site, enter this address in your GPS:
Address: Rue J. Lamotte 2, 5580 Han-Sur-Lesse
Entrance: the admission fee to enter to the Caves of Han is 25€. In order to visit the wildlife park, get a ticket which is 23€. A combined pass to visit both attractions costs 33€.
Nice to know: you can also book a glamping arrangement within the park in Cocoon Village. Or even better: book a night in one of the amazing tree tents!
Stunning nature in Belgium
As you can see, there’s quite a bit of stunning nature in Belgium. This article only covers so much as there’s a lot more to see and do in our tiny country. We really hope you found the perfect natural getaway by scrolling through this post! Have a great time in Belgium!