The Purple Forest of Belgium
Step by step you walk through the forest. It feels like a fairy tale you’ve just landed in. You don’t believe your own eyes. Everywhere you look, it turns purple/blue. Millions of Hyacinths everywhere in de forest. It’s beautiful, incredibly beautiful. Meet the Hallerbos, the fairy tale of Belgium.
Every year in April and sometimes in May thousands of people head to Belgium for the Hallerbos. They don’t do this because of the forest but they do this because this is the only period of growth. Millions of Hyacinths flower bloom here in 2 a 2 weeks each years.
Hallerbos, the fairy tale of Belgium
No, this is not a myth. For a few hours you will find yourself in a magical forest. With my red dress and my camera in my hand, I wander through the forest. Everywhere I look, there are purple blue hyacinths. It looks more like a carpet.
The blue forest … a true miracle of mother nature.
Along the way I let my colleague, who also has an addiction to photography as I do, take a few photos of me. A private photographer :). Now I don’t have to run back and forth every time to press the button on my camera.
Seeing a deer in the purple blue glow
When we talk about dogs running through the hyacinths and we think we see one, it turns out to be a deer. For the first time in my life I see one in the wild. I try to take a picture as a happy child, but unfortunately this fails and the deer is gone.
When can you visit the Hallerbos
This is sometimes a challenge. Nature is rarely predicted correctly. Also, the year 2018 was one that couldn’t seen ahead. It went very quickly at once. The beech trees that were full of young green leaves in just one week. Therefore, it will not take a long time before the leaves take away the sunlight. And sunlight is just what the Hyacinths need.
For current messages its best to keep an eye on the website of the Hallerbos. They share an update every few days (in good periods, every day) about the state of the forest.
Walking between the Hyacinths
Okay, don’t take this literally because its forbidden to stand between (or on) the hyacinths. If you see a path full of leaves, then you may walk there but sometimes even that it’s forbidden. It’s of course best to stay on the main path. During the walk through the forest, I have left the path a few times, but I have stayed on the leaves. A volunteer emphasized that it was very important that we really stayed on the dead leaves and did stand on the hyacinths.
If you stand on a hyacinth, it will take 5 years before a new one will bloom.
The Hallerbos had various walking routes. From approximately 4 kilometers till 13 or more. We went for the long distance. We parked our car at the P1 and from there it’s a 10 minute walk before you come across the first hyacinths. Of course don’t stop here but go on and walk the route. The further you get on the route, the more beautiful it becomes. You keep watching and calling WOOW. My colleague thought it was funny, but it was just so beautiful.
The 7 kilometer hyacinth route is highly recommended. When the forest is in full bloom, the volunteers hand out different walking route maps.
On the Belgian TV
Yes, I’m on the Belgian TV. When we were almost at the end of our walk, a cameraman came to me and asked if he could film me. Exciting! It’s great that you can only recognize me by the red dress. A piece you can see here…can you spot me?
Practical information Hallerbos
- The Hallerbos is popular. Not that you will walk over heads of other people but you probably won’t be the only one. The forest is 552 ha in total, so plenty room for everyone. Only, can you avoid the weekend, do this! There are even special paddle buses because the parking spaces are full in de weekend.
- If you g on a weekday, keep in mind, if you come from the Netherlands that it’s very busy on the highway. It normally takes 1.5 hour to come from Breda but we were on the road for 2.5 hour because of the traffic jam around Antwerp and Brussels.
- Hallerbos is free to visit.
- The facilities in the forest are limited. At some parking places you have toilets and with luck an ice cream window but otherwise there is little. So bring enough food and drinks and go tot the toilet before you enter the forest.
- There are also no trash cans (unfortunately), so please take your own junk and don’t leave it lying on the ground.
- You need a permit for commercial photo or videography, which can be requested on the Hallerbos website.
- Drones are not allowed in the forest.
- The Hallerbos is a fragile nature area, despite the fact there are so many hyacinths. But it has to maintenance to get it this way.
Hallerbos definitely worth a visit
A forest, one that must be on you bucket list. It is really beautiful. Belgium has many amazing places and this forest is one of them (perhaps in the top 3). It’s of course lucky because the forest cannot be controlled. But if you get the chance, grab it! You will certainly not regret it.
A forest that you should definitely have seen in your life. It is really beautiful. Belgium has many beautiful places and this forest is certainly one of them (perhaps in the top 3). It is of course lucky because the forest cannot be controlled. But you get the chance, grab that chance. You will certainly not regret it.