Forêt de Soignes


This vast suburban forest about a 40-minute drive from Brussels is a botanical cathedral of glorious towering beech trees. Many were planted by proto-Belgium’s 18th-century Austrian rulers, with oaks added by the French to provide timber for future naval ships. By the time those trees had matured, however, shipbuilders preferred metal, so the trees went uncut. Today the result is a delightful regional park with hundreds of kilometres of cycling, horse-riding and walking paths.

Tucked into the forest fringes are arboreta at Tervuren and Groenendaal.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Belgium attractions

1. Rouge Cloître

1.09 MILES

The Rouge Cloître, an education-focused arts centre occupying a 14th-century abbey in the Forêt de Soignes (about a 40-minute drive from Brussels), offers…

2. Jean Massart Experimental Garden

1.21 MILES

This 5-hectare garden in the Forêt de Soignes (about a 40-minute drive from Brussels) features a wonderful collection of 300 medicinal plants, with a…

3. Tram Museum


Volunteer-run museum with some lovely old trams, which you can clamber onto. Pay a little extra for a ride on a historic vehicle.

4. Palais Stoclet

2.94 MILES

The radically geometric exterior of the 1911 Palais Stoclet is an early premonition of art deco: the architect was instructed to produce a Gesamtkunstwerk…

5. Africa Museum

3.11 MILES

Due to reopen in late 2018 after five years of restoration, the revived Africa Museum looks set to be a big draw, and a world away from its earlier dusty…

6. Boghossian Foundation

3.42 MILES

Architecture fans should take the trip to this striking, symmetrical, 1930s villa, which combines austere design with gorgeously opulent materials: marble…

7. Maison Cauchie


Built in 1905, this stunning house was the home of architect and painter Paul Cauchie (1875–1952), and its sgraffito facade, adorned with graceful female…

8. Parc du Cinquantenaire


Parc du Cinquantenaire was built during Léopold II's reign. It's best known for its cluster of museums – art, history, military and motor vehicles – which…