For only a few weeks, a purple-blue flower carpet covers the Hallerbos, a forest near Brussels. The original name for these tiny flowers is Campanula Rotundifolia, but they are now known as “harebell” or “bluebell.” In Belgium, they used to be added to beer to make it taste bitter. The deep colour of the blossom gave the Hallerbos an alternative name: the Blue Forest.
The bluebells are not unique to Belgium as they grow in the majority of old European forests. The reason why the Hallerbos is worth the attention is the size of their reach. The forest expands over 500 ha (1235 ac), and, during the blooming season, the floral carpet stretches as far as you can see.
Even though the flowering season in the Blue Forest is generally from March to June, the best time to visit is during mid-April when the harebells are likely to be in bloom. They usually start blooming in the beginning of the month and start withering by the end of April. At this time, the young leaves of beech trees are light-green and semitransparent, making the light in the woods especially enchanting. The season depends on weather conditions.
The bluebells are not the only reason to take a walk in the woods: the giant Sequoia trees are also pretty impressive. You may also observe the rabbits and deer that inhabit the area or go hiking and mountain biking.
Whatever you do in the forest, you must follow marked paths as it is prohibited to wander on any unmarked trails. This prevents the damage of fragile flowers. There are special trails for hiking and biking that will lead you to the most picturesque parts of the forest.
The Hallerbos is only 20 km (12 mi) from Brussels. Located mostly in the municipality of Halle, it occupies the territory between the Zenne River and the Sonian Forest. It is quite easy to get to the Hallerbos by car and by public transport as there is a bus stop next to the entrance of the forest.