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Castles and Gardens

There are more castles per square mile in Belgium than anywhere else in the world. Beautiful castles to experience, formal gardens to get lost in, peaceful abbeys and historic battlefields are awaiting your visit.  We would like to suggest a few special sites for your historic journey through French speaking Wallonia and Brussels.

 

Brussels Hainaut Liege
Luxembourg Namur Castle-Hotel
Events Castles for events Private Gardens
Tour Operators & Links

 

Brussels

Petit Sablon Square

Originally a horse market, in 1890 it was converted into an elegant & charming flower garden with lavish fountains, surrounded by wrought-iron fences decorated with stone statuettes. Each figure represents a medieval trade or craft that brought prosperity to Brussels.

The Royal Palace and Brussels Park

Each summer, the Royal Palace opens its doors to the public. Visitors can admire the priceless collections and decorative art originating from every continent. In front of the palace stands the Park of Brussels, a setting for music lovers and a marvel for children with its shows and fountains.

Palace: open around July to Sept
Park: open all year

The Botanical Gardens

The garden is home to 18,000 kinds of plants and various exhibitions. The Plant Palace houses 13 interconnecting glasshouses that can be viewed throughout the year; 11 of which are designed to imitate specific regional climates and the other 2 are constructed according to their own themes. The plant life varies from medicinal to herbaceous as well as succulent and carnivorous varieties.

Open all year

 

The Gardens of the Van Buuren Museum

As an extension of Van Buuren's House, the gardens are made up of three parts; The Picturesque Garden, The Labyrinth, and The Garden of Love. The vast art deco inspired greenery complement the house, and create a calm and private atmosphere.

 

Open all year except Tuesdays

 

The Royal Greenhouses at the Palace of Laeken

The site took on its current form under King Leopold II with the creation of the domed Winter Garden, the botanical area and the decorative rock gardens. The spectacular 19th century Winter Garden, an art nouveau jewel considered among the greatest greenhouses in the world, is worth visiting as much for its architectural merits as its astonishing collections of tropical and subtropical plants housed within.

Open 3 weeks from April to May

 

Bois de la Cambre

The Bois de la Cambre is the largest city public park in the world and one of the most beautiful, with a large maze of trails. On Saturdays and Sundays, some routes are closed to cars, thus leaving the way free for cyclists, joggers, roller-skating enthusiasts, etc. Connected is the Forest of Soignes which provides a welcome breath of air to the city with its rows upon rows of tree-lined trails for walks, horse riders and birdwatchers.

Open all year

Parc of Wolluwé

The park of Woluwé in the style of an English landscaped garden offers a huge diversity of landscapes and natural species. Ducks, swans, gulls and other aquatic birds, whether indigenous or migratory, populate the extensive waterways. At the Mellaerts ponds, a natural extension of the Woluwé park, a restaurant and mini-golf will welcome you.

Parc of the Cinquantenaire

The Cinquantenaire is one of the largest architectural and cultural complexes in Europe dating from 19th century. The park follows classical designs in a symmetrical layout of flower beds, lawns and rows of trees; a peaceful haven in the city surrounded by the museums of art and history, aviation, army and military history as well as Autoworld Brussels.

Park of Brussels

Simplicity, symmetry and charm are the qualities that characterize this park which is sure to enchant anyone who takes the time to visit it. This small green area, surrounded by the Royal Palace, the Rue Ducale, the Palace of the Nation and the Rue Royale, abounds in treasures for those who want to stroll about. The park, a setting for music lovers with its concerts, a marvel for children with its shows and fountains, is adorned by the most beautiful finery.

Park of Tournay-Solvay and Chateau de la Hulpe

Once owned by the count of Solvay, the Castole of Hulpe was built in 1842 in a style inspired by French castles. Covering 560 acres, the estate features the beautiful Solvay Park with its wild nature, orchards, vegetable gardens, wide walking lanes, a mysterious forest and lakes. The Folon Foundation, located in a farmhouse next to the castle, is home to more than forty years of artwork by Jean Michel Folon, the internationally renowned Belgian artist, illustrator, painter, and sculptor.

The Chateau is not open to the public.

The Folon Museum is open every day except Mondays

Forest of Soignes

Providing a welcome breath of fresh air to the city, the Forest of Soignes is home to many squirrels and foxes and has a dense network of tracks and trails, horse and cycle paths as well as picnic spots and recreational areas. The forest, 80% of which is covered by row upon row of beech trees, forms a rich and verdant expanse and encompasses five natural reserves.

 

 

Hainaut

The Castle and Gardens of Beloeil

The Chateau of Beloeil has been the residence of the Princes de Ligne since the 14th century. The chateau has the largest French-style gardens in Belgium, offering a harmonious balance of water and green, of shadow and light. It houses an art collection, with paintings from the 15th to the 19th centuries, an outstanding library with 20,000 books. Beloeil hosts the biggest Belgian music event of classical music in August: Les Musicales. About 15 000 people stroll around the park to enjoy the performances of the artists on the numerous stages of this huge music festival.

Open from April to Sept.

 

Castle Beloeil Wallonia

The Castle and Gardens of Seneffe

This chateau was built during the 18th century in the classical style. The residence is at the center of a group of buildings which include an orangery, a small neo-classic theater, an icehouse and a French garden, set in a park of 54 acres. It houses the Silversmith Museum and a famous European Silver collection of objects.

Open all year

 

The Castle of Attre

Built in 1752, this is the only chateau in Belgium that has preserved the original decoration and furniture of that period. Visit the romantic gardens with mysterious rocks and other formations from the 18th century.

Open from April to Sept. on Sundays

Open on Saturdays in July and August

 

The Castle of Chimay

Located in the famous beer region, the chateau of Chimay, one of the twelve noble houses of Hainaut, built in 1607 and hosts a beautiful theater added in 1863. Every year, the Prince and Princess of Chimay host an International Baroque Singing Competition and a Baroque Music Festival. Chimay is also famous for its beer brewed in town.

Open from April to Oct. everyday

Open from Nov. to March by request

 

castle chimay

The Castle and the Park of Enghien

The chateau, in Louis XVI style, is located in a magnificent park, characterized by its themed gardens and water features. With its flower garden, its Baroque gardens and dahlia garden, Enghien Park takes visitors back through 400 years of history.

Castle not open to the public

Park open all year

 

Mariemont Park

Created in the 16th century the Mariemont Park, is laid out in the English style, with lawns, lakes, foliage, age-old trees and exotic flora species, and fine sculptures side by side with the ruins of Charles of Lorraine's palace.  World class exhibitions take place all year around.

Open all year

 

The Castle of Havré

Set on the outskirts of the town Mons, the Chateau of Havré consists of a large courtyard, four angle towers and a gothic chapel. The chateau is surrounded by a moat and the estate is home to 15,000 rosebushes planted in their original design.

Chateau and museum open by request

Rose Garden open from April to Sept. on weekdays and from Oct. to March on demand

The Fortified Castle of Ecaussinnes

The ground floor houses dungeon, gothic chapel, ancient kitchen, arms room which evoke the Middle Ages. The first floor calls to mind the 17th century. The varied collections make the fortress an interesting museum.

Open from April to Oct. on Sundays and Public Holidays

Open everyday except on Friday in July and August

 

 

Liège

The Botanical Gardens of Liege

Liege University houses the greenhouses and arboretum in the Botanical Gardens where exotic collections in magnificent Victorian style greenhouses. They are a rare example of glass and iron construction. The house holds nearly 5,000 plants, including numerous begonias, orchids, carnivorous, Mediterranean and tropical plants.

Open all year


The Chateau of Jehay

This sophisticated Renaissance style chateau dates back to the 16th century and houses splendid collections of furniture, silver, lace, china, tapestries, paintings and sculptures. The bridge crossing the moat takes you into the gardens, with paths, arbors, fountains, waterfalls and nymphs.

The Chateau is closed in 2013 for renovation but the exhibitions and gardens are open to the public on demand.

 

 

The Castle of Modave

 

Built in 1658, the Chateau of Modave incorporates medieval-style towers and Renaissance features that were completely new at the time. Inside the chateau, twenty richly decorated and furnished rooms are open to the public. One may admire remarkable ceilings, beautiful sculptures, paintings, Brussels tapestries and furniture dating from the 18th century.

Open from April to Oct. except on Mondays

 

castle of the counts marchin

Park of the Sept Heures, Spa

 

Laid out in the mid-18th century, the "seven o'clock" public park was one of the main places in the town of Spa to see and be seen traditionally in the 19th century. The park also has a number of 19th century buildings which demonstrate the eclectic tastes of the period: the iron and glass Galerie Léopold II and Petits-Jeux pavilions.

Open all year

 

The Healing Garden, Hautes Fagnes

At the heart of the Hautes Fagnes, the “Herba Sana” opens its doors to the world of herbal medicine. More than 200 medicinal plants are grouped by theme or by use. Each plant is identified by a small label indicating its use, which part is used in herbal medicine and toxicity degree.

Open from June to Sept.

Fortified Castle of Logne

Discover this amazing old castle and its legend. Walk throughout the subterranean passages, discover a part of History in the merovingian section or dream about past with the medieval area and its falconry show. But the Castle shelters a secret about a mysterious guardian... Take a part of the treasure hunt and the Golden Goat hidden secret!

Castle of Reinhardstein

Built in 1354, the castle was the residence of noble families. The Castle, demolished after the French Revolution, was then completely rebuilt in the original style in 1969. The halls of the castle house an impressive collection of armor and tapestries, making it one of the most important medieval castles in Belgium.

Open all year on weekends and during Belgian school holidays on Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends

 

reinharstein castle

 

Luxembourg

The Feudal Castle of La Roche

Overhanging the city and the river Ourthe, nestled in the middle of nature, this site truly makes La Roche "The pearl of the Ardennes". It started a Neolithic residence and then housed the Kings of the Franks. Despite all the changes endured by the castle the actual ruins with their towers, arrow slits and “oubliettes”, have retained the feel of feudal times.

Open all year

 

The Castle of Bouillon

With its original fortifications from the 8th century, this castle-fortress is the oldest and most interesting remain of feudalism in Belgium. It was built on three rocky outcrops and is characterized by a labyrinth of corridors and huge vaulted halls.  Godefroid, the leader of the first Crusade (1096) was born there. There is also an educational falconry exhibition all year round.

Open all year

 

CASTLE BOUILLON

The Topiary Gardens

With a unique collection of sculpted box trees, this is the largest topiary garden in Belgium opened to the public. This wonderful garden possesses more than 250 figures, some of which are more than 120 years old. Topiary art embellishes gardens and gives a living shape to evergreen plants using pruning and braiding.

Open all year

 

 

Namur

The Castle of Veves

If Cinderella ever hosted a ball, it would have been here. This picturesque, feudal castle dates back to 1410. Perched dramatically on a rocky outcrop overlooking the picturesque village of Celles, it is still lived in by the same family and is fully furnished. It illustrates what life was like from the Middle Ages up to the 18th century.

Open from April to Nov.

 

The Castle and Gardens of Annevoie

Designed and laid out between 1758 and 1776 by Charles-Alexis de Montpellier, the chateau and gardens are an authentic historical record and, above all, a living work of art. Graceful fountains and waterfalls fill the garden and the arbors with music. Children can enjoy an entirely wooden playground as well as a mini-zoo.

Open all year

 

The Castle and Gardens of Freyr

Named after the Scandinavian goddess of beauty, Freyr, built in 1554, is located along the River Meuse. Most of the orange trees, originate from the Court of Lorraine and are 350 years old, are brought inside during the winter. The gardens are in the style of Le Nôtre and are surrounded by mazes made of horn beam hedges. The chateau and gardens are listed as a major Walloon Heritage Sites.

Open all year

 

The Chevetogne Provincial Estate

The Chevetogne Estate is the perfect destination for day trips devoted to relaxation and leisure activities with your family. The vast estate has everything a family could want, all in one place: leisure areas, paths for strolling through nature, sports fields and fabulous playgrounds.

Open all year

 

The Castle of Lavaux-Ste-Anne

This chateau portrays noble life in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is composed of a moat-encircled collection of domes with an impressive wetland made up of a pond, marsh and prairie. There are three museums: a museum of daily life in the 17th and 18th centuries, a museum of rural life in Famenne in the 19th and 20th centuries and a natural history museum.

Open all year

 

lavaux st anne castle

The Abbey of Maredsous

Built in 1872 by Benedictine monks in a neo-Gothic style, this monastery offers pilgrims and tourists a beautiful architectural ensemble. Take a guided tour of the church and grounds including the gardens, library, cemetery, school and workshops. This site is mostly famous for its cheese and beer. (Great place for lunch)

Open all year

 

The Citadel of Namur

The citadel-fortress of the city of Namur stands in a prestigious setting, stretches out on 80 acres of greenery and offers magnificent views across the Meuse Valley. It has been classified as a Major Heritage site in Wallonia and is one of the most impressive fortified towns in Europe.

 

citadel of namur

The Citadel of Dinant

Overlooking the town of Dinant from its 100 foot cliff, the citadel was built in the early 1800s, at the site of earlier fortifications dating back to 1051 were destroyed in 1703. The citadel has much to offer to both children and adults: cable car, playgrounds, museum, lifelike reconstructions…

Open all year

The Castle of Montaigle

The ruins of this medieval fortress and 14th century residence of Counts set a romantic scene on ABC's The Bachelorette. Standingon a rocky outcrop among lush wildernessabove a tiny village, Montaigle transportsvisitors back to the age of knights.

 

Castle-Hotel
Belgium is a hospitable country where the good life has become an art and where even the smallest villages abound with cultural dicoveries. Discover for yourself during a stay in one of our superb château hotels where heritage and delight form a perfect synergy.

 

Other Castle-Hotel
Martin's Manoir (Genval) Castel du Val d'Or (Ocquier)
Château d'Arondeau (Roucourt) Château de Limont (Limont)
Hotel de Franc Bois (Chimay) Château de Rendeux (Rendeux)
Le Manoir du Capitaine (Feluy) Château de Latour (Latour)
Château Crawhez (Clermont) Château du Pont d'Oye (Habay-la-Neuve)
Château de Saint Nicolas (Saint-Nicolas) Hostellerie le Claimarais (Arlon)
Domaine du château de la Neuville (Huy) Château de Strainchamps (Fauvillers)
Hôtel Château Bleu (Trooz) Château d'Heblon (Hotton)
Le Manoir (Marche-en-Famenne) Manoir de la Motte (Boussu-en-Fagne)
Château de Vignée (Rochefort) Castel de Pont à Lesse (Anseremme)

 

Events
May 1 Leuze The Flower Show: Like every year, fifty florists, nurserymen and horticulturists will take over the Grand-Place and the Place du Jeu de Balle in order to create a carpet of flowers, plants and shrubs of all types and colours. A specialist jury will examine each stand and mark it for presentation and for the quality of range of products presented.
May 3-5 Aywiers Plant and Garden Festival: The few 180 garden professionals coming from Belgium and other countries are looking forward to giving you gardening advice and suggesting you their products of quality: specialized nurserymen, landscape architects, artists and craftsmen, "garden" bookshop...
May 4-5 Annevoie Venetian Costume Parade: a Venetian fancy dress will be held in the sumptuous Gardens of Annevoie.
May 11-12 Beez Plant Festival at the Castle of Beez: The English garden, bordered by many beautiful bicentennial common beeches, offers you a gorgeous atmosphere. Famous specialised plant breeders, who came from all over Belgium and from abroad, as well as exclusive garden decorators will give you advices and will let you detect thousands of new things. A convivial atmosphere is guaranteed!
June 2 Chevetogne Gardens and Hobbies Festival: Garden lovers can collect a bunch of new ideas. Featuring stands with plants, gardening clothes, tools, garden furniture, swimming pools, saunas. In short, everything you need to make your garden a haven of peace and beauty for the warm summer evening to come.
June 23 - September 15 Lavaux-Ste-Anne Chateau Art Festival: National and international exhibition of more than 200 artworks by contemporary artists. Artistic genres include monumental and regular-sized sculpture, abstract and figurative painting, etching, photography, ceramics, artistic jewellery and contemporary glass. Fireworks at the Lavaux-Ste-Anne castle.
July 6 - August 24 La Roche The Phantom of La Roche: Every evening at dusk the ghost of Berthe - daughter of the Count of La Roche in the tenth century - wanders the castle walls lamenting her tragic destiny. Believing to have been betrayed by her fiancé, she sold her soul to the Devil on the condition that she could avenge herself by taking her fiancé to death with her.
August Seneffe Flower Carpet: A magnificent flower carpet made from 200,000 begonias will be laid out on the grounds of Seneffe Castle in French speaking Wallonia. For three days, over 11,000 sq ft of vibrant colors will light up the main courtyard of this prestigious 18th century castle.
September 7 Beloeil Les Musicales: For over 20 years, Beloeil welcomes the biggest Belgian manifestation of classical music. Aboout 15 000 people stroll around the park to enjoy the performances of the artists on the numerous stages of this huge music festival.
September 21 Jehay Autumn Garden Festival: The castle of Jehay will held its first plant and garden Festival this year.
October Modave Festival of the Apple: Celebrate the apple ! We invite you in the prestigious setting of the Castle of Modave to take a bite of round fruit and to discover all its aspects. Programme: pressing workshops and cooking with apples from the orchard, clipping demonstration, walks and bike rides, children's animations...
October 12-13 Beez Plant Festival at the Castle of Beez: The English garden, bordered by many beautiful bicentennial common beeches, offers you a gorgeous atmosphere. Famous specialised plant breeders, who came from all over Belgium and from abroad, as well as exclusive garden decorators will give you advices and will let you detect thousands of new things. A convivial atmosphere is guaranteed!
August 14-17, 2014 Brussels
Flower Carpet: The famous Carpet of Flowers covers 1,800 m² right in the centre of the Grand Place. These flowers offer a wide range of vivid and glowing colours and easily resist the burning sun. After all, the craftsmen assemble them directly on the cobble-stones of the square without a layer of soil. The coloured plant tapestry can be admired best from the balcony of the City Hall, which is open to the public for the occasion.

 

Private Gardens

Visit private gardens in Wallonia and Brussels

The association "Open Gardens of Belgium" offers more than 200 private gardens and parks. The owners invite you to discover quality gardens, with architectural, botanical or historical interests.

Visit private gardens in Liège

Jardin en Pays de Liege is an association of more than 70 private gardens. Every weekend from April to December, one or two gardens are open to the public. Jardins en Pays de Liege gathers gardens of different sizes and styles, there something for everybody. The owners have a passion for gardens and are always eager to share it with visitors. Once a year, the association organizes a garden festival, with nurserymen, exhibitions, activities for kids and much more.

 

Tour Operator in US and other useful links

Destinations Europe (Travel & Tours) Ltd.

For castles and gardens tours.

Gardening Tours

Custom tour designed specifically for garden writers taking place in Belgium & Holland.

Tulips & Windmills Cruises

Several tour operators offer floral inspired small ship cruises and barges throughout Belgium and the Netherlands.

Hainault Castles

Over 500 castles to discover in this Walloon province.