Also known as "La promenade vert" or "De groene wandeling" 60 kms of green paths and more
Adventure in Brussels ? closer than you think...
In the buzz of a big city it can be surprising to find places where it’s possible to experience peace and calm, and be in contact with nature. Yet the green belt offers such experiences despite the fact that the circuit never leaves the metropolitan area of Brussels. This is a great feature that not many capital cities have the privilege to convey and I think many Brusseleers haven’t discover it yet. I hope this article motivates local cyclists (and visitors why not) to go out, discover and explore the "backyard" of the Belgian capital.
What is the 'Brussels Green Belt' ?
The "Green Belt" is a 60 kms bike friendly path that circles the city. It covers a few kilometers of The Sonian Forest, it articulates multiple city parks, it borders fields, it crosses the Brussels Canal twice, it runs along a tiny segment of the Zenne (the river that used to run across Brussels) and goes through some interesting industrial and residential areas.
A tiny section of the Zenne, just a bit east from Anderlecht Lock
Not all is green
It would be amazing if the Green Belt was a continuous path of green and nature. However, it is not green all the time. Still, I think it is green enough to earn its name. On top, many of the non green sections have some kind of beauty or interest, like the industrial area around Forest-Midi train station. There are only a few uninteresting segments. But not to worry, they get passed very quickly.
The industrial area around Forest-Midi train station
Do I need a map ?
You can expect signs all along the loop, they're mostly in good condition and visible. Nevertheless, I've missed signs a couple of times, and in those moments, having a GPX app with the route can save you valuable time. There is a GPX file of the route available at the bottom of this article.
Crossing from Forest to Ukkle / from the Bempt park to the Neckersgat park
Some logistics to consider...
Supplies: although the path runs always close or inside urban areas, there aren't many shops on the way. Bringing some little snacks and water is a good idea.
Peak times: on a nice sunny day, be ready to see many people, not only cyclists but pedestrians. This is a family tour.
What bike?: any bicycle is capable of taking you on this tour, only mind that a race bike could be uncomfortable on some cobble stone sections. I'm using a cargo bike because it's the only bike I had available at the moment.
South side of Ukkle
The most surprising !
For me, the revelation of this little trip was the country side feeling and the views over the fields of the southern side of Ukkle, in addition to the fabulous Sonian Forest, which by the way has much more to offer than the little section that's included in the "Green Belt".
South of Ukkle and the Sonian Forest
If I had to choose one favorite part
I think the hole loop is worth the effort but if I was short on time, I would do a 23kms section between the Anderlecht´s lock and the Hof Ter Musschen, where the windmill is. It’s a very diverse part including: the canal, a weird industrial area, a number of cool parks, some urban veggie gardens, some nice views over real fields, a bit of the Sonian Forest, Woluwe’s park and the windmill. There is a metro station not far from the windmill, that could help with the logistics of arriving or leaving.
Tenreuken park / Watermael - Boisfort
Auderghem / Woluwe Saint - Pierre / Woluwe Saint - Lambert
West of the canal
About 25kms of Brussels Green Belt are on the west side of the canal. Some of the highlights are The Park of Laeken, The King Baudouin Park, The Scheutbos Park, The Ped Park and a short bit along the Canal of Brussels.
Brussels Green Belt is a perfect ride for locals, beginners or families with kids, it's also good for when there is not much time available to go farther or when there is a global pandemic that invites you to stay local. This ride can of course also be enjoyed by visitor cyclists, it's a different way to get to know this beautiful city.
Feel like going a bit farther ? Check this route from Brussels to Mechelen by the Zenne