The 5 most beautiful forest walks

The 5 most beautiful forest walks

Hiking routes in the most beautiful forests in East Flanders

Stressful deciding which forest to visit first? We don't blame you. That's because the East Flanders regions are beautiful and boast such lush nature that you won't know where to begin.

A lovely walk in the forest

To make it a little easier for you, we have listed 5 of the most beautiful forest walks. You'll find them nicely scattered throughout the East Flanders regions. Each forest is different and offers you its own unique experience.

What you will still find everywhere are the neatly marked trails and walking routes. These give you the chance to embark on the forest hike of your choice without any stress. Follow the forest hiking route, become one with your surroundings and return home completely zen.

The 5 most beautiful forest walks

East Flanders has numerous forest areas – some more extensive than others. Some are relatively young; others date back as far as Roman times. There is often a fascinating history attached to go with them. Sometimes not, though, and the natural beauty is all that really matters.

So come and discover the most beautiful forest walks. Everyone is welcome: from solitary peace-seekers to sporty groups of friends and active families. Which one will you choose?

1 Kabouter (Gnome) hiking route

For the first hike on the forest top shelf, hike toward Flobecq, a small village near Pottelberg. You'll probably know gnomes from mythical climbs in the Tour of Flanders. Moreover, it is also the highest hill in the Pays des Collines. This route will take you 13.5 kilometres through wooded areas and charming field roads.

Walk along past cosy villages and hamlets you may never have heard of. Admire some vast castle grounds with a magnificent structure. Discover the 8 chapels of Zeven Weeën ('Seven Woes'), a pilgrimage site of great cultural value. And in one fell swoop, also visit the grotto of Our Lady of Hope – with 13.5 kilometres ahead of you, it surely can't hurt.

Ter Rijst walking forest

The forest on your route is Bos Ter Rijst. This long and winding walking forest is a diverse one, alternating between paths, springs and beautiful trees. Tip: In spring, the amazing woodland hyacinths germinate here, magicking up a soft blue-purple carpet on the forest floor. Highly recommended!

1 Kabouter (Gnome) hiking route

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For the first hike on the forest top shelf, hike toward Flobecq, a small village near Pottelberg. You'll probably know gnomes from mythical climbs in the Tour of Flanders. Moreover, it is also the highest hill in the Pays des Collines. This route will take you 13.5 kilometres through wooded areas and charming field roads.

Walk along past cosy villages and hamlets you may never have heard of. Admire some vast castle grounds with a magnificent structure. Discover the 8 chapels of Zeven Weeën ('Seven Woes'), a pilgrimage site of great cultural value. And in one fell swoop, also visit the grotto of Our Lady of Hope – with 13.5 kilometres ahead of you, it surely can't hurt.

Ter Rijst walking forest

The forest on your route is Bos Ter Rijst. This long and winding walking forest is a diverse one, alternating between paths, springs and beautiful trees. Tip: In spring, the amazing woodland hyacinths germinate here, magicking up a soft blue-purple carpet on the forest floor. Highly recommended!

Address
La Houppe 2
7880 Flobecq
Length
14,2 km
Time
2u 40m
Terrain
46% Paved
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2 Kluis Forest walking route

The start of the Kluisbos route is in Ruien. You walk for 6.4 kilometres, straight into the 300-hectare Kluisbos.

Kluisbos is a gem right on the language border. The 141-metre-high Kluisberg is the heart of this forest, which also offers numerous beautiful views as well as rich nature. It is a paradise for lovers of lush forests rich in biodiversity.

Play forest on the language border

Are you coming with the children? You can let them loose without a problem in the furnished play areas to be found here and there. The ideal way to go back to your roots: playing with sticks and branches, hands in the sandy soil, laughing and romping in the fresh air.

In addition, you will also visit the artists' village of Kwaremont and walk right through beautiful Pensemont. For those who want to enjoy endless peace, stately beeches, imposing trees and cosy roads, this forest hiking route is undoubtedly a hit.

2 Kluis Forest walking route

Kluisbos vlondertrap.jpg

The start of the Kluisbos route is in Ruien. You walk for 6.4 kilometres, straight into the 300-hectare Kluisbos.

Kluisbos is a gem right on the language border. The 141-metre-high Kluisberg is the heart of this forest, which also offers numerous beautiful views as well as rich nature. It is a paradise for lovers of lush forests rich in biodiversity.

Play forest on the language border

Are you coming with the children? You can let them loose without a problem in the furnished play areas to be found here and there. The ideal way to go back to your roots: playing with sticks and branches, hands in the sandy soil, laughing and romping in the fresh air.

In addition, you will also visit the artists' village of Kwaremont and walk right through beautiful Pensemont. For those who want to enjoy endless peace, stately beeches, imposing trees and cosy roads, this forest hiking route is undoubtedly a hit.

Address
Torendreef
9690 Kluisbergen
Length
6,5 km
Time
1u 20m
Terrain
58% Paved
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3 Lembeekse bossen hiking route

For those looking for a relaxing walk in the woods, the Lembeekse Bossen are the right choice. This hiking route stretches for 8.5 kilometres and kicks off in Kaprijke (Lembeke). The attractive footpaths invite you to go further and further, surrounded by rich nature that has flourished here for centuries.

The Lembeekse Bossen stretch across Oosteeklo, Waarschoot and Lembeke. A good portion of it is a nature reserve, but if you follow the route, you can go right into the forest.

Walking among forest animals

You immediately walk into a varied landscape, in which old and imposing oaks set the tone. You'll end up in a hiker's paradise here. Keep your eyes open, as you might spot stoats, forests, hawks, sparrows and woodpeckers. Always nice to be completely alone with nature for a while. With hundreds of animals all around you.

At your start and finish point on the Heihoek, you will find several catering establishments. Ideal for washing your walk down afterwards. The Bardelaere local history museum is also a great ending to your day trip to the Meetjesland!

3 Lembeekse bossen hiking route

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For those looking for a relaxing walk in the woods, the Lembeekse Bossen are the right choice. This hiking route stretches for 8.5 kilometres and kicks off in Kaprijke (Lembeke). The attractive footpaths invite you to go further and further, surrounded by rich nature that has flourished here for centuries.

The Lembeekse Bossen stretch across Oosteeklo, Waarschoot and Lembeke. A good portion of it is a nature reserve, but if you follow the route, you can go right into the forest.

Walking among forest animals

You immediately walk into a varied landscape, in which old and imposing oaks set the tone. You'll end up in a hiker's paradise here. Keep your eyes open, as you might spot stoats, forests, hawks, sparrows and woodpeckers. Always nice to be completely alone with nature for a while. With hundreds of animals all around you.

At your start and finish point on the Heihoek, you will find several catering establishments. Ideal for washing your walk down afterwards. The Bardelaere local history museum is also a great ending to your day trip to the Meetjesland!

Address
Ledestraat 47
9971 Lembeke
Length
8,5 km
Time
1u 45m
Terrain
36% Paved
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4 Neigembos hiking route

Here, where you are walking now, a garrison full of Roman soldiers once came before you. The Neigembos finds its origins in the ancient Kolenwoud. This, in the time of the Ancient Romans, extended from Picardy to Brabant.

Not just a few trees, in other words. But an impressive forest that still holds high regard today. Don't be alarmed if you suddenly find yourself going up and down – the relief here ranges from 20 to 90 metres' difference. Step into a wonderful world of sunken lanes, stately oaks and burly beeches.

Spotting woodland hyacinth

But the trump card of the Neigembos is undoubtedly the typical woodland hyacinths that emerge here every spring. In the spring, a blue-purple oasis is created here as the woodland hyacinths pop out of their buds. As far as you can see, a colourful haze covers the forest floor.

But make no mistake: this is also an overwhelmingly beautiful forest at other times of the year. Keep your eyes open for beautiful brown frogs, pied woodpeckers and numerous butterflies. So: need a walk in the woods? This forest hiking route will pull out all the stops to charm you.

4 Neigembos hiking route

Neigembos3-Ninove-tov.jpg

Here, where you are walking now, a garrison full of Roman soldiers once came before you. The Neigembos finds its origins in the ancient Kolenwoud. This, in the time of the Ancient Romans, extended from Picardy to Brabant.

Not just a few trees, in other words. But an impressive forest that still holds high regard today. Don't be alarmed if you suddenly find yourself going up and down – the relief here ranges from 20 to 90 metres' difference. Step into a wonderful world of sunken lanes, stately oaks and burly beeches.

Spotting woodland hyacinth

But the trump card of the Neigembos is undoubtedly the typical woodland hyacinths that emerge here every spring. In the spring, a blue-purple oasis is created here as the woodland hyacinths pop out of their buds. As far as you can see, a colourful haze covers the forest floor.

But make no mistake: this is also an overwhelmingly beautiful forest at other times of the year. Keep your eyes open for beautiful brown frogs, pied woodpeckers and numerous butterflies. So: need a walk in the woods? This forest hiking route will pull out all the stops to charm you.

Address
Bevingen 2
9400 Ninove
Length
10,7 km
Time
2u 10m
Terrain
54% Paved
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5 Drongengoedbos hiking route

This walking route will send you through the largest contiguous forest in the province – good for hours of hiking fun. In addition to hikers and cyclists, you'll run into some grazing cows and sheep – and if you're lucky, a roe.

From the Drongengoedbos Landscape Park, you'll walk to the Maldegem field, where free-roaming cattle, the Galloways, graze freely.

Animals, a drink and a play area

The cosy café in Drongengoedbos is one of the most sociable places in Meetjesland, where you can enjoy a coffee or an Augustijntje (the local beer par excellence) in the shade of the walnut and chestnut trees.

With the Kabouterpad, the children can be in their element at the newly created play areas near the farmstead, which is strewn with natural play apparatus.

5 Drongengoedbos hiking route

Maldegemveld TOV.jpg

This walking route will send you through the largest contiguous forest in the province – good for hours of hiking fun. In addition to hikers and cyclists, you'll run into some grazing cows and sheep – and if you're lucky, a roe.

From the Drongengoedbos Landscape Park, you'll walk to the Maldegem field, where free-roaming cattle, the Galloways, graze freely.

Animals, a drink and a play area

The cosy café in Drongengoedbos is one of the most sociable places in Meetjesland, where you can enjoy a coffee or an Augustijntje (the local beer par excellence) in the shade of the walnut and chestnut trees.

With the Kabouterpad, the children can be in their element at the newly created play areas near the farmstead, which is strewn with natural play apparatus.

Address
Drongengoedweg 1
9910 Ursel
Length
13,8 km
Time
3u 24m
Terrain
39% Paved
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