The 5 most popular hiking trails in East Flanders

The 5 most popular hiking trails in East Flanders

The most beautiful walks chosen by hikers from all over Flanders

There are miles of hiking trails in the East Flanders regions. These will lead you comfortably past beautiful natural areas, charming little villages, vast field landscapes, bustling cities and cultural highlights. This list compiles the finest of them, selected by hikers themselves.

1 Muziekbos walking route

A forest full of strings and wind players, where there's a one-man orchestra behind every tree? Erm, no, not exactly. The Muziekbos (Music Forest) has nothing to do with music – but everything to do with the Celtic word for swamp. Expect to find a beautiful vast forest here, with slender trees growing to tower above you. You can even walk on the remnants of ancient Bronze Age burial mounds there. Where can you do that, these days?

Get ready for 11 kilometres of enjoying nature, along small roads and unpaved trails in the Flemish Ardennes. Climbing and descending is part and parcel of being in a region with rolling countryside. Walk higher and reward yourself with a breathtaking view of the Trosbeek Valley. The Muziekberg (Music Mountain), however, is your biggest challenge. At 148 metres, this is the undisputed king of the hills.

Resting on the Sinnenbanken

Another thing on the programme: the Geuzentoren (a round stone tower) to be found in the middle of the forest. When poet Omar Wattez climbed it, he exclaimed: "These look like Flemish Ardennes here" – and thus the name of the region was born. Need a break after all that hiking? Then settle down on the Sinnenbanken: beautifully designed rest benches in the shadow of the Geuzentoren.

1 Muziekbos walking route

Muziekbos Ronse © David Samyn (1).jpg
Geuzentoren_DavidSamyn.jpg

A forest full of strings and wind players, where there's a one-man orchestra behind every tree? Erm, no, not exactly. The Muziekbos (Music Forest) has nothing to do with music – but everything to do with the Celtic word for swamp. Expect to find a beautiful vast forest here, with slender trees growing to tower above you. You can even walk on the remnants of ancient Bronze Age burial mounds there. Where can you do that, these days?

Get ready for 11 kilometres of enjoying nature, along small roads and unpaved trails in the Flemish Ardennes. Climbing and descending is part and parcel of being in a region with rolling countryside. Walk higher and reward yourself with a breathtaking view of the Trosbeek Valley. The Muziekberg (Music Mountain), however, is your biggest challenge. At 148 metres, this is the undisputed king of the hills.

Resting on the Sinnenbanken

Another thing on the programme: the Geuzentoren (a round stone tower) to be found in the middle of the forest. When poet Omar Wattez climbed it, he exclaimed: "These look like Flemish Ardennes here" – and thus the name of the region was born. Need a break after all that hiking? Then settle down on the Sinnenbanken: beautifully designed rest benches in the shadow of the Geuzentoren.

Address
Kanarieberg 1
9600 Ronse
Length
9,7 km
Time
2u 15m
Terrain
29% Paved
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2 Sombeke-Oude Durme hiking route circuit 1

The Sombeke-Oude Durme hiking trail is a topper that actually consists of two hiking loops: the first loop leads you through the area that runs north of the Durme, while the second explores the southern area along the Durme.

If you combine the two loops, you'll have covered 15 kilometres just like that. These are 15 delightful kilometres that will lead you along path and narrow historic roads, through a mighty castle estate to some phenomenal natural splendour.

Walking along mudflats and salt marshes

See the mud flats and salt marshes of the Durme, experience the tranquillity around the still waters of the Oude Durme and experience some quaint towns such as Waasmunster and Hamme.

In short, a Sunday hiking activity where the legs do the heavy lifting and your head gets all the time it needs to unwind. That's all you need, isn't it?

2 Sombeke-Oude Durme hiking route circuit 1

oude durme 2.jpg

The Sombeke-Oude Durme hiking trail is a topper that actually consists of two hiking loops: the first loop leads you through the area that runs north of the Durme, while the second explores the southern area along the Durme.

If you combine the two loops, you'll have covered 15 kilometres just like that. These are 15 delightful kilometres that will lead you along path and narrow historic roads, through a mighty castle estate to some phenomenal natural splendour.

Walking along mudflats and salt marshes

See the mud flats and salt marshes of the Durme, experience the tranquillity around the still waters of the Oude Durme and experience some quaint towns such as Waasmunster and Hamme.

In short, a Sunday hiking activity where the legs do the heavy lifting and your head gets all the time it needs to unwind. That's all you need, isn't it?

Address
Mirabrug
9220 Hamme
Length
10,5 km
Time
1u 40m
Terrain
57% Paved
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3 Oude Kalevallei circuit 1 walking route

Another trip you can split into two pieces. The Oude Kalevallei is the area around the – not very surprisingly – Oude Kale. On the winding route: beautiful landscapes, picturesque mills, several castles and villages that you could stay in for days.

Loop one is 7 kilometres long. The hay meadows on your way are interspersed with beautiful rows of trees and ditches that seem plucked straight from an ancient Flemish scene. This natural area will immediately enchant you and give you the calming adventure you need: kilometres of hiking with a clamber over some cattle locks in the middle.

walking through castle villages

Loop two takes you on an 8-kilometre trek past the picturesque villages of Merendree, Vinderhoute and Lovendegem. There, you will discover some masterfully beautiful castles and cosy catering establishments. Walk between rows of pollard willows along the Oude Kale and admire the farmhouses in the landscape. An instant solution to stress and pressure.

3 Oude Kalevallei circuit 1 walking route

Oude Kalevallei.png
Oude Kalevallei
Oude_Kalevallei_landschap.jpg

Another trip you can split into two pieces. The Oude Kalevallei is the area around the – not very surprisingly – Oude Kale. On the winding route: beautiful landscapes, picturesque mills, several castles and villages that you could stay in for days.

Loop one is 7 kilometres long. The hay meadows on your way are interspersed with beautiful rows of trees and ditches that seem plucked straight from an ancient Flemish scene. This natural area will immediately enchant you and give you the calming adventure you need: kilometres of hiking with a clamber over some cattle locks in the middle.

walking through castle villages

Loop two takes you on an 8-kilometre trek past the picturesque villages of Merendree, Vinderhoute and Lovendegem. There, you will discover some masterfully beautiful castles and cosy catering establishments. Walk between rows of pollard willows along the Oude Kale and admire the farmhouses in the landscape. An instant solution to stress and pressure.

Address
Merendreedorp
9850 Merendree
Length
6,9 km
Time
1u 25m
Terrain
30% Paved
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4 Ooidonk walking route

This hiking route revolves entirely around Ooidonk Castle. You start at Bachte-Maria-Leerne (Deinze) for a 7.5-kilometre hike, which takes you along fields and roads towards the magisterial moated castle.

Ooidonk Castle is a jewel in the crown of the Lys region – and that's saying something. Created in the 16th century, this imposing structure is set amidst a fabulous castle park. The soothing pond adds an extra magic touch, and the graceful gardens are a model of masterful perfection.

Café at the Lock House

Walk down Ooidonkdreef and be surrounded by ancient lime trees. Step under the Blue Gate and come across the Spanish-Flemish Renaissance castle.

Also on the menu for this hiking trail: Astene lock, a manually operated drawbridge with a café in the lock house. Feel free to wander in for a fresh Schobiak (a Belgian Pale Ale style beer), with some tasty dishes from the house next door.

4 Ooidonk walking route

kasteel_Ooidonk_Deinze_Ooidonk_wandelroute.jpg

This hiking route revolves entirely around Ooidonk Castle. You start at Bachte-Maria-Leerne (Deinze) for a 7.5-kilometre hike, which takes you along fields and roads towards the magisterial moated castle.

Ooidonk Castle is a jewel in the crown of the Lys region – and that's saying something. Created in the 16th century, this imposing structure is set amidst a fabulous castle park. The soothing pond adds an extra magic touch, and the graceful gardens are a model of masterful perfection.

Café at the Lock House

Walk down Ooidonkdreef and be surrounded by ancient lime trees. Step under the Blue Gate and come across the Spanish-Flemish Renaissance castle.

Also on the menu for this hiking trail: Astene lock, a manually operated drawbridge with a café in the lock house. Feel free to wander in for a fresh Schobiak (a Belgian Pale Ale style beer), with some tasty dishes from the house next door.

Address
Ooidonkdreef 3
9800 Bachte-Maria-Leerne
Length
7,7 km
Time
1u 30m
Difficulty
MakkelijkHeight profile
Terrain
81% Paved
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5 Asselkouter hiking route

Goodbye daily stress, hello vast fields and open country! Dive into the tranquillity around Munte and Baaigem. Let yourself be blown away by the gently rolling landscape. Climb a slightly larger slope here and there and experience the tranquillity of Scheldeland, where beautiful walks are an everyday experience.

Do you know Ter Zinkt Castle? This mediaeval castle has an impressive causeway in front of it, several kilometres long. It is one of the attractions of Munte, a village of only 700 residents.

Landscape full of bunkers

This small population contrasts sharply with the 25 bunkers located in the territory. That's one for every 28 residents! They once protected Ghent from the advancing enemy; today, they are quirky sights on an extremely beautiful walking route.

Baaigem is another small and picturesque village, just across the border between Scheldeland and the Flemish Ardennes. The community has been here since the 10th century and will immediately charm you. A little further on, you will also encounter the Makegemse Bossen, a lush forest area near Merelbeke.

5 Asselkouter hiking route

Asselkouter_wandelroute_Munte.jpg
Bunker Asselkouter Merelbeke.jpg

Goodbye daily stress, hello vast fields and open country! Dive into the tranquillity around Munte and Baaigem. Let yourself be blown away by the gently rolling landscape. Climb a slightly larger slope here and there and experience the tranquillity of Scheldeland, where beautiful walks are an everyday experience.

Do you know Ter Zinkt Castle? This mediaeval castle has an impressive causeway in front of it, several kilometres long. It is one of the attractions of Munte, a village of only 700 residents.

Landscape full of bunkers

This small population contrasts sharply with the 25 bunkers located in the territory. That's one for every 28 residents! They once protected Ghent from the advancing enemy; today, they are quirky sights on an extremely beautiful walking route.

Baaigem is another small and picturesque village, just across the border between Scheldeland and the Flemish Ardennes. The community has been here since the 10th century and will immediately charm you. A little further on, you will also encounter the Makegemse Bossen, a lush forest area near Merelbeke.

Address
Munteplein
9820 Munte
Length
12,5 km
Time
2u 40m
Terrain
81% Paved
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View the hiking routes on a map

Venture out in East Flanders. Choose your favourite from our 5 best hiking routes and join friends or family for a full day of hiking.