Doesn’t the chill of the supermarket feel extra satisfying when you’re in there to buy stuff on the way to a picnic?
Well, if you don’t recognise that, you at least know how precious a good city park is. And Brussels is so spoilt for choice it feels like they’re just showing off.
If you’re going to Brussels, you’ll never have to wonder “are there good picnic areas near me?”.
We’ve made a list of the prettiest picnic spots in Brussels. If you feel an intense longing for a lounge in the park after this, don’t blame us. Blame a Brussels park.
Forest Parc is named after the municipality of Forest, not because it’s a forest. They still have lots of nice trees, though.
The top of the park, close to the highest point in Brussels, offers an urban panorama over the city. A dozen bell towers are visible from the mound, which served as an observation point during the First World War.
It has a lovely community vibe to it. La Guinguette summer pop up is a space for meeting, eating, and engaging in sincere community events.
Parckfarm is a social collective centralised in a large glasshouse. After breathing life into an old abandoned railway valley, the park is an area for collective gardening and urban farming.
The Tour & Taxi area was a dying industrial area that’s on the rise. The post-industrial landscape and neo-nature vibe is ground zero for what is going to be the largest regional park in Brussels. So it really feels like history in action.
The collective hosts lots of different events such as a communal pizza oven so people can share their doughy goods; or local DJ’s playing under one of the bridges in the summer. So it’s a Brussels park that takes itself seriously, but it’s a lot of fun too.
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Abbaye du Rouge Cloître
The Abbaye de Rouge Cloitre is a 14th-century monastery on the edge of Sonian forest. It’s primarily an arts and heritage centre now.
There is also a restaurant, bar, farm and stables on the site.
On the nature side, the Rouge-Cloître is classified as a nature reserve, like the Sonian forest, and is home to exceptional flora and fauna. The walks available in the gardens and ponds are adorable. You can even fish there too!
Bois de la Cambre
The Bois de la Cambre is nature in the city. It’s big and has a lake with an island in the centre. What’s not to like?
If you change your mind about the picnic, you could take the boat to Chalet Robinson. It’s a well-regarded restaurant, and the boat trip makes the whole experience that bit more special.
Gardens of La Cambre Abbey
The Abbey was founded in 1201, so you will literally walk through history.
It’s cloister dates back to the medieval period, and there’s a nobleman’s garden from the Baroque period. Jules Buyssens restored the 18th-century terraced gardens in 1930-32.
The gardens of the Abbaye de la Cambre are now used as a backdrop for the National School of Visual Arts and the National Geographic Institute.
It’s a sandwich you’ll remember.
Parc de Bruxelles
Parc de Bruxelles is the first public park in the city. It’s fully fitted for a whole afternoon, or even the day with amenities like benches, drinking-water fountains, a playground, kiosks and toilets.
This was a former royal hunting ground – but you can just bring your food now.
With statues amongst the trees, and the royal house and Belgian parliament at either side, you’re surrounded by power and history.
Park Elizabeth was designed under the reign of King Leopold II. It was originally intended to be headed by an obscenely large Parthenon, but it was never realised.
Headed by the Basilica of Koekelberg, meander down a long boulevard of grass punctuated by paths and benches, and bordered by a host of trees.
In other words, it’s a pristine and idyllic place to have a romantic picnic.
The Sonian Forest
Sonian Forest is home to 200-year-old beech trees across over 10,920 acres of land.
There is a wide range of recreational activities and sport like cycling, riding, Nordic walking, jogging. There are also three big fishing lakes for doing a spot of carp fishing.
Keep your eyes peeled for a whole host of wildlife and animals; the forest is home to deers, bats, red squirrels and even wild boars!
There are picnic tables throughout the forest so you can bring your plates and cutlery. It’s really a magical place, and hard to believe it’s a Brussels park.
Parc du cinquantenaire
This is a large, pentagon-shaped park bordering the European quarter. The best spot for your picnic is in view of the Arc de Triomphe. You get a lovely view of the fountain, but more importantly, you can see the sunset between the arches.
The arches are lovely just on their own if you can’t make the sun go down. The Arc was built to celebrate 50 years of Belgian independence.
The Parc du Cinquantenaire is not just arches and fountains though. There are lots of peaceful and tranquil areas to explore. They also hold festivals, concerts, drive through cinemas, and environment days. It’s a big part of Brussels life.
Now all you need to figure out is what to pack for your picnic. Then again, Brussels has a fantastic range of food trucks. Perhaps get something to go?
It can’t be summer all the time. Not in Northern Europe anyway. But we can ease the suffering. You can read our guide of the best things to do in Brussels in the winter. See, we’re always looking out for you.
Featured image: Gourmet Picnic in the Park © Lauren Spinelli