Seven Breaths of Fresh Air

Seven Breaths of Fresh Air

Don’t want to stay indoors today? Go and get some fresh air at these outdoor spots in Brussels! 

  • Le Botanique

    Le Botanique is right near the eponymous Botanical Garden of Brussels. There’s always something going on in this cultural centre or its concert hall.

    During the day, you can visit one of many (photo) exhibitions, and by night you can enjoy concerts or concert series, such as ‘Les Nuits’. Traditionally considered as the kick-off of the busy festival season, this festival makes discovering and strengthening musical careers “a top priority”. Come and see, come and listen, starting mid-May!

    Tip: Café Bota offers a delicious lunch with Italian flair every day. On concert nights they also serve dinner, and on Friday and Saturday evenings you can dance up a storm in the café.

    Thurn en Taxis

    Originally, the noble family Von Thurn und Taxis founded the Post Office at this location, and later Brussels City Council erected Europe’s biggest warehouse complex here.

    Today, these old warehouses are bristling with industriousness and creativity. There are art events, fairs, festivals and concerts to be found here. The big draws here include the Antiques Fair, the Book Fair, and Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. The iconic heart of this site is the Royal Warehouse, with its brick and bluestone walls. Inside, you’ll find shops, restaurants and cultural events as well. All in all, Thurn and Taxis is a unique location boasting remarkable architecture … plus a generous dollop of greenery thanks to the park, stretching from the canalside to the Belgica and Pannenhuis metro stations.

    Tip: Have a wonderful lunch or dinner in this urban environment at La Fabbrica or take the weight off your feet at one of the picnic tables in Parck Farm.

    Parck Farm

    At the back of the Thurn & Taxis site, you’ll find a cosy little “people’s park” in a railway cutting.

    Locals and activists put their minds to it and gave this little corner of Brussels a makeover. It’s now a gem of the city and a wonderful spot to spend some time. You could call it an urban farm or an ecological melting-pot of cultures; both descriptions fit the bill. Parck Farm is a series of apartments with a chicken coop, a conservatory (the FarmHouse) and a cafeteria serving local produce. Set yourself down at one of the picnic tables to sample the cafeteria’s goodies. Tip: Keep tabs on the extensive programme of activities here.

    Parck Farm is reached via Jubelfeest Bridge or by following the park signs from Line 28 at the Belgica or Pannenhuis metro stations.

    Ixelles Ponds

    Nestled beside the Place Flagey in Ixelles, you’ll find a pair of ponds in a little park, surrounded by tall trees, and architectural gems in Art Nouveau, Art Deco and eclectic styles.

    The banks of both ponds are ideal for having a jog or a stroll. This is also a popular destination for sunseekers on summery days. Tip: Combine a walk or jog here with a refined lunch or delectable dinner at Chyl or Ami. Another tip: Come on a Saturday or Sunday and visit the market on Place Flagey, with its organic produce.

    The Florist’s Gardens

    Stuyvenberg Floral Gardens were originally laid out as an ornamental garden for King Leopold II. Nowadays, they serve as the showcase for Belgian park warden and gardening skills.

    At this wonderful complex of greenery, you will discover flowers and plants not encountered in any other Brussels park, such as the wonky-trunked acacias or the special Camellia collection. Wander between the ponds and floral borders, and soak up the calm and the colours. The high point of your visit to these gardens will be the panoramic view from the balconies! Your vista will extend from the Church of Our Lady of Laeken right across to the Palais de Justice. There’s a chance your jaw will fall open as you stand and admire.

    Josaphat Park

    Josaphat Park in Schaerbeek has been a favourite among Brussels locals, the Brusseleirs, for many years.

    Starting in 2005, the park has been undergoing a complete renovation. The result today is a green treasure, with extensive fields of grass, ponds and floral borders. It’s the ultimate Brussels destination for picnicking, relaxation or a walk! If you prefer to step up the pace a little, there’s a fitness run in each corner of the park, and you can even play a round of miniature golf here. Kids will have a whale of a time in the playgrounds. If the mercury is rising, the little ones will enjoy a cool off in the paddling pool, and there’s a fountain for some splashy fun. What’s more, on summer days, a good range of activities and animated fun is held here, from creative workshops to music festivals and food carts. No wonder they call themselves ‘the park to be’!

    Chalet Robinson

    Chalet Robinson is uniquely situated, on an island in a lake in the Bois de la Cambre / Ter Kamerenbos. You come to the restaurant by ferryboat.

    The chalet, with its green idyllic surroundings, is ideal for a romantic date. But you can also come here with a larger group, for business or pleasure. The menu mostly features traditional dishes, prepared with love and care. Try the beef tartar (€18) or the duo of traditionally made tripes with caramelised apples and salted butter (€18). The boat ride to and from the restaurant is €2.