Outdoor Activities in and Around Brussels
Find places to go walking, hiking, climbing, road cycling, mountain biking, canoeing or kayaking, plus details of clubs and associations that organise these activities in Wallonia and Brussels...
There are a number of facilities available for those who wish to involve themselves in outdoor activities in Brussels.
Hiking and walking
(Rando, Promenades en campagne/Het wandelen, Lopend en dwalend)
Local tourist offices have maps and guides for many walking and cycling routes. The Brussels City website has details of guided and themed walks.
There is a network of walking and cycling routes, known as RAVeL (Réseau Autonome de Voies Lentes), which cover much of the country. They are exclusively for the use of ramblers, cyclists, and, in some cases, horse riders. They follow old canal embankments and disused railway tracks in Wallonia.
- For more details on maps and routes: Click here
Initiated in 1995 by 10 local councils, the TARPAN network has similar objectives to the RAVeL project (that is, the use of abandoned paths and rail tracks for the benefit of hikers, cyclists, mountain bikers, long distance runners and horse riders). The main difference is that the Tarpan paths are rougher and more suitable to mountain bikes and serious walkers.
There are four principal routes, and maps at all departure points indicate the various paths and their length. Accommodation and refreshments are located throughout the network.
- For further information: Click here
The official rambling and walking associations in Belgium have more information on their sites. Both are members of the European Ramblers Association.
- VZW Grote Routepaden (in Dutch)
At: Van Stralenstraat 40, 2060 Antwerp
Tel: 03 232 72 18
Fax: 03 231 81 26
- Les Sentiers de Grande Randonnée - SGR
At: Rue de Fontaine 69, 7170 Fayt-lez-Manage
Tel: 064 54 88 95
There are other smaller rambling and hiking associations, such as Schampavie Trekkersgroep, which welcome new members.
Cycling and mountain biking
(Cyclisme, Vélo, Vélo Tout Terrain – VTT/Fietsen, Mountainbike)
Brussels city tends to be very busy, and is perhaps not the best place to travel on two wheels. However, there are parks (mentioned above) where cyclists can exercise in relative peace and safety.
- For details of cycle paths: Click here (in French)
Just outside the city there are lots of routes too. The Fôret de Soignes has some good routes for mountain biking fans.
Bikes can be carried on the metro, tram and train, either free of charge or for a small fee, although it is recommended not to travel on public transport during rush hour. Many train stations also have facilities to rent a bike.
Cycling is possible on the RAVel network, detailed maps of the RAVeL routes can be bought from the Ministry of Transport website.
The Brussels cycling website, Cycling in Brussels, has information for cyclists in the region, including maps to download, general rules of the road, information on tandem tours for the partially sighted and transport information.
- For further information: Click here
For mountain biking enthusiasts there is a Belgian mountain biking website (in Dutch)
The Cycling Federation of Wallonia and Brussels (Fédération Cycliste Wallonie- Bruxelles) has information for cyclists and mountain bikers, and has a list of clubs in the region.
- At: Avenue du Globe, 49/1, 1190 Brussels
Tel: 02 349 19 20
Fax: 02 349 19 49
Provélo is an association in Wallonia and Brussels that promotes the use of bicycles for work and leisure. It organises many activities, including cycling proficiency training, guided tours, all year round bicycle rental and events.
Belgium has over 50 indoor and outdoor climbing centres. There are plenty of crags and other rocky sites for beginners and more experienced climbers.
The Belgian Climbing Network has information on where to climb in the Brussels area and throughout the country. Addresses are given for many of the country's climbing centres on their website.
Belgium is a good place to go canoeing or kayaking, with guided tours and lessons catering for any level of skill. Most activities take place outside of the Brussels area on the main rivers – the Ambleve, the Ourthe, the Semois and the Lesse.
- For a list of centres offering lessons and tours for canoeing and kayaking: Click here
- French-speaking Canoeing Federation (Fédération Francophone de Canoe) - in French
- Dutch speaking-canoeing Federation (Nederlandstalig Kano Verbond - N.K.V.)
At: Clerxhoevestraat 2B, 3910 Neerpelt
Tel: 01 164 28 35