What to do for Valentine? It’s a question many of us will have to answer in the upcoming days, with February 14th just around the corner. Because even if you don’t want to buy any presents for the most romantic day of the year, it’s still nice to spend some quality time with your loved one. When you’re living in Brussels, it can sometimes seem tricky to find new romantic spots throughout the city. Contrary to let’s say Paris or Vienna, the capital of Belgium isn’t exactly internationally renowned for its romantic atmosphere.
Especially after a month of January grisaille (the never-ending greyness so typical for Belgium), Brussels can seem cold and heartless. But once that winter sun gets out from behind the clouds, once you see the blue sky peeking through, once you can bask in the sunlight on a terrace, you’ll quickly fall back in love with the city again. And you’ll want to go out and explore, making the best of the beautiful weather. So why not combine that lust to explore with your Valentine’s Day festivities this year? Why not get a day off from work, pack a picnic and go to a park you’ve never been before with the love of your life?
Of course, any park will do just fine for a picnic but as it’s a special day, it’s worth the effort to look a little further. Therefore, we’ve selected the five most romantic spots of greenery in and around Brussels, where you’ll no doubt make memories that will last for the rest of your relationship.
What’s better for a romantic date then a stroll through a botanic garden? With all the different spaces on hand, there’s no time to get bored by the greenery that’s surrounding you, which makes it the perfect place if you’re a bit of a park newbie. You walk from the medieval garden to the Dahlgren arboretum to the rose garden, surprised to find the Bouchout Castle nestled somewhere in between. The most romantic part of the garden, however, must be the Balat Greenhouse, such a delicate piece combining architecture with plants. It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
2. Parc d’Egmont
If you don’t know about its existence, you could very easily walk by this park a thousand times without even noticing. The entrances are a well tucked away between towering buildings, making the surprise even bigger when you walk into the park for the first time. With its 1,5 hectares, it’s pretty small for a park but what a welcome bit of greenery it adds to this part of the city. Right in the middle of it all sits an orangerie and throughout the park you’ll be able to find remnants of the Palais d’Egmont. Perfect for a romantic lunch break for two.
3. Jean-Félix Hap gardens
Once, about 200 years ago, Jean-Félix Hap used to be the mayor of Etterbeek. He then bought the property with a Flemish Renaissance castle smack in the middle and it was his son François-Louis Hap who later on built a neo-classical house on the grounds. Now, the little green oasis is a sight for sore eyes, with centuries old trees, the spring of a little stream called the Broebelaer and an old orangerie. As it’s totally enclosed, you get the feeling of being somewhere entirely different, during a different time period even. Or how to escape from reality with your loved one.
4. Jardins du fleuriste du Stuyvenbergh
Located not far from the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken (which are sadly only open to the public during a short span of time each year), the Jardins du fleuriste du Stuyven are like nothing else in Brussels. They’re a bit of an experimental garden, with lots of greenery you won’t see in any other park in the capital. You’ll find a lot of water on site, perfectly mirroring the many plants and trees surrounding them and creating a very contemporary looking park perfect to stroll around in and learn something at the same time.
5. Domaine regional Solvay
Before Marquis Maximilien de Béthune bought the domain at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Domaine Regional Solvay was an integral part of the Sonian Forest. That all changed when he started building his castle and the surrounding park. With its 227 hectares, there’s certainly enough to see to fill an entire romantic afternoon. The perspectives you get to experience all throughout are just magical and immediately make you wonder what it would be like to live in such a place. A woman can dream, right?