I must admit that the main reason why I spent one weekend in Brussels is that I wanted to head all the way to Amsterdam and look for tulip tours in Northern Holland. However, while frenetically looking for tulips in Belgium, I stumbled upon the Groot Bijgaarden Castle tulip festival.
Because there’s one thing I love most in this world: flower blooms and fields!
And the next one is, of course, castles!
Mix the two together and you get a dream destination for a day trip from Brussels.
Groot Bijgaarden Castle tulip festival
To be honest, I don’t remember exactly how I found out about the Brussels Floralia festival. But after visiting the 2018 Euroflora festival in Genoa I knew this is an activity perfect for me, and one of the most beautiful places in Belgium! And something my mother would also love.
This is the perfect way to spend your Sunday. It was both relaxing and fun. The park around the castle is stupendous, especially with the hundreds of colorful flowers all around.
Groot Bijgaarden Castle facts
One thing I’ve learned about that part of Europe is that they have plenty of castles I could spend months exploring and taking pictures of. Yes, there aren’t only the fairytale castles of Germany or France, Belgium and The Netherlands have also plenty to see.
And the Groot Bijgaarden is one of them, ideally placed less than one hour outside of Brussels. Or 7 km when you go by car.
Surrounded by a deep-water moat, the castle made me think about the stories with princesses my mother used to read when I was a kid. The castle dates from the 12th century and has been ever since modified throughout the years.
Today, the castle is used for all kinds of events and can be rented out by whoever wants to create here a memory to remember. And it is also the place you want to visit when you want to see hundreds of tulips in Belgium. However, we couldn’t visit the interior of the building when we went to the Brussels flower festival.
The thing I loved most about it, is the 14-hectare park where Floralia takes place every year.
When is the Brussels flower festival?
Every year, from April to the beginning of May, when the flowers are in full bloom.
Make sure to check out the schedule every year before you plan your vacation: see the 2020 Floralia Brussels schedule.
Opening hours during the Brussels tulip festival are from 10:00 to 18:00, and the admission fee is 14 EUR for adults and 5 EUR for children between 6 and 14 years old. But remember to check the official website before going because these might change from one year to the other.
How to get to Groot Bijgaarden Castle tulip festival
I must admit we had some issues trying to get to the castle. But I’ll share with you all the information you need in order to better plan your trip and make the best out of the time you have available.
The first thing you must know is that the line getting to Groot Bijgaarden is not the common one in Brussels, but the line is operated by De Lijn.
That means you won’t have to buy tickets from the metro station or any other place where you would normally do. After spending money on that kind of ticket, we had to buy other tickets from the bus. Thus, take your tickets directly on the bus.
From Brussels-South Station take the no 136 bus, or from Brussels-North Station take the bus no 355 and get off at Groot-Bijgaarden.
Even though we took the no 355 bus from Rogier, we discovered there were road works in progress so the bus had a detour. The driver was very friendly and helped us with the information we needed in order to walk to the castle.
That’s how we ended up walking in the small and perfectly arranged villages outside of Brussels.
You can also get there by train, take Brusselstraat until Gemeenteplein.
Here is the exact address if you want to drive there: Isidoor Van Beverenstraat 5, 1702 Groot-Bijgaarden.
What’s special about the Brussels tulip festival
Apart from the fact that even though we visited on a weekend day, the place wasn’t as crowded as I would expect Keukenhof Garden to be, there are certain special days you want to be there.
And I’m talking here about the Parade of the Venetian Costumes! We were lucky to visit on a Sunday and catch the parade and see the stunning costumes.
The dates for 2020:
– Saturday 18 April 2020: 14:30
– Sunday 19 April 2020: 10:30 and 14:30
How was our experience at Groot Bijgaarden Castle tulip festival
Once I saw the beautiful and impressive gate over the water moat I knew that the struggle we’ve been through to get there was worth it.
The castle and its garden are amazing, and right as we stepped inside we found a small flower market. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any space in our luggage, but you should go prepared and buy some nice flower bulbs or flowers to bring back home.
Once the Venetian Parade was done, we wandered around the huge garden and took hundreds of pictures with the many colorful and scented flowers.
No matter how many people were around, there were corners practically empty where we could stay and relax.
Another nice surprise was the covered greenhouses where we got to admire many other types of beautiful flower arrangments.
The small canteen set up in the center of the garden made it easy for people who come here to spend the whole day in nature.
Since we only had a weekend in Brussels and we spent one day in The Netherlands, we only drank a coffee here, took some pictures with the people dressed-up in the Venetian costumes, and headed back to Brussels.
When you have a spare day and visit during spring, make sure to head to the Groot Bijgaarden Castle and see some amazing tulips in Belgium.
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