Where is the Arboretum?
How to get there?

 

Location and Access

 

  • Where is the Arboretum?

The Arboretum of Tervuren is located at the borders of the two communes of Tervuren and Overijse, about 10 miles east of the centre of Brussels, in Belgium. The main access is either via Tervuren or Jezus-Eik (called “Notre-Dame-aux-Bois” in French), two villages well-known in the Brussels "touristic" traditions from the early twentieth century. Nowadays these communes outer suburbs still manage to retain a certain identity.

The Arboretum is actually one piece of what is called in Belgium “The Royal Donation”, a legacy of King Leopold II to the Belgian State, along with the Park of Tervuren and its beautiful ponds. The park also host the world famous Royal Museum of Central Africa.

The Arboretum together with the park and the communal wood of Tervuren come together to form a north eastern extension of the Sonian Forest. This area is often called Kapbos - Bois des Capucins - recalling a former settlement by Capuchin friars.


The Arboretum is an area open to the public free of charge. It is permanently accessible from sunrise to sunset. Please treat this unique and fragile place with all the respect it is due...

 

  • How to get there?

 

General:

Sadly, the car remains the best way to reach the Arboretum.

The bicycle would have been my first suggestion: the surrounding areas are ideal for biking. But once you decide to visit the Arboretum, unfortunately there are no facilities to ensure the sakekeeping of your bicycle. Obviously it is not recommended to attach it to the foot of a tree!

Public transportation presents some alternatives, depending on your time and wishes.

 

By car:

 

Tervuren is easily accessible via the RO Ring East, exit N3 Tervuren – Leuven. This main crossroads is known locally as the “Quatre-Bras” (four arms). After 3 kilometres, turn right into the village at the traffic lights and follow the signs “Arboretum” (tourist panels: white letters on brown background).

The tourist panels to look after: Arboretum

From Brussels centre you can reach the “Quatre-Bras” by following the Tervuren Lane all the way.

Coming on the E40 from Leuven, Liège or Germany, take the Bertem–Tervuren N3 exit up to Tervuren. At the big roundabout take the large Tervuren Lane in the direction of Brussels. Turn left at the second traffic lights into Tervuren village and follow the tourist panels “Arboretum” (white letters on brown background).

The main access to the collections of the New World is located on the Vlaktedreef which is a continuation of the Jezus-Eiklaan (parking area near the entrance).

To reach the Old World it is best to take the "Ringlaan" entrance. This way you will discover the "Springs of the Voer" (parking facilities near the Diependal sport center about a 100 yards away). You can get there by following the signs for “Diependal”.

 

The gates to the Arboretum all look the same: here is the one of the Vlaktedreef.

The Sneppenlaan entrance is at the north eastern corner of the Arboretum. This is a residential area and parking is limited. And finally, the main advantage of taking the Eikestraat entrance is that it bring the visitor directly to the middle of these Two Worlds. However, these two last entrances are not easy to find (don’t forget to bring a map!).


Jezus-Eik (Notre-Dame au Bois) can be reached via the exit “Overijse-JesusEik “ off the E411 Bruxelles-Namur (the first exit if you are coming on the Ring) or via the N4 Bruxelles-Overijse-Wavre. Access soley via the Drève des Capucins ("Kapucijnendreef"), that is, the south-west entrance of the estate. Follow the tourist panels (white letters on brown background) near the village church.

Parking isnt always easy, depending on the crowds... Its useless to try to rejoin Tervuren and the other access roads by the forest route ("Vlaktedreef") since its one-way Tervuren-Jezus-Eik!

 

Public Transport:


In my opinion, the village of Tervuren finds itself in the extremely lucky position of being served by one of the most beautiful tramways in the capital, that being the No. 44 Tram. If you decide, some sunny summer Sunday, to take the tram to the Arboretum, you will experience the pleasures associated with being on one of the oldest tramways in Europe – dating back to the beginning of the 20th century! For more detail, visit the site of the Urban Transport Museum of Brussels.

If you get off at Tervuren, it is approximately 2km by foot from the tramstop to the closest entrance to the Arboretum. The terrain is fairly difficult so be careful – best for hardened walkers!

The best solution, in terms of distance to cover, is as follows: get off at the Quatre Bras stop; you must then cross that crossroads to the corner diagonally opposite you. About 20 metres along on the right-hand side you take the "Drève de Ravenstein" which will bring you directly in front of the main entrance of the Arboretum (gentle terrain, straight through the beech groves of the Forest de Soignes).

Tervuren is equally served by a bus service “De Lijn”, Nos. 315 and 317 ( Kraainem-Tervuren-Leuven) and from 1 March 2004 by the new lines 410 (Express: Bruxelles Nord-Tervuren-Leuven) and 830 (Groenendaal-Zaventem). The No. 315 and the No. 317 both stop at the Diependal Sports Centre, which is right beside the "Ringlaan" entrance (see above for more details on this particular access). Buslines 315 and 317 both start at the metro station of Kraainem: an easy solution if you travel from anywhere in Brussels but the bus frequencies can be low especially on week-ends.

The village of Jezus-Eik is very well served by both the De Lijn and the TEC lines. The stop is close to the village church, not far from the entrance to the wood. This is in fact the easiest way...

De Lijn:

341
Wavre - Etterbeek
343
Maleizen - Overijse
344
Hamme-Mille - Bruxelles
345
Wavre - Bruxelles
348
La Hulpe - Etterbeek
349
Ottembourg - Etterbeek

 

 

 

 

TEC :
Line E: Bruxelles - Wavre -Eghezée

 

By Bicycle:

 

Whether it be the pathways of the Sonian Forest, the cycle paths along the main thoroughfares, or the "Fietsroutes" of the Vlaams Brabant province (http://www.vlaamsbrabant.be/ontspannen ,column toerisme>fietsen), without doubt if you can go by bicycle you will get to see the best of the Arboretum's surroundings..

The mushrooms of the "Fietsroutes" :
One of the few access points for bicycles: the entrance at the end of the

The mushrooms of the "Fietsroutes" :
very clear markers...

One of the few access points for bicycles: the
"Droge Vijverdreef" entrance, at the beginning of Eikestraat
.

Beware that once inside, sometimes access to cyclists is very limited. There are only 2 major thoroughfares where cycling is permitted; these are more or less at the "Kapucijnendreef" (south-wast – north-east axis) and the "Droge Vijverdreef", which links up with the main entrance at Eikestraat. They offer you only a limited view of the scenery of the park. "Off-road" is definitely out-of-bounds!

However some routes along the limits of the Arboretum are certainly worth the trip. See also "In and Around the Arboretum: Things to Do and See”. One interesting initiative has been the fixing-up of the green way: Bruxelles-Tervuren by the Brussels Region. To find all the details.



A beautiful bicycle trip follows on from the fietsroutes beginning from the Quatre Bras - on the Tervuren side. The track begins at the parking, which is located at the beginning of the "Drève de Ravenstein - Ravensteindreef" (30m from the crossroads). It snakes through the Forêt de Soignes, further along crossing the tarmac road of the Vlaktedreef. The track finishes at a T-junction, turning left you can then rejoin the Jezus-Eik entrance to the Arboretum (Kapucijnendreef).

The path is crossing through all of the Arboretum.Near the end of the pathway turn left and gently climb, the track now runs along the Wolvenweg - where one then arrives at the exit of the Arboretum (close to the first few houses of Sneppenlaan). We don't have to leave the forest yet though. The markers continue on in front of us. The track gently descends, alloing us to rejoin the Tervuren-Duisburg route. On the other side of this (be careful of traffic crossing!) the track continues over the Warande fence – which encircles the woods and ponds of Tervuren, and runs along the first area of water. By following this path, you end up at the famous ponds. There you are free to continue to tour around the ponds before getting back to the Tervuren Lane, which will bring you straight back to Quatre Bras (watch out: it looks flat... but you're climbing continuously!).
You can of course just go halfway round and then take up the same route. Notice however that from the ponds, the fietsroute along the Voer also rejoins Leefdaal, Bertem, Leuven and from there……Each to his own!



By foot:

 

The best way to visit the Arboretum is of course by foot. The tracks are numerous. Be sure to go the way of the meadows because it is there that you can appreciate best the charms of the park. Many walking guidebooks include the Arboretum, but in a very broad context (Forêt de Soignes, Dijleland, etc.). You can also find (only in Dutch) more information on the site of Vlaams Brabant, in the column "toerisme>wandelen".


Another easy tip: the beautiful site of the Sonian Forest offers just as much information on the walks around the Arboretum but also on the GR512 Vlaams Brabant (Diest-Geraardsbergen) which crosses the site here and there. Topoguides are available in Dutch only.

 

Winter sun on some Western Hemlocks.

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