Location and Access
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
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.
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.
From Brussels centre you can
reach the “Quatre-Bras” by following the Tervuren Lane all
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).
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!
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...
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..
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!).
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
Brabant, in the column "toerisme>wandelen".
- Introduction -Guided
Tour (The New World) - The Treasures of the Old World
- Pictures Gallery
In and around the Arboretum - Guestbook - Contact - News