The Sonian Forest, an age-old wellness Valhalla

Life goes on and on and on. We live in busy times. Therefore it’s vital to stop all the activity every now and then, to find peace, to relax completely. Have you ever experienced such a need? Then a long, wholesome walk among age-old beech trees might be the ideal remedy. Welcome to the Sonian Forest. 

We’re all looking for our own way to unwind. The possibilities are endless. A massage? Sweating it all out in the sauna? A visit to a wellness center? Sure, why not? But in Flanders we prefer an age-old recipe: a walk in unspoiled nature, and that’s where the Sonian Forest comes in. This 4400-hectare forest is a stone’s throw from bustling Brussels, the capital of Europe. Just a couple of kilometers away, you can breathe in fresh air and lose yourself in natural splendor that has existed for centuries. The Sonian Forest is a primeval forest some 10,000 years old, and sure to survive countless generations to come. It has been a forest since the last Ice Age, never having been disturbed by agricultural or other activities. Nature has been allowed to take its course. A walk in an ancient natural setting, past ancient trees reaching up towards the heavens – is there anything more beautiful? 

The age-old Sonian Forest, a perfect spot to unwind © Bart Goossens
The age-old Sonian Forest, a perfect spot to unwind, © Bart Goossens.

Of course, nature comes first here: the rare plants, the ancient beech trees, the deer, foxes and wild boar, birds of prey, kingfishers, fire salamanders, and so on. However, humans are more than welcome: each of the nine entrance gates will lead you to an impressive hiking network: 170 kilometers of paths through the most beautiful spots in the forest. 

Some walks are short and suitable for the whole family, while others extend 20+ kilometers and take you up and down sometimes steep slopes in the forest. There is something for everyone. Find a comprehensive overview of all hiking options here. If you prefer to discover this beautiful forest by bike or mountain bike, you will find what you are looking for here. 

Whether you want to be there alone with your thoughts, or with a companion beside you, on foot or on two wheels, a trip through this irresistible piece of untouched nature will recharge your batteries. No sauna or massage in the world can beat that. 

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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