Kasteel van Groot-Bijgaarden
The borders are still closed for us here in Belgium due to the pandemic, and the famous Keukenhof tulip fields in the Netherlands are closed until further notice (they cancelled and refunded our tickets for early May) so we needed to scope out tulips before they went by!
Located in Dilbeek, Belgium (just outside of Brussels), this gorgeous 15th century castle and surrounding gardens are a wonderful alternative to Keukenhof. Also known as Floralia Brussels, there are almost 400 varieties of tulips, and daffodils and hyacinth are also well represented. Check the dates online to see when the season begins and ends each year.
At the entrance it is possible to purchase bulbs of many kinds. There are very simple packaged food options and nice restrooms available. Prices are €14 for adults and €5 for children 6-14 years old. You can also buy a ticket for the entire flowering season for €20, so you can return multiple times to see the varying blooms. Dogs are allowed on leashes, and if you pick up after them!
The courtyard has an impressive variety of tulips including several we have never seen before! The purple ones below were pointy at the top (Kaufmanniana tulips), and the pinkish red ones looked like ruffles (Fringe tullips)! There were also Double tulips that remind me of peonies, and enormous flowers the size of my palms!
Past the huge Donjon tower and crossing the creek bridge s a garden that feels like you’re taking a walk through the forest. The trees are so tall, and the tulips were in full bloom!
Past the forest area there is a huge, open, manicured field with greenhouses and lots of chairs and benches set up for relaxing. You can wander through the field that is peppered with large rounds, each full of a different tulip variety. Past the greenhouses (where snacks, a picnic area, a small playground and the restrooms were located) is another garden area flanked by two tree-lined paths – which are my very favorite! I know there are no tulips on these paths but I could spend all my time enjoying the sparkly light glisten through the trees as we wandered down these paths.
After the garden and paths there was another big area with tulips before reaching the small waterfall and bridge that takes you along the moat with a gentle hill, also covered in tulips.
These photos are the “quintessential” Groot Bijgaarden tulip shots this place is famous for. The impressive moat, bridge, and ramparts look awesome behind that tulip-lined hill! Just beyond this there is a cool carriage – it looks to be several centuries old and refurbished with colorful paint!
After that nice walk through the flower park, we all needed a delicious Liège waffle! Boy are they good!
Hopefully next year we can make it up to Holland…but this certainly quenched our thirst for springtime blooms! Floralia at Groot-Bijgaarden Castle is definitely worth the visit!