Kalmthout Heath
Kalmthoutse Heide

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Keen for a breath of fresh air and sick of that city noise? Enjoy a relaxing walk in this giant nature reserve with some very unique trees, plants and shrubs that are sure to catch your eye.

Kalmthout Heath is no regular park. With over 6000 hectares, it has some pretty unique vegetation for Belgium that you won't find much elsewhere. It's really a little escape from the city and you'll walk through the sand (yes, sand) and trek through some interesting landscapes ranging from the deep Belgian-style rich green forest to the dry, sands with desert-like shrubs, plants and trees.

The park lies on the Belgian–Dutch border, so you can literally cross a country as you walk through this park. If you're a fan of cycling, running, or just love nature, this park has what you need.

Walks: there are 24 signposted walks throughout the heath. We've selected a 12.4 km option, but you have lots to choose from! See route details for further information.

  • Bring your camera! This park has gorgeous vegetation that you need to see and share. You’ll see beautiful heather plants, pine trees, and lakes galore.
  • This park can get busy if you park at the main lot during weekends or holidays, but once you're in it, it's quite large and you can separate from the main horde of people pretty easily.
  • Interesting fact: Need a moment of peace? This park is recognized as a “3-Star Silent Area” meaning sounds of the city are extremely limited and it is one of the very few areas in the region that you can immerse yourself solely in the sounds of nature.
  • The vegetation survives in very dry temperatures as you'll notice while trekking through sand so during high summer be careful to protect the park as it can be on fire alert. So no smoking or firepits allowed here! The park has had some large fires in the past and you can still see remnants of this if you pay attention to the trees.
  • If you're lucky enough to be reading this in late summer, the heath turns gorgeous shades of purple really transforming the landscape. Don't fret though, even in deep winter, the heath landscape has something charming and magical to it where you can get lost in nature.
  • Want to birdwatch? This piece of nature features every kind of Dutch woodpecker.
  • Stop at the visitor centre at the main Kalmthout entry for more info on the different walking trails & check out their bee museum.
Updated on 25 November 2021

Tips and Tricks

  • Your dog is welcome too! Just make sure they’re on a leash and you’re good to go. -There's a few cafes nearby or bring your own picnic. If parking at Kalmthout, grab a bite to eat at the nearby Restaurant De Heihoeve or keep it casual Bosbar.
  • Come prepared by downloading a free pdf map of the park from their website. You can buy a paper one at the visitor centre for 1,50€.
  • During late August & September, the heath turns purple and it looks like a magical landscape.

Getting There

Try an alternative gate if its the weekend or holidays as it can get quite busy, there's three in total: Hemelrijk - Essen (BE), Volksabdij - Ossendrecht (NL), or Ravenhof – Putte / Stabroek (NL/BE).

  • By Car: the park is free to enter & explore. Park at the main lot in Kalmthout according to your navigator of choice.
  • By Bike: choose Hemelrijk-Essen on the Belgian side as your entry port.
  • By Bus: bus stop at train station of Heide or the church in Huijbergen, then a 15 min walk to the park. Check their website for further direction details

Route details

  • Map & GPX of 12.4 km: available here
  • Map of all routes available here.
  • Signage: walks are usually signposted, but not always clear. Follow the map & GPX.

Open everyday, sunrise to sunset


All seasons




Open; reserve online here

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