Winter is finally over and we can almost smell summer. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves - spring has sprung - and we’ve got a few flower-filled months to enjoy first. Stuck for ideas on how to do just that? Don’t worry, we’re here to bring you some springtime inspiration. Destination: Haspengouw.
Tucked away in Flanders is a scenic region in south Limburg, known for its rolling hills, orchards and greenery. Haspengouw transforms in April as white and pink flowering fruit trees speckle the green landscape. Yes, it’s as dreamy as it sounds. The beautiful blossom season makes it the perfect place to enjoy a sunny spring day.
Now, what’s the perfect way to go blossom spotting in Haspengouw you may ask? Well, that’s up to you. But, we’ve got a list of 5 unique ways you can get around the flowering region. Active or relaxed, friends or family, on a budget or if you’ve got cash to splash, whatever your plans are there’s something here for you.
Check out the activity pages below to get all the info you’ll need to see the blossoms this spring.
A Quick Guide to Blossom Season in Haspengouw
When to Go:
Catching the blossoms requires a little bit of planning, different fruit trees flower at different times and they usually only last around one month - you want to try and see the bloom in its prime. In Haspengouw you’ll mainly find cherry, pear and apple trees. Cherry trees begin to flower in late March, whereas apple and pear trees tend to hold off until the beginning of April. So, to catch Haspengouw in all its spring glory visit in mid April if you can.
Tip: Visit Sint-Truiden even has their own Bloesemmeter (Blossom meter) which usually goes live around the end of March. You can keep up to date with Haspengouw’s blossom here.
Haspengouw knows it's got something special here and they definitely make the most of it. Blossom season is celebrated by Blossom Festivities: in Sint-Truiden the blossoms are blessed at the beginning of the season, fruit farms open their doors to the public and Bloesembars (aka Blossom Bars) pop-up around the region for visitors to enjoy a drink or a bite to eat on the outdoor terraces.
We’re in Belgium so of course there is a blossom inspired beer! Kerkom Brewery, on the outskirts of Sint-Truiden, brews the ‘Blossom Blink’ in time for the season. Local honey and pear syrup are added to give the beer a little bit of sweetness.
Fruit companies celebrate by letting you in to see the fruity behind the scenes action. Blossom tours are the best ways to enjoy the flowers up close as you go on a guided tour of the blooming fields.
(Note: In April 2021 there will be no Bloesembars due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)
Wander through blossoming orchards and find a hidden church
There are so many walking routes in Haspengouw, especially ones that showcase the region in the spring. But, we’ve picked these particular routes because they take you up to the ‘Reading Between the Lines’ church which is surrounded by an orchard. You’re getting two for the price of one here: Haspengouw’s beautiful blossoms and this super cool optical illusion. It’s a recipe for a great photo.
Beginning in the centre of Borgloon, there are 5 Greenspot Grootloon walks to choose from: the green route (4.4km), blue route (6.1km), orange route (8.8km) and yellow route (12.6km). Any one of these trails will satisfy your blossom spotting needs. Be prepared to take on a hill or two...and then reward yourself with a visit to one of Borgloon’s Bloesembars afterwards.
Starting Point: Markt, 3840 Borgloon, Belgium
Experience Haspengouw’s blossoms by bike: The Bloesemroute
Explore Haspengouw’s blossoms the Belgian way and hop on a bike. Limburg has an incredible cycling network, a lot of which isn’t on the roads which makes it a great place to cycle. Be prepared for a few of Haspengouw’s hills though. Earn those blossoms!
Along Came an Elephant spent a weekend cycling around blooming Haspengouw. The 50km ‘Bloesemroute’ took them through flowering apple orchards, past art, castles and showcased the best of springtime Belgium. Who said cycling can’t be relaxing? They recommend renting an electric bike for a chilled yet active weekend. Check out their blog on the Bloesemroute here.
Go green as you zoom through the flowering countryside
So you love the idea of some sustainable blossom sightseeing but don’t want to tire yourself out. We’ve got just the thing. Grab a friend and head over to Bilzen where you can hire an electric golf cart and whizz around the countryside, past orchards and vineyards.
Another bonus sight for you here is Alden Biesen Grand Commanderie, one of Limburg’s grandest castle complexes. You pick-up your little cart right next to the castle and zoom off with up to 45km worth's of battery. Checkout the ‘Blossom and Fruit’ route for a tour of the blooming landscape with options for 2 or 4 hours.
Spot some blossoms as you scooter around Haspengouw
Jump on a scooter and ride around the countryside, spotting blossoms along the way. There are a couple of places to rent vespas in Limburg, but starting in Hoeselt means you’re in the best place to explore Haspengouw.
Hire a scooter for the day and opt for the Haspengouw Route, a 92km journey that’ll show off the rolling countryside in all of its springtime glory. The vespas can hold two people, so find a date or get a group of friends together and be prepared for a fun and memorable spring out.
Cruise around the blooming scenery in a classic Citroen 2CV
If you fancy splurging on an April outing, hire this iconic little car for the ultimate nostalgic spring-time road trip. Route38 near Heers has a colourful fleet of Citroen 2CVs for you to choose from. Order a picnic hamper or bring your own and take off to find the best spot for a picnic amongst the blossoms.
Perfect for family, friends and special occasions, you can hire the cars out for a few hours, a full day or even longer. You can follow one Route38’s specially designed routes or you’re free to spend a day driving around in style if you already know the best blossom spotting spots.