Located in the province of Limburg in the far northeast of Belgium, Hoge Kempen National Park is the country’s only national park. And it’s a gorgeous one—a peaceful area much like many others in this quiet Western European country.
If you’re visiting Belgium’s most famous cities such as Bruges, Brussels and Antwerp, which are absolutely recommended, visiting Hoge Kempen National Park could provide a wonderful counterbalance to all of that history, culture and busy citylife. It’s an almost overwhelmingly peaceful place, consisting of expansive heathlands, large patches of pine forests, the occasional sand dune offering breathtaking views, and here and there a pond or small lake.
Visiting Hoge Kempen National Park, Belgium
Hoge Kempen National Park covers approximately 60 square kilometers (5700 hectares) and is an important habitat for plants and animals, especially birds, and a region in Europe that’s heavily populated.
That wildlife in Hoge Kempen National Park, animals that can be spotted while exploring the park on foot, on a bicycle or on horseback, includes snakes, frogs, toads and lizards—the warm sand that covers most of the area is ideal for reptiles and amphibians. When it comes to mammals, often the “most wanted” animals among visitors, deer is the most high-profile ones that call the park home. Birdlife is abundant as well, with many species basking in the parks woods and heathlands, including woodlarks, curlews, hawks and nightjars.
The park has five entrances, which are called gateways, and they all feature a cafeteria serving drinks and snacks, a parking lot, and boards and panels with information on the park’s hiking, cycling and horseback riding trails, the local flora and fauna, and even local history. In my opinion, the best way for visiting Hoge Kempen National Park is by walking. On foot, visitors can really take in the typical smell of the heather and the pine forests, listen to the songs of birds and enjoy the sometimes downright stunning landscapes.