Laken Park Walking Tour, Brussels

Laken, also known as Laeken, is a park in a residential suburb of Brussels. Laken Park was formerly the official home to the Belgian Royal Family and is home to the Royal Castle, the Royal Greenhouses, the statue of Leopold I of Belgium, and more. Take this three-hour walk to visit the most famous attractions of Laken Park in Brussels.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Laken Park Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Laken Park Walking Tour
Guide Location: Belgium » Brussels (See other walking tours in Brussels)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 km
Author: audrey
1
Museum of the Far East

1) Museum of the Far East

The Museums of the Far East covers the Japanese Tower, the Chinese Pavilion and the Museum of Japanese Art. The Japanese Tower was constructed in Brussels under the guidance of Alexandre Marcel, a French architect; however, it incorporated ornamental elements that were produced internationally. A Tokyo-based carpenter constructed the porch feature. Before the porch was displayed at its current site, it was shown at the 1900 World Exposition in Paris. A Yokohama-based carpenter came to the site to work on aspects of the garden and some of the building details. The Japanese Tower has rotating exhibits on Japanese art and culture. The Chinese Pavilion was originally designed as a restaurant. It features kiosks and paneling that were constructed in Shanghai. The Chinese Pavilion has a permanent exhibit that focuses on Chinese porcelain that was made for export. The Museum of Japanese Art, which makes up the third part of the Museum of the Far East, presents a varied collection of Japanese Art from the Royal Museums for Art and History. Key collections that are displayed include pieces from the Edo period (1600-1868), such as metal arts, paintings, woodblock prints, ceramics, textiles, sculptures, and lacquer products. Admission to the museum gives you access to all three sites. A recorded audio tour is included with your paid admission to the museum.

Editor's note: The museum is temporarily closed for safety reasons.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Winter Garden

2) Winter Garden (must see)

The Winter Garden is also a greenhouse on the Laeken Park grounds. It was built in 1874-1876 according to the plan drawn up by the architect Alphonse Balat. The Winter Garden was the first garden among all the greenhouses and its dimensions are significant. Due to this, the garden is able to host some of the most beautiful species of palms and other plants.
3
Pier Greenhouse

3) Pier Greenhouse

The Pier is one of the Royal Greenhouses, built in 1886-1887 as the structure where the King received guests. Constructed in glass and metal, the Pier has two significant statues by Charles Van der Stappen. Containing a wide variety of plants, the Pier remains a magnificent greenhouse and a perfectly interesting piece of architecture.
4
Royal Castle of Laeken

4) Royal Castle of Laeken

The Royal Castle of Laeken is the official residence of the King of the Belgians. The castle was built at Laeken between 1782-1784 after the plans of the French architect Charles de Wailly under supervision of Louis Montoyer as a summer residence for the Governors of the Habsburg Netherlands, Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria and her husband Albert of Saxe-Teschen. On 21 July 1803, Nicolas-Jean Rouppe, as commissioner of the department of the Dijle, received Napoleon at the Castle of Laken. Napoleon stayed here with his Empress in August 1804. The Château was partly destroyed by fire in 1890 and rebuilt by Alphonse Balat. The French architect Charles Girault gave it its present outline in 1902. Upon their accession to the throne in 1993, King Albert II and Queen Paola preferred to remain living at Belvédère, a château on the grounds of the park surrounding the castle.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Monument to Leopold I

5) Monument to Leopold I

Situated on the opposite side of the Royal Castle of Laeken, the Monument to Leopold I commemorates the life of the courageous king of Belgium. The monument was designed in a Neo-gothic style by the architect Louis De Curte. Constructed from nine bays, the monument has in its center the figure of Lepold I.
6
Laeken Cemetery

6) Laeken Cemetery

The Laeken Cemetery is one of the major cemeteries in Belgium. It is sometimes compared to the Père Lachaise, the famous cemetery in Paris. The cemetery features many examples of funerary art as well as a bronze case of Rodin’s Thinker. The Rodin statue was purchased by Josef Dillen, an art collector, to use as his own memorial. The Church of Our Lady of Laeken is adjacent to the cemetery and was built in the memory of Louise-Marie, Belgium’s first queen. Construction of the church began in 1854 and it was consecrated in 1872. Construction was completed in 1909. Beneath the church is the Royal Crypt, which serves as the burial place for the Royal Family. All former Belgian kings are buried here as well as the following royal tombs: Leopold II, Baudouin, Elisabeth of Bavaria, Prince Leopold, Price Baudouin, and Charlotte of Belgium. This crypt serves as the final resting place of the Belgian Royal Family. Next to the cemetery’s entrance is a small museum dedicated to Belgian sculptor Ernest Salu. Notable internments at this cemetery include architects Alphonse Balat, Joseph Poelaert and Leon Suys, writer Michel de Ghelderode, painter Fernand Khnopff, and Camille Jenatzy, a race car driver. You may visit the cemetery as an individual or arrange for a guided visit.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Church of Our Lady of Laeken

7) Church of Our Lady of Laeken (must see)

The Church of Our Lady of Laeken (Église Notre-Dame de Laeken, Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk van Laken) is a neo-Gothic Roman Catholic church in Laeken, Brussels. It was originally built in memory of Queen Louise-Marie, wife of King Leopold I to the design of architect Joseph Poelaert. Louise-Marie died in Ostend in 1850 and wished to be buried in Laeken. The nearby Royal Castle of Laeken was, and still is, the royal residence. Leopold I wished the church to be constructed in her memory and as a mausoleum for her. The young architect Joseph Poelaert was chosen to design the new church. The first stone was laid by Leopold I in 1854. The church was consecrated in 1872, but not completed until 1909 after a lengthy interruption of the work. The crypt holds the tombs of the Belgian royal family, including those of all the former Belgian kings.

Why You Should Visit:
Impressive very tall church with an even more impressive cemetery behind it that holds a number of very interesting graves, tombs, and art in the form of sculptures (including Rodin's 'Thinker').

Tip:
The church is open in the afternoon, the cemetery the whole day from Tuesday to Sunday.
Before visiting, check the hours that the mausoleum is open (usually Sunday afternoons).

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 2-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Brussels, Belgium

Create Your Own Walk in Brussels

Create Your Own Walk in Brussels

Creating your own self-guided walk in Brussels is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Central Nightlife Tour Part 1

Central Nightlife Tour Part 1

Brussels' nightlife is represented by the variety of its clubs, among which are not only out and out discotheques but also clubs that host world-famous DJs and live music as well. Brussels has some of the most fashionable night clubs in Belgium. Take this walking tour to visit the most famous venues located in Central Brussels, all within a pleasant walking distance.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 km
Leopold Quarter Walking Tour

Leopold Quarter Walking Tour

Built in 1837, the Leopold Quarter is a popular district in Brussels and features some of city's most significant buildings, like the Paul-Henri Spaak building, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and Antoine Wiertz Museum. The district is also home to the popular Leopold Park and Jean Rey Square. Check out this next three-hour tour and enjoy the best sites of the Leopold Quarter in Brussels.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km
The Sablon Sights Walking Tour

The Sablon Sights Walking Tour

The Sablon is a hill and neighborhood in the historic upper town of Brussels. At the top of the hill we find the twin squares of Grand Sablon and Petit Sablon, divided by the Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon. The area is especially known for a great variety of antique dealers, chocolate shops and art galleries.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.6 km
City Center Museums

City Center Museums

Known as the cultural capital of Belgium, Brussels has a large number of museums located in the heart of the city. Brussels is famous for such museums as the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, the Magritte Museum, the Museum of Brussels, the Museum of Musical Instruments, etc. This tour includes the most popular museums in Brussels City Center, all within a pleasant walking distance.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km
Marolles and Matonge Nightlife

Marolles and Matonge Nightlife

Brussels' nightlife is represented by the variety of its clubs, among which are not only out and out discotheques, but also clubs that host world-famous DJs and live music. Brussels is home to some of the most fashionable night clubs in Belgium. Take this walking tour to visit the most famous venues located in the Marolles and Matonge districts of Brussels.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
City Center Gift Shops

City Center Gift Shops

It would be a pity to leave Brussels without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Brussels, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit. All shops are located within a pleasant walking distance, in Central Brussels.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Belgian Beer Tour of Brussels

Belgian Beer Tour of Brussels

Belgium is world-renowned for its beers and Brussels is the best city to sample the huge variety of flavors. We'll show you the best places to buy them and to drink them. We'll even show you a family brewery where the liquid gold is produced right in front of your eyes! This tour is meant...
What to Buy in Brussels: 15 Ideas for Travelers

What to Buy in Brussels: 15 Ideas for Travelers

It's no secret that Brussels is not all about JCVD muscles and EU headquarters. Small country as such, Belgium abounds in signature items, such as beer, chocolates and... the peeing boy. All of these have made prime Belgian souvenirs for years. Now you can explore the Brussels gift scene in...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Brussels for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Brussels has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money getting around Brussels and visiting the city's multiple highlights, you may want to resort to the Brussels City Card.

Among other conveniences, this card allows its bearer to explore Brussels's top attractions, tours, restaurants, bars and clubs, and selected shops either completely free of charge (41 museums) or with great (up to 50%) discounts. The card provides 24-, 48-, or 72-hour passes to these locations, plus free ride on the hop-on hop-off bus and public transportation (optional) thus putting Brussels at your fingertips! Reduced rates for children and students also apply at participating venues.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Brussels hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: NH Brussels Carrefour de L’Europe, Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo, Hotel Novotel Brussels Off Grand Place.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Brussels, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close, with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, as a guided tour of Brussels typically costs from around US$20 up to US$50+ per person:

- Take a 3-hour guided walk around central Brussels to discover the city's historic locations, learn about its legendary men and women who made history, delve into the origins of Brussels, and acquaint yourself with the Belgian capital's contemporary culture and gastronomy;

- Embark on a must-see tour of real Brussels exploring the city's top attractions through the eyes of a local guide revealing a flip side of the well-known locations, plus discovering a few secret spots only the locals know about, away from the trodden tourist paths. En route, you may give yourself a treat to the authentic Belgian cuisine at a local eatery, not forgetting the world-famous Belgian chocolate, plus indulge yourself in some other local delights along the way.

- Appreciate Belgian gastronomy in its diversity – chocolate, waffles, beers, fries, and more – on the Food and Beer walking tour of Brussels offering a unique chance to savor a variety of local foods, drink local beers and unleash your sweet tooth onto the delicious local chocolate, whilst listening to a great deal of fun stories associated with each of these delights!

- Come and see what's made Belgium an international beer superpower on a 2.5-hour beer tasting tour of Brussels led by a local expert. Here, you will learn to tell a difference between the Belgian and foreign-made brews plus acquaint yourself with some of the 1,000+ craft beers made in this country.

- Pedal your way across Brussels on a 3.5-hour guided biking tour to discover the city's beauty manifested in its top landmarks, breath in the local atmosphere, plus enjoy along the way some of the best fries and beer (optional) the city has to offer.

- Explore the artistic side of Brussels on the tour following in the footsteps of renowned Belgian artists who left their mark in the field of Surrealist painting and Art Nouveau architecture. On this tour you will see some of the city's hidden gems, visit independent galleries and more, led step by step by a knowledgeable local guide.

Day Trips


If you have a half or full day to spare whilst in Brussels, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Ghent and Bruges, Antwerp, Maasmechelen, or Waterloo. For as little as US$10+ to US$100+ you will get a chance to acquaint yourself with the UNESCO World Heritage city of Ghent's medieval architecture, learn about Bruges's Viking and Middle Age history, get to see Antwerp - the hometown of Peter Paul Rubens and one of the largest harbors in the world, shop till you drop at Maasmechelen Village with over 100 international boutiques offering big-name brand clothing at reduced (down to 40%) prices, plus visit the site of one of the most significant battles in the history of Europe that saw the ultimate defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte. All these trips start and end at your hotel and you'll be carried by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or minivan, accompanied by an English-speaking tour guide.