Urban skylines and green panoramas: Flanders in pictures (part 1)

Walking shoes, a smartphone and a generous dose of astonishment is all you need to discover Flanders’ loveliest views. From the most beautiful panoramas of lush greenery to the stunning skylines in our art cities. We meander from Limburg to Mechelen, past the most Instagram-worthy spots.
NPHK Mechelse Heide drone nevel 2017 © Nationaal Park Hoge Kempen

Terhills, Hoge Kempen National Park in Limburg

Our photo quest starts in Terhills. This main gateway to the Hoge Kempen National Park pays tribute to Limburg’s mining past. You will find an impressive landscape of hills and lakes there. The location is given extra character by the spoil tips and pitheads that remind visitors of the mining site it once was. It provides an unusual combination that produces handsome pictures. And for the action photographers among us: the site is blessed with a spectacular stretch of downhill trail for mountain bikers. Looking for a bit of fun as well? The range of micro-adventures on offer in Hoge Kempen National Park are sure to give you some inspiration. 

Lommelse sahara

The Lommel Sahara, Limburg

A little further on in Limburg, you come across a large, bright green coniferous forest. In the middle of it, you suddenly find yourself in a desert-like landscape: the Lommel Sahara. This part of National Park Bosland is a unique phenomenon. Interestingly, we owe this to, of all things, pollution. There used to be a large zinc factory here which caused the surface vegetation to disappear like snow in the sun. The result: a barren landscape topped with a layer of white sand. To prevent this area from spreading, a coniferous forest was planted around it. And to make it truly enchanting: there is also an azure blue lake next to it. And yes, it really is there, it is not a mirage.

Maasvallei - Kamperen op een vlot met kinderen - Maasmechelen

Landscape Park Meuse Valley

After the sands of the local Sahara, we seek the water. We head for the River Meuse. This river forms the border between Flanders and the Netherlands for a distance of 40 kilometres. Around this mighty river is Landscape Park Meuse Valley. There, you can wander for hours through a beautiful landscape park spanning no fewer than 13,000 hectares. You and your camera will be treated to a meandering network of river arms, gravel pits and areas of wilderness. This delivers countless phenomenal images. Want to capture some fauna in addition to all that flora? The Galloway cattle, Konik horses and many water and migratory birds happily make their presence known.


Linkeroever, Antwerp

Flanders’ pristine greenery is a treasure trove of photo opportunities. But you can also find countless opportunities in our art cities. Take Antwerp, for example, an edgy metropolis where you can also find tranquil spots. One of these is the Linkeroever. At the city beach of Sint-Anneke, you find sunbathers enjoying the weather with the phenomenal skyline of Antwerp in the background. The Cathedral of Our Lady and the Boerentoren - Europe’s very first skyscrapers - are the eye-catchers here. The beautiful Sint-Anna tunnel for cyclists and pedestrians, under the River Scheldt, is also worth photographing. Its rustic porcelain tiles and authentic wooden escalators dating from 1933 are guaranteed to be a big hit on your social media.


Cross-border park Kalmthoutse Heide, near Antwerp

Are you planning to visit Flanders sometime between mid-August and mid-September? Then we definitely recommend heading to the Kalmthoutse Heide, barely 25 kilometres from the heart of Antwerp. This park extends across both Flanders and the Netherlands. During late summer, this cross-border park is beautifully in bloom. Flowers of bright lilac and dark purple dominate the landscape. Walkers can encounter all this beauty on no fewer than 28 different walking routes. Along the way, you may come across the fire tower. Those who climb this 42-metre-high structure are rewarded with stunning views over the beautiful heathland.


St. Rumbold’s Tower, Mechelen

We conclude the first part of our photographic adventure in the city of Mechelen. This splendid Flemish art city, located exactly halfway between Antwerp and Brussels, is a feast for the eyes. The proud St. Rumbold’s Tower is the main eye-catching site there. Those who climb the 536 steps of this piece of UNESCO world heritage are amply rewarded. From the skywalk, 97 metres high, you have stunning views of the surrounding area. You can see for tens of kilometres. In clear weather, you can even see the iconic Atomium in Brussels and the port of Antwerp. Stunning panoramas are guaranteed.

This photographic tour takes you to six stunning spots, all of which will yield dozens of stunning images, ranging from peaceful greenery to vibrant city life. Still not enough pics on your Instagram? Then follow us to part 2, through another beautiful part of Flanders.

Hallerbos 11 © www.hallerbos.be

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