Length 7.3 or 12.3 km (4.5- or 7.6 miles), terrain: hilly with 122-meter gain
NOTE: Brussels is bilingual, for Dutch and French, and street signs are sometimes in one language, the other or both. I'll include both names when I mention streets here. Sorry about the bad pictures but it was raining when I did this run!
Brussels Running Routes:
Avenue Louise/Bois de la Cambre
EU Quarter/Woluwe Park
For more running routes, see Route List
Brussels is a compact city that is graced with some exceptional roles: as the Belgian capital city, European Union capital, NATO headquarters, capital of its own small province, as well as being the chocolate capital of the universe. There are interesting things to see everywhere you go.
I used to run fairly often to Woluwe, in the days when I worked several months each year in Brussels. But that was decades ago. And when I headed out there again on a business trip this week, I realized that I had forgotten how hilly Woluwe was! But it's still as beautiful as I remembered. So let's get going on this varied and beautiful route!
|The fountain in Brussels Park, with the Belgian Parliament in background|
Turn east and start running east, out Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat. As you enter the EU quarter, you'll already be able to see the gigantic triumphal arch in Cinquantenaire/Jubel Park in the distance, right where we're heading.
|Along Loi, let's get by here fast!|
|European Commission building in the rain|
Then, you run straight into Cinquantenaire/Jubel Park, a nicely maintained park dominated by its huge arch, built to celebrate modern Belgium's 50th anniversary.
|At the arch|
|Rowhouses along Tervuren|
|Amazing art-deco mansion|
|Turn in here to the park!|
|The park trail: head uphill, then left|
When you come to the paved road after the first lake, cross the street to continue along the trail lining the second lake.
|The fake-stone bridge|
When you get to the paved street with car traffic (Avenue du Parc de Woluwe/Woluwelaan), turn right and follow it as it snakes its way westwards up the wooded hill towards the park exit.
NOTE: The rest of the way back involves a lot of zig-zagging from street to street. If you want to keep it simple, just turn around here and re-trace the first part of the run from here. But the route as it continues lets you experience a bit more of this interesting town.
|Coming into Woluwe|
When you get to Legrain, the street-crossing with the triangular planters in the street, turn right to run downhill, heading north. This street is lined with fairly normal apartments. The further we run back into the center, the less elegant things will get.
After Legrain starts to head uphill again, turn left onto Avenue des Volontaires/Vrijwilligerslaan for just a block, and then turn right to continue northwards along Baron de Castro.
In a few blocks, at the 8-km mark, you'll come to where Castro crosses Boulevard Saint-Michel/Sint-Michielslaan, with its tram line and lots of traffic. Cross the street and continue straight ahead for two blocks.
This neighborhood has some fairly modern apartments lining it, and you'll run through a park-like square and continue (the streetname changes to 11 November) till you cross Avenue de la Chasse/Jachtlaan.
After Jachtlaan, take the second right-hand turn and run north along Baron Lambert in Etterbek. The houses look a lot simpler around here, and more urban as we get closer to central Brussels. Keep running along Baron Lambert until it ends at Chaussée Saint-Pierre/St.-Peter.
|Jourdan Square: I want to stay here!|
You'll see a park across the street, Leopold Park. So let's get away from the street noise and head into the park, keeping left to run past its little lake, and run past the Lycee school sitting above you on the left.
|EU Parliament from Leopold Park: keep right!|
When you get to the oval-shaped parliament building, keep right to run past the right side of the glass building next to it (another parliament building). You'll see stairs going up along the side of the building (look for the big, colorful arrows!), taking you up to the higher square in front of the EU buildings, Luxembourg Square. There are giant banners hanging all over, illustrating the insides of the parliament for visitors, a bit of pro-EU propaganda.
|Luxembourg Square: EU Parliament entrance|
Cross Troon and then follow the street to the right (Rue Ducale), past the side of the Royal Palace, then straight into Brussels Park again, where you'll see the fountain across the park where you started. You've made it!
|Entering Brussels Park again|