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Walking around Overijse

While anyone can do this walk, I think it could be particularly interesting for two groups of people. Firstly, if you live in Brussels, don’t own a car, and would like a day out in the countryside, this may interest you. Secondly, if you are new to Belgium I will be introducing a great network of footpaths that will help you discover the country.

An introduction to Overijse

Overijse is a municipality in the province of Flemish Brabant. It’s located about 15 km directly south-east of Brussels, on the way to Wavre. It includes the communities of Eizer, Maleizen, Jezus-Eik, Tombeek and Terlanen. Around 25,000 people live in Overijse, and it’s surrounded by plenty of green, including the extensive woodlands of Zoniënwoud/Forêt de Soignes which is a haven for hikers and cyclists. It gets its name from the local river, the IJse.

How do I get to Overijse from Brussels?

If you don’t own a car, the simplest way is to take a bus, for example from Etterbeek Station. De Lijn run a number of buses from Etterbeek to Overijse such as the R75. It takes 35 minutes. An alternative which may be easier is to take the metro from your specific location to Hermann-Debroux metro station. From here you can pick up the R75 or R76 to Overijse. Generally there seem to be at least two buses per hour heading to Overijse from Brussels.

How do I buy a bus ticket?

Flanders’ bus company De Lijn have a nice app that is easy to use. It provides useful information on the bus timetables, including real-time info on where your bus is on its route. You can use the app to buy a ticket, which will cost you 2.50 EUR and lasts for an hour, which is good value. Alternatively you can send an SMS to 4884 with the message “DL” and you will get a ticket in return. It also costs 2.50 EUR plus 0.15 EUR network charge.

Where do I get off the bus in Overijse?

At the bus stop called Overijse Kerk, which is directly opposite St. Martin’s Church in the middle of Overijse. I don’t think you’ll miss it:

Walking around Overijse, starting at the church
To walk around Overijse, firstly get off the bus at Overijse Kerk bus stop

Where do I get a coffee or lunch in Overijse?

If you want sustenance before you walk, right next to the bus stop is Den Bonten Os, a cozy restaurant where you can get a coffee, sandwiches, soup, salad or something more filling like a burger. Or you could walk around the town centre which has a few sandwich bars and cafés such as Café t’Pleintje and Bakkerij Guns.

Den Bonten Os Overijse
Den Bonten Os is open every day except Monday

What else can I do in Overijse?

Before or after your walk you could visit the Dru!f Grape Museum. This is an interesting and well laid-out museum. Before visiting it I didn’t realise that Overijse has such a history of producing its own wine, and that there are still a few vineyards in the region producing good quality wine. The museum is right next to the bus stop and is actually attached to Den Bonten Os, which is convenient.

Grape museum Overijse
Learn all about the grapes and wine of Overijse

The hiking node network

I want to introduce you to a great Flemish invention: the wandelknooppunten network, which is a network of hiking junctions (the same exists for bikes). If you are familiar with them, you may like to skip this section. If you are new to walking in Belgium you may find it useful. You may have seen these strange numbered signposts. For example, outside the grape museum you will see this signpost:

Walking network signpost Overijse

This means you are standing at junction/node (knooppunt) 328, and the next junction is no. 3, which you will reach by walking in the direction of the arrow. On your route towards junction 3 you will see more signposts at regular intervals. So if you are heading from junction 328 to junction 3, you just follow the arrows like this one:

Walking network signpost Overijse

You thus keep an eye on the signposts, following the arrows towards junction 3, until you come to this signpost:

Walking network signpost Overijse

This means that you have arrived at junction 3. Here you see you have two options. You can either turn left towards junction 30, or go straight on towards junction 302.

How do I know which junctions to follow?

You can go to this website and make your own route on their route planner. Just key in Overijse and you will see all the numbered junctions in the area and you can make your own route, starting from junction 328, depending on the distance you want to travel. All distances between all junctions are indicated. You can also use their NodeMapp app which allows you to adjust the route en route.

A recommended route

For example, here is a walking route around Overijse that I followed and can recommend.

Overijse map

Here you see the starting point, junction 328, in the top-left of the map, and then the path to junction 3. Here I decided to go straight on to junction 302 as indicated in the photo above. The full route that I made of all the junctions is as follows: 328-3-302-303-305-306-307-308-309-36-300-30-3-328. The total distance was 14.2 km. However, you have probably picked up the great advantage of this system: you can easily adapt it to make a shorter circle or a larger one. So arriving at junction 306 I could decide to head back to Overijse on a shorter walk. Alternatively, if I am feeling energetic by the time I reach junction 308 I could head towards junction 252 and hike a much longer distance.

What kind of countryside will I be walking through?

A bit of everything: arable fields, open meadows, some sunken lanes, the occasional wooded areas, and a few hilly bits but nothing too strenuous. Here are some pics from my walk:

Walking around Overijse
Enjoy a walk through Flanders
The Flemish countryside
Through the woods near Overijse
Walking around Overijse

Where to stay in Overijse

I know someone who stayed in this B&B who rated it very highly. For something a little different, how about this tiny house? For something more traditional, this hotel is located in a particularly beautiful setting.

I hope the above gives all you Brussels-based non-car-owning countryside-loving people – or new arrivals in Belgium – all the instructions you need for a lovely day out in the Flemish countryside. If you still have any questions, just drop me a line. and I will do my best to answer them. I hope you enjoy your day trip walking around Overijse.

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