This weekend we were finally able to go to Connecterra again after not having had the chance for over a year… This place is so close to home, but still with our busy schedules it’s not easy finding the time to go for a proper hike up the hills.
For those not knowing where Connecterra is, it’s located in a small municipality in Belgium, Maasmechelen which is about 10-15 minutes from the border of Belgium – Netherlands. Connecterra belongs to the National Park Hoge Kempen and is a former coal mine site that closed in the 1980’s. The two old mine shafts are still there, and they are the recognition point at the entrance of the park. One of the shafts is renovated so that visitors can see how it used to look like in the 1920’s and the other is untouched, so you can see how the building survived over the years.
To go into the park, you need to pay a small fee (3 EUR pp and children under 3 years old are FREE) which is used to keep the park clean and maintained. If you are planning to visit more often during the year, then I highly recommend going for the subscription which costs 5 EUR but gives you access to the park every day during the year.
Once you’re inside, you can choose between 4 different routes with different levels of difficulty and distance… GREEN = 2km, BLUE = 4km, RED = 7.5km and YELLOW = 11km. You can easily switch between routes at crossings with either the help from a map (which you can buy at the entrance for 2.5 EUR) or following the colored sign that you want to switch to. In general, it doesn’t matter which route you choose, because what is special is that on every route you have stunning views and are able to enjoy some peace and quiet along the way. It’s allowed to bring your animal to the park, but on a leash except when in the area of the lake, as they are allowed to go for a little swim.
For our visit this time, we decided to go for the BLUE route which took us up the long terrill which meant a steep climb but okay to do with a stroller since the path is somewhat paved. This route gives you the opportunity to take in the Panoramic View on the top while enjoying a small picnic or snack 😊
Continuing the route, we came across different types of soil and altitudes, but all are quite do-able. The biggest difficulty were the steps that we had to descent almost at the end of the hike. With some effort, we managed this with the stroller. We use the Maxi Cosi Mura 3-in-1 which is perfect for rough terrain as it has these wide wheels that provide some stability that with a regular city stroller you have not.
Reaching the end of the trail, you’re back at the entrance where you can enjoy some refreshing and well-deserved drinks 😊 while children can play on the playground.
There are also some events that are organized or some other activities that you can do besides walking, and you can find these details on the Connecterra website.
Hope you enjoyed reading this adventure, and perhaps got some ideas for your next trip!