Berlare (pronunciation BEHR-lah-ruh) is a small town of 14,000 inhabitants in East Flanders, consisting of Overmere, Uitbergen, Donk and Berlare proper. It is a very peaceful and calm municipality located on the banks of the Schelde river and has a lot of beautiful natural settings to offer its visitors.
- 1 Tourist office, Donklaan 123, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the tourist office of the commune of Berlare. It is also possible to rent bicycles (including tandems) and a minigolf, kubb or petanque set.
Berlare is not well connected to the public transport. Best is to get there by car.
The closest railway station is Schoonaarde. From there the south of Berlare is within walking distance. A bigger station is in Lokeren, where you can take a bus to Berlare.
The Flemish national bus company, De Lijn, has lines to Berlare or its villages from Lokeren, Dendermonde and Aalst. There are also buses from the regional capital Ghent, but the ride takes a lot of time. For more information regarding different timetables (unfortunately only available in Dutch): https://www.delijn.be.
- 1 Lake Donk. Flanders' largest lake. Rowing boats for hire. The north shore is touristic with lots of restaurants etc, famous for "Paling in 't groen", a dish made with river eel. The rest is quiet and green.
- 2 Castle of Berlare and surrounding park, Dorp. April-September: 8:00-20:00, October-March: 8:00-17:30. Open every day. This castle dates back to the 17th century and is protected since 1975. It is built in renaissance style and on the exact same location of a fortified building that stood here until French soldiers burned it down in 1677-1678. The buildings are not accessible, but the park is. Free admission.
- 3 Sint-Martinuskerk (St. Martin's Church), Dorp 1. Through history only the tower and only a part of the aisles remained from the original 15th-century church. Other parts of this church are built in the 17th or 20th century. The pulpit from the early 19th century still can be seen today inside the church with four wooden carvings from 1719 underneath it. Many historical valuable paintings decorate the church's inside walls. Free admission.
- 4 Bareldonk chapel, Kapelleplein. Every day from 9 till 17. This site used to be a destination of many pilgrimages in the past and dates back to the 13th century. Inside the chapel you can see many interesting paintings. It is located very close to Lake Donk. Free admission.
- 5 Museum Donkmeer (Museum Lake Donk). Every day from 10:00-12:30 and 13:30-17:00 (18:00 in July and August). This museum opened in 2006 and is located right next to Lake Donk. The museum pictures the political development of the past centuries with special attention to the French Revolution and its consequences for the Southern Netherlands. Free admission.
- 6 Eendekooi (Lake Donk). Replica of a cage which was used for catching ducks. Renovated in 2021. There is also a tiny animal park and a playground. Free.
- 1 Fishing (Lake Donk). Some excellent fishing spots. Dispensers for day permits available.
- 2 Water sports. The Nieuwdonk lake is adjacent to the Lake Donk. There are beaches, playgrounds, and opportunities for sailing, open water swimming, diving and wind surfing, etc.
- Entertainment. A bowling alley, two casinos, minigolf and boating at lake Donk.
- 3 Hiking. The Nieuwdonk, Berlaredonk and Donkmeer offer plenty of hike routes.
- 4 Cycling, running, birdwatching. The borders of the river Scheldt are ideal for walking, cycling and running. The marshes of the "Paardenweide" offer potential for birdwatching.
- 5 Open air musical. Every two years in late August there is an open air musical on the shores of lake Donk.
- 6 Waterfeesten (Around lake Donk). Yearly festivities with concerts, stunt shows, helicopter rides and fireworks. First weekend of August.
- 1 Market (Donk). Every Sunday afternoon. Small street market. Non-food only.
The local specialty is eel. Famous eel restaurants are Palinghuis De Pluim and Palingrestaurant de nieuwe Pluim.
There are dozens of restaurants along the north shore of lake Donk.
- 1 Camping (West of Lake Donk). Several caravan & camping sites: Roosendael, Noordzee, Zonneschijn, Bareldonk, Primavera, Rodeo.