Coloma Rose Garden, Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium

By - January 21, 2011 (Updated: February 22, 2016)

Europe's Largest Rose Garden, Coloma Garden in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, BelgiumThis time of year, when Belgium’s only colours are shades of grey, I can’t help but dream of the bright spring and summer days. I spend the winter months catching up on last year’s travels and planning for a burst of garden photography in spring.

While my focus is often on tulip gardens in the low-lands, late last spring a friend tipped me off about a different kind of garden, whose blooms are of a more fragrant variety.

With more than 30,000 bushes and 3000 varieties of rose, Coloma Rose Garden is one of the largest in Europe. It’s also right on the doorstep of Brussels in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw.

You’d be forgiven for passing by Coloma and never suspecting what lies beyond the stone wall and barricade of trees. As you enter the main gate, it looks like every other park in Belgium; tall old trees, shading narrow lanes and a stately 16th-century castle, complete with moat, in the middle.

Coloma Castle in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium

Coloma Castle in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium

But walk past the castle and through another gate in a hedge and you are transported to a world of colour and fragrance. The Coloma Rose Garden greets you with the first of 4 themed gardens.

Rose Trellis in Coloma Rose Garden

This rose trellis greets you as you enter Coloma Rose Garden

It’s impossible to tell how immense the Coloma rose garden is until you start wandering through it. Each hedge holds the passageway to another garden of colourful roses – Picture the Queen of Hearts’ garden in Alice in Wonderland and you’ll be on the right track.

Rose Ludmilla in Coloma Rose Garden

Rose Ludmilla in Coloma Rose Garden

On average, there are 200,000 roses in bloom throughout the season. The gardens are organised by geographic region. Of course, Europe is the most represented of continents, but there are roses from around the world. We were thrilled to find that even Canada is dedicated a tiny corner in Coloma.

Canadian Roses in Coloma Garden

Canadian expat roses in Coloma Garden

There are pergolas and trellises for climbing roses, some statuary and well-placed benches so you can literally stop and smell the roses. At the far end of the rose garden, there is also a lookout tower so you can admire the colourful landscape from above.

Coloma Rose Garden

Coloma Rose Garden viewed from the lookout tower

There is little shade in the rose garden itself so be prepared if it’s a hot summer day. You can escape the heat by popping back under the shade trees in the main park. You don’t even have to worry about losing your ticket – there aren’t any. Coloma Garden is completely free to visit.

Rose Waverland in Coloma Rose Garden

Rose Waverland in Coloma Rose Garden

I spent an incredible day there, photographing the roses. If you’d like to see the fruits (flowers?) of my labour, visit the Coloma Rose Garden photo gallery on ACM Photography. You can even purchase prints or downloads of your favourite rose photos. This little slideshow is a taste:

Coloma Rose Garden, Belgium Stock Photos – Images by Alison Cornford-Matheson

International Rose Garden of Coloma
J. Depauwstraat 1
1600 Sint-Pieters-Leeuw

For more great castle articles, be sure to visit our Castles in Belgium page where you’ll find links to all of the castles in our little country.

View Coloma Rose Garden in a larger map

If you like this, you might like:

Alison Cornford-Matheson
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison Cornford-Matheson
- 8 hours ago


  1. Comment by Amy

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    Amy January 21, 2011 at 11:22

    Looking forward to visiting this when the weather gets warmer. Had never heard of it before, and it’s so close!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison Cornford-Matheson

      Alison January 21, 2011 at 11:36

      It’s incredible. I hadn’t hear of it before either until one of the gals you’ll meet this weekend told me about it. Another of Belgium’s hidden gems!

  2. Comment by Andrew

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    Andrew January 21, 2011 at 11:29

    It was a wonderful spot to spend an afternoon! The farm house next to the main chateau also runs a nice cafe with a terrace. Although we didn’t eat while there, if I remember correctly the food choices looked like it would be a good spot for a midday meal. Great spot also for wedding photos… and we did see a bride and groom making there way through the garden during our visit. Wonderful photos!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison Cornford-Matheson

      Alison January 21, 2011 at 11:37

      Thanks! Yes it is a great spot for wedding photos or portraits. Even the castle would make a lovely backdrop.

  3. Comment by Andrea

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    Andrea January 22, 2011 at 16:56

    I love visiting these kinds of gardens. I haven’t heard of this garden before, Belgium is full of surprises. It reminds me of Parc de Bagatelle in Paris which has a huge rose garden.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison Cornford-Matheson

      Alison January 23, 2011 at 13:18

      Belgium is definitely full of surprises and hidden gems. We had this garden almost entirely to ourselves. It was lovely!

  4. Comment by Sonya

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    Sonya January 23, 2011 at 11:44

    Lovely rose garden post! I always love wandering gardens when I’m traveling. Thanks for the travel tip!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison Cornford-Matheson

      Alison January 23, 2011 at 13:17

      You’re welcome Sonya. There are lots of lovely gardens to visit it Belgium!

  5. Comment by Heathre

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    Heathre January 28, 2011 at 02:48

    Beautiful photographs!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison Cornford-Matheson

      Alison January 29, 2011 at 13:30

      Thanks so much!

  6. Comment by Irene

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    Irene February 4, 2011 at 13:47

    I think that your tips on what to visit in and around Brussels are great, which is why I have given you an award. You can read more about it on my blog – I hope that you’ll play along.

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