A Weekend in Oostende, Belgium
Collected by Alison Cornford-Matheson, AFAR Local Expert
Oostende is smack dab in the middle of the Belgian coast and is a popular beach destination for locals. But there’s plenty to do besides work on your tan. Here are my top tips for an incredible weekend of food, art, nature and history on the coast of Flanders.
Kon. Astridlaan 7, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
While there is plenty do do in Oostende beyond the beach, strolling the beach-side promenade is a must. Even if the weather is uncooperative, there are several covered sections to enjoy, like this one in front of the Thermae Palace Hotel. Enjoy...
Albert I-promenade, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
If you like to admire art in the open air, Oostende has plenty for you to enjoy outdoors. Start at the Royal Gallery where you can enjoy a free exhibition of portrait photography. Walk towards the casino along the promenade and admire the ‘...
Van Iseghemlaan 110, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
To see everything there is to see in Oostende, I highly recommend spending an entire weekend (or longer) in the city. For a good night’s sleep, try the Mondo Hotel, located minutes from the Promenade, in a quiet corner of the city centre. Our...
Romestraat 11, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
Several people had recommended Oostende’s art museum, Mu.ZEE, to us, over the years. Still, I expected a small gallery we could visit in an hour or so. How wrong I was. We had over two hours to explore the collections, before our lunch...
James Ensorgalerij 14, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
Before James Ensor was an internationally recognized artist, he was an Oostende resident. In fact, he spent most of his life and career working in the house he inherited from his uncle. He maintained the bizarre souvenir shop downstairs and...
Monacoplein 2-9, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
The brand new, interactive, Midnight Love Tour takes you back to 1981, when singer, Marvin Gaye, first arrived in Oostende. This two hour walk takes you through Gaye’s troubled past and includes video clips of the singer and interviews with the...
Kon. Astridlaan 6048, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
You’ll be hard pressed to find it in any of the tourism literature, but just off Oostende’s bustling beach promenade is a tiny oasis of tranquillity. In the middle of the Konings Park is a beautiful Japanese Garden. The garden was created in the ‘...
Albert I-promenade 39, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
Imagine dining on fresh North Sea grey shrimp risotto, mussels and artichoke, while sipping champagne or Belgian beer, as you watch the sun set into the sea. After your meal, you head downstairs to view the latest art exhibition and browse vintage...
Leopold II-laan 1, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
One of the highlights of our visit to Oostende (Ostend in English) was a gastronomic seafood feast, à l’Ostendaise, at the acclaimed Bistro Mathilda. À l’Ostendaise is a restaurant venture running until the end of September 2014 (so you still have...
Van Iseghemlaan 85, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
Restaurant Eclips is a cozy, trendy spot, just off the beach promenade. The focus is on tableside fondues and grills, and it is a meat lovers paradise. Owners Chris and Sharon Verdonck greeted us warmly and explained the menu and concept to us. In...
8400 Ostend, Belgium
Going to the beach at the North Sea in fall/winter is one of my favorite things to do in Belgium. I love the miles of empty, clean beach. Yes, it's cold and the wind is blowing like mad, but then you get to run inside a restaurant and have a nice...
Wellingtonstraat 15, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
Belgium may have one of the shortest coastlines in the world (69km), but it’s home to the world’s longest tram line. The Belgian Coast Tram (De Kusttram, in Dutch) runs the entire length of the coast, from De Panne, near France, to Knokke-Heist,...
Nieuwpoortsesteenweg 636, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
Just outside of Oostende’s city centre is one of the best preserved sections of the infamous German Atlantikwall. This defensive series of bunkers ran all the way from Norway to the Pyrenees. You can wander through the subterranean fortifications...