The Best of the Belgian Coast
Collected by Alison Cornford-Matheson, AFAR Local Expert
Belgium has only 43 miles of coastline but, as with everything here, good things come in small packages. From vibrant coastal cities like Oostende to quieter villages like Blankenberge, the highlight is watching the traditional horse fishermen haul in their catches of gray shrimp. The best way to explore the area is on the world's longest tramline, which stretches the length of the Belgian coast.
Oostduinkerke, 8670 Koksijde, Belgium
Visit any good seafood restaurant in Belgium, and you'll see gray shrimp on the menu. In fact, you may even be offered a bowl of these small, sweet delicacies to nibble while you decide on your main course. These days, the majority of the gray...
Duinkerkelaan 83, 8660 De Panne, Belgium
Being a guy from the Jersey Shore (which has nothing to do with that television show!), I love the sea front. The seaside resort of De Panne in Belgium is a place worth visiting. Sure, Belgium is usually rainy and cold but there are hot sunny days...
Zeelaan 139, 8660 De Panne, Belgium
There are no shortages of places to eat and drink in the Belgian coastal town of De Panne. If you're looking for a snack and a good deal, head to Patisserie Antoine, just a couple blocks from the North Sea. You can get a couple of croissants with...
On a hot day, Belgian beaches are full. The sand is fine and clean, the water is somewhat warm, and there are plenty of activities besides beach games. There are go-karts set up for kids with an actual track. It's a lot of fun for kids for 3...
No summer passes without sand sculptures! And this year there is so much more to enjoy: posing next to Lady Gaga, footballing with David Beckham, sharing a frame with the Mona Lisa, giving a speech with Albert Einstein, stepping on board 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...
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...
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...
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 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...
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...
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