Presentation of the destination
Ostend is the largest sea side resort city on the Belgian coast. Once a small fishing village, it became popular when the Belgian kings, Leopold I and Leopold II began to spend their summers beside these warm waters. A city that has been invaded by seaborne enemies and destroyed by the WWII aerial bombing. This resort town, it has had famous visitors like Albert Einsteine, Lord Byron and James Ensor visiting it's shores. A cosmopolitan city where English is spoken and a great place to visit in any season. Ostend has a mild and humid temperature during the summers and experience showers throughout the year. The warmest month is August, when the temperatures could cross 20C. The summers have temperatures between 16C-20C. October sees the most rain in this city, while January is the coldest month of the year with temperatures as low as 2C. The currency used is the Euro.
Points of interests / things to see
Atlantikwall is an open air museum and is a war complex. It shows the fortification of underground trenches, and bunkers. There are about 60 German constructions from WWI and WWII and showcases the remains of the German coastal batteries of Aachen built in 1915 and Saltzwedel new from 1941. Some of the bunkers have been reconstructed to depict their original state, you could see wax figures of soldiers and gun emplacements. This remarkable site gives the visitor an insight of the brick tunnels that were linked underground by the occupying German forces. The Germans has occupied the Belgian coast and they built these trenches to defend their territory against their enemies, who invaded through the sea. A fascinating museum where you could walk through 2 km of tunnels and trenches that are well preserved. You will get an audio guide when you buy the entrance ticket and this helps you understand the day to day existence of the soldiers living in these tunnels and trenches. Notice the authentic Enigma machine, this was used by the Germans to encode their communications, the wax figures and the setting showcases the life they led. War buffs will enjoy seeing the large artillery pieces that are on display. Timings: 10:00am-5:00pm from April to early November, last entry 4pm
The breathtaking building of Saint Peter and Saint Paul's church is the first sight that visitors see when they exit the railway station. This majestic building has intricately ornate twin spires with rose window in a typical neo Gothic interior. Though it looks ancient, this church was rebuilt in 1905. The original church was destroyed in a fire in 1896 and King Leopold II enthusiastically began construction in 1899 based on the plans of Bruges town architect Louis de la Censerie. They used sandstone to build this church and they intricately decorated the interiors. Walk around and admire the stained glass windows that shows the portraits of different Belgian Kings through the centuries. This church was modeled after the churches in Cologne and Vienna. There is a stone bridge behind the altar that leads into the quaint crown topped Praalgraf Louise-Marie, this is the tomb and chapel of Belgium's first queen. There is a eclectic octagonal tower called the Peperbus that stands nearby, this is the only remains of the older church that stood on this site. There is a museum in this tower today. This Church of Peter and Paul was inaugurated in 1905 in the presence of King Leopold II, who's statue still stands outside the church.
This was formerly a Belgian merchant marine training ship. The Mercator was used by the Belgian Navy for the instruction and education of this country's navy personnel. This spectacular ship was built in 1931 and it weighed 778 tons. An expensive ship, it cost the government 3 million Belgian Francs in those days. It served the Belgian Navy till 1960, when it was rested and refurnished to become a fascinating museum. The Mercator has seen many adventures and survived storms in it's exciting lifetime. It took expeditions to the Easter Islands, Iceland, the Marquise Islands and the North Pole. It was used to bring back the remains of Father Damian, a Belgian priest who devoted his life to lepers in Hawaii. This floating museum is open throughout the year, but the opening time will vary. The Vindictive is a war ship whose front portion is visible from the scenic bridge at the end of the De Smet De Naeyer avenue. This is the remains of the English war ship. This war ship was guided into the Ostend Harbor and it was sunk by the British themselves as they did not want the Germans to use the harbor. A breathtaking sight that still stands today.
Walraversijde was a beautiful and prosperous fishing village close to Ostend that suddenly disappeared following the strife of 1600-1604. Take a trip to this town that is set in a picturesque location along the seashore. The archaeological department has identified the foundations of this village and they have rebuilt the houses just like the original with thatched roofs. The audio-guide will tell you the history of this picturesque village through the voices of a series of 1465 characters. As you walk around this village, you will understand the reason it had died out. This museum opened in 2000 and there are on site, three medieval houses and a bakery. The rebuilt houses will show the visitors how the people of this village lived in the 15th century. Notice the antique fittings and furniture. On display are household articles, clothing, bows, staff and many fishing tools. Learn about this village that was economically dependent on fishing. They were all fisher men who operated 20 boats between the families that lived in Walraversijde. The fishermen brought their nets and were independent worksmen, but the boat captains were the elite in this village. An entertaining visit to this medival village that has been resurrected from the foundations. Address: Nieuwpoortsteenweg 636
In the Middle Ages, the main source of income was fishing. Even today, Fish plays an important role in this city. Take a strong along the Visserskaai, an amazing sight to see the activity in the morning. The pathway that leads from the railway station towards the beach is scenic with many boats that wait their turn to set out to the North Sea. The Fish Mine is a large fish market, and you will see and get the best fish from the North Sea, it is frequented by the retailers, who sell them to restaurants throughout Belgium. Ostend is famous for it's fish cuisine, there are many fish stands that poach, grill and fry young herring, crab meat and mussels. You can grab a take away and munch on the fresh fish as you walk beside the quay and onto the beach. You will pass the Vistrap, this is a small fish market that sells sole and shrimp. Enjoy an authentic Belgian meal at any of the restaurants in Ostend and try the Sole à l'Ostendaise, Paling in 't groen', and Tomate Crevette. Whatever you decide to order, it will be delicious!
The city of Ostend is visited by many tourists, especially other Europeans, who come into the city for a day to spend some relaxing time on the beaches. The season is from July to August and the tourists arrive on trains and head directly to the beach that is near the station! The waters are warm and crystal clear and the sands are grainy. Locals tend to head to the Grootstrand beach that is bigger. The pier area nearby is a beautiful background with the gulls trying to get fish off the fishing boats as they are off loaded near the little Fish Market. Visitors will enjoy the sea food available near the beach.
Take a trip to Raversijde Domain, it is the spectacular site of large dunes. This is just outside the city of Ostend, it is between the cities of Middelkerke and Ostend near the beach. This is the region that Prince Karel, who is the brother of King Leopold III and regent of Belgium spent many years of his life after the WWII. A phenomenal and pristine place that has been untouched by tourism. There is an archaeological site from the 13th century of a medieval fishermen village. The Prince Charles Memorial is next to the museum and it is a scenic walk in this picturesque countryside. Contact: Domein RaversijdeNieuwpoortsesteenweg 636, 8400 OostendeTel: +32 59 70 22 85
The Fort Napoleon is an intact Napoleonic fortress and is the only one left in Europe. The Fort stands to the north of the city center in the dunes. It was constructed by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1810, when Belgium was occupied by the French. There were about 500 Spanish prisoners of war who build this fort along with the local bricklayers. A beautiful structure that was constructed with 8,800,000 bricks. Walk around and see the 46 canon guns on display. During the WWII, it was occupied by German officers. Today, it is used as a playground for the local schools and there are training grounds for climbers.
This monumental building was the house that Napoleon stayed in when he visited Ostend in 1798. A charming site, this was where the Belgian Royals stayed, when they came to Ostend during the summer and was their place of residence between 1834-1850. It has been renovated into a museum that showcases interesting facts of the Royals like Queen Marie-Louise. Watch the video and learn about the past glory of this beautiful city from the words of the Queen, who died in this city that she loved. A creative and thought provoking experience at this museum. Address: Langestraat 69 Opening hours: 10:00am-12.30pm & 2:00-6:00pm Wednesday-Monday
Vacation rentals in Ostend (Flanders)
How to get there ?
The airport at Oostende, is a few minutes away from the city center by car. The best options to get to the city of Ostend is to take the Eurostar to Brussels and then board a direct train to the city. It is possible to drive through the Channel and get a ferry to Calais or Dunkirk. There are regular trains from any station in Belgium to Ostend. This city also has many coach routes. The coastal tram route is frequent and the picturesque scenery of the surrounding as a great way to explore. It has more than 70 stops along the way. This is the world's longest single tram line from Ostend along the coastline. During the summer it is frequent and there is one every 15 minutes. Brussels is connected with Ostend by the E40 motorway. It takes about 90 minutes to will drive from Brussels to Oostende by car or by bus. Around the city This beautiful city can be viewed by walking, it is the best way to take in the sights. Taxis are available easily and it is possible to rent a car to move around the countryside. Bicycles are a pleasure to ride in this city, they can be hired on a daily basis.
Hotels in Ostend (Flanders)