A long sandy beach and breezy promenade make Ostend one of the top seaside resorts in Belgium. The city is filled with beautiful Belle Epoque architecture and handsome churches. Shop along pedestrianised boulevards, dine at seafront cafes and enjoy the lively cultural calendar.
Things to do in Ostend
In summer, colourful beach umbrellas and deck chairs dot the Ostend shoreline. The beach stretches for seven kilometres and is fringed by a sun-drenched promenade. Waterfront cafes line the promenade and command sweeping views over the North Sea.
Seafood is a local specialty in Ostend, with menus featuring shrimp croquettes, dover sole and rich fish gratin cooked with white wine, cream and parmesan. For dessert, indulge in a fluffy Belgian waffle topped with melted chocolate.
Built in the 1930s, the three-masted Mercator is docked in the marina and has been reimagined as a floating maritime museum. You can also take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Amandine, a 36-metre-long Icelandic fishing trawler decommissioned in the 1970s. The excellent Mu.ZEE showcases masterpieces dating back to the 1830s.
Pedestrianised Kapellestraat is the city’s main shopping street. The street is car-free, making it easy to hop between boutiques selling everything jewellery, handbags, art, homewares and clothing. Outdoor concerts, maritime festivals and Christmas markets are just some of the highlights of the city’s lively cultural calendar.
Some of Ostend’s most beautiful architecture can be found in Belle Epoque-weg, a residential district just south of the city centre. The narrow streets are lined with restored Art Nouveau and Belle Epoque townhouses. After enjoying a neighbourhood stroll, head to the local park for a picnic.
Getting around Ostend
Ostend is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot. Bicycles are a fun and eco-friendly way to explore the city. A coastal tram connects Ostend with other cities and towns on the Belgian coast. Ostend-Bruges International Airport is a 10-minute drive away.