Going to the beach in the summer in Belgium is always an adventure, finding the best spots to enjoy your vacation even more. Before visiting Ostend, these tips may help you enjoy your vacation even more.
The easiest way to move along the coastline is to use the coastal tram. In the summer months July and August there is an information/ticket booth on almost every station that can help you find the cheapest tickets for your stay (outside these two months only the biggest stations have one). And they can provide you with free information about all the activities along the coastline and how you can get there.
In the center of Ostend there is a famous fish market. If you want a wider variety however, there is another place in Ostend where some fishers have an actual shop. Next to the small North sea aquarium is the dock of a free ferry that lets you cross the water from the eastern to the western bank. Once you are on the western bank you need to follow the street on your right (vismijnlaan) and the shops start just past the roundabout.
Enjoying the beach on a warm day can be stressful since the beaches will be full of people. What most people do not know is that if you take the ferry I mentioned above and follow the road to the coastline, you will arrive at another beach that looks the same as the busy ones. This beach is quieter and less populated all through the year. For colder days, you can just walk along the road next to this beach and make a quick stop at the surf club for a hot chocolate or a cup of coffee to warm yourselves for the way back.
If you take the tram to the station "Koninginnelaan", you will be able to see the Astrid Hotel. The street behind it (Wellingtonstraat) has a lot of side streets with many houses in the Belle époque style. They have kept their architecture from the golden days of Ostend, thanks to king Leopold II of Belgium. It's a nice twist from all the flats and modern houses that you can see in the other parts of Ostend.
I hope these tips were useful in planning your future trip to Ostend. These must sees might also be interesting for you and if you come in December you might also like to visit the Christmas market. And if you are tired from all the walking you can always go to one of the many cultural centers of Ostend.
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