Ostend is also known as the ‘city by the sea’ and has a population of about 70 000 and a place definitely worth visiting as there is plenty to do and see.
It is best known as a ferry port and over the past 150 years has sailed thousands of passengers between the U.K and Ostend. Today high speed catamarans make the journey in 2 hours so for many visitors an ideal weekend break to take in the many sights this 1000 year old city has to offer. The cosmopolitan city also has an airport and over 50 hotels, museums, arts, churches and monuments plus more – Quest takes a look at just a few of the highlights that you will find on a visit to Ostend.
On arrival at Ostend the first sight you will see in the fishing Harbour is the Mercator Ship a floating museum a ship used by the Belgium navy and military sailors, it cost 3 million Belgium Francs when it was built in 1931 and used until 1960 by the navy and various expeditions. It is open all year to visitors but opening times can vary so it is worth checking first.
Ostend has over five and a half miles of sandy beaches and coastline for you to enjoy why not brave a dip in the refreshing North Sea on your visit. Many tourists visit especially during July and August; many just visit for the day by train it attracts visitors from U.K, France, Germany and Holland and of course Belgians. Also near to the beach is a well preserved section of the World War II Atlantic wall. When the fun is over from the sun, sand and sea or the weather is not looking so good take a stroll along the promenade and watch the ferry ships arriving and departing back to the U.K (Ramsgate). Check out the abundance of shops, bars and restaurants and try the famous Belgium beers and the local cuisine. There is always plenty to do here and see, the beach promenades is a perfect place for relaxing or take the coastal tram which gives you the option to see other coastal resorts in this region. It is in operation all year round and has over 70 stops for you to choose from and enjoy. Dining Out After a day at the beach or sailing you will be sure to have worked up an appetite so why not enjoy the famous Belgium French fries from the local ‘frituur’ and sample the fresh sea food which will be the catch of the day along with it. Belgium has an excellent reputation in its quality of food and is believed to have as many if not more Michelin star restaurants than France. Food lovers will enjoy the high standards of excellence for a small country. From Bistros to the exclusive or anywhere that takes your fancy it is sure to please you. Try some of the regional delicacies Dover sole,’ tomato filled shrimps’ and shrimp croquettes.
Belgium is famous for many dishes but a visit to the seaside will surely give you an appetite to sample the fresh seafood or the Belgium waffles which are delicious with jam, cream and icing sugar. Markets, shopping and places to see The main market day is Thursday in Ostend and is open from 7 am – 1 pm where you can buy fresh products, textiles, jewellery and plants. Groentemarkt is a famous meat hall and dates back to the 15th century.
Wapenplein is the main square in Ostend and is located on the main shopping street of. ‘Kapellstraat’ all year Monday, Thursday and Saturday morning there is a market plus a flower market on a Sunday morning. During winter there is a Christmas market and skating rink, with food stalls and mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and music. Here you will find plenty of bars and a cafe, summer concert and shows there is always an event happening. Located south of the square are the Festival and Cultural hall (Feest-en-Kultuurpaleis), an art museum and a fine arts museum. Ostend has numerous exclusive boutiques and shops for you to browse around. The Adolf Buylstraat, Edouard Tailor and Edouard Couture centres near to the market have plenty more for those who love to shop plus many more can be found off side streets if you decide to go and explore this bustling city.
Activities Flanders has much to enjoy for those sports enthusiasts; with its many miles of flat country side it is a perfect place for cycling and walking with an abundance of routes to suit all fitness levels. Golf lovers will also find many 18 holed courses throughout this area. Hippodrome Wellington, a horse racing venue. The Flemish coast has over 40 miles of sandy, white beaches for you to enjoy – sports including kite surfing and sand yachting, or just simply enjoy and relax as the world goes by on the wide sandy beaches of Ostend. Other water sports to try your hand at are river cruises and cruise around and explore the Flemish harbours along the way or sail along the picturesque canals of Bruges, Leuven, Ghent, and Mechelen.
Night life Summer evenings come alive with music festivals; there are cinemas, bars and restaurants for you to enjoy the culinary delights of Belgium cuisine although there are plenty of international restaurants to choose from too. There are ample bars and clubs to choose from to keep you entertained on your stay in Ostend. Here are just a few to sample The streets – Van Iseghemlaan and the Langestraat are both line with bars, restaurants and nightclubs that are open all night for those who love to party. The Kursaal Casino has evening entertainment, gaming room and restaurants to keep you entertained all evening. Whichever option you decide to try there is sure to be something to suit everybody on a stay in this great city.