Nature Reserve of Westhoek

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Get sandy and walk in the dunes at this massive nature reserve. If you walk far enough you’ll get to say hi to the Frenchies

Don’t bury your head in the sand! Get some fresh air and explore the sand instead. This nature reserve was the first one to be founded in Flanders back in 1957. Ever since then, it’s been a walking haven. There’s tons of different trails in this dune landscape of 345 hectares on the Belgian-French border. There’s walking trails ranging from 2.5km - 10km.

This nature reserve gives you a fresh breath of air by the sea. You’ll see beautiful sandy scenery as you walk, but if you’re lucky you’ll spot some of the wildlife. Horses, birds and butterflies have all made their home here.

  • If you can, take the longest walk. It ends with a view of Dunkirk port across the border in France
  • You can take a breather at the end of the long walk at the café on Duinhoekstraat on the Belgian-French border. Trust us, you’ll need a break.
  • The reserve isn’t far from De Panne, the popular beach town. It’s perfect if you’re looking to get away from the big urban cities and get into nature
  • What can you do for fun at the reserve? Well, it’s not quite a park but there is a play area near the beach. There’s benches too so you can put up your feet for a bit
  • Bird watchers should stop and look around at the three viewpoints around the reserve. You can find a map on the park’s website
  • Dogs are allowed on a leash here. They’ll love sniffing around the reserve
Updated on 25 November 2021

Tips and Tricks

  • It’s free to enter the reserve, but you have to pay for the parking on site
  • When it’s windy it is very windy here. Hold onto your hat
  • See the walking trail map at the entrance or a map to take with you from the tourist office in De Panne for free

Getting There

  • By Car: parking available on site
  • On Foot: 20 min walk from De Panne city centre
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