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Meet Ostend

Why go to Ostend?

Ostend is right on the Belgium coast. It’s a seaside town in West Flanders, perfect for a day at the beach, exploring historical sights, and more. Ostend is a classic pick for anyone planning a holiday by the beach in Europe. Ostend is a commercial coastal town and has the biggest boardwalk of them all. It’s a classic maritime experience. But it’s also a beach city with a historical twist! For travellers planning a trip to the Belgium coast, Ostend is one to consider for history buffs and families alike.

What you need to know about Ostend

Beach vibes

Everyone comes to Ostend for a beach, seaside resort holiday. The beach is nice, but no swimming allowed. Still, sunbathers and families can soak up the sun in Ostend. One popular sight of the Ostend beach is Dijk, the super wide boardwalk. Along Dijk, you get great views of the sea and can explore all the shops along the coast. For a classic beach holiday in Belgium, Ostend should be near the top of your list.

It’s not uncommon for hikers and cyclists to make their way along the Belgium coast. Ostend is roughly in the middle and has plenty of routes all along the beach and dunes. Whether you want to chill in the summer or get active in any season, Ostend has plenty of options.

Shopping & markets

No beach holiday is complete with a shopping trip. The main shopping streets you should know in Ostend are Vlaanderenstraat, Kapellestraat, and Adolf Buylstraat. These three main streets are right in the city centre. There’s all kinds of shops from bougie boutiques to quirky cafes.

For local markets, you’ll most likely want to drop by on a Thursday. On Thursday, Ostend has markets starting at 7:00 til 13:00, so drop by early! The markets take place in the city centre around Groentemarkt. Come by Ostend on a Saturday to see the smaller markets in the same place, plus a flower market on Wapenplein. No matter when you come by, Ostend always has a fish market on Visserskaai.

Historical sights

Ostend is a coastal town with a story all of its own. The city has seen plenty of war and struggle. The major historical sight known here is the Atlantikwall Raversijde, where you can see part of the German defenses used in both world wars. But, on top of that, you’ve got plenty of museums to explore including one on modern art (Mu.Zee). Ostend might be known as a seaside town, but there’s more to it than a pretty face!

Made for a King

For free things to do, Ostend has plenty to offer with a royal touch. One sight you can’t miss in Ostend is the statue of King Leopold II out on the pier. Ostend has plenty of hints of royalty. You can find in-depth info on Belgium’s royals at the museums or just go for a stroll at Leopold Park.

When to go

Best weather: May - Oct
Tourist season: May - Jul, Oct
Dates for your calender
Mar - Bal du Rat Mort (masquerade Ball of the Dead Rat)
May - Oostende voor Anker
Jul - Ostend Beach Festival, WOOSHA!
Aug - North Sea Beer Festival, Fireworks Festival, Retro Car Parade
Jun - Sep - Sand Sculpture Festival
Sep - Ostend Film Festival


Getting There

By Plane

Ostend-Bruges International Airport is the closest airport to Ostend and used by TUI fly Belgium for passenger flights from all over the world, including Spain, Greece and Egypt. But Brussels National Airport sees the most international traffic.

By Car

Ostend is easily reached by car on the E40 and E17. Ostend is 1 hour and a half from Antwerp, 1 hour and 20 minutes from Brussels, and 4 hours from Paris. Ostend has many free car parks, the biggest of which is at Maria-Hendrikapark. To see all the car parks in the city, see here

By Train

Oostende Railway station has good connections to the rest of Belgium and beyond. The station is near the city centre. It’s very easy to reach Ostend via the train. From Brussels Airport to Ostend, you’ll have to take the train. It’s not a direct route, so you’ll have to switch at Bruxelles-Midi station. So long as an airport has a train station connected to Bruxelles-Midi, you can easily get to Ostend. This includes airports in the Netherlands (Amsterdam Schiphol) and France (Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport).

By Tram

Ostend is on Belgium’s coastal tram line that connects all the major seaside coastal towns. Tram stop Marie Joseplein is right in the city centre and the most convenient stop for a day trip. On the coastal tram, Ostend is an hour and 40 minutes away from De Panne, 50 minutes from Blankenberge, and an hour away from Knokke-Heist. Ostend is roughly in the middle of the coastal tram line, making it a convenient city to start your coastal holiday in Belgium.

By Bus

Ostend’s buses are operated by De Lijn. You can catch a bus from the Ostend Airport to the city centre very easily. Getting to Ostend from the nearby cities like Bruges is also very easy on the bus - Ostend is just a quick 20 minute direct bus bus ride from Bruges. Many coach companies also offer a coach ride to Ostend from major European cities including Paris, London, and Brussels.

Getting Around

On Foot

Ostend isn’t a large city and is easily walkable. Major attractions such as the beach, church, and park are all within walking distance. Ostend has a good bus system and bike rentals if you want to quickly get around..

By Bike

Ostend has a few bike rental shops, including Nico Fun on Wheels right by the beach that offers go-karts, bikes, e-bikes, and buggies - good for families. Another bike rental, Gino Carts, is a little further down the street and offers more variety for cyclists. Ostend is cyclist friendly.

By Bus

Buses are an easy way to get from the city centre to outside the city (or the other way around!) quickly and cheaply. A 50 minute walk from the city centre to the sports park is 30 minutes by bus. Buses in Ostend are operated by De Lijin; you can see full ticket prices here.

By Taxi

The most used local taxi service is Taxibond. Rates per km start at 1.15€ and get more expensive depending on the time and day. From 2:00 to 6:00 on the weekends, you’ll be charged 8.00€ per km. Taxis are convenient to get around Ostend at times when the buses aren’t running and you don’t want to or can’t walk, but prices add up quickly.


Languages: Flemish (Dutch)
Emergency numbers: Police (urgent): 101 Fire, ambulance, police: 112

Tourist office

Visit Oostende

Website: www.visitoostende.be

Address: Toerisme Oostende VZW, Monacoplein 2, 8400 Oostende

Phone: +32 (0)59 70 11 99

Email: [email protected]

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