14 places worth seeing in Ostend
Ostend is the largest seaside city and a real year-round vacation spot. Along the white sandy coastline there are small architectural buildings and cosy cafés with glass terraces that face the sea. Ostend has always been an important strategic port. Although the city was badly damaged during the Second World War, a large number of splendid architectural buildings from the Belle Epoque and Art Deco periods have been preserved in the inner streets of the housing estates.
Since the economic crisis in the 1990s, during which the transcontinental ferry service ceased, Ostend has been stable again. The city is worth spending a day or two to explore. Below are the most interesting sights in Ostend, Belgium.
Church of Saints Peter and Paul
Church of Saints Peter and Paul.| Photo: wikimedia
One of the most impressive historical monuments in Ostend is the church building with two exquisitely decorated spires and a gloomy neo-Gothic interior. This church was consecrated on August 31, 1908, although it seems older.
When you approach the majestic building, you will be a little surprised: the setting may seem somewhat illogical. A stone “bridge” near the altar leads to a small tomb-chapel with a dome, built in honor of Louise Marie of Orleans, the first queen of Belgium. Her sad story is told in the City Museum.
Address: Sint-Petrus-en-Pauluskerk, Prins Boudewijnstraat, Ostend, Belgium.
A view of Fort Napoleon.
The impenetrable pentagonal Fort Napoleon is an unusually secure fortress that dates back to 1812. However, there is not much of interest inside.
Address: Fort Napoleon, Vuurtorenweg, Ostend, Belgium.
Atlantic rampart coastal fortifications in the Raverside
The Atlantic rampart coastal fortifications in Raversaide.
The Atlantic rampart is an extensive complex of bunkers, firing positions, and brick-lined tunnels. The fortifications were created during the Nazi occupation during World Wars I and II. Most of the bunkers are furnished and “inhabited” by wax figures. Detailed audio explanations are also available (sometimes focusing mainly on the calibers of the guns).
This is the best and most underrated combat position in Belgium. In order for you to get the most out of the tour, you’ll need good weather, about two hours of time and enough physical fitness, as you’ll have to walk more than 2 km.
Address: Atlantikwall Raversyde, Nieuwpoortsesteenweg, Ostend, Belgium.
Anno Museum 1465
Museum Anno 1465.
The once lively fishing village of Valraverseide disappeared during the siege of 1600-1604. Today the site is home to four reconstructed thatched-roofed houses. An audio guide tells the story of the village through the voices of characters from 1465. An interactive museum explains why the village was destroyed.
Address: ANNO 1465 – Raversyde, Nieuwpoortsesteenweg, Ostend, Belgium.
Coast of Ostend. | Photo: Wolfgang Staudt / Flickr.
If you are going to Ostend, be sure to visit the seafront. Don’t mind the tall and unromantic apartment buildings peeking out from behind the sea. Ostend has the best beaches in Belgium.
This is a great place to sunbathe, build sandcastles or fly a kite. The opportunity to swim in the waters of the North Sea on summer days is just bliss. Ostend’s coastline is full of stalls and stores selling ice cream.
Address: Ostend beach, Albert I-promenade, Ostend, Belgium.
Statue of Leopold.
Most of the shoreline is hidden in the shadow of 10-story concrete buildings, but there is a small open space near the Thermae Palace hotel. There is a neoclassical arcade and a majestic statue of Leopold II on a horse. Next to it are various statues of Africans and Europeans.
Address: Ruiterstandbeeld van Koning Leopold II, Ostend, Belgium.
The Mercator museum ship
Museum ship Mercator | Photo: Antoine 49 / Flickr.
This 1932 ship with three masts and full sail armament was once part of the Belgian Navy. It is now in a museum. Not far away is the Icelandic fishing boat Amandín, 36 metres long, which can also be visited.
The address is Mercator, Mercatordok, Ostend, Belgium.
Museum ship Amandine
Museum ship Amandine | Photo: Antoine 49 / Flickr.
The ship on which the people of Ostend fished near Iceland (1970s) is “populated” with wax figures. The video effects and soundtrack convey the atmosphere of the ship that prevailed here during the voyages. The room for the freezing of fish is equipped with special lights.
Address: Museumschip Ijslandvaarder Amandine, Vindictivelaan, Ostend, Belgium.
Shinkaitei Tuin Japanese Garden
In 2001 the architect Takashi Sawano recreated a Japanese garden very precisely off the coast of Ostend. The whole area is about 2500 m². A must-see is the place. Take a walk here or find a quiet place to meditate.
Address: Japanese garden, Koningin Astridlaan, Ostend, Belgium.
Contemporary Museum Mu.ZEE
Mu.ZEE Contemporary Museum.
True connoisseurs of art should visit Mu.ZEE, where masterpieces from famous Belgian artists are presented alongside the works of contemporary artists. A unique collection of artworks, collected since 1830, includes works by Constant Permeke and Leon Spilliart, Luc Teumans, Panamarenko and Roger Ravel. This is a must-see.
Address: Mu.ZEE, Romestraat, Ostend, Belgium.
One would expect this museum, housed in the building where Napoleon stayed in 1798 and members of the Belgian royal family from 1834 to 1850, to be more grand and impressive than it actually is.
It is undoubtedly the best place to explore the fascinating and complex history of the city, which has served as a gateway to Europe for several hundred years. Artifacts and models of “lost” buildings remind you of the city’s former glory. If you don’t know what to see in Ostend, don’t miss this museum.
Address: Stadsmuseum Oostende, Langestraat, Oostende, Belgium.
De Niewe Pier
The modern pier in Ostend is not as long and large as many others along the coast, but it is great for a nice walk on a warm day. However, when the wind picks up and the temperature drops, it is less comfortable.
Address: Oostende Pier, Oostende, Belgium.
The museum was opened in honor of the famous Belgian artist James Ensor. His family used to live in this house and it was the home of his studio. The atmosphere of the room will help you understand a little better the gloomy mood of James.
On the first floor is a collection of Ensor’s paintings and drawings, and on the second floor the exquisitely decorated living room is preserved. It gives the impression that the artist still lives here and can enter the room at any moment.
Address: Ensor Museum, Vlaanderenstraat, Ostend, Belgium.
Ostend – seaside resort in Belgium
Ostend (Belgium) is a resort located by the North Sea coast. Its wide beaches, views and architecture attract large numbers of tourists every year. And even its small size (local population of only 70,000) does not stop it from being a must-see for those who come to Belgium.
The sights of Ostend will amaze you with its beauty. In this article you will learn which of them are worth visiting first, how to get to them, their opening hours and a lot of useful information about the resort itself.
How to get to Ostend
Since the city does not have an airport that accepts passenger flights, from Moscow/Kiev/Minsk it is most convenient to fly to Brussels (BRU). Planes between these countries and the capital of Belgium depart several times a day.
Important: There are two airports in the Belgian capital, the second one accepts only low-cost flights from different European countries (Poland, Romania, Hungary, Spain, etc.). Be careful and do not confuse the names, because they are located 70 km from each other.
A hundred and ten kilometers separating the cities, you can travel by train or car.
- There are daily trains from Bru-central station in Ostend at intervals of 20-40 minutes. Price of usual ticket one way is 17 €, for youth up to 26 years, children and seniors there are discounts. Travel time is 70-90 minutes. Check the train schedule and buy travel documents on the website of the Belgian Railways (www.belgianrail.be).
- Upon arrival at Brussels airport you can rent a car (open from 6:30 to 23:30 daily) and go to Ostend along the route E40. A cab ride in this direction will cost you about 180-200€.
If the idea to enjoy the sea air came to you in this picturesque center of West Flanders, you can get to Ostend by train, bus or car. The distance is 30 km.
- Once every half hour, the right trains go from Bruges Central Station to Ostend. The journey takes 20 minutes and the standard fare is 4-5€ one way.
- Intercity buses #35 and #54 take you to your destination in an hour. The fare is €3 and tickets can be purchased from the driver upon boarding. The schedule and other details are on the carrier’s website (www.delijn.be);
- By car or cab (60-75€) you can reach Ostend in 15-20 minutes.
How to save money on fares
The cost of public transport in Belgium is on par with most European countries, but if you don’t want to overpay for your trip, you can use one (or more) of the following tips:
- Traveling between Belgian cities is best on weekends (from 7 p.m. Friday to Sunday evening), when the Weekend Ticket discount system is in effect, allowing you to get there with savings of up to 50% on rail tickets.
- In all Belgian cities there is one price for a single ride, 2.10 euros. There are daily (7.5 €), five (8 €) or ten (14 €) rides for those who want to get to the different parts of Ostend at a lower price. You can buy passes at www.stib-mivb.be.
- Students and people under 26 years old also have a chance to save on fares. Just show your ID and buy tickets at a discount.
- In Ostend you can travel free of charge if you are accompanied by an adult and up to 12 years old.
Features of climate
Ostend is a seaside resort, where temperatures rarely rise above 20°C. The warmest months are July and August, when Belgians and tourists from other countries dare to enjoy the purity of the North Sea.
In June and September, Belgian air temperatures reach +17 ° C, in October and May – up to +14 ° C. Autumn in Ostend is rainy and overcast, and cold winters are accompanied by soft snow and wind. Nevertheless, even in January and February, the temperature never drops below 2-3 degrees Celsius, and the grayish shades of the sky make the sea even more picturesque and appealing.
Ostend has a variety of accommodation options. Prices start at 70 euros per person in three-star hotels, without any additional services. The most expensive hotels are located in the Oostende-Centrum district, near the major attractions, the most budget hotels are Stene and Konterdam. Be sure to check out the only hostel in town, a youth favourite, the Jeugdherberg De Ploate, located in the heart of Oostende.
There are many eating establishments of various classes in the city. An average dinner for one, as in other parts of Belgium, ranges from 10-15€ in a local cafe to 60€ in the central restaurants of the resort.
Of course Ostend also has its own specialties, which must be tasted by every traveler:
- Belgian waffles with ice cream and fruit;
- White wine;
- Seafood dishes;
- Crispy potatoes with cheese and vegetables.
Sightseeing in Ostend: What to see first
Beaches, historic museums, churches, seascapes, monuments and other cultural attractions – it will take you several days to discover all the beauties of the resort. If you don’t have that much time to spare, check out the following places first.
Tip! Make your own map of the sights you would like to see. This will help you work out the best route and get to different attractions faster, in time to visit them.
You will notice it from anywhere in the city. This beautiful Gothic style cathedral appeals to all lovers of architecture and breathtaking photos. Ostend is sometimes called the second Paris and the reason for that is this smaller but no less charming replica of Notre Dame, which all tourists should see.
On any day of the week everyone can enter the cathedral for free and feel its atmosphere and admire the unique interior. The church is located in the popular area of Ostend, close to the waterfront and the central station. Every Sunday morning, Catholics pray here, so the entrance for tourist purposes may be temporarily closed.
The popular ship-museum will tell you about the difficult life of Belgian fishermen, accompanying your tour with music and interesting stories.
For 5 euros you can go inside, see the admiral’s cabin, the lower cabins and get acquainted with the equipment used by the masters of fishing, represented by the wax figures. The museum is closed Monday, on other days the visit is available from 11:00 to 16:30. Children will especially enjoy it.
Once you see this three-masted sailing ship, you won’t be able to walk past. The main attraction in Ostend tells you about the lives of the sailors, officers and scientists who made expeditions on this ship in different years. Tourists can see the cabins, try out the role of the captain, learn about the history of the ship and its features daily from 11 to 16:30. The cost of admission is 5 euros.
Delve into Belgium’s glorious past with a visit to the only surviving fishing village of Valraverside. The Ostend Open-Air Museum, a small settlement, will tell you the details of the life of fishermen before the 15th century.
The vanished medieval fishing village of Wallraversaide in 1465 is one of the most important archaeological sites in Flanders. Three fishermen’s houses, a bakery and a fish smokehouse have been reconstructed on the site of the medieval town. In the museum you will learn more about everyday life and archaeological research.
The best time to come here is in summer or spring, when the grass is greener and flowers are blooming around the local houses. You can get to the village by the first streetcar or car.
- The cost of admission to all lodges – 4 euros.
- Working hours are 10:30-16:45 on weekends, 10-15:45 on weekdays.
To relax in Ostend and not try your luck at the seaside casino is a real crime. Built in the early 20th century, this building was a real sensation and forever stuck in the memory of local residents as the most unusual attraction in Belgium. Today it not only gathers gambling travelers, but also hosts various exhibitions, concerts and seminars. Admission is free, and those who wish can try inexpensive drinks and snacks.
The famous conqueror left a piece of himself in Ostend – a huge fortress, which has become a century-old landmark. Inside there is a museum, where tours in English, German and French are offered non-stop, and you can climb to the observation deck and see the other side of Ostend.
Fort Napoleon has seen hundreds of years of history. The French waited in awe for the British, German soldiers used the impregnable pentagon as a buffer against the Allies, and local youths kissed their first sweethearts here. Fort Napoleon’s rugged walls were once silent witnesses to every smile, tear and kiss at the fort.
Several free ferries run to the fort daily, and a waterfront streetcar is also available. Nearby is a cozy restaurant.
- The ticket costs 9 euros.
- Working hours are Wednesdays from 14 to 17 and weekends from 10 to 17.
A small park for a relaxing holiday with the whole family. The narrow alleys are decorated with various trees and sculptures of Belgian artists, in the warm season the fountains work, in the lake the fish swim. Musicians play in the park every day, and picnics are held in the gazebos. Located in the heart of Ostend, can be reached by the first streetcar.
The famous racetrack, located near the beaches of Ostend, will appeal to fans of equestrian sports. There are regular horse races and various shows, and the local cafe surprises with delicious Belgian cuisine and low prices. You can watch the events on Mondays and there are souvenir shops on site.
The coast streetcar is not just a form of Belgian public transport that allows you to get anywhere in Ostend, but a real attraction. It is the longest route in the world at 68 kilometers. If you want to see all the beauties of the resort and save your energy and money, get on the kusttram and take a trip around the coastal area of Ostend.
The World War II military museum will show you a new side of history. The exhibition reveals the secrets and peculiarities of life of German soldiers, allows you to walk through real bunkers, get into the atmosphere of those times and see a lot of military equipment. There are preserved and restored defensive system of German troops in 1942-1944. You can see anti-tank trenches, bastions and barracks of the German garrison.
This museum will be interesting for the whole family. It is worth allocating about 2 hours to visit.
- Entrance costs 4 euros per person.
- Open from 10:30 am to 5 pm daily, weekends open until 6 pm.
This resort in Belgium is not famous for seafood for nothing. Any of them you can buy at the small fish market, located in the area of the waterfront. Here they sell not only fresh seafood, but also cooked dishes with amazing taste. It is better to arrive at 7-8 in the morning and no later than 11, as the market is popular not only with tourists but also with locals.
All prices on the page are for September 2020.
- The famous “Letter to Gogol” by Belinsky was sent to the writer in Ostend in Belgium, where he was treated.
- Through Ostend runs the longest streetcar route in the world, which connects the borders of France and the Netherlands.
- Once a year, the city hosts the world’s largest sand sculpture festival.
- Choosing gifts for your family, choose the delicacies, seafood and alcoholic beverages. This is the place where these products are of really high quality and low prices.
Ostend (Belgium) is a city you’re sure to remember. Have a nice trip!
A walk around the city and the beach in Ostend – in this video.
Author: Elena Lunina
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