Nieuwpoort is a beach resort and medieval port on the Belgian sea coast in West Flanders. Nieuwpoort consists out of two centres: the old medieval centre, with small houses and cobblestone streets (also called Nieuwpoort-Stad), and the coastal centre, comparable to the neighbouring coastal cities: a sandy beach and lots of apartments (also called Nieuwpoort-Bad).
As a medieval town and important harbour, Nieuwpoort has been involved in many wars, has been raided by Vikings, and has been known as a pirate-nest in the past. In WWI, the key to stopping the German troops was found in Nieuwpoort, by opening the lock gates to the Yser river and letting the sea water flow inwards. This caused the flooding of the lower lying land, thus halting the German troops.
- Tourist Office Nieuwpoort, Marktplein 7, ☎ +3258 22 44 44, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Monday to Friday: 9:00-12:00 and 13:30-16:30. Closed on weekends and holidays.
- Tourist Office Nieuwpoort-Bad, Hendrikaplein 11, ☎ +3258 23 39 23, e-mail: email@example.com. Monday to Friday: 14:00-16:30, weekends, holidays and Belgian school holidays: 10:00-12:30 and 14:00-16:30 (14:00-17:00 in July and August).
The coastal tram (de Kusttram in Dutch) is the easiest way to reach Nieuwpoort by public transport. The tram line runs from De Panne near the French border to Knokke near the Dutch border. One could take the train from Ghent or Bruges and transfer to the tram at De Panne, the railway and tram stations being next to each other. De Lijn operates the coastal tram.
The coastal tram also connects Nieuwpoort-bad with Nieupoort-stad. Though it's a nice walk between the two centres, along the harbour, the walk is an activity in its own respect, and isn't the fastest way to travel between the two.
Once in your preferred part, walking is the best option.
- Fishing Mine (Vismijn). From Monday to Saturday, fishing boats go on the sea to capture the freshest fish (except in stormy weather). Every morning (starting from 7 or 8 a.m.), the fish can be bought in large quantities, but you can go there to feel the atmosphere. Afterwards, neighbouring shops re-sell the fresh fish to other customers. There are also guided tours through the mine.
- Channel. The channel connects the harbour to the ocean. There are many benches on the side of the channel to view the fishing and sailing ships come in, or part. The channel can also be crossed with a ferry-service. This service brings you to one of the quietest beaches in Belgium, partly a nature reserve.
- Staketsel. The staketsel is a 500 m long boardwalk into the North Sea. It serves as the entrance to the port, and has small towers serving as fog-horns on the ends. It's a nice place to walk, to view Nieuwpoort-bad from a distance, and the look for ships at sea. The staketsel is also very suited for fishing, either with your own fishing lines or with nets. The western side of the staketsel is easy to reach, the eastern side is a lot more quiet and requires you to take the ferry service over the channel first.
- Central Square (Marktplein). At the Central Square, you get a nice panorama with many medieval buildings. Including the town hall. It's an ideal place to drink a coffee or a beer.
- Church of Our Lady (O.L.V. Kerk). Right next to the Central Square, you can find the main church of Nieuwpoort. The church was completely destroyed in WWI, but has been rebuild in the 1920's.
- King Albert Monument. A monument dedicated to the King Albert I], King of Belgium during the First World War. The monument is placed near a lock-complex called De Ganzepoot (see below). There's also a museum under the monument, and you can walk on top of the monument to get a good view on the surrounding region. The ground floor is free to visit. But you have to pay for the museum and the walk on the top.
- Goose Leg (Ganzepoot). The Goose Leg is a lock-complex used to regulate the water level in the polders laying towards the mainland. Five different rivers or canals flow to the North Sea, making the lock complex to look like the foot of a goose from above. This complex has played an important role in different wars, the last time was in 1914, where operating the locks differently caused the polders to flood, stopping the German troops. You can get a good view over the Goose Leg from the top of the Albert Monument.
- English military cemetery Ramskapelle. The military cemetery in the village of Ramskapelle is the final place of rest of 632 English soldiers who died during the First World War. However, more than 400 of them never got identified. The cemetery is located just north of the village center.
- Marina. The marina of Nieuwpoort is a port for thousands of sailing boats. Though you can't get in the marina without a permit, walking next to the marina also gives you a special view over the densely packed masts. In the winter, the boats are lifted ashore.
- White Residence, Hendrikaplein. Formerly known as "Le Grand Hôtel". The monumental and protected gables of natural stone is built in 1924 by a design of architect A. Lagache.
- De Barkentijn, Albert I laan 126. This corner house (1923), the former property of baron Crombez, is the most beautiful example of Norman style at the Belgian western coast. The sub-structure consists of quarry stone with a framing of hard stone round the segment-arch-shaped cellar windows. The fronts of the ground floor are decorated with draughtboards with alternately "tiles" of brick and sandstone. The second construction layer shows pseudo-framework with wooden balustrade columns. Various dormers and a polygonal corner turret. The lateral and rear gables look similar.
- Lighthouse. Situated on the right bank of the IJzer estuary, this lighthouse has an eventful history. It was 28 meters high and was combined with a private house for the lighthouse keeper. However, in October 1914 the lighthouse was bombarded and rebuilt in 1923 in brick. In September 1944 it was blown up again and the current lighthouse was put in use in 1949. This time it is a concrete construction painted with white and red rings. It stands 27 m above sea level and the light source reaches 29 m. The red flashing light radiates every 14 seconds a light flash. The last lighthouse keeper did this job till he retired in 1963. Since then the function of the lighthouse is regulated electronically.
- Saint-Laurenstower (Duvetorre), Willem de Roolaan. This ruin in the Willem de Roolaan is a relic from the former Sint-Laurentiuschurch. The church was destroyed more than once and in 1384 converted into a reinforced water castle. Around 1920 the old church tower, functioning as observation post, was converted into a stockroom for gunpowder. In 1917, during the First World War, the tower was bombarded and only one third of the original height was left.
This tower is popularly called the Duvetorre (Pigeon Tower). However, this has not to do anything with the pigeons nesting here, but with the devil. Here, in the shadow of the tower, Jeanne Panne celebrated her Witches' Sabbath and had her rendezvous with the devil.
- Cycling on the Frontzate. The Frontzate is a disused railway, transformed into a bicycle highway between Nieuwpoort and Diksmuide. This railway formed the front between the allied and the German forces in WWI. The polders between the river Yser and this railway were completely flooded, making it hard for the German troops to cross these swamps, while the allied troops could hide on the dry ground behind the raised railway. Along the road you'll see many relics from the past, s.a. bunkers and cemeteries.
- Swimming in Sunparks. Sunparks is a holiday resort with a tropical swimming pool, on the boundary between Nieuwpoort and Oostduinkerke (Koksijde). Its swimming pool is available to one-day visitors too.
- Walk in the dunes. Nieuwpoort has some nice sand dunes to walk or play in, not very far away from the dunes in Oostduinkerke (Koksijde) either.
- Market, Marktplein. There is a weekly market on the Market Square on Fridays between 8:00 and 12:00.
- Brasserie Het Kompas, Zeedijk 50, ☎ +32 58 23 08 23, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 12:00-14:00 and 18:00-21:00. €15 - €50.
- De Roos, Kaai 14, ☎ +325 823 31 43, e-mail: email@example.com. 11:00-23:00. Belgian, European and French cuisine €20 - €45.
- 't Ponton, Kaai 11, ☎ +325 862 68 72, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Karo's Eethuisje, Albert I laan 185, ☎ +32 58 23 77 49, e-mail: email@example.com. This place is the best shot for a nice afternoon coffee combined with a dessert
- Bar Guidon, Brabantstraat 13, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:00 - 19:00. Closed on Wednesdays and also on Tuesdays in school holidays.
- Floreal Nieuwpoort, Albert I-laan 74, ☎ +32 582 246 00, e-mail: email@example.com. Offers modern studios, with or without hotel formula. Also apartments can be booked here. There is also a swimming pool on the site.
- Hotel Cosmopolite, Albert I-laan 141, ☎ +325 823 33 66, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Luxury hotel situated on 80 meters from the beach and at the beginning of the commercial street.
- Hotel Gemeentehuis, Sint-Jorisplein 11, ☎ +325 823 63 35, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: between 17:00 and 19:00. This hotel is located in the historical rural hamlet of Sint-Joris, 1.2 kilometers away from Nieuwpoort and 4 kilometers away from the beach. It is located inside the former town hall of the Sint-Joris hamlet, right in front of the church. Every room is located on the ground floor and disposes of a private terrace overlooking the garden.
- B&B 't Ponton, Marktstraat 6, ☎ +325 862 68 72, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 16:00 - 22:00, check-out: 8:30 - 11:00. Small B&B with 3 rooms.
- Post office, Oostendestraat 3, ☎ +322 201 23 45. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays: 9:30-12:30 and 13:30-17:00. Tuesdays and Thursdays: 9:30-12:30 and 13:30-18:00. Saturdays: 9:30-13:00.
- Public library, Kokstraat 18A, ☎ +325 822 30 40, e-mail: email@example.com. Monday: 10:00-12:00. Tuesday: 10:00-12:00 and 16:00-19:00. Wednesday: 14:00-19:00. Thursday: 16:00-19:00. Friday: 10:00-12:00 and 15:00-19:00. Saturday: 9:00-12:00.. Besides reading it is also possible to access internet here or read newspapers.
- Take the coastal tram and go to other seaside towns like De Panne, Koksijde, Ostend or De Haan.
- If travelling by car, the towns of Veurne and Diksmuide are close by.