Ostend

Ostend (Dutch: Oostende) is a seaside city in West Flanders in Belgium. Its North Sea beaches have drawn in tourists since the 19th century. Formerly a fashionable outing for royalty and aristocracy, it has since become more democratic and is now densely built up with tall 20th-century blocks of holiday apartments and hotels. Its waterfront promenade features every cliche of a European seaside holiday, including a large musical theatre and casino. Besides being a holiday destination, Ostend is also a sizeable port for both cargo and passenger traffic, particularly across the English Channel.

Get in

By plane

Ostend has its own airport within the city limits just out of the centre. The airport is served by holiday charters to other warmer destinations, mainly around the Mediterranean, and cargo flights. Regular scheduled passenger traffic is very limited, but some holiday charter specialists offer open seats to general public.

Most travellers arriving by air will however find it easier to fly to Brussels National Airport (IATA: BRU), which handles by far the most international traffic in and out of Belgium. There is no direct connection between BRU and Ostend, one has to change trains at the Bruxelles-Midi station, which is fairly problem-free.

By the same token, one can also fly in to other airports with direct connections to Bruxelles-Midi, such as Paris Charles de Gaulle or Amsterdam Schiphol, or the airport of Chaleroi, branded as "Brussels South" by the low-fare carriers flying there. The former two feature direct high-speed trains to Midi, the latter is served by buses to the station.

By train

The train station is in the centre of Oostende and offers many direct connections within Belgium. Changing in Brussels, Ghent or Antwerp adds even more options, both domestic and international. In particular, changing in Brussels-Midi allows one to use the high-speed trains of Eurostar (from London) and Thalys (i.e. Paris, Lille, Amsterdam, Duesseldorf and Cologne), as well as other services from the Netherlands, France and Germany. The Thalys used to serve Ostend as well, but does not anymore as of 2015.

The travel time by train is little over an hour from Bruxelles-Midi, with 40 minutes to Ghent and just 15 to Bruges.

By car

Coming to Ostend by car is also possible. Ostend has plenty of parking lots.

By ferry

Ostend used to feature a ferry connection to England, but it was no longer operational as of 2015.

By tram

The Kusttram, which runs along the whole Belgian coast from Knokke to De Panne, stops along the beaches of Ostend as well as the Ostend train station.

Get around

Most points of interest in town are close together. You can easily reach them by foot or by renting a bicycle from the rail station for €9 per day. De Lijn bus lines 5, 6, and 39 go along the seafront to the west; if you want to get to points farther along the coast, in either direction, take the Coast Train from a stop next to the rail station. You can pick up a taxi at the rail station, or call Taxibond (+32 (0) 59.70.27.27).

See

Sint-Petrus-en Pauluskerk

Do

Buy

Ostend is a paradise for shopaholics. First of all, you have the Kapellestraat with all the important large chain stores. In the Adolf Buylstraat you can find designer clothing, shoes and accessories. Ostend has also a shopping center Shopping Center Feest- en Kultuurpaleis with 17 different shops. Other shopping streets are Christinastraat, Witte Nonnenstraat, James Ensorgalerij and Alfons Pieterslaan

Eat

There are a number of places to eat in Ostend, ranging from a Pizza Hut to charming old style Flemish Pannenkoekenhuis (Pancake Houses). There are also a number of chocolatiers and Dutch style Snoepje (Sweetie) stores, the latter lit up in bright pink neon. Most street corners are either a coffee shop or a bar.

The Restaurant l'Enfant Terrible, located at Nieuwstraat 16, an easy walk from the town centre and seconds from the harbour, serves an excellent selection of good, well prepared food. In particular, their entrecote steak with fries is outstanding.

No doubt the place with the most charm and character in Oostende is 'Stad Kortrijk', a 'friterie chique', offering you excellent steak, fish, omelettes,... with freshly baked fries and home-made mayonnaise. And all this for an excellent price. The shark mouth hanging on the wall, the boat lights,... all add to the character of the place...

A common sight is a coffee served with a small advocaat (eggnog). Sometimes these come with three or four profiteroles, free of chocolate sauce, for dipping in the liqueur.

Drink

Tati's Jazzclub (tatis), Langestraat 71 (Getting in the Langestraat (main bar/pub street in Ostend), you should walk up to the quay (sea, harbor, ...). It has a saxophone hanging out. Just next to the Irish bar Celtic.). Depending. Just go and see if it's open.. The Langestraat area is the area with the most bars in Ostend. You have a widespread choice of over 30 bars, restaurants, ...

Sleep

Budget

Medium

Splurge

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 02, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.