Surroundings

Just 15 minutes away from Bruges by train and simply an hour from Brussels, the port city of Ostend (Oostende)– being glad in the titles, “the Queen of Beaches” or “The City by the Sea”– is, with around 70,000 inhabitants, Belgium’s most significant and best known coastal resort.

And it’s a vibrant, historically rich location to visit. Ostend’s spirit is egalitarian and welcoming; everybody goes to the beachfront to enjoy themselves and everyone rates right here, from royalty to the guy on the Brussels omnibus.

From Lord Byron to Caruso and Albert Einstein everybody who’s any individual has hung around– and money– in Ostend. Marvin Gaye made his house here for a while in his rough 1980s, recuperating from a serious medicine addiction and writing “Sexual Healing” the video to which was shot in the regional gambling establishment.

To Belgians the most well-known Ostendais of them all remains painter James Ensor who invested many of his life right here. Today Ostend has a contemporary appearance and feel and is geared to hosting major conferences and welcoming mobs of vacationers.

With centuries of tired tourists and pleasure-seeking trippers travelling through the city, they know how to do hospitality. Luckily nearly all the locals speak English as even their fellow Belgians battle to get their ears around the thick local Flemish dialect.

Ostend might have lost some of its Belle époque splendour but it’s still quite alive and kicking and it’s a great little city to check out throughout the year. Besides its several distinguished beaches Ostend is packed with a huge and varied range of lodging and there’s plenty to do when the rain comes down.

There’s a dynamic nightlife scene with a lot of excellent dining establishments and the city is a major shopping centre. Ostend’s residents are fiercely happy to be ‘Ostendais’ and are known in Belgium for their joie de vivre. The city has a fully equipped Tourism Office located right in front of the Casino. For opening hours, ideas, advice, tours and a lot more inspect Visit Ostend.

http://www.toerisme-oostende.be
OSTEND TOURIST OFFICE
General information about events, attractions and places of interest.

http://www.fortnapoleon.be
FORT NAPOLEON – A battle with time.
Fort Napoleon, an old fort set in the sand dunes of Ostend that goes back to the days of Napoleon.

http://www.earthexplorer.be
EARTH EXPLORER – Experience the overwhelming force of nature!
Scientific attraction that introduces you to the four elements.

http://www.kursaaloostende.be
KURSAAL OOSTENDE
This has regained its role as the beating heart of Ostend. The Kuursaal Oostende is one of the biggest, most beautiful and best-located conference centres in Belgium.

http://www.west-vlaanderen.be/kwaliteit/Leefomgeving/raversijde/Pages/default.aspx
DOMEIN RAVERSIJDE
The Provincial Domein Raversijde is located between Ostend and Middelkerke. This domain stretches out over more than 50 hectares.

www.museum-amandine.be
MUSEUM SHIP AMANDINE – The last Iceland vessel

www.oostende.be
JAMES ENSOR HOUSE
In order to understand this great master, you have to have visited his house at least once. The showcases full of mad, bizarre, surprising objects set the scene for you, inhaling the air on the first floor does the rest.

http://www.zeilschip-mercator.be
THE MERCATOR SAILING SHIP
The Mercator is the former Belgian Training Ship. It is a barkentine with three masts.

http://www.toerisme-oostende.be
NORTH SEA AQUARIUM
Discover the variety of life in the North Sea. More than 60 different marine animals live in 13 different aquariums. The very big collection of the stuffed fish, North Sea shellfish, crustaceans and echinoderms are worth studying. Especially interesting for children.

www.wellingtongolf.be
WELLINGTON GOLF COURSE OSTEND
Initiation to golf and training centre accessible to the public. Driving range with 25 covered teeing-off shelters, putting green and chipping green.

BOUDEWIJN SEAPARK : with dolphinarium and amusement park in Bruges.
Our dolphins, seals and sea lions will guarantee an unforgettable day out. Discover the marine mammals in the dolphinarium and lots of other attractions.
www.boudewijnseapark.be

PLOPSALAND DE PANNE : a theme park located near the town of De Panne on the Belgian coast.
www.plopsa.be

MUSEA BRUGGE : the website of the umbrella organisation that harbours 16 widely varying museums.
www.brugge.be/musea

MUSEA GENT : In this website you will find an overview of the different museums in Gent.
www.gent.be/musea

IN FLANDERS FIELDS – This museum is located in the heart of the city. It paints a portrait of the everyday life of soldiers during World War I.
www.inflandersfields.be

NATIONAL SEA LIFE MARINE PARK : Visitors to the National Sea Life Centre in Blankenberge will go on an exciting voyage of discovery along the Amazon River.
www.sealifeeurope.com