Belgium may be famous for its medieval towns, waffles, and chocolate, but this small European country also boasts a beautiful coastline that’s perfect for a seaside escape.
With 68 kilometers of pristine sandy shoreline, the Belgian coast is dotted with picturesque beaches offering a range of activities and attractions. From lively resort towns to quaint fishing villages, there’s no shortage of options for a beach holiday in Belgium.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the top 10 best Belgian beaches. We’ll as provide useful information on how to get there, when to visit, and what to do during your stay.
How to Reach the Belgian Coastline
One of the best ways to explore the Belgian coast is by taking the Coastal Tram, which runs from De Panne near the French border to Knokke-Heist.
As one of the longest tramlines in the world, the Coastal Tram provides a convenient and scenic way to travel between the various beach destinations along the shoreline.
The tram makes 68 stops along the way. There are services running every 10 minutes during the summer months and every 20 minutes in the winter season. The entire journey takes approximately 2 hours and 27 minutes, covering a distance of 68 kilometers.
When to Visit the Beaches in Belgium
The ideal time to visit the Belgian coast is during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasantly mild. However, the warmest months of July and August are also perfect for enjoying the beach, as temperatures are typically ideal for sunbathing and swimming.
Top 10 Best Beaches in Belgium
In this section, we’ll delve into the unique charms and attractions of the 10 best beaches in Belgium. From bustling beach resorts to serene stretches of sand, there’s a beach for every type of traveler on the Belgian coast.
1. De Panne
Located just 16 miles from Ostend, De Panne is a delightful beach town known for its beautiful sandy beach and nature reserves, such as the Westhoek. This protected area is home to migratory birds and highland cattle, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.
De Panne also holds historical significance, as it’s where King Leopold I first set foot on Belgian soil in 1831. A sculpture commemorating this event can be found in the town. During your stay, be sure to sample the local cuisine at nearby restaurants and pick up souvenirs at the charming local shops.
The lively city of Ostend is home to a beautiful beach that hosts the annual Sculpture Festival. As one of the most vibrant destinations on the Belgian coast, Ostend offers a plethora of activities and attractions, including museum events, street shopping, live music, and diverse dining options.
Visitors can spend their days sunbathing on the sandy beach or taking a leisurely stroll along the picturesque boardwalk in the evening. With trains departing from Brussels every 30 minutes, Ostend is an ideal destination for a day trip to soak up the sun and enjoy both beach and city life.
A popular family-friendly destination, Blankenberge boasts a range of beachfront resorts and a plethora of attractions to keep visitors entertained. The Sea Life Marine Park, one of Belgium’s largest aquariums, is a must-visit for those traveling with children.
In addition to its beautiful beach, Blankenberge offers a variety of water sports, including banana boat rides, jet skiing, kiteboarding, and windsurfing. The town also hosts an annual Sand Festival, where talented sand artists create incredible sculptures based on a chosen theme.
Nestled between Koksijde and Nieuwpoort, Oostduinkerke is a unique destination that showcases a 500-year-old tradition of gray shrimp fishing on horseback. Recognized as part of UNESCO’s “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” list in 2013, this fascinating local custom can be witnessed from April to September.
Seafood lovers will be in heaven at Oostduinkerke, where the local cuisine features fresh fish, crab, and the famous gray shrimp from the North Sea.
5. De Haan
For those seeking a more active beach getaway, De Haan offers the perfect opportunity to explore the Belgian coast by bicycle. The town is also home to a nudist beach, for those looking to sunbathe au naturel.
De Haan is characterized by its charming Anglo-Norman style cottages and villas, which add to the town’s picturesque appeal. Known for its tranquil beachfront, De Haan is an ideal destination for visitors looking to unwind and enjoy the serene surroundings.
Another popular destination for families, Nieuwpoort is a bustling fishing village renowned for its fresh seafood. Located just 2 kilometers from the beach, the town offers a wide range of aquatic sports, including paddleboarding, wave-carting, fishing, windsurfing, swimming, and surfing.
In addition to its beautiful beach and exciting water activities, Nieuwpoort also boasts relaxing parks, stunning monuments, and ample shopping opportunities. This makes it the perfect destination for a well-rounded beach holiday in Belgium.
Centrally located along the Flemish coast, Middelkerke features a 6-mile stretch of sandy beach and is made up of five charming coastal villages. The town’s beachfront attractions include skate ramps, miniature golf courses, and playgrounds, ensuring that families with children will never run out of things to do.
While in Middelkerke, be sure to indulge in the local cuisine at one of the many restaurants and enjoy a refreshing Belgian beer as the sun sets over the sea.
Considered the epitome of sophistication and class on the Belgian coast, Knokke-Heist is home to five coastal villages. These are; Heist, Albertstrand, Knokke, Duinbergen, and Zoute. This upscale destination attracts the jet-set crowd, who come to relax in luxurious properties overlooking the seafront.
In addition to its stunning beaches, Knokke-Heist offers a range of cultural attractions, including art galleries, a casino, and the Scharpoord Cultural Centre.
Situated on the North Sea coast in the southwest Flemish province of West Flanders, Koksijde is a quaint town that offers a range of activities for visitors. From boat trips along the coast to admiring the local architecture and exploring art museums, there’s plenty to see and do in Koksijde.
Art enthusiasts will particularly enjoy a visit to the Museum Paul Delvaux. Housed in an old farmhouse it showcases an extensive collection of the artist’s works.
An artificial harbor, Zeebrugge is a bustling destination that features petrol tankers and ferries connecting Belgium to England. Day trips to London are easily accessible from Zeebrugge, making it a convenient base for exploring both countries.
While in Zeebrugge, be sure to visit the Port of Zeebrugge. Also, take a boat tour, and sample some of the delicious chocolates at P&J Chocolates, a local Belgian chocolate factory.
Plan Your Perfect Belgian Beach Getaway
With so many unique and captivating beach destinations along the Belgian coastline, there’s truly something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking a lively resort town, a serene seaside escape, or a culturally rich destination, the beaches of Belgium are sure to impress. Don’t wait any longer – start planning your perfect Belgian beach holiday today!