Everyone loves a city break, especially somewhere as beautiful and heritage-filled as our gorgeous hometown Bruges. Sometimes, it’s also nice to venture away from the city for a day or two to soak in the magic of mother nature and enjoy views across the ocean. Bruges is just 11km from the Belgian coast, a long stretch of wonderful sandy beaches and resorts ranging from De Panne in the west to Knokke-Heist in the east and easily accessible by coastal tram. Hop in the car, bus, or take the train and enjoy a day trip to the beautiful Belgian Coast.
1. De Haan – 20 km
De Haan is a small town with a charming history and equally charming architecture. It’s a fairy-tale, seaside destination that is popular with locals and visitors alike. De Haan beach is one of the finest along the Belgian coast and it’s worth queueing for a tasty ice cream from one of the many shops dotted along the way. Grab some lunch in one of the lovely beachside cafes or restaurants, sampling some delicious local seafood. Make time to visit the Albert Einstein Statue, stroll around Rembrandtlaan and Koninklijk Plein and make sure to take your camera to capture some of the most unique and beautiful architecture in the country.
2. Ostend- 21 km
A jewel in the crown of Belgium’s coastline, Ostend is just 15 minutes’ drive from Bruges and worth the journey. You can spend an entire day exploring Ostend town, enjoying great shopping, bars, cafes, restaurants, and casinos. If the weather is good, set up camp on the beautiful Ostend Beach and spend the day sunning yourself and swimming in the sea. It’s still worth a trip in winter to enjoy a well wrapped up walk along Ostend Harbour for amazing views out to the North Sea.
For a taste of culture and history in Ostend, visit Fort Napoleon that was used in both WWI and WWII. Beside the fort is Atlantikwall, a part of the German defence line used during the World Wars. You can discover bunkers and trenches steeped in history. Closer to the city, The Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul is one of the most beautiful gothic buildings in the area and lies right beside Ostend Train Station. If you love all things art, make time to visit Mu.ZEE, a gallery filled with modern and traditional art from all over Belgium.
3. Knokke-Heist – 28 km
The opposite end of the coast from De Panne and sitting on the Dutch border is Knokke-Heist, another lovely coastal resort. Its best known for its beach and the Zwin Nature Park, an area of salt marshes and mudflats which is home to native birds like storks and a beautiful bronze statue of a giant Hare. If you like your day trips to include a little history and culture, you can visit the For Freedom Museum which highlights the areas WW2 history with artifacts and original vehicles. You can also spend some time in the Grand Casino (which is much more impressive inside than outside!).
4. De Panne – 52 km
If you’d like to take in a lot of the Belgian coast with many stops, it makes sense to take the train from one of the ends and travel along at your leisure. De Panne is on the French border and can be the first stop on your epic coastal trip toward Knokke-Heist. De Panne is a pretty coastal town, famous for its nature reserves like Westhoek and Kykhill Dune Park. You can also enjoy an afternoon of adventure in Plopsaland De Panne, a theme park with plenty of amusements and rides for all ages. The beach in De Panne is the widest North Sea beach (almost 500m wide at low tide) with a beautiful hinterland surrounding the town.
Day trips to the Belgian coast are easy from our centrally located hotel in Bruges. Return to Green Park Hotel Brugge after a long day of exploring for dinner, drinks, and a peaceful sleep before more exploring the following day. Visit our website for exclusive access to our best available rates and special offers. We look forward to welcoming you.
Author Bio: Katie McGarr is a daytime writer for Green Park Hotel Brugge, a three-star hotel offering the perfect countryside accommodation experience while exploring the best-preserved medieval city of Belgium. Since this free-spirited damsel loves to go on adventures, she’s got a lot to say about travel, dining, cultural enjoyment, and lifestyle.