Ostend (Belgium) is a world-famous resort located off the coast of the North Sea. Its wide beaches, incredible views and spectacular architecture annually attract several million tourists, and even its small size (the local population is only 70 thousand) does not prevent it from being a must-see destination for those who come to Belgium.
The sights of Ostend will amaze you with their beauty. In this article you will find out which ones are worth visiting in the first place, how to get to them, their work schedule and a lot of useful information about the resort itself.
How to get to Ostend
Since the city does not have an airport accepting passenger flights, it is most convenient to fly from Moscow / Kiev / Minsk to Brussels (BRU). Airplanes between these countries and the capital of Belgium depart several times a day and cost between 5000 RUB, 4000 UAH and 250 BYN one way.
Important! There are two airports in the capital of Belgium, the second one accepts only low-cost flights from different European countries (Poland, Romania, Hungary, Spain, etc.). Be careful not to confuse the names, as they are 70 km from each other.
One hundred and ten kilometers dividing the city, you can overcome by train or car.
- From 3 to 9 trains leave daily from the Bru-central station in Ostend. The price of a regular one-way ticket is 15-18 €, travel time is 70-90 minutes. You can check the train schedule and buy travel documents on the Belgian railway website (www.belgianrail.be).
- Upon arrival at Brussels airport, you can rent a car (working hours from 6:30 to 23:30 daily) and go to Ostend on the E40 route. A taxi ride in this direction will cost you about 180-200 €.
If the idea to enjoy the sea air came to you in this picturesque center of West Flanders, you can get to Ostend by train, bus or car. The distance is 30 km.
- Once every half an hour, trains suitable for you leave from Bruges Central Station to Ostend. The journey takes 20 minutes, and the standard one-way fare is around 5 €.
- Intercity buses number 35 and number 54 will take you to your destination in an hour. The fare is 3 euros, tickets can be bought from the driver upon landing. Schedule and other details are available on the carrier’s website (www.delijn.be);
- By car or taxi (60-75 €) to Ostend can be reached in 15-20 minutes.
How to save on travel
The cost of public transport in Belgium is on a par with most European countries, but if you do not want to overpay for the road, you can use one (or not one) of the following life hacks:
- Traveling between the cities of Belgium is most beneficial on weekends (from 19:00 Friday to Sunday evening), when the Weekend Ticket discount system is in place, which allows you to get up to 50% on train tickets.
- In all Belgian cities, there is one price for a single fare – 2.10 euros. For those who want to get to different parts of Ostend, there are cheaper subscriptions for a day (7 €), five (8 €) or ten (14 €) trips.
- Students and people under the age of 26 have a separate opportunity to save on travel. Present your documents and buy tickets at a discount.
- Ostend has free travel for children under 12 years old accompanied by adults.
Ostend is a seaside resort where air temperatures rarely rise above 20 ° C. The warmest months are July and August, when Belgians and tourists from other countries decide to enjoy the cleanliness of the North Sea.
In June and September, Belgian air warms up to + 17 ° C, in October and May – up to + 14 ° C. Autumn in Ostend is rainy and cloudy, and cold winters are accompanied by soft snow and wind. Despite this, even in January and February, the temperature does not fall below 2-3 degrees Celsius, and the grayish shades of the sky at this time make the sea even more picturesque and attractive.
There are a lot of accommodation options in Ostend. Prices start at 70 euros per person in a three-star hotel without additional services. The most expensive hotels are located in the Oostende-Centrum area, near the main attractions, the most budget ones are Stene and Konterdam. Be sure to see the only hostel in the city, the favorite place for young people – Jeugdherberg De Ploate, located in the heart of Ostend.
In the city there are many catering establishments of different classes. On average, the cost of a dinner for one, as in other parts of Belgium, reaches from 10-15 € in a local cafe to 60 € in the central restaurants of the resort.
Of course, Ostend has its own signature dishes, which every traveler should definitely try:
- Belgian waffles with ice cream and fruit;
- White wine;
- Seafood dishes;
- Crispy potato with cheese and vegetables.
Ostend Attractions: what to see first
Beaches, historical museums, churches, breathtaking landscapes, monuments and other cultural objects – in order to explore all the beauties of the resort you will need a few days. If you do not have so much time in your stock, first of all pay attention to the following places.
Advice! Make a map of the attractions you would like to see. This will help you develop the optimal route and get to different attractions faster, having time to visit them.
You will notice it from anywhere in the city. This beautiful cathedral in the Gothic style attracts all lovers of architecture and breathtaking photos. Ostend is sometimes called the second Paris and the reason for this is this smaller, but no less charming copy of Notre Dame, which is worth seeing for all tourists.
On any day of the week, anyone can enter the cathedral for free, feel its atmosphere and admire the unique interior. The church is located in the popular area of Ostend, near the promenade and central station. Every Sunday, in the morning, Catholics pray here, so the entrance for tourist purposes may be temporarily closed.
The popular ship museum will tell you about the difficult life of Belgian fishermen, accompanying your excursion with music and interesting stories.
For 4 euros you can go inside, see the admiral’s cabin, lower cabins and get acquainted with the equipment used by the fishing masters, represented by wax figures. The museum is closed on Tuesday and Friday; on other days, visits are available from 10:00 to 17:00. Children will especially like it.
Seeing this three-masted sailboat, you cannot pass by. The main attraction of Ostend will tell you about the life of sailors, officers and scientists who made expeditions on this ship in different years. Tourists can watch the cabins, try themselves in the role of captain, get acquainted with the history of the ship and its features daily from 10 to 17. The cost of entry is 5 euros.
Immerse yourself in the glorious past of Belgium by visiting the only surviving fishing village of Valraverside. The Ostend Open Air Museum, a small settlement, will tell you the details of the life of fishermen from the 14th century to the present. It is best to come here in summer or spring, when grass grows around the local houses and flowers bloom.
You can get to the village on the first tram or car. The cost of admission to all houses is 9 euros, working hours are 10-18 on weekends, 10-17 on weekdays. Nearby is a small restaurant with a terrace.
Relaxing in Ostend and not trying your luck at a seaside casino is a real crime. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, this building became a real sensation and forever entrenched in the memory of local residents as the most unusual attraction in Belgium. Today, not only gambling travelers gather in it, but also various exhibitions, concerts and seminars are held. Admission is free. Those who wish can try inexpensive drinks and snacks.
The famous conqueror left a piece of himself in Ostend – a huge fortress that has become a century-old attraction. Inside there is a museum where tours in English, German and French are continuously conducted, you can climb to the observation deck and look at Ostend from the other side. A ticket costs 6 euros, working hours are Wednesday (from 14 to 17) and weekends (from 10 to 17).
Several free ferries run to the fort daily, and can also be reached by coastal tram. Nearby is a cozy restaurant.
A small park for a relaxing holiday with the whole family. Narrow alleys adorn various trees and sculptures of Belgian creators, fountains work in the warm season, and fish swim in the lake. Also, musicians perform daily in the park, everyone wants to play mini-golf, and have picnics in the gazebos. Located in the heart of Ostend, you can get on the first tram.
The famous hippodrome, located near the beaches of Ostend, will appeal to equestrian enthusiasts. Horse races and various shows are regularly held here, and in a local cafe they surprise you with delicious Belgian dishes and low prices. You can watch events on Mondays, there are souvenir shops on site.
The shore tram is not just a type of Belgian public transport that allows you to get to anywhere in Ostend, but a real attraction. Its route is the longest in the whole world and is 68 kilometers. If you want to see all the beauties of the resort and save your money and resources, take a seat on kusttram and take a trip along the coastal zone of Ostend.
The War Museum of the Second World War will open the story for you from a new perspective. The exposition reveals the secrets and features of the life of ordinary soldiers, allows you to walk through these bunkers, to penetrate the atmosphere of those times and see a huge amount of military equipment. This museum will be interesting for the whole family. Entrance costs 6 euros per person, is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily, on weekends it is open until 18:00.
This resort of Belgium is not in vain famous for its seafood. Any of them can be bought at a small fish market located in the promenade. It sells not only fresh seafood, but also cooked dishes with amazing taste. It is better to arrive at 7-8 in the morning and no later than 11, as the market is popular not only with tourists, but also with local residents.
What to bring from Ostend?
When choosing gifts for your family, opt for delicacies, seafood and alcoholic beverages. It is here that these products are of really high quality and low prices.
Ostend (Belgium) is a city that you will surely remember. Have a nice trip!