Oostende is just over the Belgian border, making it the perfect place for a lovely seaside holiday close to home. There are a number of museums and monuments commemorating Oostende's war history. It's a great way of combining relaxing days at the beach with cultural activities.
Oostende started as a little village in the eastern tip of an island off the coast of Belgium. Land reclamation enabled it to grow into the city it is today. A number of wars between the 15th and the 19th centuries have unfortunately destroyed most of the historic city centre.
Learn about the tough life at sea on Museumship Amandine, a ship that trawled Iceland's waters in the 1960s and is now a museum. The Noordzeeaquarium is also worth visiting. From here it's a 5-minute walk to the neo-Gothic Sint-Petrus-en-Pauluskerk. History buffs will appreciate Fort Napoleon, which the French Emperor built in 1811 to defend the city against the English. Looking for more history? You'll find lots of it at the Atlantic Wall, an open-air museum with bunkers and an underground tunnel system built by the Germans in World War II.
The village is on the coast so you can also go for long walks on the beach while enjoying fantastic views of the ocean and coastline. The area also lends itself to bicycle tours. Take your own bicycle with you or hire one when you get there and take one of the routes through the flat landscape.
If you’re planning on travelling to Oostende by car, the city is just off a major motorway which is reached via Antwerp and Ghent. Oostende is also easy to reach by train. From Amsterdam, for example, you only have to change trains once at Antwerp Central Station. Take the coast tram (Kusttram) to reach other resorts along the coast.
Whatever your wishes, Oostende has something for everyone. Come see for yourself!