When thinking about the seaside, most people envision somewhere nice and warm, sipping cocktails on a tropical island or by the Mediterranean. Going further North in Europe, the seaside is really something different than you may have imagined, still incredibly beautiful and with some special, mystical quality to it.
This is why I really love the Belgian Northern Sea and, living in Brussels, only an hour away, visit it as often as possible, to watch the waves, enjoy the salty breeze, the texture of the sand under my feet and just feel connected to the world.
When thinking about the Belgian coast, though it is not very long, there are still many places that you can go to – from very fashionable Knokke and De Panne, to also very popular Oostende, De Haan or Bredene, just to name a few. In fact, wherever you choose to go, you can’t miss – the Belgian coast is beautiful in its entirety and the magic of the long, sandy beaches and the wide Northern Sea
A special way of exploring the Belgian coast is definitely by taking the Coast Tram. Passing 67 kilometers along the coast, from De Panne by the French border to Knokke-Heist near the Dutch border, the public tram is a perfect option for anyone who enjoys train or tram ride, looking out the window and enjoying interesting views like the dunes around De Haan or interesting features between Ostend and Middlekerke.
If you are an active person and like spending time in the fresh air, you can go on a hike along the coast either by yourself or with some friends or with an organized group. There are many hikers who frequently organize hikes with different routes along the coast, so that each time you can enjoy discovering another piece of this magical area.
One of the most beautiful things that you can see when on the beach are riders passing by, even better if you are a rider yourself so you can gallop away over the sandy beaches by the sea – the sense of freedom of all this coming together is incredible. But don’t worry, if you are just enjoying your day by the beach there will not all of the sudden come many riders through the crowd – the activity is restricted to certain areas as well as it has specific seasons and timings so that everyone can easily and freely enjoy the beach
When speaking about horses, the noble animals are a big part of the people’s lives by the Northern Sea. To see a really fascinating tradition where people and horses work together, go to Oostduinkerke, where you can experience what a fisherman’s life was like in the old days. This is the only place in Europe where the traditional horseback shrimp fishing is still being practiced. Observe them work during a low tide, and, if you’re up for it, join a cooking demonstration and enjoy delicious shrimp meals.
Whether you are visiting for a day, weekend or a longer period of time, it is certain that you will feel the magic of the Belgian coast and the Northern Sea – be sure to enjoy every minute of it, no matter if on a sunny day feeling the warmth on your skin or even on a cloudy day when the silvery grey of the sea melts with the blue-grey of the skies. Look at the patterns of the sand that the sea leaves behind and don’t hesitate to walk into the shallow waters, even on a colder day.
Here at the Belgian coast, with all of the world opening before you over the sandy plains and silvery sea, you will feel truly connected to the Universe and the world.