ABOVE: Ostend's beach and Kursaal (Casino).
English-speaking travelers, Ostend or
Oostende is best known as a ferry port--or
at least it was until the Ramsgate-Ostend ferry route disappeared in 2013. The
ferries are now gone, but Ostend remains a popular resort and sightseeing
destination--especially with Belgians, who flock to this
1,000-year-old city of 70,000 residents for sun, surfing, sailing, and the
The fishing harbor and old town also draw many visitors, as do
museums and maritime experiences.
In the sections below, you'll find dozens of links to tourist sites,
hotel directories, museum pages, ferry information, and other Web resources for visitors
ABOVE: A pavement artist attracts a crowd in
Toerisme Oostende VZW, the official tourist office for Ostend, has a good
assortment of pages about activities, dining, hotels, local transportation, and
The Tourist Office for Flanders has general information on Belgium's northern,
Port of Oostende
The port's Web site is useful mainly for maritime operators and shipping fans.
The SNCB (or NMBS, if you prefer Dutch) has an English-language journey planner
on its Web site.
"The Line," a local transit agency, operates an LRT system that
connects Ostend with other towns and railroad stations along
the Flemish coast.
Belgium Weather Conditions and Forecast
Metric and English measurements are available at this page from Weather.com,
which uses data from Oostende Airport.
Where to stay:
ABOVE: Old harbor, Ostend.
Hotels and B&Bs
Europe's No. 1 secure reservations service has illustrated listings of hotels
and other places to stay in the Ostend area. (Booking.com has a price-matching
guarantee, and you can cancel reservations unless otherwise indicated--e.g., if
you've booked at a special prepaid rate.)
Ostend's De Ploate Youth Hostel has a capacity of 124 in rooms with
three to seven beds. All rooms have private facilities, and rates include
breakfast, sheets, and taxes. The hostel is in the city center, offers free bike
parking, and is open 24 hours a day.
Dining and nightlife:
ABOVE: Oysters, a specialty of
Ostend, are prepared at a local seafood stand.
Food and Drinks
Visit Oostende has English-language listings for local restaurants and bars,
along with dining tips.
Historical Museum De Plate
The local history and folklore museum traces its roots to 1899. Today, the
museum occupies a building where Napoleon once stayed. Hours of operation are
limited, so check the Web site before visiting.
The "art museum by the sea for Belgian art" features works from 1830 to the
present. Ostend's most famous artist, James Ensor, is just one of the Belgian
and foreign painters whose works are in this museum's extensive collection.
This maritime umbrella organization has information on historic ships that you
can visit, guided maritime walks, and boating experiences in Ostend.
There are many other museums and things to see in Ostend, such
Atlantic Wall (an open-air war museum)
and the city's historic Fort Napoleon (which is
accessible by a free ferry, a public tram, or car).
Book a boat with or without a skipper, or learn the ropes (a.k.a. sheets) of yachtsmanship
in a sailing course.