Coastal Escapes: Top 5 Beach Destinations Near Bruges

We have some lovely beaches along the Belgian coast, ideal for a day trip from Bruges

While it’s not usually on the top of your list of things to do while on a city break, visiting local beaches is a great way to get to know a new place. Bruges is 11km from the sea, so while there is no beach very close to the city, we are flanked on one side by the Belgian coastline. We have some lovely beaches along the Belgian coast, ideal for a day trip from Bruges and easily accessible by the wonderful Belgian Coastal Tram. If the weather is on your side, pack your swimsuit and take a dip in the North Sea and if it’s not, you can still paddle your toes and enjoy a delicious seafood dinner while you’re there. Enjoy a day trip from Bruges and return to the well-appointed, comfortable Green Park Hotel when you’ve had enough sea air.

1. Ostend

A jewel in the crown of Belgium’s coastline, Ostend is just 15 minutes’ drive from Bruges and worth the journey. Ostend is a wonderful town with great shopping, restaurants, and casinos, and is one of the most popular seaside resorts in Belgium since the 1930s. During summer, the five beaches in Ostend are packed with tourists and locals soaking up some sun. The main seaside road is Albert I Promenade where you can admire historic buildings and enjoy beautiful views of the sea. There are some fantastic seafood restaurants in Ostend with the freshest fish and shellfish in Flanders. It’s a great place for families to spend a fun vacation or couples to catch up with a romantic stroll along theseafront.

2. Zeebrugge

Although similar in name to our hometown, Zeebrugge is a popular resort about 20 minutes from Bruges. The main attraction in Zeebrugge is usually the First World War history. The town used to be a German U-boat base and was at the centre of the action on St. Georges Day 1918 when it was destroyed in spectacular fashion. Strand Zeebrugge is a quiet and serene beach, ideal for a lunchtime walk or a quiet after-dinner stroll. Its wide and safe sandy strip is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying a picnic. Early risers should make their way to the fishing port to see the colourful fishing vessel make its way home with the day’s catch.

3. Blankenberge

You can take a nature-filled walk between Zeebrugge and Blankenberge enjoying a hike along the Fonteintjes Dunes. Arguably one of the oldest seaside towns in Belgium, Blankenberge has been attracting visitors to its shores since 1860. There are three kilometres of sandy beach with the potential for walking, relaxing in the sun, family picnics, and swimming in the cold but delightful North Sea. The town’s seafront promenade, known as the Zeedijk, runs along the coast and is packed with walkers, bathers, and tourists during the summer months. You’ll find other attractions in the nearby town like the Velodroom cycling track, Sea Life Blankenberge, and the Gothic Sint-Antoniuskerk.

4. Knokke-Heist

Knokke-Heist, along with Ostend, is an elegant seaside resort in Belgium and one of the closest to Bruges. The 21 km beach comprises 20% of the entire Belgian coastline and has an attractive landscape of sand, promenades, grass, and dunes. The most popular of Knokke-Heist’s four beaches are Albertstrand and Het Zoute, where you’ll find the most prestigious of beachside resorts and bars. The beaches of Heist and Duinbergen are more laid-back, with Heist being the most popular with families and locals and Duinbergen the least crowded. The area has plenty of walking and cycling trails, some of which lead through the sand dunes for a cinematic backdrop.

5. Belgian Coastal Tram

The best way to reach the beaches around Bruges is by coastal tram, a Belgian experience that every visitor should enjoy. Day tickets cost just €7.50 and they allow you on and off as much as possible throughout the day with plenty of beach destinations along the way. The entire journey from start to finish takes around 2 hours 20 minutes with 67 stops between De Panne and Knokke. In fact, it’s the longest single train route in the world, certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. You can get the train from Bruges to Ostend, Blankenburge, Zeebrugge, or Knokke, and pick up the tram there.

Book a comfortable, luxurious stay in Bruges, the ideal place to relax after a day by the sea. Wash off the sand in a hot shower before heading out to dinner in the beautiful gothic city. Our team is happy to make recommendations or give you directions, anytime.


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. 


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