These are the most amazing beaches in Belgium

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What we talk about in this article

Belgium may not be the most tropical beach destination you ever heard of.

But the beautiful sand beaches ‘d surprise you on the coast of this tiny country in Europe!

And these beautiful beaches are not just a pile of sand bordering the North Sea! The beaches and beach towns in Belgium offer all amenities you might need to make your summer holiday in Belgium worthwhile.

All the beaches and towns we mention in this post have a beachside promenade or boulevard with restaurants and bars which offer views over the water.

By the end of this article, you’ll notice that Belgium is really an underestimated beach destination!

Let’s start with the most popular and best beaches in Belgium:


Blankenberge has always been the most favorite beach destination in Belgium.

It offers long stretches of beach, supplied with drink stalls, rental lounge chairs, a seaside promenade with restaurants and shops,… and so on.

This town provides everything you might hope for when going on a beach holiday in Europe.

There’s also the iconic “Belgium pier“, with a restaurant on top.

You can find Blankenberge near the harbour of Zeebrugge and a relaxed beach walk brings you near the ship docks.

When traveling from Bruges, you can reach Blankenberge in 20 minutes by car or 15 minutes by train.

If you want to find the best beach near Bruges to plan a beach day during your city trip, choose Blankenberge. It’s super easy to reach and a brilliant place to hang out!

Beach in Blankenberge at sunset, Belgium
Beach in Blankenberge at sunset, Belgium

Things to do in Blankenberge (besides beach bumming)

  • Engage in some water sports, like windsurfing, kite surfing, surfing, SUP, and more
  • Visit the authentic fisherman’s cottage Huisje van Majutte
  • Take a relaxed walk on the beach to Zeebrugge sea harbour
  • Cycle with weird bikes at the velodrome
  • Attend an event in town

Find accommodation in Blankenberge

Best sea view hotel in Blankenberge: Riant-Séjour

Best sea view apartment in Blankenberge: Apartment Beach

General info about Blankenberge beach

Lifeguards: Yes

Family friendly: Yes

LGBTQ friendly: Yes, but no specific bars

Nightlife: If you’re visiting Belgian beaches for the nightlife, Blankenberge is one of your best shots. Bars and music venues are open late and there are quite a few parties to go to.

Dogs permitted: They permit Dogs between October 15 and March 15 (low season). You can take your dog on the beach during prime season before 9h and after 21h. The stretches of beach outside of town allow dogs all year.


Knokke-Heist is a larger city at the Belgian coast. So the beach areas are divided in multiple choices: Heist-aan-zee, Duinbergen, Knokke-Heist, and Knokke-Zoute.

Each of these has their own charms, but Knokke-Heist and Knokke-Zoute are the most popular and fun beaches to go to.

In Knokke, upscale beach bars occupy the beach area and the beautiful seaside boulevard. The beach town is cozy and lovely, but prepare to spend a little more money.

The beach itself is fully equipped, with rental sun chairs, a seaside promenade, and showers on the beach.

Knokke-Heist is also easily accessible from Bruges. By car, it will take you around 30 minutes. By train, you can reach Knokke in 20 minutes, but then you have to walk about 1,5km to reach the beach area.

Knokke Heist Beach
Knokke Heist Beach

Things to do in Knokke-Heist (besides beach bumming)

  • Visit ‘Het Zwin’, a nature reserve in the dunes
  • Check out Knokke Casino
  • Venture out on the water while windsurfing, kite surfing, or sailing
  • Attend one of the many events during summer

Find accommodation in Knokke-Heist

Best beachfront hotel in Knokke-Heist: Hotel Adagio

Best beachfront apartment in Knokke-Heist: Mariposa

General info about Knokke-Heist beach

Lifeguards: Yes

Family friendly: Yes

LGBTQ friendly: Yes

Nightlife: Most beach bars close around 20h, but there are quite a few cocktail bars in town.

Dogs permitted: In Knokke-Heist, dogs can’t come to the beach between 9h and 21h in prime season. Starting October 15 until March 15, they permit dogs on the beach. On the beach of Knokke-Zoute, dogs are permitted all year long.

De Haan

De Haan is a compact beach town in Belgium. It’s a cute and cozy place to hang out and relax for a few days. This town is popular among families with children and senior citizens.

The town and comprises three parts: De Haan centre, Vosseslag, and Wenduine beach.

De Haan also has a seaside boulevard, and a fully equipped beach with beach bars, rental lounge chairs, and showers.

People mostly visit this beach to relax and hang out on the beach.

You can reach De Haan from Bruges in 25 minutes by car. To get there by public transportation, you need to catch a train to Blankenberge or Oostende and then get the coast tram to De Haan village.

De Haan Beach as seen from the dunes
De Haan Beach as seen from the dunes

Things to do in De Haan (besides beach bumming)

  • Catch the coast tram and make a day trip to one of the neighbor villages
  • Practise your water legs during a stand up paddle board session
  • Attend an event during peak season

Find accommodation in De Haan

Best hotel at the beach in De Haan: Villa La Tourelle

Best apartment at the beach: Petit Sable

General info about De Haan beach

Lifeguards: Yes

Family friendly: Yes

LGBTQ friendly: Yes, but no specific bars

Nightlife: Not really

Dogs permitted: Between June 1st and September 15, dogs are not allowed on the beach in front of town. On the surrounding beaches, dogs are allowed all year long.


Oostende is one of the largest cities on the Belgian coast.

The beach in Oostende city is not the most pleasant beach in Belgium,… at all.

If you want to enjoy your beach time, pick a different city or one of the neighbouring small towns, which we also discuss in this article.

If you want to enjoy the Belgian coast from a larger city, Oostende might be your right pick.

There are a lot of bars, cafe’s, and restaurants available. And the city also has a harbour where people enjoy watching the many ships.

You can reach Oostende in a day trip from Bruges. By car, it takes 25 minutes to get there. A train takes you there even faster: 15 minutes.

Oostende Beach Belgium
Oostende Beach Belgium

Things to do in Oostende (besides beach bumming)

  • Check out Fort Napoleon, a military fortress built in 1811
  • Visit the Atlantic Wall open-air museum with WW fortifications and relics
  • Explore the barquentine ship Mercator
  • Visit Sand City Dreams, a sand sculpture festival with artists from all over the world
  • Attend one of the other events that are organized during the summer

Find accommodation in Oostende

Best hotel with ocean view in Oostende: C-Hotels Andromeda

Best apartment with ocean view in Oostende: Villa Fluisterbos

General info about Oostende beach

Lifeguards: Yes

Family friendly: Yes

LGBTQ friendly: Yes, check out the LGBTQ bars Maxim, Valentino, and Your Place

Nightlife: Oostende has the most options for nightlife

Dogs permitted: In Oostende, dogs are not allowed on the beach from April 1st until October 1st during the day. You can take your dogs to the beach before 10h or after 20h. Dogs are also permitted on the beaches outside of town.

De Panne

De Panne is the last beach town in Belgium before you enter the country of France. This way, it is the furthest from Bruges. By car, the trip from Bruges to De Panne takes almost an hour, and a train takes even longer.

De Panne has a wide but cozy seaside boulevard, with bars, shops, and restaurants.

There are also some beach clubs, which open during the day in peak season.

On the beach of De Panne, you can find everything you might need: rental lounge chairs, showers, public bathrooms and beach bars.

Car sailing on the beach in De Panne
Car sailing on the beach in De Panne

Things to do in De Panne (besides beach bumming)

  • For families, Plopsaland De Panne is a great day activity
  • Make a trip to Westhoek Nature Reserve, which is set in the dunes
  • Plan a day trip to Dunkirk right across the French border
  • Engage in water sports like beach buggy sailing, surfing, or sand boarding
  • Find more events in De Panne

Find accommodation in De Panne

Best hotel in De Panne: C-Hotels Continental

Best apartment in De Panne: Delmare

General info about De Panne beach

Lifeguards: Yes

Family friendly: Yes

LGBTQ friendly: Yes, no specific bars

Nightlife: A few bars, but not too much

Dogs permitted: Most beaches in De Panne allow dogs on a leach all year long. Only the beach zone at the very center doesn’t allow dogs between April 1st and October 30.


Bredene is one of the smaller beaches on the Belgian coast, but it’s a busy and a popular beach area.

You can find the only nudist beach in Belgium in Bredene and that’s part of its popularity.

Bredene beach is squeezed in between Oostende and De Haan. It’s easily accessible from both beach towns with the coastal tram.

Aside from hanging out on the beach, there’s not too much to see and most people venture out to the nearby towns for activities.

Things to do in Bredene

  • During peak season, you can engage in water sports, like surfing
  • The town organizes multiple events during the summer months
  • Enjoy an evening at the evening market in town (in the summer months)
  • Take a day trip to Oostende, Brugge, or other nearby places

Find accommodation in Bredene

Best hotel in Bredene: De Golf

Best apartment in Bredene: Duinenzicht

General info about Bredene beach

Lifeguards: Most places

Family friendly: Yes

LGBTQ friendly: Yes

Nightlife: Not too much

Dogs permitted: Dogs are not allowed on the main beach between July 1st and August 31 from 10h30 until 18u30.

Good to know: Bredene has a nudist beach


Middelkerke is another popular beach town in Belgium. It’s located near Oostende, but has more of a small town vibe to it. There is, however, a lot to see and do in Middelkerke!

Middelkerke beach

Things to do in Middelkerke

  • Visit the open-air museum Atlantikwall
  • Enjoy the views from the Drakentoren
  • Try your luck in Middelkerke casino
  • Enjoy a nice long walk on the beach
  • Walk all the way to Westende (on the beach)
  • Check out one of the events in Middelkerke 

Where to stay in Middelkerke

Even though the town has tons of hotels, we noticed that times have changed and people ofter prefer to stay in a rental home. By renting a holiday home in Middelkerke, you can enjoy the peace of a private place, all by yourself. When you feel like going out, you can explore the vibrant town whenever you like!

General info about Middelkerke beach

Lifeguards: Most places

Family friendly: Yes

LGBTQ friendly: Yes

Nightlife: There are a few nice beach bars

Dogs permitted: Dogs are not allowed on the main beach between the 15th of June and the 15th of September. There are, however, 3 dog beaches in Middelkerke. You can find the dogs beaches on this web page.

De Haan Beach
De Haan Beach

Less known beaches in Belgium

The beaches we mentioned above, are the most popular beach areas in Belgium.

But there are also smaller beach towns, which are less known. This doesn’t mean they aren’t pretty or cozy!

These towns have a beautiful seaside promenade with restaurants and cafes.

We’ll shortly mention a few of these smaller beach towns:


Koksijde Bad is a compact beach town near De Panne and it’s part of the town Koksijde.

This beach is relatively quiet.

People visit the beach mostly to spend time near the water.

There’s not too much nightlife going on, but there are plenty of restaurants and seaside bars to spend an outstanding day at the beach.


Mariakerke Bad lies next to Oostende, and it’s a perfect getaway from the city.

This small beach town is at a walking distance from Ostend, so you can easily spend your evenings in the city and your days… well, beach bumming in this relaxed tiny town!


Nieuwpoort Bad belongs to the town of Nieuwpoort and it can be found next to Koksijde.

This beach town is comparable to Koksijde bad in terms of size and amenities.


Oostduinkerke is a small town near the French border. The town itself is not located on the beach, so you actually need to go to Oostduinkerke-Bad to be on the beach. 

It’s a relaxed place to visit, especially if you want to enjoy some peace and quiet.

Sand Sculpture Festival Oostende
Sand Sculpture Festival Oostende

When to visit the beach in Belgium

Peak season

Peak season starts during the school holidays in Belgium.

July and August are the liveliest times.

This can be an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time.

There will be more people, but on the beaches in Belgium, there’s always a spot to escape the crowds.

The interesting part about peak season is the fact that most beach towns have a lot of events scheduled during those months.

You’ll likely encounter some music festivals, evening markets, sand sculpture festivals, …

Shoulder season

Spring and autumn are shoulder season in Belgium.

People don’t visit the beach to go swimming, but to enjoy the area in mild temperatures.

Most towns already (or still) have some events on the calendar.

Winter season

Winter season is the least busy time of the year.

Nevertheless, it’s still an outstanding idea to plan a day on the beach during winter.

Walking on a breezy beach in the winter sun is still a fun and relaxing activity. But you will need a warm jacket for this!

Best beach near Bruges

You might be researching this topic because you want to combine your city trip to Bruges with a day at the beach. You can also do this from Brussels!

I must admit that this is an awesome idea and it’s super easy to do for most destinations!

These are the travel times and distances from Bruges to the beach.

Blankenberge: 20 minutes by car – 15 minutes by train

Knokke Heist: 30 minutes by car – 20 minutes by train

De Haan: 25 minutes by car – no direct train

Oostende: 25 minutes by car –  15 minutes by train

De Panne: longer than 1 hour for both options

Recommended: Oostende for a city beach and Blankenberge for a beach town.

Conclusion: which are the best beaches in Belgium?

In short: all beaches in Belgium are cozy and offer all facilities, like public bathrooms, showers, lifeguards, restaurants, …

Accessibility and your own wishes will probably influence your choice.

If you want to visit a city with multiple nightlife options, choose Oostende.

But if you just want to switch between the beach, the restaurant, and a daytime cocktail bar, you have a lot more choices! Check out Blankenberge, De Haan, or De Panne.

For a more upscale vibe and pricier bars, check out Knokke-Heist.

Last, but not least: looking for a nudist beach: go to Bredene.

We hope you could find the perfect beach for your holiday!

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