Discover the friendly atmosphere of Ostend
Ostend is a fishing town situated on the North Sea coast of Belgium. Home to one of the largest high seas fishing fleets in the country, it also has Belgium's most important ocean and ferry harbor and conducts a major portion of the ferry traffic to Great Britain. However Ostend is more than just a big harbor - it is the largest Belgian seaside resort and is definitely one of the most popular resorts in Europe. The beautiful blue waters, white sands and warm but mild climates keep tourists coming back year after year.
In its earlier years, Ostend enjoyed all the conveniences of a large harbor. However when the more modernized port facilities of Zeebrugge started to claim a large portion of the harbors traffic, Ostend fell back on ship building and fish processing to prevent the town from going into a decline. The town also became a renowned seaside resort with a very fashionable history and was able to claim fame as a health spa as early as 1933. Unfortunately, war struck not long afterwards and the harbor came under military use. As a result the town suffered a lot of damage, only to be rebuilt again later. However Ostend has since come a long way and while some of this damage is still evident, the town is largely vibrant and lively - a great holiday destination. For those who don't quite appreciate the marks of industry that Ostend bears, De Haan is a quaint little village just 6km northeast of the city with unmistakable charm. The nearby village of Gistel, on the other hand, has a somewhat more ghoulish past.
Ostend enjoys several festivals and activities each year and if you are visiting at the time, these should definitely not be missed. The Ball of the Dead Rats, while sounding somewhat unusual, is a great festival enjoyed each year during carnival. Then there is the Belgium Kite International festival and the International Firework Festival - both very enjoyable. You might enjoy taking in a few sights such as the Feestpalais, the harbor and the Sint -Petrus-en Pauluskerk. For the art lovers, the James Ensorhuis, the Museum of Religious Art and the Provincial Museum of Modern Art are a must-see. And of course, there are countless beautiful beaches to be enjoyed. Why not include Ostend in next trip to Belgium and discover its many delights for yourself.