People visit the beach for a swim

Beach

Every year many Belgians, but also foreign tourists, visit Ostend. The main attraction of Ostend, especially in the summer months, is of course the beach. From the cozy shopping streets in the city center, you can walk down the spacious boulevard to the large family beach. The family-friendly beach can get crowded on hot summer days, but there is always plenty of space for a stroll or sunbathing. There are also many facilities nearby, the sand is kept clean and there are many lifeguards on hand during the summer months. In addition, numerous events take place on and around the beach in summer.

Ostend's beach is around 7 kilometers long and an average of 80 meters wide. It is located northeast of Middelkerke and southwest of Bredene. The beaches are in the northwest, on the North Sea. From Oosteroever in the northeast to the nature reserve Schapenweide in the southwest. The beach is separated from the charming town by a 4 kilometer long promenade.

Six areas

The North Sea coast of Ostend can be divided into six different beaches: Oosterstrand, Klein Strand, Groot Strand, Sportstrand, Mariakerke strand and Raversijde strand. There is a big difference in summer frequency between these beaches. The most popular and liveliest beach in Ostend is Groot Strand. In summer this beach is the busiest, but there is more than enough space in July and August as well. If you go a few dozen meters further, it quickly becomes quieter.

Oosterstrand

This quiet part of Oosterstrand is east of the harbor, near Fort Napoleon. There are no beach cabins or beach pavilions on this sandy beach. The beach is approx. 1.2 km long and on average ± 70 meters wide. It is a light sandy beach in front of a series of dunes on a gently sloping stretch of sea. Some of these quiet eastern beaches have a paved walkway on them Spinoladijk. It's the quiet, 'secret' alternative, right behind the dunes, for anyone who wants more space.

Small beach (small beach)

The small beach is between the Westerstaketsel and the Westelijke Strekdam. Along this part of the Albert I promenade there is an almost continuous band of high-rise buildings with mostly apartments. The beach is about 400 meters long and an average of ± 130 meters wide. Swimming is prohibited. This makes it less attractive for sun worshipers and bathers to settle there. In addition, this stretch of beach is regularly used for various activities and events.

Groot Strand (Big Beach)

Groot Beach is around 2 kilometers long and on average around 100 meters wide. It lies up from the Royal Galleries to the southwest Zeeheldenplein in the northeast of the city. This part of the beach has several facilities such as a public toilet, showers, some beach clubs and a first aid post. The beach is the busiest west of the Casino-Kursaal. During the hot summer days, this beach area can get quite crowded with the many tourists who come and take a dip in the sea. The eastern part is much narrower and also much less crowded.

Sports beach

At the end of the Royal Galleries, on the border between Mariakerke Strand and Groot Strand, lies the sports beach. A beach area especially for young people and (surf) athletes. In this section, young people are less likely to get annoyed by the older public when they are doing beach sports or when music is playing. This makes Ostend one of the few places on the Belgian coast that seriously deals with this young target group. There are nets for beach volleyball on the beach, you can relax at the wooden picnic tables and there is a small climbing wall.

Immediately west of the youth beach is the kite and surf area. This part of the beach has a driveway so that you can bring your surfing equipment to the beach by car. Swimming is not allowed in the area assigned to (kite) surfers.

Mariakerke beach

If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle, you better take a look at the beaches of the Mariakerke-Bad a little further away. Even on sunny days there is still plenty of space here. The beach is west of the Royal Galleries and east of Raversijde. The beach is about 2.4 kilometers long and an average of ± 90 meters wide. Along the Zeedijk there is an almost continuous band of high-rise buildings with mostly apartments. Mariakerke attracts many families in summer.

Raversijde beach

Raversijde beach is much quieter even on hot summer days, which is pleasant for those who do not like the hustle and bustle. It is in the west of the Raversijde Provincial estate near Middelkerke and in the east of the Mariakerke dune area. The beach is about 2.5 kilometers long and an average of ± 70 meters wide. Raversijde beach is not only very attractive, it is also surrounded by beautiful nature. Also, this beach is easily accessible by coastal tram. The rails and stops are almost on the beach and offer a direct view of the North Sea.

The beaches are cleared daily during the summer. In addition, the rescue brigade keeps an eye on everything and warns of danger from wind or water currents, a great and safe feeling.

Facilities

Sunbathing or strolling on the beach, playing fun or water sports. The well-kept white sandy beaches of offer you peace and space. Optimal facilities of all kinds increase the comfort and thus the vacation fun of many guests. It starts with easily accessible beach passageways and the rescue brigades who watch over the weal and woe of the guests, always with a first aid post nearby. Furthermore, the many bars and terraces provide guests with drinks, snacks or lunch and dinner.

Oostenden beach has many facilities including showers, toilets, beach tents, rental of surfing equipment, beach chairs and windshields. The beach is easily accessible, there is plenty of parking space and a train station.

Flags

On the beaches you will find flags and signs with swimming instructions. It is sensible to heed these signals. They are there for you.

Dogs on the beach

The beach is the ideal place for many dogs to let off steam. Catching a frisbee, stick, or ball can be great fun. And what could be nicer than going for a walk on the beach with your own dog? However, dogs are not allowed on certain beaches all year round, regardless of whether they are free running or on a leash.

Dogs are forbidden on the beaches of Ostend in the period from the Easter holidays to October 1st.
Outside of the above mentioned period, dogs (both loose and leashed) are allowed on the beaches of Ostend.

We also recommend that you read the information board with the local beach rules, which is often placed near each beach (entrance).

Next dog beach in Ostend

Leashed dogs are allowed all year round:
- from Halvemaandijk beach towards Bredene.
- from the Westlaan beach towards Middelkerke.

Beach tips

  • At low tide (outgoing water) there is a strong current into the sea, please stay close to the beach. If you are dragged along by the current, do not try to swim against it, but swim diagonally to the coast with the current. Caution is advised with floating objects such as air mattresses, inflatable boats and swim rings.
  • Do not get too close to the stakes, piers, or other obstacles.
  • Take good care of your children, do not leave them by the water without supervision. Make your children aware of certain identification marks on your beach.
  • Help keep the beach clean.