Why Oostende? To be honest I never thought I would live here one day. When I moved from Ghent I was looking for a place to live closeby nature.
I temporarely lived in a beachfront appartment in Oostende and of course fell in love with the view. I went for endless walks on the beach, ate too many ice creams and fried seafood but basically spent most of my time outside and I loved it.
So as things go in life, opportunities arrive, I found an old appartment on the 9th (top) floor with two terraces, one of them with sea view. The appartment was in a bad state, but I saw the potential and made a deal with the owner to do most of the refurbishing myself. This made that I could afford a (small) penthouse appartment to see my daily sunsets :).
Oostende is a strange city, it keeps on amazing me, no not always in a good sense. But that’s good, it’s like life. Oostende feels a bit like Brussels, it has its raw, unshaven side like you will find on the “Oosteroever” where you still have the fish market and you can buy the freshest fish, or the Langestraat, where the night life happens. And also just like Brussels it’s also a cultural city with the beautfiful art festival Theater Aan Zee in the Leopoldpark and the local “Paulusfeesten”.
On the other hand Oostende is expanding quicly, highrises are being build as I speak everywhere which feels like a bit as Oostende has become a war zone, with building sounds from early in the morning till the evening.
So Oostende is this interesting city and I thought it would be nice I shared some of my favourite places/things to do here.
First: the sea, the biggest reason why I live here, it’s ALWAYS beautiful and ALWAYS surprises me.
Leopoldpark: the city park with its floral clock where Theater aan Zee and other cultural events happen
Maria Hendrika park or “Het Bosje” at the outskirts of the city is a beautiful 45ha park with ponds, a running track on soft ground, a cafetaria and playgrounds. Nearby in the Gouwelozestraat you can find some of the beautiful vegetable gardens where citizens grow vegetables and fruit.
One of my favorite places to sit, close my eyes and relax is the Japanese zen garden Shin Kai Tei in the Royal Park .
Walk or run around in the Petit Paris neighbourhood and discover beautiful art deco houses
Take het free ferry from the city centre – this alone is already one of my favorite things and go to the “Oosteroever” where old & new meet: the old fish market on one hand and the new high rises on the other hand, make for an interesting mix. For now it is still a quiet neighbourhood where you can have a nice stroll/bike ride, buy an ice cream @ Deschildre streekproducten, from there you can go to the beach, have a drink @ the beach café Phare East or walk further on the promenade to Bredene and stop at the trendy Twins beach club for a drink
Discover the Crystal Ship art work all over Oostende. There is a 11km walk and a 26km cycle route. Both highly recommended, not only for the suprising art but also it takes you to places you probably would not come. The 2020 Crystal Ship is cancelled but you can still the “old” street art around the city.
Favorite restaurants (closed now during Corona times but lots of them offer take-away):
Histoires d’O: on the beachfront, friendly crew, burgers, sea food, tapas & cocktails
Organic Vision: vegan macrobiotic cuisine
Gelato Maximz: traditional ice cream 🙂
Cultuurcafé De Grote Post: I go there to work, have lunch, breakfast, coffee… vegetarian, glutenfree and vegan options
Expo & Kafie: original breakfast ideas, terrace & friendly crew
O.666: a lab and meeting place for local entrepreneurs, social organizations, cultural institutions and more but you can also have a coffee there and enjoy a concert
Frituur Kombuis: “frietjes & mussels” you won’t find them better than in this, no fancy interior just good food
Lily: clothing & interior and also here a friendly relaxed crew
Aroma Koffie: local roasted coffee, family company, they serve it also in different cafés but they have a shop where you can buy the coffee also
Modest: zero waste organic shop; where you bring your own packaging to fill with local, organic & eco products
Ter Doorn: technically not a shop but in normal times I buy my organic veggies with Simon and his crew on the market on Thursday and Saturday
This is it for now but I plan to update this page soon when new inspiration comes.
ALso check out the blog post on BlackBlueGreen I made with photographer Mike Louagie for a local real estate agency some years ago.
Lots of sea love.