So many childhood memories came back to me this weekend at the Belgian coast: the soup vendor’s bell ringing, the walks on the dike, the quadracycles, the babeluttes, the tomatoes stuffed with prawns, and other specialties from the North Sea.
Direction Westhoek, the most western part of Belgium located in the municipality of De Panne. You do not have to spend a whole weekend in Westhoek. But to soak up in the atmosphere, to savor special beers and to enjoy the seaside activities, it is recommended to plan for a long weekend.
Many of you know Ostend, Knokke or Koksijde. De Panne is further away, a few kilometers from Veurne – a detour to the Place de Furnes to enjoy a potjesvlees is a must – and bordering Bray-Dunes in French Picardy. This small town is famous for its beach and nature reserves such as Westhoek, whose dunes and meadows are home to migratory birds and Highland cattle. The summit of the Kykhill Dune Park offers views of the sea and the Dumont district from the last century. De Panne is the starting point of the Coastal Tram, which runs along the Belgian coast to join Knokke-Heist to the east.
A walk on the dunes of Westhoek, it’s pure magic. Walkers, riders and mountain bikes are allowed in this beautiful setting of greenery and sand. In the direction of Bray-Dunes, you will arrive at the Vissersdorp, a former fishing village located in the middle of the dunes facing the sea.
Then you can return along the shore where runners, cyclists and amateurs of miniature sail boats walk side by side to get to the monument dedicated to Leopold I. This monument, located on the esplanade, symbolizes the door through which the first King of the Belgians entered Belgium on July 17, 1831. He was solemnly welcomed by the city of De Panne, before continuing his journey to Laeken. Four days later, on July 21, 1831, the first King of the Belgians swore an oath on the Constitution in Brussels.
Many activities take place in De Panne between June 15th and September 15th. It’s really worth the trip. Ready to go to Westhoek next weekend?