7 tips for a weekend in Ostend – what to eat, drink and where to stay in Ostend, Belgium

7 tips for a weekend in Ostend

Ostend is not really nice. In 2020, it was our coronavirus alternative to a backpacking trip through Belize. Let’s just say, love at first sight looks different. But it’s a place that’s super easy to get to from Cologne in 3.5 hours by train. One change in Brussels and you’re by the sea. And a place that, if you manage to look past the horrible concrete buildings on the promenade, has a great wide and clean beach and a good range of restaurants.

Here are my top tips for a summer weekend by the sea in Ostend:

  1. Stay at Hotel Cocoon Ostend
    We have now been to a few hotels in Ostend, but this one is by far my favourite in terms of value for money. Chic and clean and with a really nice team at reception. Less than 15 minutes walk from the station and only 5 minutes from the beach, it’s the ideal base for a weekend by the sea.
  2. Eat mussels Ostend style
    You can rarely go wrong with home-style dishes. In Ostend, this applies to the city’s typical way of preparing mussels. Mosselen a l’Ostendaise with small prawns, wine and lobster sauce are to die for. You can eat them very well at Apero Fish Palace, De Mangerie, Restaurant Othello and La Mouliniere, for example. Mussels, by the way, are so fresh here that you can get them all year round.
  3. Have breakfast at Expo & Kafie
    Not cheap, but sensationally good. The breakfast packages for 25 euros include orange juice, yoghurt, homemade jam and Nutella, various types of freshly baked bread, butter, cheese and ham. There is also a coffee speciality or a pot of tea and a highlight (waffles, pancakes, egg preparations, etc.) of your choice. For those who prefer something less, there are many types of toasties or homemade muesli on the menu, for example. Super tasty and prepared with lots of love.
  4. Chill out in one of the many beach clubs
    Pole pole, Bondi Beach bar and Blue Buddha Beach, in summer you can hop from one beach bar to the next. Each one has something special. Not very fancy, but Belgian beers on tap and a very good selection of snacks. The beach clubs are open from July to the beginning of September. Later in the year, only the Lido beach bar is open.
  5. Have Sunday lunch at Toi, moi et la Mer
    Sensational cuisine right on the promenade. Not cheap, but worth every cent, especially for lunch (2 courses 25 euros, 35 euros on Sundays). The maitre d’ has a rather austere charm, but does his job very well. Regulars, and there are a lot of them here, are greeted by name. I’m still working on that, that’s how good the food is here.
  6. Take a tour of the smallest brewery in the country
    De Koelship, not far from the promenade, is tiny and full of lifeblood. What started out as a beer shop for special beers has become home to several, where small and very small batches of special beers are brewed – often in co-operation with local restaurants.
    A tour costs 20 euros and includes 2 beers to sample and 3 more to take away. Contact can be made via instagram, for example.
  7. Get fries from Frituur Franky
    You can recognise this chip shop, which is one of the best fast food restaurants in Ostend on TripAdvisor, by the long queue on the kerb. And what can I say, the queue is worth it. Pack your bags and head to the beach to eat on one of the stone deckchairs on the promenade with a view of the sea. Makes you happy.

Do you love the sea too?