It’s flat, it’s quirky, it’s welcoming and it’s perfect for making one-of-a-kind food discoveries: welcome to the Belgian North Sea coast! Here are a few neat things to do in and around the seaside resort of Koksijde.
We Belgians have a love-hate relationship with our coast. We complain about it all the time: too crowded, lousy architecture, the ocean isn’t warm (or blue) enough… But when push comes to shove and sunny weather is expected, we all jump in our cars and on trains to get us some North Sea beach time. And we always have a great time! Koksijde tourism office invited us to spend a day at the Belgian east side resort for some food, sports and relaxation.
Latte art at Kiss My Coffee
The interior (wood furniture, blue accents) of Kiss My Coffee in Oostduinkerke (a sub-municipality of Koksijde) is best described as vintage with a twist. Hence the ‘Bikini Season is over’ chocolate jars, the huge Playboy poster covering the mirror in the middle of the bar and the two Ken dolls in beach wear looking down on you… It’s refreshingly different from all the hyper minimalist coffee bars out there! Not only does owner Ken (now you know what the dolls are doing in the coffee bar ;)) serve delicious breakfasts (I had a yummy granola with fresh strawberries, yoghurt and honey), he also makes a mean cuppa coffee. The trained barista works with the fairtrade OR Coffee Roasters and took some time to show us the basics of latte art. If you have time, try a bagel and smoothie too!Leopold II laan 250, Oostduinkerke
Walk along the sandy beach
Sure, you could take the coastal tram from Oostduinkerke to Koksijde to bridge the 3 kilometer distance. But why not walk on the beach or the coastal dike? The seashore between both towns is beautifully pure with lots of sandy dunes and wide panoramas. The dunes are a part of a nature reserve that includes the highest dune of Belgium, ‘Hoge Blekker’.
Beer pairing at Brasserie Edison
There are tons of places to have lunch in Koksijde, many of them focussing on authentic Belgian North Sea cuisine. What makes Brasserie Edison stand out is the specialization in craft beer. Every meal is matched with a craft beer to enhance the overall taste experience. You can even order a beer cocktail! I tasted the ‘Hop Collins’ with gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and Indian Pale Ale. Or how about champagne with dark beer? Good news for vegetarians too: beside the classic dishes like shrimp croquettes, Dover sole and mussels, the chef is happy to cook up a few veggie alternatives like cheese croquettes and asparagus.Brasserie Edison, Koninklijke Baan 152, Koksijde
Paddle boarding XL at Windekind
Koksijde has 3 beach clubs and one of them is Windekind. The club is set in a wood structure, right in the dunes of Oostduinkerke on the Groenendijk beach. Fancy some watersports? Kite and wind surfing are popular out here, but so is paddle boarding. Windekind even has an exclusive for the Belgian coast: a giant inflatable sup that can carry up to 10 people. The ‘Supsquatch’ is over 5 meters long and 2 meters wide. You can either paddle sitting down or standing up, but it’s just as much fun to use the board for other purposes: as a trampoline, as a slide or as a platform to show off your best gymnastic moves…Zuidenwindhelling 1, Koksijde
Have a cocktail (or mocktail) at Sofie’s Sunset
All through summer, you can lounge on the beach in 3 different beach bars in Koksijde. Sofie’s Sunset takes you straight to Ibiza with its gorgeous lounge chairs, olive trees (10 in total) and refreshing drinks. Bartender and mixologist Sofie Ketels (she won the Campari Negroni bartender competition in 2015) serves all kinds of cocktails, from old school classics to typical beach cocktails and fruity mocktails. Both her smile and her passion are contagious and I end up tasting 3 cocktails: the Mojito Shakerato (with egg white, brown rum and lemon), the Simonne de Beauvoir (with kiwi, tequila, elderflower syrup and ginger beer) and the Red Sea (with red pepper, thyme, gin and sea salt). Especially the Simonne de Beauvoir is delicious in the virgin version!Zeedijk 301-331, Koksijde
Sit back & relax
If time permits, stick around for the sunset. Koksijde beach is a lovely spot to watch the evening draw in and see the sun drop into the ocean. Sit back, relax and enjoy.
Brussels to Koksijde by train will take you about 2 to 2,5 hours. From there, it’s another 5 km to coastline. You could also get a direct train to the next bathing town of De Panne (an extra 5 minutes by train) and then take the coastal tram from there to Koksijde. The tram runs every 10 minutes in summer!