Green Ribbon Ostend

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Today we cycle through and around a gem on the Flemish coast. We pedal along the North Sea, the fishing port and through the surprising green outskirts of the city. Get ready for a lovely journey in Ostend.

Green Ribbon Ostend



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Start: Ostend

We know Ostend as a gem on the North Sea coast. The seaside town couples the grandeur of the Belle Époque with the artistic flair of Flemish Master James Ensor. We immediately recognise that opulence at our starting point, Ostend’s handsome railway station building. From here, we explore the rest of the city and the surrounding area. We set off and soon choose to head towards the water. A free ferry takes us and our bikes across the Montgomery dock, past dozens of pleasure boats. And then our cycling tour really begins. 

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Three eye-catching sites

First, we pedal past an old bunker system. This is a remnant of the Atlantic Wall, the huge German defence line that ran along the entire coastline of Western Europe during World War II. Immediately afterwards, we come to a much lighter eye-catcher: Lange Nelle, as this lighthouse is popularly known. From here, we pedal past Fort Napoleon. This pentagonal military fort has a rich history. Today, as a modern and family-friendly museum, it reveals all those stories. 

A pleasant cycle path takes us straight ahead, back to the water. And so, we end up on the edge of the Spuikom. This basin is connected with the sea. It is a wonderful place to fish (or learn to fish), sail, dive or surf. But we are keeping dry for now. We pedal along without a care. The winding road along this impressive basin gradually takes us into the green part of this cycling adventure. The refreshing green of the polders welcomes us with open arms.  

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Cruising through the polders

Via the peaceful surroundings of coastal municipality Bredene, we cycle on further to Zwaanhoek. This old and charming polder area is made up of numerous ditches and creeks. Every year, thousands of migratory birds come here to incubate their eggs. As we cruise past this nature reserve, we are already halfway through our trip. Whistling, we make a turn and set course back to Ostend. 

An appealing cycle path takes us through the greenery of Zandvoorde and Stene, two beautiful polder villages. Via the open-air cycling track and Astropolis Observatory, we return to our starting point. There another major highlight awaits: the many assets of the Flemish coast, a beautiful 67-kilometre stretch along the North Sea. We discover one of these for ourselves when we are in Mariakerke, a sub-municipality of Ostend. Besides the sun, sea and the beach, something else is noticeable there: art. 

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Beaufort Sculpture Park

In the distance, an unusual structure rises above the level of the sea. It goes by the name Pillage of the Sea. It is one of over 40 works of art that make up the Beaufort Sculpture Park. This open-air museum consists of artworks from previous editions of Beaufort, the art triennial that takes place on the Flemish coast every three years. As we see, that recurring artistic tidal wave leaves permanent traces after itself in this region. All that beauty adds some extra colour to our journey at unexpected moments.

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Finish: Ostend

We experience this again during the finale of this cycling adventure. Just before we turn onto the last straight line towards Ostend station, we cycle past Rock Strangers. These high, orange-red sculptures on the embankment are also part of the swirling Beaufort Sculpture Park. Smiling, we cycle on to the station, but actually we already know the way by then.   

There is still so much more to discover, both along the Flemish coast and in Ostend itself. The time has come to lock up our bikes safely. Then we can also explore the inner city, looking for even more highlights.  



Practical information

  • Parking:
    Parking Ostend Sea 
  • Public transport: 
    Ostend railway station 
  • Bicycles for hire: 
    Blue bike (at the station), Fietspunt Oostende (059) 61 05 04 
  • Nodes: 
    You can base your journey on these cycling nodes: 45 > 8 > 39 > 67 > 95 > 26 > 59 > 27 > 29 > 60 > 94 > 11 > 97 > 47 > 57 > 74 > 45. But bear in mind that this route does not entirely follow the nodes. So be sure to keep an eye out for the Green Ribbon Cycle Route signage or use the gpx.