Ostend Weekend Breaks

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Weekend Breaks to Ostend

Planning a short break to Ostend? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Ostend. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Ostend. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.

The Provincial Museum of Modern Art

Located at Romestraat 11.The museum is housed in a former department store built in a Le Corbusier style. It is one of the most important museums of modern art in Belgium and houses a collection depicting the recent history of Belgian art.

The museum's collection now consists of over 2,000 works, which can't all be displayed due to a lack of space. Some of the artists who's work is on display include: Prosper de Troyer; Victor Servranckx; Jozef Peeters; Rene Magritte; Albert Servaes; Georges Minne; Frits Van den Berghe; Gustaaf De Smet and Constant Permeke.

The museum is open daily from 10h00 - 18h00, except on Tuesdays. Admission is $2.30 for adults; $1.15 for children 16 - 18; and children under 16 are free.

Casino-Kursaal Oostende

Monacoplein. The Kursaal is one of Europe's largest casinos, with a concert hall; panoramic rooftop restaurant; disco; and gaming rooms, where you can play blackjack; roulette; and punto banco. The concert hall regularly features symphonic concerts; operettas; and ballet performances. There has been a casino at this site since 1852, but has been rebuilt many times. The current casino was rebuilt in 2001 , with a revamped gaming room; cafes; and a restaurant. The gaming rooms are open daily from 15h00 - 07h00. Admission is $4.80 and a passport is required.

North Sea Aquarium

Visserskaai, by the old fishing harbor. This aquarium is one of the most popular attractions for children in Ostend. On display are a wide range of North Sea plant and marine life, including fish; mollusks; crustaceans; polyps; anemones; as well as shell and seaweed collections. The aquarium is open Monday to Friday from 10h00 - 12h00 and 14h00 - 17h00; Weekends from 10h00 - 12h00 and 14h00 - 18h00. Admission is $3 for adults and $1.80 for children 14 years and under.

De Plate Folklore Museum

Langestraat 69, near Wapenplein. This museum is housed in the restored 19th century summer home of King Leopld I. On display are Neolithic and Roman artifacts, which were excavated in the area, as well as exhibits showing the native dress; folklore; and history of Ostend. There is also a marine section, which deals with shipbuilding; fishing boats; and the Ostend-Dover ferry service. The museum is open Wednesday to Monday from 10h00 - 12h00 and 14h00 - 17h00. Admission is $2.60 for adults and children under 15 years are free.

Thermae Palace

Koningin Astridlaan 7. This traditional style hotel, near the beachfront and thermal baths complex, was built in the 1930s and is a landmark of Ostend. The hotel has a wide range of facilities including a nightclub; fitness centre; bar; jacuzzi; excellent French restaurant; and sauna. The rooms have all the trimmings of a top hotel, including satellite TV; minibar; telephone; hairdryer; TV; work desk and lamp. The hotel accepts all major credit card, and free parking is available.

James Taverne

James Ensor Galerij 34, off Vlaanderenstraat. This old Flemish tavern is the best restaurant in town to sample the local cuisine, and it is very popular with locals as well as tourists from all over. The decor really sets the mood, with marine paintings; antiques; and old photographs of James Ensor and Ostend. They serve a wide range of excellent traditional Flemish food, including garnaalkroketten with two slices of lemon and a sprig of crisply fried parsley. It is open from Wednesday to Monday 10h00 - 22h00, and the prices are reasonable.

Beaches

Ostend was referred to as the Queen of Coast in it's 19th century heydey, and is still home to Belgium's finest wide sandy beaches. The long beach to the west of the harbor has areas that are safe for swimming and are under watch by life guards from 10h30 - 18h30. The beaches here are perfect for relaxing and catching a tan, and having fun in the sand and surf. There are a wide range of shops; cafes; and restaurants located near the beachfront.

Maria Hendrikapark

Groendreef and Iependreef. The Maria Hendrika Park island is one of the most popular places for children and the whole family. The park has a wide range of facilities on offer, including minigolf; pedal; boats; rowing boats; baby carts; playgrounds; traffic square with pedal carts; and long footpaths to wander through the beautiful woods. There is also a cafe and restaurant, serving all kinds of refreshments. This is a great place for the whole family to have fun amongst nature.

The Mercator

Vindictivelaan, at the harbor. This old navy training ship, built in 1931, is now a floating museum with many interesting and informative displays. It was used by the navy untill 1960, and there after went on many voyages, ending up in Ostend. This three mast ship, has now been classed as a monument. The ship is open to visitors daily all year round.

James Ensor House

Vlaanderenstraat 27, off Wapenplein. This is the house where Anglo-Belgian artist James Ensor lived from 1916 till his death. It has been restored and transformed into a museum about the artists life and works.

On the ground floor there is a shells-and-souvenir shop and the second floor is where you'll find Ensor's studio and lounge.

Ensor was a pre-Expressionist painter who is considered to be the founder of modern art.

The museum is open Wednesday - Monday from 10h00 - 12h00 and 14h00 - 17h00.

Admission is $2 for adults and children under 17 are free.

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