Most points of interest in town are close together. You can easily reach them by foot or by renting a bicycle from the rail station for €9 per day. De Lijn bus lines 5, 6, and 39 go along the seafront to the west; if you want to get to points farther along the coast, in either direction, take the Coast Train from a stop next to the rail station. You can pick up a taxi at the rail station, or call Taxibond (+32 (0) 188.8.131.52).
James Ensorhuis (James Ensor House), Vlaanderenstraat 27, ☎ +32 (0) 5980.53.35. June-Sept and Easter vacation week Wed-Mon 10am-noon and 2-5pm; Nov-May Sa-Su 2-5pm. Closed Oct. The house where Anglo-Belgian artist James Ensor lived from 1916 has been restored and transformed into a museum of his life. Studio and lounge on the second floor. Only reproductions are displayed.€2 adults, €1 seniors and students, free for children under 18. edit
Kunstmuseum aan Zee (Art Museum by the Sea), Romestraat 11, ☎ +32 (0) 59/50.81.18, . Tues-Sun 10am-6pm. Created after the 2008 merger of the Museum voor Moderne Kunst (Modern Art Museum) and the Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Museum of Fine Arts). Also known as Mu.ZEE.€9 adults, €7.50 seniors; free for children under 13. edit
Leopold Park. The Leopold Park was set out in 1860 on the old city walls in British style, with ponds, paths and flowerbeds. The first park regulations gave free access to tourists, but local residents had to pay. The beautiful bandstand was inaugurated in 1885. The best-known statue of Oostende, called The Sea, but there is not one person who calls it that. Nearly everyone remembers the statue only by its popular name ‘Dikke Mathille’ - ‘Fat Mathilde’. There even is a “Dikke Mathille” beer that you can taste in local pubs. Near the Fat Mathilde on the right hand side is the famous Floral Clock created from 20.000 flowers and plants. It has a diameter of 9 metres, the hands are 3 and 4 metres long and weigh 70 and 90 kilos. The date, made entirely of flowers, is reset every day during the summer months. edit
Sint-Petrus-en Pauluskerk (St. Peter and Paul Church), Sint-Petrus-en-Paulusplein. This vast, neo-Gothic church from 1907 has a suite of stained-glass windows and a memorial chapel dedicated to Belgium's first queen, Marie-Louise of Orleans, who died in Ostend in 1850.(51.230,2.922)edit
Driemaster Mercator (Three-Master Mercator), (Not far from the the rail station). May, June, September daily from 9am-noon and 1-6pm; July and August daily from 9am-7pm; April to June and September daily from 10am-1pm and 2-6pm; October to March weekends and holidays from 11am-1pm and 2-5pm.. Formerly a Belgian merchant marine training ship, this three-masted schooner is now a floating maritime museum. It has a length of more than 78 meters and a width of 11 meters. This beautiful ship is really worth a visit. Great for kids as well.€4 for adults, €2 for children ages 5-14, free for children under 5. edit
Noordzeeaquarium (North Sea Aquarium), Visserskaai (Near the old fishing harbor), ☎ +32 (0) 5950.08.76. April to September daily from 10am-noon and 2-6pm; October to March weekends from 10am-noon and 2-6pm.. Small aquarium with a collection of fish, mollusks, shell, and crustaceans from the nearby waters of the North Sea. Popular with children.€2 for adults; €1 for children 4-14. edit
Museumschip (Museum Ship), Vindictive-laan 35Z, ☎ +32 (0) 5923.43.01, . Monday from 2-7pm and Tuesday to Sunday from 10am-7pm.. Sits in a dry basin on a plastic "sea" as a museum of the history and traditions of Ostend's Icelandic fishery.€2.50 for adults and €1.25 for children under 14.. edit
Oostends Historisch Museum De Plate (De Plate Oostend Historical Museum), Langestraat 69 (Close to Wapenplein), ☎ +32 (0) 5980.02.89, . Sat 10am-noon and 2-5pm; school vacations Wed-Mon 10am-noon and 2-5pm. Housed in King Leopold's restored, 19th century summer residence, the museum holds displays of Neolithic and Roman objects excavated in the vicinity and exhibits depicting Oostend traditional dress, folklore, and history. There's a re-created fisherman's pub, a fisherman's home, and an old tobacco store.€2 adults, €1 seniors and chilrdren 14-18, free for children under 14.. edit
Ostend Beach. Ostend is visited by many 'day' tourists, especially during July and August. Tourists from the Belgian inland and foreigners mostly arrive by train (day trips) and head for the closest beach area from the station (kleinstrand). The locals and other residents in Belgium usually occupy the larger beach (grootstrand). Ostend is widely visited by British, Germans, French and Dutch. Buses from Brussels tend to pass through giving the opportunity to North American and Asian tourists to view Ostend.edit
Paulusfeesten is a steet festival that takes place in the centre of Ostend during the second week of August. Spread over different squares, it features some of Belgium's biggest music acts, but also lesser know bands (Belgian and international), street performances and theatre acts.
Ostend is a paradise for shopaholics. First of all, you have the Kapellestraat with all the important large chain stores. In the Adolf Buylstraat you can find designer clothing, shoes and accessories. Ostend has also a shopping center Shopping Center Feest- en Kultuurpaleis with 17 different shops. Other shopping streets are Christinastraat, Witte Nonnenstraat, James Ensorgalerij and Alfons Pieterslaan
There are a number of places to eat in Ostend, ranging from a Pizza Hut to charming old style Flemish Pannenkoekenhuis (Pancake Houses). There are also a number of chocolatiers and Dutch style Snoepje (Sweetie) stores, the latter lit up in bright pink neon. Don't confuse them with the other venues featuring pink neon and lots of (eye) candy though. Most street corners are either a coffee shop or a bar.
The Restaurant l'Enfant Terrible, located at Nieuwstraat 16, an easy walk from the town centre and seconds from the harbour, serves an excellent selection of good, well prepared food. In particular, their entrecote steak with fries is outstanding.
No doubt the place with the most charm and character in Oostende is 'Stad Kortrijk', a 'friterie chique', offering you excellent steak, fish, omelettes,... with freshly baked fries and home-made mayonnaise. And all this for an excellent price. The shark mouth hanging on the wall, the boat lights,... all add to the character of the place...
A common sight is a coffee served with a small advocaat (eggnog). Sometimes these come with three or four profiteroles, free of chocolate sauce, for dipping in the liqueur.
The Langestraat (and its sidestreets) is your best on finding an open bar in Ostend. There are lot's of pubs, bars and clubs with a very unique style squeezed into this one street. The better bars are listed below.
't Botteltje, Louisastraat 19. Something of a landmark in Ostend, it serves litteraly hundreds of beers (Belgian and foreign). Take a seat in one of the booths and let the waiters recommend you something.
Lafayette, Langestraat 12. If Marvin Gaye were still alive, Lafayette would probably be his favourite bar in Ostend (ask any local about Marvin Gaye's connection to Ostend, if you have enough time on your hands). Plays non stop soul and funk music. Quiet during the afternoon, sweaty and loud at night.
Manuscript, Langestraat 23. A small bar that's relatively quiet till around midnight. When other bars start closing, locals usually head over here for the afterparty until 7am. There's also a nice, sunny terrace during summer.
Poco Loco, Langestraat 45. Salsabar and a bit of a hit of miss. Either the bar is packed and people are dancing their butts off, or there's two guys passed out at the bar. Just go and see which version you get.
Twilight, Langestraat 21. The place to be for rock and heavy metal fans. The music is loud, the beer is cheap and you can play darts so you don't have to talk to each other.
Zeegeuzen, Kapucijnenstraat 38. Former fisherman's bar that serves it own drink, appropriately named "zeegeuze". It's a mixture of a Saint-Louis Geuze and a secret ingredient only the bartenders know.
Hotel de Hofkamers, IJzerstraat 5, . checkin: 14.30; checkout: 11.00. Small charming hotel with only 25 rooms, situated in a quiet street in the heart of Ostend. The hotel has a secure parking/garage. Close to the Casino-Kursaal of Ostend and the beach.€100. edit
Hotel Ter Streep, Leopold II laan 14, . checkin: 13.00; checkout: 11.00. Hotel Ter Streep, situated in Ostend along the avenue Leopold II, embellished with flowers. The hotel is near the beach, the casino of Ostend and the shopping centre.€90. edit
Ramada Ostend, Leopold II laan 20, ☎ +32 (0) 59 70 76 63, . Located in the centre of Ostend and just stones throw from the beach. Rooms are spacious and comfortable. Hotels offers free wifi and has Mercator restaurant serving international favourites.(51.23086,2.913351)edit
Hotel Empire, Van Iseghemlaan 31, ☎ +32 (0) 59 70 42 59, . Located in the centre of Ostend and just a 20 second walk to the beach. Rooms are spacious and comfortable. Hotels offers free wifi and has it's own lounge bar and restaurant serving delicious food.(51.23086,2.913351)edit