Ostend or Oostende is a Belgian city which is located in the Flemish province of the Wes Flanders. It is comprised of the boroughs of Mariakerke, Stene and Zandvoorde, and the city of Ostend is considered as the largest on the Belgian coast. There have always been ships shuttling between Dover and Ostend for over the past 150 years and today it is crowded with high-speed catamarans which move hundreds of passengers and vehicles between the 2 ports. Ostend is a renowned yacht charter destination in Belgium and most of the sailors and visitors choose to make their day pr weekend trip in the area. The strategic location between Ostend and Dover offer easy access to Bruges and Ghent which are 2 most attractive cities in the area. However, you should not only focus on Ostend to be only a ferry terminal, it should not be forgotten that it is a thousand-year-old city and is the largest population center of the Belgian coasts with approximately 70,000 residents. The city is protected from the North Sea by a network of dikes and received a city charter around the 13th century, even though it was quite unclear on how much earlier before the city was really built, though at that particular moment it was a fishing village. Ostend has been plagued throughout its history by a constant onslaught from seaborne invaders and it was mainly by the decisions of the 2 Belgian kings Leopold I and Leopold II to spend their summers in Oostende that raised the town’s fortunes and transformed it into a fashionable 19th century resort. Unfortunately, during the 20th century, destruction came again in the city by the aerial bombardment of the World War II.
The new Ostend is more a transportation hub and is considered as a resort town. Most of the visitors stick to Ostend for its perfect sun, its surfing and sailing opportunities and also for its famous Kursaal (Casino). The fishing harbor and the old town draw numerous visitors, as well as the North Sea Aquarium and the many interesting museums scattered in the town. The harbor of Ostend is not among the largest one on Belgium, as the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge are considered to be the 2 most important. However, even if it is medium seized, it is a multi-faceted harbor. The harbor of Ostend is a major attraction in itself while visiting Ostend in Belgium. The harbor lies across the bridge of the ’De Smet-De Naeyer’. The harbor is a good starting point for further yacht charter destinations in the North Sea and offers different possibilities to cross the English Channel and many yacht charterers are fond of its duty shops. The harbor rates are quite cheap at the harbor of Ostend as there are an increasing number of competitions with the channel Tunnel where the main harbor area is located. The entrance to the harbor, when you come from the open sea is marked by a lighthouse which is called the Lange Nelle.
When visiting the harbor, you will also have the opportunity to visit the large fish market of ‘’de Vismijn’’ which is worth a visit. Moving more towards the center of the city, you will have the opportunity to find the ‘’Yacht Harbor’’ which can be visited. You will find the over the many smaller boats, towers the splendid ‘’Mercator’’ which was once the ship that the Belgian Navy (during the 1960) for the training and instruction of its sailors. During a yacht charter trip on the famous harbor city of Ostend, you will find that the medieval city host a large variety of old and important monuments and villas that were built to please the Royal Family in the early 19th century. The city is also known as the Queen of the Belgian Sea-side resorts, during a visit in the area, you will have the occasion to enjoy most the beautiful long sand beaches and the strong North wind which allow some exciting water sports like kite surfing and a wonderfully and unforgettable sailing experience. Yacht chartering in Ostend is anchored in the culture of the people living in the area, and it is a well-known activity that is often practiced by visitors. There is also a large number of visiting yachts coming in the area throughout all the year and the yacht charterers can find some good anchorage in the Mercator Yacht Harbor which can be easily accessed through the Montgomery Dock and Lock. There are also some protected berths at the Royal Ostende Yacht Club, which is located mile away or so up to the river. It is important to beware of the strong tides along the coastal regions and the also the frequent ferry movements.