While a beachside destination is usually reserved for your summer holiday, Ostend is just as beautiful during the colder winter months too. Aside from the festive cheer which spreads through the city like a delightful breeze of cold air, there is plenty to see and do. Spend an afternoon shopping, enjoying a walk on the beach or you could brave the cold with a dip in the sea.
Early in January thousands of crazy (of course we mean very brave!) swimmers brave the freezing cold North Sea for the annual traditional New Years Dive. Many of the participants dress as Santa or in equally zany costumes, enjoy an exciting warm-up with pumping music & stretching and run into the sea for as long as they are able. While the official dive happens officially on 4th January, you can of course swim in the sea throughout the Winter, providing you are prepared for the cold! Afterwards, pop into one of the cosy bars and cafes along the shore to enjoy a snack or drink and warm up from the inside out.
Winter shopping Ostend is so much better when the Christmas buzz has faded in early January. Ostend is a trendy city boasting many flagship stores for fashion, accessories and décor. You’ll find some very unique and unusual concept stores on our streets, such as little known Scandinavian brands and gorgeous vintage stores and markets. Make sure to visit the James Ensor Gallery for a mixture of unique boutiques selling a mixture of expensive and value clothing, shoes and bags; you won’t find a single chain or high-street store here. Unlike our Belgian counterparts, shops in Ostend is available throughout the week, even on Sundays.
Winter activities can be limited due to our changing weather so as soon as you see a nice day, make sure to get out into the fresh air and take advantage. If you’ve visited in summer, you’ll know how picturesque our beaches can be. For many people, winter is the ideal time for a beach walk or to enjoy the beauty of nature without hundreds of sun worshippers. Another great place for a winter walk is our namesake Leopold Park Ostend, just 5 minutes’ walk from your accommodation. If you visit any time until early January you’ll enjoy the gorgeous Christmas decorations, Ice Skating, Christmas Markets and bars selling delicious hot chocolate and glühwein
Sometimes our unpredictable weather stops us enjoying the outdoor beauty of the city but luckily we have many indoor attractions to keep you busy. Open since 2008, Mu.ZEE is an exciting modern art gallery celebrating Belgian art dating from 1830 onwards. The impressive collections on display are a mixture of purchased, donated and borrowed works from private collectors across the region. There are over 3500 pieces on display in the exciting and fascinating gallery ranging across all artistic mediums. It’s worth spending an afternoon here exploring at your own pace. Check the eve-changing schedule to see what’s exhibiting before you visit.
The best thing about a Winter trip to Ostend is the fantastic quality and value accommodation available in our Leopold Hotel. Not only is our location ideal for exploring the city, we’re also a stone’s throw from the gorgeous Ostend Beach. After a quick bite and an expertly mixed cocktail in Bar Del Mundo, stroll to the beach to enjoy a stunning sunset. For access to our best available rates this winter and all year round, make sure to book directly on our official website.