Knokke-Heist

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  • 1. Zwin Natuur Park

    Zwin is a remarkable 390-acre nature reserve and bird sanctuary reaching the Netherlands border, preserved thanks to the efforts of naturalist Count Léon Lippens in...

    Zwin is a remarkable 390-acre nature reserve and bird sanctuary reaching the Netherlands border, preserved thanks to the efforts of naturalist Count Léon Lippens in the early 20th century. The Zwin was once a busy estuary, connecting Bruges with the North Sea. In fact, in 1340 Edward III of England and his Flemish allies sailed here to conquer the French fleet, readying to attack England. But after silting up in the 16th century, the waterway has retreated into quiet marsh and tidal channels, encircled by dunes and dikes—the largest salt marsh in Belgium. Saltwater washes into the soil, making for some unusual flora and fauna. Visit in spring for the bird migrations and from mid-July for the flowers, especially the native zwinneblomme, or sea lavender. From the top of the dike there’s a splendid view of the dunes and inlets. Storks nest in the aviary, which also holds thousands of aquatic birds and birds of prey, including the red-beaked sheldrake, gray plover, avocet, and sandpiper. If you get hungry, The Shelter bistro is at the park entrance.

    Graaf Léon Lippensdreef 8, Knokke-Heist, Flanders, 8300, Belgium
    050-607–086

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €12 (€10 if bought 24 hrs in advance), Closed weekdays Jan. and Feb.
  • 2. For Freedom Museum

    Preaching a message of tolerance and freedom, this small museum 5 km (3 miles) southwest from central Knokke-Heist (bus No. 3 from the railway station...

    Preaching a message of tolerance and freedom, this small museum 5 km (3 miles) southwest from central Knokke-Heist (bus No. 3 from the railway station will drop you close by) focuses on events during the Nazi occupation of 1940--44, and commemorates the Battle of the Scheldt, and the liberation of the region by Allied forces a few months after D-Day. A series of dioramas featuring original uniforms, weapons, and vehicles will immerse you in the period.

    Ramskapellestraat 91--93, Knokke-Heist, Flanders, 8300, Belgium
    050-687–130

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €10, Closed weekdays mid-Nov.–Easter
  • 3. Knokke-Heist Beach

    Knokke-Heist's beach is officially split into four different areas (Heist, Duinbergen, Albertstrand, and Het Zoute), but to untrained observers they form one continuous 9-km (5½-mile)...

    Knokke-Heist's beach is officially split into four different areas (Heist, Duinbergen, Albertstrand, and Het Zoute), but to untrained observers they form one continuous 9-km (5½-mile) stretch of sand, bordering the industrial port of Zeebrugge at one end, and the dunes of Het Zwin nature reserve and the Dutch resort of Cadzand at the other. The eastern half is more popular, with the bulk of the facilities concentrated around Albertstrand Beach, which is steps from central Knokke.If you're looking for solitude, head to the western end, although the views from there of Zeebrugge are somewhat less appealing. Amenities:  food and drink; lifeguards; parking (fee); showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: partiers; sunset; surfing; swimming; walking; windsurfing.

    Kustlaan and Zeedijk-Knokke, Knokke-Heist, Flanders, 8300, Belgium
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