A day in Knokke
For the equivalent of Saint-Tropez at the Belgian coast, you have to be in Knokke, our most luxurious seaside resort famous for its rich villas and high-end boutiques. In the summertime, the city really comes to life through fashion, art and design, making it one of the best places to go to (like so many people from Antwerp do). Grab a rental bike and follow me for a fabulous day of sea, style and sun!
Visit of the Zwin Nature Parc
Start your day with a big bowl of fresh air at the exceptional nature reserve that is the Zwin on the Dutch-Belgian border (in the North-East of Knokke). Its many hiking trails will take you through dunes and polders, and if you're lucky you'll get to see some of its fauna, like storks and Highland cattle. In the middle of the parc you'll find the information center that has been entirely renovated. At the end of the Knokke-Het Zoute promenade stands the bronze hare sculpture known as 'Hospitality' by British artist Barry Flanagan. This spot offers one of the best views of the Zwin plains and really embodies the "freedom, independence, dynamism, fertility and hospitality" the hare stands for.
Lunch at Bonjour | Zoutelaan 47, 8300 Knokke
For a simple yet tasty lunch you can go to the newly opened Bonjour. On their menu you'll find soup and other lunch options. Their homemade lemonades are great and you'll surely save some room for a piece of cake. As for the interior, it's cute with a Scandinavian vibe. No wonder it's the new place to be for the young and connected.
Shopping on the Lippenslaan
The Lippenslaan is the popular shopping street of Knokke and as such it's really not my kind of scene. Still there are two interior boutiques that are definitely worth a stop. Couleur Locale (at nr 275) is all about the nomad lifestyle, with items sourced all over the world. I especially love their tableware and the L:A Bruket cosmetics. Right next to it you'll find Metamorfoza (at nr 277), another interior shop with a strong foreign vibe, in this case mostly Berber.
Exploring Het Zoute
One of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Knokke is Het Zoute with its white villas and lush greenery. Take your time to explore the small trails overlooked by willow trees to awe at the cottages and residences (and dream away as you imagine which one you'd move into if you won the lottery). Make sure to stop at the Zoute Church ("Zoutekerkje"), an oasis of peace and one of the cutest churches I know. With its white and orange colors it fits perfectly with the local architecture and it has the most picturesque courtyard.
Shopping on the Kustlaan
As opposed to the Lippenslaan, the Kustlaan is really high-end, with the likes of Louis Vuitton and Hermès, but also Sandro, Flamant and Essentiel. In the small perpendicular street called Govenstraat, you'll find two very special boutiques. The first, Gypset Style (at nr 17), is all about antiques, art, vintage and books. A rich boutique filled with beautiful artifacts and mesmerizing furniture. The second, La Vie en Rose (at nr 13), is a small designer boutique that features lots of Marni, Rochas and Dries Van Noten, meaning plenty of color and prints!
A little further you can find the perpendicular street Antoine Bréartstraat, home to another couple of shopping gems. Just Julia (at nr 7) is an inspirational concept store opened by the young Charlotte De Busser that explores Instagram and international fairs to discover unique and original brands. I totally fell for the candles of Maison La Bougie, the city guides from The Monocle and her collection of coffee table books. Les Soeurs (at nr 19) I already introduced you to in my Hasselt city guide and I pleasantly discovered their second address in Knokke (where I'm going to get the next butterflies for my apartment).
If you're craving for a little ice cream, Glacier de la Poste (Zeedijk-Het Zoute 718) at the end of the street is where you have to be! They have all the flavors you can think of and prices have remained fair despite their fame. Don't worry too much about the masses, you'll be served in no time.
Drinks at Pura Vida | Zeedijk-Albertstrand 542, 8300 Knokke-Heist
No day at the seaside is complete without a walk on the beach... Afterwards I suggest chilling at the beach bar Pura Vida where you'll be emerged in the Costa Rican way of life: feel good vibes, cozy sitting corners and plenty of delicious cocktails!
The train will take you from Brussels to Knokke in 1h30. If you come by car, I suggest parking at the Minigolf Interparking (Sparrendreef 103, 8300 Knokke-Heist). To rent a bike, you can go to Cyclo Cars Kurt (Zeewindstraat 13, 8300 Knokke-Heist). And don't forget your sunscreen!