Monday, July 15, 2013

A day at the beach: Knokke-Heist

Knokke-Heist has been on my list of places to visit in Belgium for quite a while. Partly because I'm always attracted to coastal destinations, partly because I was curious about its luxurious allure. Knokke-Heist is one of the most popular towns in the Belgian coast and is the favourite place for wealthy people to spend their holidays in Belgium. Yesterday I got on a very early train to the Belgian coast and around midday I set foot on Knokke-Heist. The weather continues being terribly nice, so a trip to the coast seemed like the perfect way to enjoy a lazy Sunday.

Knokke-Heist

Knokke-Heist is the northernmost village in the Belgian coast and it actually comprises the towns of Knokke and Heist. The whole town has a really touristic vibe with wide avenues dotted with cafés, terraces and shops, which even open on Sundays. The city center is predominantly covered by apartment blocks but the outer neighbourhoods are lined with big and mostly white detached houses. The most exclusive area, Het Zoute, is home to a golf club and many, many, many boutiques of luxury labels. To name just a few, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Hermès, Agent Provocateur, 7 for all Mankind and Essentiel all have shops at Knokke-Heist. And the list goes on! There's even a Nespresso summer shop on a square facing the beach with an open-air bar.

Knokke-Heist

Knokke-Heist street art gallery

Knokke-Heist

The shore is divided in five golden sand beaches: Heist, Duinbergen, Albertstrand, Knokke and Het Zoute. The long promenade is lined with cafés and restaurant and many an art gallery. I don't think I had ever seen so many art galleries together in the same place! It is possible to hire pedal cars and tandem bikes and many people ride bikes. I totally liked the careless summer feeling of the place. Walking further than Het Zoute beach, there is a natural reserve, het Zwin, formed by dunes and mudlands, covered by sea lavender plants. The Zwin Nature Reserve is popular among bird watchers and if the tide is low it can be reached directly from the beach.

Knokke-Heist beach

Knokke-Heist beach

Knokke-Heist beach

Knokke-Heist beach

Knokke-Heist also seems to be popular among artists. Not only is there an art gallery in almost every corner but Knokke-Heist also hosts a cartoon festival every summer. Entry is free and the exhibition is located just opposite the casino building - which might be the dullest casino building in the world. I took a look at the exhibition and it was interesting. The exhibition was dedicated this year to the cute boy and girl cartoons of 'Love is ...'. Besides a wide collection of 'Love is ...' cartoons, there were also cartoons by many amateur cartoon drawers which have been submitted to the annual cartoon competion organized by Knokke-Heist. If you have a a drawing artist inside of you you may want to take a chance next year!

Knokke-Heist cartoon festival

It was a pleasant day in Knokke-Heist and I quite liked the town. It seemed a nice place to spend a couple of relaxing days. Strolling along the beach, doing some down-to-earth shopping - I'll leave Gucci and LV for the wealthy crowds with golden locks and Polo shirts - riding a bike, flying a kite or even trying some mud walking. Maybe one day I'll be back; probably not, as this is the kind of underrated destination which you only visit if you live nearby. Now I'll have to come to terms with the fact that I'm moving to a land-locked country, so coastal adventures will be only possible during real holidays. Switzerland, just three weeks to go!

Have a lovely week!


8 comments:

  1. Es todo realmente precioso, que envidia.
    Un besazo enorme
    Thiscanbeperfect.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me alegro de que te guste, la verdad que sí que era precioso :)

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  2. Unas fotos preciosas. Se nota que el tiempo está siendo bueno por Bélgica. Nunca había oído hablar de este lugar pero tiene su encanto y veo que hiciste un montón de cosas en el día.Me encantan estos post tuyos donde nos das tu particular visión de otras ciudades de Europa que estás conociendo. Bsins, Irene:)

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    Replies
    1. Muchas gracias, Pilar! La verdad que estamos teniendo un verano inmejorable en Holanda, al menos. Llevamos 4 semanas de sol y calor y al parecer están a punto de declarar alerta por ola de calor por primera vez desde el 2006!

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  3. Irene, I wish I could spend a month there. HAHAHAHA It is so beautiful! I could only imagine the fresh air, fabulous food, walks and shopping. Ok, so I would need plenty of money, but it's a nice dream. HAHAHA Thanks for showing us this beautiful place.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    Replies
    1. Yes, dreaming is still free, so I'll keep on dreaming along about all those nice things, Kim :)

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  4. Staring at the photo with the Art Gallery, I feel like pushing the door open to get inside. What I constantly love about your blog, you make us discover and vicariously travel to these interesting destinations.

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    Replies
    1. I actually thought of you, Arni! There were sooo many art galleries, I had never seen so many together! Apparently Knokke-Heist has a long tradition of visitor painters.

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