Nestled on the North Eastern coastline; Knokke-Heist in Belgium draw thousands of tourists every year. Knokke-Heist is revered for its splendid beaches, its historic landmarks, its stunning countryside scenes, its panoramic views, and is a city that lies very near the Dutch border. In fact, it is not uncommon for those visiting Knokke-Heist to cross over into the Dutch territory during their travels. First established by Irish pilgrims between the sixth and ninth centuries, Knokke-Heist was once referred to by the name of Cnoc. In the 1600’s, Knokke-Heist had a population of a mere 200 inhabitants and the city remained relatively small until the 1800s. In fact, when Knokke-Heist became part of Belgium, the city itself was still very bucolic–with small villas and homes dappled throughout the countryside.
It was the rural charm of Knokke-Heist that has made it a popular Belgium attraction and currently, Knokke-Heist stands as one of the most popular beachside locations in Belgium today. Filled with hotels, villas, condos and resorts Knokke-Heist offers the traveller fine accommodations while they tour the city and surrounding areas. Finally, the city of Knokke-Heist is strongly community oriented: the city of Knokke-Heist has established what is referred to as an administrative community consisting of Alberstrand, Heist, Knokke, and Zoute respectively.
Places of interest:
While in Knokke-Heist, visit one of the world’s finest nature reserves, the Zwin at Ooievaarslaan 8. This reserve is what separates the border of Knokke-Heist and Dutch territory. Rich with vegetation and brimming with aquatic life are the creeks that run through the Zwin. Various sea birds live in the Zwin, making the locale an excellent site seeing spot for bird lovers of all kinds. Access to the Zwin is available every day from 9 am until 5 pm, from April until late September and guided tours are available to tourists every Sunday.
Alternatively, both Het Zoute and Het Kalf have windmills that tourists can visit during the summer and early autumn months. Both windmills of eighteenth century design, the two windmills in Knokke-Heist give travellers the opportunity to momentarily step back in time and view eighth century Belgium architecture at its best.
In contrast, the Butterfly Garden in Knokke-Heist may appeal to many travellers looking to experience the ultimate in natural beauty. A heated greenhouse, heated to tropical temperatures, the Butterfly garden has ponds, waterfalls, and gorgeous butterflies are housed in the garden. The garden is accessible during the months of April until the beginning of October and the hours are from 10 am until 5 pm.
Things to do:
The seaside resorts in Knokke-Heist are incredibly popular among tourists. With fun in the sun, plenty of shopping opportunities, and a fair share of adult gambling entertainment, Knokke-Heist continues to thrive as a tourist attraction in Belgium. Shops line the Dumortierlann Boulevard, the Kustlaan Boulevard and the Lippenslann Boulevard and smack in the centre of Canadasquare, travellers can gamble at the Knokke Casino, first build in the late 1920s. It has since undergone extensive renovation and the interior of the casino is just as alluring to travellers as is the gaming offered by the casino.
The Albert Palace Casino in Knokke-Heist is located at Zeedijk-Alberstrand 509. It is a 66,000 square foot facility offering more than 40 different slot machines and more than 15 table games. Travellers can even dine on location in the restaurant or enjoy fine Belgian beer at the casino’s bar. Gaming at the Albert Palace Casino includes American Roulette, Baccarat, Blackjack, Poker, Punto Banco, and Stud Poker the amenities provided to guests at the casino are truly vast. There is a dress code at the casino and the facility offers entertainment and gaming rooms. Only those travellers that are 21 years-of-age or over can enter the Albert Palace Casino in Knokke-Heist.
Food & Drink:
Tourist can bask in Belgian ambiance and culture when dining at the Moeder Siska, a true gastronomic delight! The Moeder Siska is a family institution first established in the late 1890’s. Mother Siska, as the locals fondly referred to her, was formerly married to a miller living in Knokke-Heist and she was honoured for her famous Belgian waffles. Legend has it that her twelve children carried on her tradition and the locals still rave about the waffles at the Moeder Siska.
Alternatively, the Opus 91 at Alfred Verweeplein 6, has an ultra-modern and sophisticated dÃ©cor and equally delectable food. Some entrÃ©es offered at the location include Gaspacho Mule’s Soup Quiche, Fish and Courgette, and other French delicacies. Desserts offered include Butter Almond Cookies, Mousse, and of course, Belgian chocolate is readily available to guests dining at Opus 91. Diners can finish off a meal with a cup of coffee or tea.
Diners looking to enjoy some Italian cuisine can find what appeases their palate at Rigoletto at Lippenslaan 389. The menu at Rigoletto consists of pasta, pizza, fish meat, gelato, pasticceria, carpaccio and more. The Rigoletto is open for lunch and dinner meals and guests can choose the lobster they desire right from the lobster aquarium in the Rigoletto.
Hotels & Accommodation:
Romantik Hotel Manoir du Dragon
Hotel Auberge St. Pol.
Hotel Chalet Tinel
Best Western Golf Hotel Zoute
Knokke-Heist is a city filled to the brim with entertainment opportunities. While not dining at one of the numerous cafes, or shopping amid all the fine shops along the famous Boulevards in Knokke-Heist, tourists will discover there is much to see and enjoy in the city. Tourists can enjoy a full day on the beach, a complete evening in the casino, and find themselves completely refreshed and ready to enjoy more of the adventures offered in Knokke-Heist.
The International Cartoon festival is hosted every summer in the city of Knokke-Heist. Cartoonists the world over visit the city to partake in the festival and display their work. Despite the language barrier, the artwork that goes into creating each cartoon can be truly appreciated and many cartoons can be understood even if one cannot translate the languages the cartoons are created with.
Finally, the nightlife in Knokke-Heist should not be passed up. Along with the casino, there are a number of pubs available for adult relaxation and socialization. Further, a tourist simply cannot leave Belgium without sampling the fine beer the country is famed for. Live entertainment is often available and couples can enjoy and evening of romance and dancing at any of the pubs in the city.
By Meredith Booney
Meredith Booney – Website: http://www.belgiumcities.info
Meredith Booney is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years of experience writing for travel journals, newspapers and magazines.