Overlooking the North Sea near Belgium’s border with France, De Panne is a coastal town renowned for its windswept beaches and nature reserves. It’s home to a family-friendly theme park and the former villa of Paul Delvaux, as well as the Adinkerke Military Cemetery where casualties from the Western Front are laid to rest.
Things to do in De Panne
Art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a visit to the Museum Paul Delvaux, which occupies the former villa of this Belgian Surrealist artist. Wander through the period-furnished rooms where paintings, sketches and personal belongings of Paul Delvaux are on display, together with model trains that reflect the artist’s love of the railway.
Travelling with kids? Spend a day at Plopsaland De Panne, which is home to thrilling roller coasters, family-friendly rides and an indoor play area. Reach speeds of up to 90 kilometres an hour on “The Ride to Happiness” spinning coaster or experience the DinoSplash log flume before enjoying the merry-go-round, ball pit and slides of Mayaland.
Sprawling west of De Panne is the Nature Reserve of Westhoek, a scenic coastal area that encompasses 340 hectares of sand dunes, grassland and wetlands. Walking trails wind through the reserve and offer sweeping panoramas across the coastline. It’s a popular destination for spotting migratory birds and Highland cattle, as well as being home to several archaeological remains dating from the Iron Age to the Middle Ages.
Getting around De Panne
De Panne is a 20-minute drive from Dunkirk in neighbouring France while Ghent is just over an hour away. Brussels Airport is 1.5 hours’ drive from De Panne and regular trains connect to the De Panne railway station from Antwerp. Buses travel throughout De Panne and the town lies at one end of the Coastal Tram route.