Zeebrugge is a small harbour town at the Belgian coast. You can find it in between Knokke-Heist and Blankenberge, not far from Oostend. Zeebrugge has two areas that are close together; the town and the beach. On this page I’m sharing the top sights and activities in Zeebrugge. I’m telling you what you can do and see in Zeebrugge and the neighbouring town Lissewege.
Harbour Heritage Walk
The harbour is very important to Zeebrugge. The town has a big port where big container ships moor and it also has a lovely harbour for yachts. There’s a free heritage walk that you can do around the harbour area. It starts near the Seafront themepark and takes you all around the area. It’s a 5.8km walk, so it’ll take you a little over an hour to walk the entire path. Just follow the harbour crane clinches on the street for the route.
Seafront is a museum slash theme park totally focussed on the harbour, fishery and ships. It consists of multiple buildings that all have their own theme. They really payed a lot of attention to the interior design. You won’t see any boring museum halls here. But instead you’ll have the feeling as if you’re walking on a boardwalk or if you’re at the fish auction. Seafront Zeebrugge is especially nice for kids. It’s very interactive, there are play areas and there’s a treasure hunt that they can do. Seafront is stroller (and wheelchair) accessible.
You can book a boat tour around the port with Captain Blue. During this 75 minute boat ride you’ll learn all about the harbour. You can sit inside or outside and there are drinks and snacks available on board. The information is given in Dutch and German and you can also scan the QR code to get the information in another language. There are also screens that provide maps, close-up pictures or more information.
You can’t go to Zeebrugge without visiting its lovely beach. It has a big strip of soft, white sand where you can relax and work on your tan. There’s also a playground for kids and several picknick tables.
Residentie Palace Zeebrugge is a wonderful hotel on a superb location, right on the boardwalk of the beach and next to the Zeebrugge Strand train station. If you’re not staying at the hotel, it’s still a nice sight to visit. It has a beautiful exterior which might remind you of Wes Anderson movies.
There are two main works of art on the beach of Zeebrugge, both part of the Beaufort Beeldenpark that has artworks over a long strip of Belgian coast. One in Zeebrugge is ‘… and to those North Sea waves whispering sunken stories’ and can be found right at the start of the beach.
The other one is ‘De man die de boot zag, in de lucht’ (the man that saw the boat, in the air), that you can see pictured here. It’s too bad that it’s difficult to capture it’s size on picture, as it’s bigger than you might think! You might get an idea of the scale if you look at the people walking nearby.
Sint-Donatuskerk is the church that can be found in the village part of Zeebrugge, opposite the harbour area. The church was build in 1910 but got destroyed in a fire in 1918 and during the First World War. It was rebuild in 1951, hence its good state.
The ABC-Tower stands for ‘Artes-Bruges-Cruise’ and can be found at the harbour of Zeebrugge. You’ll pass it automatically if yo do the heritage walk. The building houses the check-in for the cruis passengers but you can also find shops and a restaurant there.
Lissewege is a neighbouring town from the same municipality. It’s just a short drive to get there and one of the top sights near Zeebrugge if you ask me. Its nickname is ‘The White Town’ and it was voted one of the 10 prettiest towns in Belgium. The houses in the town have been painted white for centuries and walking around there makes it feel like you’ve travelled back in time. Lissewege has a very pleasant atmosphere and I found walking around there very relaxing.
If you enter Lissewege by car coming from Zeebrugge, you’ll see sign leading to a free parking lot straight away,
Every year in the summer there’s a ‘Beeldenroute’ (art route) in Lissewege. You’ll find many kinds of artworks all over the town. They’re mostly statues, but in all kinds of styles. There are often over 100 works to be seen. The Beeldenroute is accessible for free and takes place from mid-June to mid-September.
The ‘Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Bezoekingkerk’ is the big church in the town center of Lissewege. It’s a beautiful Gothic building and it has a well maintained cemetery surrounding it. Because it’s surrounded with trees, it makes for a nice walk in the shade on sunny days.
It’s not a top sight or activity in Zeebrugge, but as you might need accommodation for your trip to Zeebrugge I do want to give you this tip. Ibis Styles Zeebrugge is a great hotel for your stay in Zeebrugge. It’s located just across the street of the harbour area. It has clean, spacious rooms and a nice swimming pool.