Nestled on the north-east coast of Belgium, Knokke-Heist draws thousands of visitors every year. Knokke-Heist, Belgium is renowned for its beautiful beaches, historic buildings, spectacular scenery, and panoramic views. It is also a city that lies very close to the Dutch border. Actually, when you visit Knokke-Heist you’ll find it easy to cross over to the Netherlands during your journey.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, The Travel Bunny will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you!
Founded by Irish pilgrims between the 6th and 9th centuries, Knokke-Heist was once called Cnoc. In the 1600s, Knokke-Heist, Belgium, had a population of just 200 individuals, and the town remained fairly small until the 1800s. In fact, when Knokke-Heist became part of Belgium, the city itself was still very bucolic, with small villas and houses dappled all over the countryside.
It was the rural charm of Knokke-Heist that made it a popular attraction for Belgium, and the town is now one of the most popular beachside destinations in the country. Filled with the best hotels (e.g. Hotel Binnenhof), villas, condos, and resorts, travelers find fine lodging when they visit Knokke-Heist and its surrounding areas.
Top places to visit in Knokke Heist, Belgium
When you visit Knokke-Heist Belgium, go to one of the finest nature reserves in the country, the Provinciaal Natuurpark Het Zwin. This nature park, one of the best attractions in the Knokke area, is what separates Knokke-Heist and the Netherlands. Rich in vegetation and brimming with aquatic life, its creeks flow through the Zwin Valley. Various sea birds live in the Zwin Nature Park, making the spot an ideal destination for bird lovers of all kinds. The Zwin Nature Park is accessible every day between 09.00 and 17.00, from April to late September. Guided tours are available every Sunday.
As an alternative, both Het Zoute and Het Kalf have windmills that visitors can visit during summer and early autumn. Both of the 18th-century windmills offer travelers the opportunity to briefly step back in time to see Belgium’s old architecture at its finest.
Vlindertuin or Butterfly Garden in Knokke-Heist can also be interesting for many travelers looking for the ultimate natural beauty. Inside a greenhouse heated to tropical temperatures, the Butterfly Garden has ponds, waterfalls, and plenty of beautiful butterflies of course. When you visit Knokke-Heist, Belgium, you can go to the garden from April to the beginning of October, between 10.00 and 17.00.
Best things to do in Knokke-Heist, Belgium
When you visit Knokke-Heist, Belgium, you should discover its seaside resorts. With fun in the heat, plenty of shopping options, and a decent share of gambling entertainment, Knokke-Heist continues to prosper as a tourist attraction in Belgium. Shops line the Dumortierlann, Kustlaan, and Lippenslann boulevards.
In the middle of Canada Square, you can try your luck at the Knokke Casino. Raised in the late 1920s, the building has since undergone significant renovations, and the interior of the casino is just as fascinating to travelers as are the gaming options.
You could also go to the Albert Palace Casino when you visit Knokke-Heist, Belgium, to dine at the restaurant or try its fine Belgian beer in the lounge. Keep in mind underage travelers aren’t allowed inside.
Eating and drinking in Knokke-Heist, Belgium
You will appreciate the Belgian environment and culture while dining at the Marie Siska, a true gastronomic delight! The Moeder Siska is a family restaurant that was founded in the late 1890s. Mother Siska, as the locals fondly referred to the cook, was formerly married to a miller living in Knokke-Heist, and she was famous for her Belgian waffles. Legend has it that her twelve children carried on the tradition, and the locals still rave about the waffles of the Moeder Siska.
Another option is to try Opus 91 at 6 Alfred Verweeplein when you visit Knokke-Heist, Belgium. The place has an ultra-modern and elegant décor plus equally delicious food. On the menu, you’ll find include Gazpacho Mules Soup Quiche, fish with courgette, and some other French delicacies. The desserts list includes Butter Almond Cookies, Mousse, and, of course, Belgian chocolate. I suggest you finish your meal here with an excellent cup of coffee or tea.
If you’re looking for Italian cuisine, go to Rigoletto at 389 Lippenslaan when you visit Knokke-Heist. Their menu has pasta, pizza, fish, gelato, pasticceria, carpaccio, and more. The Rigoletto is open for lunch and dinner.
Having fun in Knokke-Heist, Belgium
When you visit Knokke-Heist, Belgium, you uncover a city full of entertainment opportunities. If you’re not out dining at one of the many cafes or shopping in its fine shops along the popular boulevards, there’s plenty to see and enjoy in the area. You can spend a full day at the beach and find yourself fully relaxed and ready to visit Knokke-Heist, Belgium some more!
The International Cartoon Festival Knokke-Heist is held every summer in the city. Cartoonists from all over the world visit Knokke-Heist to take part in and exhibit their work. Surpassing the language barrier, the artwork that is created by each cartoonist is truly enjoyed, as most pieces can be understood without translating from the original languages they were in originally.
Last but not least, the nightlife in Knokke-Heist should not be overlooked. You’ll find a wide variety of bars available for recreation and mingling with the locals. You have no excuses to end your visit to Knokke-Heist, Belgium, without drinking the fine beer the country is renowned for.
Olivia Peeters is a sustainable travel enthusiast from Belgium. She is happiest while sailing, hiking, cycling, or doing anything else outdoor.
You too can become a guest blogger on The Travel Bunny. Just submit a free guest post.
Other travel guides you’ll enjoy on The Travel Bunny blog
Visit Brussels: A brief travel guide
Visit Genk, Belgium: Quick travel guide
Visit Hasselt, Belgium: Compact travel guide